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FAQ about Cranial Therapy

What is cranial therapy?

Cranial therapy, as a term in broad and common usage, encompasses a variety of treatment techniques involving the bones and/or superficial tissues (muscles, scalp, etc.) of the head (cranium). It is a manual therapy performed to improve function on many levels, including posture and musculoskeletal function. The procedures of CranioSomatic Therapy treat the cranial bones individually or as a group to improve their mobility or position, resulting in global (total body) benefits.

I’ve never heard of cranial therapy. Is it new?

No, cranial therapy has been used in the United States since the 1920’s. There is little mention of the therapeutic use of cranial therapy prior to that time. In the 20’s and 30’s American chiropractic and osteopathic physicians – notably Nephi Cottam, D.C., and William G. Sutherland, D.O. – began developing and teaching cranial  techniques. Most of the cranial techniques commonly in use today have their foundations in the concepts originally developed by Dr. Sutherland and his contemporaries.

Who provides cranial therapy?

Cranial therapy is usually performed by licensed or registered healthcare providers in a variety of fields.  The training in cranial therapy requires additional education beyond the basic licensing requirements.  With the appropriate training, chiropractors, osteopaths, physical and occupational therapists, massage therapists, nurses, and other health care professionals can provide cranial therapy.

Is all cranial therapy the same?

No, there are a number of types of cranial therapy, with many different names. Cranial therapies are quite diverse in their objectives, treatment procedures, amount of force used, and whether the approach is structurally oriented or energy oriented.

Osteopathic cranial concepts view the cranial bones and the sacrum as a single functioning unit (the craniosacral mechanism). Their craniosacral procedures include individual cranial bone mobilization, sutural releases and the correction of global cranial bone patterns (e.g., sphenobasilar patterns of flexion and extension, torsion, etc.).

Most chiropractic cranial concepts also acknowledge and accept the concept of a unified craniosacral mechanism. However, chiropractic cranial procedures are generally directed toward the treatment of a single bone or its sutures and are usually referred to as ‘cranial technique’. Treatment of sphenobasilar patterns is generally not taught in chiropractic workshops. However, they are an important part of workshops
presented by Hancock CranioSomatic Institute.

How does Hancock CranioSomatic Therapy differ from other cranial therapies?
CranioSomatic treatment approaches are structurally oriented. The goal is to improve muscle and joint function throughout the body. This generally results in the reduction of pain in many areas, from headaches, to low back pain, Read more . . .

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