Discover 7 Top Benefits Of Cranial Osteopathy For Adults

Discover 7 Top Benefits Of Cranial Osteopathy For Adults

What Is Cranial Osteopathy?

Cranial osteopathy is a gentle alternative healthcare option that can provide many health benefits for adults as well as children of any age

Original intended for manipulating the bones of the skull, modern cranial osteopathy is a whole-body therapy which can help resolve pain, reduce stress and tension and restore balance to your body, promoting overall physical and mental wellbeing


How Does Cranial Osteopathy Work?

Cranial osteopathy deals with a rhythmic motion, referred to as the “primary respiratory mechanism” (PRM), or “tide”, which is apparent everywhere in the body and can be felt by the therapist’s trained hand

The nature and workings of the “tide” remains speculative, with explanations including the existence of a distinct craniosacral system, or the tide being the result of fluctuations in the cerebro-spinal fluid

On a practical level, the significance of the tide is it provides us with a window into the inner workings of the body

Engaging with the tide, the listening hand can appreciate the quality, state and functional interrelationships of the bones, muscles, organs and other body structures. This allows osteopaths to find distant as well as local areas of dysfunction and address those factors underlying your pain and disability, helping you return to healthy balance

From relieving pain, reducing stress, and promoting general wellbeing here are 7 ways cranial osteopathy can help you improve your overall health and wellness


Benefits of Cranial Osteopathy For Adults

Musculoskeletal Health

At the musculoskeletal level cranial oriented osteopaths connect with the ebb and flow of the tide expressed in bones, joints, muscles and other tissues to reveal the inner workings of this complex tensional matrix

This unique way of working with your system allows the therapist to detect the body-mechanic, working with local and distant strains to help resolve your pain and dysfunction

The cranial approach has been found to help with many musculoskeletal pain syndromes, including pelvic, back and neck pain, as well as headache and migraine


1 – Back & Neck Pain

Back pain is one of the most common causes of pain and disability, accounting for up to 12 million work days lost every year

Back and neck pain result from multiple causes. While physical strain is undoubtedly a factor, there is a strong link between psychosocial stress and back pain

The cranial approach and osteopathy in general has been found to help with pelvic, back and neck pain

By re-establishing joint and muscle synergies osteopaths can help relieve the mechanical causes of back and neck pain

Cranial osteopathy can also address emotional tension held within your tissues, helping you to relax and return to healthy and pain free function

2 – Headache & Migraine

Though tension-type headache and migraine are distinct syndromes they share common factors and are often considered to lie within the same spectrum

Osteopathy has been shown to help with both types of headache

At one end of the spectrum tension headaches have few or no accompanying symptoms. Migrane, on the other hand, may be associated with nausea (and vomiting), light & noise sensitivity and other symptoms. There may be an “aura”, of visual and other disturbance, often preceding the headache

Migraines can triggered by stress, muscle tension, especially in the neck and shoulders, injury and sinus problems.  There is also a link with hormonal changes, such as the menstrual cycle and menopause

By addressing these and other factors osteopathy has been found to relieve pain and reduce the frequency of migraine attacks

3 – Arthritic Pain

Literally meaning joint inflammation, arthritis is used as a catch all phrase for stiff, painful joints. Inflammation can only be reliable confirmed through laboratory blood tests, such erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) or C-Reactive Protein (CPR)

Even then, these tests point to systemic inflammation – a generalized inflammatory state where joint involvement may be just one manifestation of systemic disease, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Systemic Lupus. Although cranial osteopathy can calm your system to reduce pain sensitivity and inflammation, the role of osteopathy in rheumatological inflammatory disease is limited

Much more common is osteo-arthritis, where one or more joints express stiffness and pain associated with wear from age, or following injury. But even here, the picture is not straightforward, for:

although wear and tear is irreversible, there are as many cases of painful, stiff joints without x-ray evidence of wear as there are of worn joints going about their business happily and without any pain!

Osteopathy has been shown to significantly relieve wear-and-tear related joint pain and stiffness and improve joint function enabling you to engage in all those things you enjoy

Internal Health

As pain and dysfunction in the internal organs can be referred to and affect the functioning of the musculoskeletal system, so does musculoskeletal function affect the inner body. This viscero-somatic relationship is one of the central pillars of osteopathic medicine

Cranial osteopathy uses the tide to sense the whole body, reaching beyond the body frame to the internal organs. At the local, mechanical level, its gentle, non-invasive manipulations can enhance tissue nutrition by improving blood supply and drainage. At the systemic level, cranial osteopaths help shift the autonomic nervous system towards towards a state of rest-and-digest to help your whole system reset and recharge

4 – Irritable Bowel

IBS is a disease of unknown origin with symptoms including abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea and bloating. It is common,l affecting 11 out of 26 people globally

Irritable bowel is considered a functional disease with no identifiable organic problem. It is strongly linked to stress

Though the management of IBS requires a multi-disciplinary approach, including dietary management, structural and cranial osteopathy can be useful adjuncts to help relieve your symptoms

5 – Ears & Nose

By directly, albeit gently, manipulating the bones and membranous structures of the skull, cranial osteopathy is an excellent method of working with congestive issues affecting the ears, nose, throat and sinuses

Glue ear is a congestive problem where the middle fills with fluid causing loss of hearing and sensations of pressure and sometimes pain. Though it largely affects children, adults can also be affected.

By releasing tension and compression in and around the cranium, therapists can restore fluid dynamics allowing the ear canal to drain

A similar approach is used to relieve sinus congestion and pain

Cognitive & Emotional Health

The structure-function paradigm applies equally to the realm of mental and emotional health. Osteopathic medicine works with the psycho-somatic, or mind-body relationship to help not just your physical health but your mentally and emotional wellbeing

6 – Stress & Tension

With its light touch and minimal force, cranial osteopaths can free your mind and body from stress and tension, be it from current or past injury, illness, stress or trauma

Cranial osteopathic treatment helps restore balance and relaxation throughout the body – something every adult will benefit from!

7 – Conclusion: Assisting Natural Healing

Whether the focus is on structural fitness, internal health or psychological wellbeing, osteopathy aims to provide an optimal environment for all your vital functions to thrive

Health is more than the absence of disease. it is an emergent property of a dynamic, self-regulating system. Health is a positive state of wellness. It is your natural condition. And it is our job as osteopaths to help you realize this ideal

You can read more on cranial osteopathy at the Sutherland Cranial Teaching Foundation website

Or hit the button for more info and to book a cranial osteopathic appointment with Manuel

A Psycho Somatic Journey: Wellbeing And The Mind-Body Link

A Psycho Somatic Journey: Wellbeing And The Mind-Body Link

What Is Psycho Somatic Medicine?

Strictly speaking, psycho somatic medicine refers to a sub-speciality in the field of psychiatry concerned with physical diseases which have a strong psychological component. In this article we will explore the subject from a broader perspective, that of psycho somatic healing

Psycho-somatic healing is an approach to understanding how health and disease arise from the relationship between the mind and body

It provides a holistic view of the patient, appreciating that emotional and mental states can impact all your physical systems, from your ability to fight infection and disease to wound healing, and even your appetite and digestion

By understanding the physical, emotional, and environmental influences on our health we can begin to take control of our wellbeing and improve our whole quality of life

The sections that follow will explore the world of mind-body medicine: some of the major illnesses and syndromes considered psycho somatic; the principle pathways connecting mind and body; why and how too much stress is bad for you; and how you can find tranquility, stability and health in a tumultuous and stressful world

Psychosomatic Symptoms And Illnesses

In as much as all thoughts, emotions and physical processes are inextricably linked all states of health and disease can be said to lie within the psycho-somatic spectrum. The field is certainly complex, with organic (existing in the body), and psycho-genic (originating in the mind) disease at the extreme ends and much blurring of the edges in everything in between

Some diseases under the psycho somatic umbrella have an organic basis but may be precipitated by stress. These include 

  • diabetes
  • auto-immune disease

Others have a poorly established physical cause and a strong relationship to stress, such as

  • High blood pressure
  • Some forms of gastritis or peptic ulcers
  • Migraines & tension headaches
  • Dermatitis eg. psoriasis

Others still display very clear symptoms with little or no demonstrable physical abnormality. These functional or non-organic diseases also form part of the psycho somatic spectrum. Example include

  • Irritable bowel
  • Breathing pattern disorder (BPD) & hyperventilation
  • Interstitial cystitis

Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and some forms of chronic pain have been historically classified as functional at best, and psychogenic (in the mind) at worst. The eventual demonstration of physical disturbances associated with all three has highlighted the danger of considering functional disease as being all in the mind

How Are The Mind And Body Connected

While it’s not difficult to understand how physical illness and pain can impact you emotionally, how, you might ask does a mental state aggravate your gut or increase your blood pressure?

To answer this we look at how the body orchestrates the countless activities that make up our physiology and metabolism. The human body is regulated by three great interconnected systems

  • The Nervous System –
  • processes data and regulates bodily functions on a moment to moment basis through electrical impulses travelling along nerves
  • The Endocrine System –
  • does this over days, weeks or months by means of circulating messengers we call hormones. Finally
  • The immune system –
  • distinguishes between self and other to keep us safe from external and internal invaders, including bacteria, viruses and malignant cells

Let’s look at some of the major ways the three systems work together


Stress And Health
The General Adaptation Syndrome

The GAS was described by Dr Hans Selye, who coined the term “stress” as we know it today

Dr Selye noted that when we appraise any situation as challenging, the body mounts a stereotypical response by way of a cascade of hormones which starts in the brain (hypothalamus) and ends with the release of the steroid hormone cortisol from the adrenal cortex

This adaptation to stress is essential for survival in its acute phase. Cortisol raises blood sugar and provides the body with the resources it needs to respond effectively to a stressor. Long term, however, elevated levels of cortisol is responsible for many of the harmful effects of stress on our health, including

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Poor sleep
  • Heart disease, and stroke

Stress and inflammation

Inflammation is one of the most basic responses of the innate immune system to protect us from injury and disease. While inflammation is protective it can, when excessive, prolonged (chronic) or inappropriate (eg auto-immunity) cause us harm

Harmful effects from inflammation include

  • Bronchospasm in asthma
  • Intestinal inflammation (Chrohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Coeliac’s) with pain, diarrhoea and impaired absorption
  • Arthritis with joint swelling with pain
  • Blood vessel damage with deposition of fibro-fatty plaques (atheroma) causing obstruction
  • A range of mental health issues including depression

A recent literature review by Viktoriya Maydych (2019) finds that current research supports a direct link between stress, inflammation and reduced emotional attention, the triad itself being a predictor of depression

Nervous System

The nervous system can be (artificially) divided into sub-systems. Of interest to psycho somatics is the division into

  • Somatic  Nervous System–
  • associated with movement and sensation, and
  • Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) –
  • associated with involuntary internal functions such as digestion, breathing and blood pressure. The ANS is also involved in modulating inflammation

Autonomic Nervous System

The ANS in turn has two arms: a

  • Sympathetic system (SNS)
  • mediating your response to danger, thereby preparing your body for fight or flight

SNS activity is associated with stress and is pro-inflammatory. Though essential for our survival, persistent activation is associated with many of the harmful effects of stress and inflammation

Rest & Digest

  • The Parasympathetic system (PSNS)
  • is associated with two distinct responses:
  • Rest, digest and social interactivity
  • in response to sensing safety – this is a relatively recent adaptation, thought to be unique to mammals
  • Freeze reactions (feigning death)
  • to a situation percieved as a major threat to survival – this is an older response to threat, shared by other species, such as reptiles. It is associated with overwhelm and thought to be a factor in post-traumatic stress

Rest and digest responses are associated with feelings of safety and are anti-inflammatory, helping the body heal, repair and replenish its resouces

The vagus nerve is the main purveyor of signals organizing visceral rest and digest responses. I’ll have lots to say about the vagus and polyvagal theory in later posts

Treatments For Psychosomatic Wellbeing

The management of psycho-somatic manifestations encompass the whole mind – body spectrum. In some cases, where the psychological issues are too deeply buried or too painful to confront a psychotherapeutic or psychiatric approach may the best option

Common therapeutic interventions include

  • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR)
  • medications such as antidepressants

Outside the world of professional psychological support there is also a wide range of tools to help you alleviate your symptoms and take greater charge of your wellbeing

Activities which can help you manage stress include

  • exercising regularly
  • eating a balanced diet
  • getting enough sleep and rest
  • seeking support from colleagues, friends and family
  • knowing your limits and avoiding putting undue pressure on yourself

The contribution of meditation and mindfulness-based movement therapies to psycho somatic health is well supported by evidence. Effective disciplines include

  • mindfulness meditation
  • yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Qi Gong
  • and more

Yoga For Mental & Physical Wellbeing

With its triad of gentle movement, breath regulation and mindful attention yoga has been found to help with a plethora of physical and psychological symptoms, including 

  • blood pressure
  • cholesterol profile
  • digestion and bowel function
  • chronic pain relief
  • anxiety and stress management

along with a host of other physical and emotional issues. Click the link to learn more about how the regular practice of yoga and meditation can help you heal your body, mind and spirit

Osteopathy For Mind-Body Health

The role of body-work in managing your psycho-somatic wellbeing is well documented. Most holistic body therapies embrace the philosophy of body-mind unity. This includes holistic massage, rolfing, shiatsu, tuina, chiropractic and osteopathy

Therefore, I’d like to finish this article with a mention of the contribution of osteopathy to mind-body medicine. Because I’m an osteopath. And because of a tendency in the popular mind to think on osteopathy a purely manual therapy to deal with your aches and pains

While we osteopaths hopefully do a good job of fixing your back, osteopathy itself is a holistic system of healthcare which works with your structure in order to achieve complete physical and mental wellbeing. Osteopaths aim to create an optimal physical environment for all your vital functions to thrive

Osteopaths work with the functional and structural relationships between the musculo-skeletal system (soma), internal organs (viscera), and psyche (mind) with the spine as the principle gateway to the central nervous system

It’s no coincidence that of the list of conditions the profession can claim to help, based on sufficient evidence, lie mostly within the psychosomatic spectrum

Click the link to see some of the more common conditions osteopathy can help you with

Having explored stress, inflammation, safety and wellbeing, and other factors relevant to psycho somatic health we can begin to put theory into practice. Here’s a deeply soothing yoga technique for reducing stress and inducing deep relaxation: yoga nidra – the psychic sleep of the yogi. See you in the next article.

A Note:

In this article we’ve focused on the impact of mental states on the body. The influence of the body on the psyche cannot be overstated. The discovery of a gut-brain axis linking your intestinal micro-organisms to your emotional state, for example, has revolutionized our understanding of metal health and will be dealt with in a separate article

Let’s do some yoga nidra

Reset Your Nervous System: How Yoga Nidra Can Help You Recharge Your Mind and Body

Reset Your Nervous System: How Yoga Nidra Can Help You Recharge Your Mind and Body

Relax And Unwind With Yoga Nidra


Discover a place of peace and relaxation with Yoga Nidra, a simple yet powerful practice to help you reset your nervous system and revitalize mind and body. Whether you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, or are simply in need of a reset, this ancient yogic technique will help you find inner balance peace

Derived from the Sanskrit words “yoga” meaning integration, and “nidra” meaning sleep, Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation practice that takes you into the deepest state relaxation, a place between waking and sleep – a “conscious sleep”, where you can enjoy being completely relaxed while remaining mentally alert

Nidra is a guided practice which helps you access the depths of your consciousness to release trapped emotions, calm your nervous system, and awaken your body’s natural ability to heal itself


Your Nervous System:  Regulator Of Health And Well-Being


Together with the immune and hormonal systems, your nervous system plays a central role in orchestrating and regulating all your bodily functions, from digestion, breathing pattern and blood pressure to how you think, feel and respond to stress.

Though an integrated whole, for the purpose of study it is convenient to divide the nervous system into different components. Thus the somatic or voluntary nervous system is responsible for movement, posture and sensory perception, which the involuntary or autonomic nervous system regulates internal processes such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and more.

The autonomic nervous system is further divided into a sympathetic system which up regulates bodily functions to fight-or-fly in response to challenges, while the parasympathetic nervous system helps the body to rest-and-digest.

If a well regulated nervous system is the basis for optimal health and wellbeing, an exhausted and out of balance nervous system can lead to a wide range of physical and mental health issues, from chronic stress, anxiety, insomnia, to dysregulation of any and all your vital organ systems, and even immune disorders, including allergy and autoimmunity

reset nervous system

What determines whether you feel yourself predominantly challenged or at rest? External conditions, to be sure. But, so is your appraisal of a given event or circumstance. Thus building coping tactics, re-framing perceived stressors and generally developing skills associated with resilience are of vital importance in mitigating the harmful effects of stress

Yoga Nidra offers a unique approach to resetting your nervous system. By inducing a deep state of relaxation, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the rest and digest response. This helps counteract the effects of chronic stress and promotes healing and restoration in your body

During a Yoga Nidra practice, you are able to access the subconscious mind, where deep-rooted patterns and emotions reside. By releasing these trapped emotions, you create space for new perspectives, increased self-awareness, and emotional healing. This not only benefits your mental and emotional well-being but also has a positive impact on your physical health

Yoga Nidra: A Guide To The Practice


Yoga Nidra is structured practice where you follow a guided meditation. Start by setting the scene: 

1. Find a quiet and comfortable space: choose a space where you won’t be disturbed during your practice. Create a comfortable environment by using cushions, blankets, or a yoga mat. Adjust the lighting and ambient temperature for maximum comfort

2. Assume a comfortable position: Sit or lie down comfortable on your back. Close your eyes and allow your body to fully relax to the pull of gravity

3. Find a suitable script. Listen to the Yoga Nidra recording below. Or look around for other recordings and apps that offer guided sessions.

Follow the instructions and let yourself to be guided into a state of ease and relaxation

4. Set an intention: Though not essential, you may want to take a moment to set an intention for your practice. How would you like to benefit from practising nidra? It might be anything from releasing stress to cultivating self-love, improving your relationships or finding inner peace.

5. The formal practice starts with a body scan, where you bring your awareness to different parts of your body before moving onto the breath

As you delve deeper into the practice, you will be guided through visualizations and imagery. Allow yourself to fully immerse in these experiences and explore the depths of your consciousness

6. Awaken slowly: Towards the end of the practice, you will be guided to gradually bring your awareness back to your body and the present moment. Take your time to transition back, slowly opening your eyes and moving your body.

7. Reflect and integrate: After your practice, take a few moments to reflect on your experience. Journaling or simply sitting in silence can help you integrate the insights and emotions that may have arisen during the practice.

Remember, consistency is key when it comes to reaping the benefits of Yoga Nidra. Aim to practice regularly, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day. With time and dedication, you will experience the transformative power of this ancient practice

Benefits of Practicing Yoga Nidra


The benefits of Yoga Nidra practice are many, and encompass all aspects of your well-being. Here are some of the key benefits you can enjoy:

1. Deep relaxation: Yoga Nidra induces a profound state of relaxation, allowing you to release tension and stress from your body and mind.

2. Improved sleep: Regular practice of Yoga Nidra has been shown to improve sleep quality, helping you achieve a deeper and more restful sleep.

3. Reduced anxiety and stress: By activating the relaxation response, Yoga Nidra helps reduce anxiety and stress levels, promoting emotional well-being.

4. Enhanced creativity and focus: The practice of Yoga Nidra cultivates a state of heightened awareness and mental clarity, enhancing your creativity and ability to concentrate.

5. Emotional healing: Through the exploration of the subconscious mind, Yoga Nidra allows you to release trapped emotions and heal emotional wounds.

6. Increased self-awareness: Yoga Nidra provides a space for self-reflection and introspection, enabling you to develop a deeper understanding of yourself and your patterns.

7. Improved physical health: Resetting your nervous system through Yoga Nidra can have a positive impact on your physical health, improving digestion, boosting the immune system, and reducing chronic pain.

By incorporating Yoga Nidra into your daily routine, you can experience these transformative benefits and more. It’s a practice that can truly revitalize your mind, body, and spirit

Practical: A Short Yoga Nidra To Help You Rest & De-Stress

Conclusion: Embracing the Transformative Power of Yoga Nidra


In a hectic and at times chaotic world, Yoga Nidra can offer you precious moments of deep relaxation and inner peace, with its simple yet profound practices to calm your nervous system, and awaken your body’s inherent tendency to health and wellbeing

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or just in need of a quiet moment, simply find a quiet place, lie down, and let yourself be transported to the healing space of Yoga Nidra