Cranial Osteopathy is the study of the cranium and its inter-relationship with the body as a whole. Osteopathic Practitioners see that there is a subtle movement of the cranial bones, the nervous tissue and the brain itself, and a fluctuating cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). The founder of Osteopathy, Dr. Still, believed that the CSF is the highest known element in the body – the expression of life being breathed in by the body, and a reflection of the essence of health within the system.

Dr. Sutherland, DO, discovered, developed and taught Cranial Osteopathy and never failed to emphasize that the cranial concept was only an extension of, not separate from, Dr. Still’s science of Osteopathy.

Cranial Osteopathy may be applied for the prevention and treatment of disease and enhancement of health, within the practice of the science of Osteopathy and is ideal for babies, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with acute and chronic reoccurring injuries.


As Osteopathy is an ever-evolving science, and as new information becomes available about physiology, embryology and the natural laws, they add credibility to the incredible insight of the forefathers of Osteopathy.

One group of Osteopathic Practitioners used their perceptual skills to focus on the natural laws and the kinetics of motion. These practitioners came to realize that the pattern of motions felt in treatments were similar to the motions of embryogenesis (development and formation of an embryo).

Dr. James Jealous reviewed the work of Dr. Sutherland, founder of Cranial Osteopathy, and fluid motion in relation to the work of a German embryologist, Dr. Erich Blechschmidt. Whilst Dr. Blechschmidt was describing the different ways in which fluids interact with each other inside the body, and referred to the forces at work as biodynamic, Sutherland perceived these same forces in the fluids in Osteopathic treatments. Yet the two had never met nor read each other’s work.

It was Dr. Jealous who had the insight to put the two ideas together. He observed that the forces of embryogenesis did not stop at birth, but were maintained throughout childhood, governing growth and development, and continued throughout our lives as the forces that heal and sustain health. He coined the term The Biodynamics of Osteopathy in the Cranial Field, uniting the work of two men a world apart.


The rhythms that Osteopathic Practitioners feel for are all expressions of this primal force, which Dr. Sutherland called "Primary Respiration" - the breathing or rhythmic movement of the body present in utero before we can take an actual lung breath.

Primary respiration is the rhythm of life that underlies all movement in the body. By synchronizing and observing the expression of the primary respiration in the patient's body, the Osteopathic Practitioner perceives the innate healing potential of the patient, which allows the restoration of health and homeostasis. In doing so, tissues adjust, reorient and breathe; blockages and traumatic imprints easily dissolve; and fluids are free to rebalance, allowing transformation and transmutation to occur throughout the whole of the patient - the return of normalcy, as Dr. Still said. It is perhaps one of the gentlest treatments you may encounter and yet is extremely powerful and results are profound.

“Dr. Still envisioned the cerebral spinal fluid as an intermediary in the movement of Divine intelligence, a channeling of creation into embryological segments and irrigating them with life, giving form and function and order and intelligence to our existence.” − W. G. Sutherland DO

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