Last week, I read a great post talking about what cranial osteopathy is and what it is often confused with (cranial sacral therapy, reiki, fish slapping). It is written by a UK osteopath with 20 years' experience and she puts it much better than I can. Her site osteofm is a great resource for osteopathic news and discussion.
Here is an except from her post:
(Cranial osteopathy) is not a completely different treatment modality from “structural”. There is a continuum of osteopathic techniques, from the stronger, coarser and more direct, to the subtler, gentler, lighter and more indirect. They are all based on osteopathic principles, freeing restrictions, restoring comfortable anatomical relationships, taking pressure off co pressed areas and so on, and I would argue that they affect the body on different levels from gross to subtle, and mainly differ in their strength and direction of application.
Different patients and situations need different kinds of treatment, and the best osteopaths can do all kinds. To be a good all rounder is the ideal, but good all rounders are as rare in osteopathy as in the English cricket team. Most osteopaths find their place somewhere along the spectrum. Some at the extremely mechanistic end often can’t feel or understand the subtler end, and might dismiss it as flaky, self-delusional or ineffectual; some at the other extreme might feel that the stronger ones are often too forceful and lack insight and sensitivity and understanding of the body.
Hopefully patients end up selecting the practitioner, by trial and error, that works for them. There is not normal osteopathy (physical therapy) and weird osteopathy (faith healing). There is just osteopathy.
And yes, cranial osteopathy is badly named, as we work on more than just the head. Some of the phenomena we feel as practitioners and our patients experience may sound weird or far out, but it is very similar to what stroke survivor Jill Bolte told her audience at a Ted conference. She found that her perception switched, similar to what we experience in treatment, during a stroke in which only her right brain was working. Perhaps something happens in cranial treatments that gets our right brains firing? That's my guess.
Enhance Osteopathy Heidelberg