4 Wades Hill
Winchmore Hill
N21 1BG

Telephone - 020 8886 1411



Cranial Osteopathy

  • Cranial Osteopathy

    Cranial Osteopathy has some similarities to Osteopathy and therefore has the principal that the structure and the function of the body are closely related, and a disturbance in the body’s framework can interrupt the natural function of multiple systems. Cranial osteopaths are trained to interpret a rhythmic shape change that exists in all body tissues. This motion, is called involuntary motion or rhythm and comes about due to the particular movement of cerebrospinal fluid bathing the spinal cord and the pull of the soft tissue connexions to the cranial bones. The motion is completely involuntary and so small in amplitude that only specially trained practitioners can feel its motion throughout the body. Osteopaths consider that the nerves to the lips, cheeks and tongue can be affected by birth compressions.

    Cranial osteopathy is a very gentle treatment, which focuses on restoring this natural rhythm of the cranial bones with respect to the body. Very skilled, light pressure is applied where necessary to assist the natural ability of the body to release stresses and tensions. It can be practised on people with a wide range of problems. As with traditional osteopathy, cranial osteopaths will perform a thorough case history and examination of their patients, however, treatment will consist of aiding disruptions in the cranial rhythm.

    Osteopaths at this practice will always ensure that patients seek appropriate medical advice and treatment alongside any osteopathic treatment, and we will refer patients back to their GP if a problem is not suitable for osteopathic treatment.

    Who can benefit from cranial osteopathy?


    Cranial osteopathy may be of benefit to adults who are afraid of more physical spinal manipulation, particularly when the nervous system is out of balance as with migraine, period problems, and irritable bowel syndrome.


    Cranial osteopathy can be of particular benefit to anyone, however at this practice it is most useful to mothers and babies post childbirth. Birth is one of the most stressful that may take place in our lives, during which, the baby engages in the pelvis of the mother, which may cause abnormal strains to the cranial bones. It is during this time our cranial bones are particularly mobile in order to aid the passage through the birth canal.

    Similarly, when the birth is particularly traumatic or very long or very short, the head can undergo abnormal forces and can result in additional stress to the cranial bones. Also, during c-sections, the baby may undergo a type of 'stress'. The result of these compressions of the head during this time can make the baby uncomfortable. Signs that your baby may be experiencing discomfort maybe; a constantly crying irritable baby, sleep disturbances, feeding problems, wind, colic, sinusitis and ear, nose and throat disorders. The abnormal tensions in the cranial bones can also affect the nerves exiting from the skull. Babies can develop nausea and colic when the nerve supplying the stomach is irritated as it passes out the skull when the cranial base is misaligned. Cranial osteopathy may also be able to help with irregular head shapes (e.g forceps / suction deliveries).


    Cranial osteopaths believe that there is an important relationship between osteopathy and dentistry. The mouth and teeth can have a very direct effect on the body.
 Trauma to the face may restrict the normal movement between the bones, and can have a knock on affect. One of the most common causes is dental treatment. Here at On the hill, we, more than other practices, understand that sometimes, dental work is inevitable and unavoidable.

    Cranial Osteopathy and Dentistry- Important Information
 Dental work particularly at this practice is skilfully performed with the minimum of stress to the mechanics of the face. However, being a holistic practice we believe that each patient should be given all options to best help them and aid their recovery. We remind patients though, that cranial osteopathy is an optional treatment which can be used in conjunction to dental work and is by no means an alternative to dentistry. Obviously if there is a dental problem that is consistently aggravating and causing stress, it is important to have this dealt with our dentist before any other work is undertaken.

    Common scenarios (dental) that may benefit from cranial osteopathy....

    Extraction of teeth

    The forces used to extract teeth may be transmitted through to the articulations and joints of some of the delicate bones of the face. This may strain and disrupt their normal movement. Common symptoms:Sinus and ear problems, headache, migraine, neck or lower back pain.

    Dentures and plates

    An upper plate or denture has the effect of holding the bones of the upper jaw rigidly together, preventing or severely limiting their natural movement. Common symptoms include: headache, congested sinuses, ear problems or eye strain. Dentures should be replaced regularly as they wear down, and may have to be built up to allow for bone loss over a period of time.


    The stress induced by a fixed midline bridge will highlight any area of weakness in the body. Symptoms can be almost anything including headache, sinus or ear problems, neck and back pain, even knee and foot pain.

    Clicking Jaw

    Pain and clicking in the temperomandibular joint (TMJ) is fairly common. Please also see under our TMJ tab under dentistry. There are many causes, one of which may be stresses and tensions through the head, face or teeth.

    Grinding teeth

    Many people grind their teeth or clench their jaw when they are concentrating or under stress. This may occur during the day, but mostly occurs at night while asleep. In children, night grinding may be the result of pressure in the head or face from retained birth compression.