Gentle enough to treat babies, Cranial Osteopathy can be used to detect imbalances in the body or to treat a cacophony of problems from a fear of giving birth to chronic fatigue … Grayshott Spa Hotel’s spa manager Elaine Williams explains …
What exactly is cranial osteopathy?
Osteopathy operates under the premise that the structure of the body affects the way it works. Cranial osteopathy is a branch of that and aims to correct imbalances in the structure. It focuses predominantly on the head and affects the rest of the body. Sessions are usually around 45 minutes and we start by asking guests why they want the treatment so we can decide how best to tailor it – sometimes we will combine it with acupuncture for example. You can work through the clothes and there are no products involved, so hair doesn’t get messed up. It is supposed to feel like butterfly wings across the face, but I think it is a little heavier than that!
Where does it come from?
It was originally an American idea stemming from Osteopathy. Andrew Tailor Still and Dr Sutherland developed it around 100 years ago as a way of combating migraines. Medicine implied that a skull can’t move, that it’s solid, but they decided that because there are little joints in it there had to be a reason for them – nature doesn’t design things without a purpose. On studying the skull he found it is like a semi-closed hydraulic system – like a pump action – and from there he looked at how the spinal fluid moves through the ventricles in which it is made. If you are ill or suffering from something like chronic fatigue the fluid movement is disrupted and you can feel it. It is a theory that is being reviewed by osteopaths today, but for whatever reason, we know it works.
What is it supposed to do?
It is designed to rebalance the body and strengthen it by using that energy and fluid flow in the skull. It is so gentle it can even be used on babies, and it can have an emotional impact as well. It gives an indication of imbalances in the body so that we can advise on lifestyle changes afterwards. It is very wide reaching in its applications – we get a lot of actors having it as it helps with voice production, it can be used to release the connective tissue between muscles – if muscles won’t relax … it essentially helps the body to heal itself.
Is there anything you do to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment?
I always offer advice – particularly if guests are staying at Grayshott for a while; usually nutritional advice – I don’t often recommend supplements as it’s best to try to get people to get the most out of their food. Sometimes exercise is recommended, especially if there are weak areas of muscle and we have a team of experts to help with that. I also often recommend combining the treatment with Alexander Technique – particularly for posture.
Is there anything you recommend clients to do pre or post-treatment to get the most out of it?
You don’t have to prepare for it at all, but afterwards guests tend to feel pretty wiped, so I wouldn’t go and do a session in the gym immediately – have a cup of tea and put your feet up for a while!
Is there anyone you particularly recommend the treatment for?
Because it’s so gentle and has such a wide reaching application it can be used for lots of things – babies with colic, migraines, sports injuries, fatigue, or simply if you want to feel a bit better. It is good for helping to strengthen the body so it can really help if you are being treated for cancer to overcome any nausea from chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t have this treatment?
The only contra implication is if you have had a stroke within the past year as you are moving fluid in the head. I don’t encourage women in the early stages of pregnancy to have it simply because the body is already undergoing so many changes, so if there is nothing wrong it’s best not to interfere. However if you have a specific issue such as trauma from a previous birth it can be extremely helpful.
To visit Grayshott Spa Hotel go to Spabreaks.com or contact our team on: 0800 043 6600.
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