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Natural Awakenings Bucks and Montgomery Counties PA

Cranial Osteopathy: A Medical Approach to Craniosacral Manipulation

by Julia Helstrom

Many people seeking alternatives to modern prescriptions have discovered the benefits of craniosacral therapy (CST). However, what many people don’t know is that CST is an adaptation of osteopathic cranial manipulative medicine (OCMM).

OCMM was first revealed to the osteopathic medical community in the 1930s by William Garner Sutherland, DO. He founded his discovery upon the theory that the central nervous system has its own inherent motion, which drives the movement of the fluid around the brain and spinal cord as well as around the expansion and contraction of the skull. When this system moves freely, our nervous system is able to adapt to our environment and our daily life. However, when there is restriction in this motion, we are met with varying degrees of discomfort: pain in our muscles, chronic ear infections and colic in children, headaches and TMJ, to name a few.

Osteopathic physicians have been trained and tested in diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions, with an emphasis on the musculoskeletal system. During osteopathic medical school, physicians are required to complete 400 hours of specialty training in osteopathic manipulative medicine. Those physicians choosing to continue with specialty training in OCMM begin with a 40-hour introductory course in which they learn to diagnose and treat the head (cranium) and tailbone (sacrum) within their context in the rest of the body.

OCMM is seen as one treatment modality within a comprehensive treatment plan. Each individual’s tissue patterns are as different as their personalities, and hence each treatment will differ to meet the individual’s needs.

Julia Helstrom, DO, is an osteopathic physician and founder of Bucks County Center for Integrative Medicine. For more information about OCMM, visit To learn more about Dr. Helstrom, visit October 2016.