Cranial osteopathy stems from the belief that the skull is not a rigid structure; rather the bones move rhythmically, affecting various bodily and mental functions including anxiety and depression.
Originated by the work of osteopath Dr. William Sutherland in the early 20th century “Cranial osteopaths focus on the pulsing of the fluid which nourishes and protects the membranes surrounding the brain, spinal cord and sacrum, this pulsing is called the Cranial Rhythm,” according to The Henry Spink Foundation, a British research centre.
Practitioners manipulate spinal and cranial bones, as well as tissue, to improve blood circulation, and drain lymph and sinus fluids to restore this “cranial rhythm.”
Cranial osteopaths utilise the procedure for a wide variety of disorders including autism, attention deficit disorder, asthma, back and neck pain, spinal cord injury and many other ailments In addition to depression and anxiety.
A noninvasive technique, relaxation is key during the therapy. “Most describe a cranial osteopathic treatment as very relaxing, often sleeping during it,” says Dr. Arash Jacob of Original Osteopathy in Los Angeles. “Afterward most experience some fatigue. That's because it takes energy to heal, yours.”
Like many holistic approaches (naturally treating body and mind together), cranial osteopathy for anxiety and depression is controversial, with no traditional medical research proving its efficacy.