Tufnell Park Osteopaths specialises in cranial osteopathy. This uses osteopathic manual techniques at the gentler end of the spectrum and involves sensing a state of balanced tension at the tissues around joints.


Where does cranial osteopathy come from?

The technique was devised by the founder of osteopathy, Dr A T Still, who drew on the revolutionary intuition that the body innately contains what it requires for recovery.


In the early to mid 20th century Dr Still’s pupil Dr W G Sutherland then went on to develop and teach the cranial approach to osteopathy, making use of what he described as a rhythmic motion of all the fluids of the body, including a subtle motion at the head. These ideas have since been explored in other fields of scientific research (see references below).


What can I expect?

An osteopathic treatment is based on detailed clinical case history-taking, structural and postural assessment, and a medically informed diagnosis.


Rather than focus solely on immediate symptoms, osteopaths can combine anatomical knowledge of the bone structure and the softer parts of the body, and use refined palpation to access the underlying health in an individual.


The treatment involves placement of hands, used for a quiet listening to the inner rhythms and patterns of function of the whole body, not just the head as the name might suggest. This listening enables understanding of where the barriers to healing may be, and the release of those barriers using precise positioning or gentle pressure and support in order to nudge the body back towards health, working with the body’s constant tendency towards self-correction.


Is it suitable for me?

The cranial approach is very safe, and is particularly suitable for patients who cannot tolerate the more common osteopathic manipulative approach as no force is used. It is also particularly helpful for patients in severe pain, the elderly and the very young.


Cranial osteopathy can be a solution for patients who are not responding to a manipulative osteopathic approach.


1. Feinberg DA, Mark AS. Human brain motion and cerebrospinal fluid circulation demonstrated with MR velocity imaging. Radiology 1987;163:793-799.
2. Grietz D, Wirestam R, Franck A, et al. Pulsatile brain movement and associated hydrodynamics studied by magnetic resonance phase imaging: The Monro-Kellie doctrine revisited. Neuroradiology 1992; 34:370-380
3. Ueno T, Ballard RE, Shuer LM, et al. Noninvasive measurement of pulsatile intracranial pressure using ultrasound. Acta Neurochir. 1998 (Suppl)71:66-69.
4. Ueno T, Ballard RE, Macias BR, et al. Cranial diameter pulsations measured by non-invasive ultrasound decrease with tilt. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine. 2003;74(8):882-85.