Osteopaths have specialised in diagnostic touch from the start of the profession. We use the sense of touch, informed by our knowledge of anatomy, to work out if any areas of the body or movements of the joint feel tighter or more restricted than they should.
With the movement of joints in the arm, leg or spine this is fairly obvious. However, following the pioneering work of W.G. Sutherland, osteopathy began to focus on subtle rythmic movements palpable most easily within the cranium, but also present throughout the body. Sutherland‘s concepts are widely practiced and many osteopaths are convinced that cranial osteopathy is a very useful, safe and effective way of helping babies and children as well as adults.
The method has been controversial from the start, both within the osteopathic community and more widely. This controversy does not centre around issues of safety; even its detractors believe the approach to be safe, but concerns the lack of formal research based evidence for its effectiveness.
Many osteopaths around the world believe that in due course correctly designed and applied research will show dramatic results in favour of this method.