Cranial Osteopathy

Emma Childs and Emma Chippendale Ceely (Chip) are both fully qualified Cranial Osteopaths.

Cranial osteopathy, (sometimes called cranio-sacral therapy), is a very gentle and refined osteopathic approach which includes the anatomy and physiology of the head. Osteopaths use a highly trained sense of touch to feel subtle changes of tension and tissue quality within the body. This enables us to improve the wellbeing of our clients. The aim is to restore health by releasing and relaxing the tissues and restoring the bodies state of balance.

Cranial osteopathic treatment is very gentle and relaxing and, although most widely known for the relaxation of babies, may also be effective for people of any age.


Understanding the effects of the birth process can help us to appreciate how cranial osteopathy or cranio-sacral therapy may be of great benefit to babies.

During birth, babies heads and bodies are subject to enormous forces - having to twist and turn and squeeze through the birth canal. The skull bones are soft, pliable and designed to overlap each other in order to minimise size.

This process is called moulding and is why many babies are born with asymmetric shaped heads. After just a few days, moulding is much reduced as the baby cries, yawns and feeds.

Many babies cope extremely well with the resultant moulding and compression within the skull and are happy and healthy.

There are many factors contributing to why some babies suffer more than others with retained moulding and it may not always be due to a traumatic delivery. For example, a baby born by caesarian section may have difficulties having not experienced the compressive squeeze through the birth canal.

Common Problems in Babies

Prolonged crying, irritability or just being generally unsettled much of the time -  This may mean the baby likes to be carried a lot and prefers being on the move, needing to be rocked to sleep. He or she may be uncomfortable lying flat due to having difficulty ‘unfurling’ after birth.

Difficulty latching to feed - sometimes due to tension within the upper neck and base of the skull affecting the babies ability to open their jaw fully. They may also take a very long time to feed leading them to take in excess air and being particularly windy.

Trapped wind and colic can be very uncomfortable and unsettling for babies and parents.

The amount of sleep a baby needs is very variable. Some, however, may sleep very little, day or night and be very sensitive to any stimulation or noise, causing them to startle and wake very easily. Compression and tension within the head or neck may cause a baby to be oversensitive and highly alert.

If the baby lies with their head always turned to the same side this may cause some flattening of the skull to develop which may then make it increasingly difficult to turn and lie on the opposite side. Osteopaths can gently release tensions within the neck and spine to allow greater freedom of movement and balance within the body.

Cranio-sacral treatment is great for all babies- some parents choose to bring their newborns for a check-up after birth even if they have no specific concerns. For those experiencing difficulties, osteopathy can help to release uncomfortable stress and tension, enabling the baby to relax and become much happier and more settled.

During the First Appointment

This can last up to an hour and your osteopath will ask many questions regarding the pregnancy, labour, how baby has been since birth and general health of the family.

Your osteopath will then perform a physical examination, discussing findings and a recommended treatment plan. It is not uncommon for the baby to be unsettled and crying during their first visit- for many this is the reason that they have come! It is possible to treat the baby while they are being fed, held or comforted with a favourite toy (or mobile phone!)

Some babies will find the treatment deeply relaxing and will fall asleep during their visit, others may sleep for longer later that day. Occasionally, a baby may be unusually unsettled afterwards but this tends to be a very temporary reaction before the benefits may be realised. It is not always possible to release tensions and compressions during one session of treatment.

Older children and Adults

There are times when growing toddlers and children may benefit from cranial treatment. For example; muscular and joint pain related to growing or certain activities, as well as being of benefit to general health and well being.

Some adults, including women during pregnancy, also find that a gentle cranial osteopathic approach can be deeply relaxing and effective in relieving aches and pains. Your osteopath may treat using entirely cranial techniques or a combination of gentle joint and muscle manipulation. This depends on your preference as well as your osteopath's recommendation as to how to gain the best results from treatment.


Opening Hours

Monday - Friday 8.30-6pm

Selected Saturdays, please call for availability, closed bank holidays.






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