Dr Hal Brown, Naturopathic Physician
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From Wikipedia: Cranial osteopathy

Cranial osteopathy is a set of theory and techniques that have been developed from the observations of Dr William Sutherland that the plates of the cranium, although fused, do permit microscopic movement or force dissipation and that there is a 'force' or rhythm that is operating in moving the plates of the skull.[7] Cranial osteopathy is said to be based on a primary respiratory mechanism, a rhythm that can be felt with a very finely developed sense of touch. Some osteopaths believe that improving dysfunctional cranial rhythmic impulses enhances cerebral spinal fluid flow to peripheral nerves, thereby enhancing metabolic outflow and nutrition inflow. It has gained particular popularity in the treatment of babies and children.

The primary respiratory mechanism is not acknowledged as existing in standard medical texts, and at least one study has failed to show inter-rater reliability between craniosacral therapists attempting to detect this rhythm.[8] While other studies have reported evidence of the existence of such a rhythm, the link between any such mechanism and states of health or disease has also been contested. One meta-analysis from the British Columbia Office of Health Technology Assessment (BCOHTA) concluded that "there is evidence for a craniosacral rhythm, impulse or 'primary respiration' independent of other measurable body rhythms", however it was noted that "these and other studies do not provide any valid evidence that such a craniosacral 'rhythm' or 'pulse' can be reliably perceived by an examiner" and that "The influence of this craniosacral rhythm on health or disease states is completely unknown."[9]

Craniosacral therapy is based on the same principles as cranial osteopathy, but the practitioners are not qualified osteopaths. Chiropractor and osteopathic physician, M B Dejarnette further developed craniopathic techniques inside of a complete Chiropractic system known as Sacro-Occipital Technique or simply "SOT"[10][11]

  1. What Is Osteopathy In The Cranial Field (OCF)? Osteohome website (Accessed 2nd Aug 2006
  2. Wirth-Pattullo V, Hayes KW. Interrater reliability of craniosacral rate measurements and their relationship with subjects' and examiners' heart and respiratory rate measurements. Phys Ther. 1994 Oct;74(10):908-16; discussion 917-20. PMID 8090842
  4. Sacral Occipital Technique Organization USA
  5. Blum CL, Cuthbert S, Cranial Therapeutic Care: Is There any Evidence?, Journal of Chiropractic and Osteopathy, 2006; 14(10).
Cranial Sacral Therapy

What is Cranial Osteopathy?
Cranial osteopathy is a refined and subtle type of osteopathic treatment that encourages the release of stresses and tensions throughout the body, including the head.
It is a gentle yet extremely effective approach and may be used in a wide range of conditions for people of all ages, from birth to old age.
Osteopaths may have different specialities including sports injuries, paediatrics, and visceral osteopathy (treating the internal organs of the body). Cranial osteopathy embraces all of these.

lnvoluntary Motion- The Cranial Rhythm
Cranial osteopaths are trained to feel a very subtle, rhythmical shape change that is present in all body tissues. This is called Involuntary Motion or the Cranial Rhythm.  The movement is of very small amplitude, therefore it takes practitioners with a very finely developed sense of touch to feel it. This rhythm was first described in the early 1900's by Dr. William G. Sutherland and its existence was confirmed in a series of laboratory tests in the 1960's and '70's.

Tension in the body disrupts the cranial rhythm. Practitioners compare what your rhythm is doing to what they consider ideal. This shows them what stresses and strains your body is under at present, and what tensions it may be carrying as a result of its past history. It also gives them an insight into the overall condition of your body, for example if it is healthy, or stressed and tired.

Accumulation of stress and strain in the body
When we experience physical or emotional stresses our body tissues tend to tighten up. The body may have been able to adapt to these effects at the time, but a lasting strain often remains. Any tensions which remain held in the body can restrict its free movement. Gradually the body may find it more and more difficult to cope with accumulated stresses and symptoms may develop.


Cranial Sacral Therapy
Posted by Kimberly on July 1, 2007

Cranial Sacral Therapy (CST) was founded by an osteopath, Dr. William Garner Sutherland, who lived from 1873-1954. Osteopathic physicians are trained to have the standard medical knowledge of an MD, but also places an emphasis on the musculoskeletal system, and how dislocations and diseases of this system affect other organ systems of the body.

Dr. Sutherland found that when he adjusted and manually manipulated the bones of the head, that the sutures (the lines where several bones of the head come together), once thought to be unmovable, were actually designed for motion. He hypothesized that the seams where the bones meet, change due to the ebb and flow of the cerebral spinal fluid that bathes and hydrates the brain and spinal cord. He believed that physical and emotional stress often resulted in the fluid level being higher or lower that usual, resulting in an imbalance. He found that a gentle adjustment of the cranial bones, helped to restore balance to the cerebral spinal fluid, and allowed the practitioner doing the adjustment, to feel a rhythmic impulse. He named this process the “Breath of Life”, which requires the person doing the therapy to press (gently palpate) certain areas on the scalp as well as regions over the spine.

Current cranial sacral therapists and osteopaths who use this technique describe how it is helpful with conditions such as post-concussion syndrome, migraine and cluster headaches, Fibromyalgia, stress, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and other conditions of the head, neck, back and spinal region. Even patients, who are status post-back surgery, find this treatment pleasant, relaxing and helpful with the residual pain that sometimes occurs after a back injury/surgery.

Some clients report a very deep level of relaxation; others describe what may be a high level of endorphin secretion or even an endorphin surge, resulting in a feeling of peace and wellbeing. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killer, produced by the brain as a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger in the brain). When clients are receiving treatments such as cranial sacral therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, and even massage, an increase in endorphin synthesis and secretion often occurs.

Treatments such as cranial sacral therapy, as well as other natural treatments provided by osteopaths and other disciplines are thought to promote the natural healing tendency of the body, and correct imbalances, interruptions, or blocks of cerebral spinal fluid.