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Cranial Osteopathy by Barbara Gordon-Cohen

After my fourth child I had frequent infections and was very fatigued. My osteopath said that my sacrum (tail bone) was very restricted as it was still in the pushing phase of labor and stuck forward. This forward position can cause low back pain, depression, fatigue and negatively affect both the nervous and endocrine systems. Twelve hours after the osteopath released my sacrum I felt like new and had a newfound energy.

Structure Governs Function

Cranial osteopathy began in 1939 based on the work of William Garner Sutherland, an osteopathic physician. He realized that the motion between the bones in the skull and their sutures is part of the movement of all the fluids in the body. This movement is central to ones’ health and healing system. A cranial osteopath can restore the movement when it is restricted.

According to the Cranial Academy in Indianapolis “Cranial osteopathic treatment involves hands-on manipulation to gently free areas of the body which have restricted motion. Treatment often involves cradling the head or the sacrum (tailbone), [or] using gentle pressures to free movement of restricted bones or other tissues…Through these approaches many complaints can be treated, including low back problems, TMJ dysfunction, headaches and menstrual cramps. In addition, patients often experience an ongoing, improved sense of well-being and health.”

Ostopathy and Infants

As explained by the Cranial Academy “Trauma to the head or body can alter or hinder the flow of the fluids of the body, often having dramatic and sometimes drastic effects on the person’s health and function. The most obvious of these traumas is birth trauma, where the baby’s skull is impacted by repeated pushing against the birth canal or by vacuum extraction in a difficult labor. Even an almost imperceptible alteration of the skull’s natural configuration and movement can lead to such disorders as colic, the inability of the baby to swallow or suck, frequent spitting up, chronic ear infections and/or delayed development.”

Fortunately, newborn symptoms can be treated easily with cranial treatment, as their skull is made of only membrane and cartilage so it is softer and more pliable. For instance, colic symptoms as well as difficulties with sucking, and hence feeding, typically can be relieved with just two to three treatments by freeing the restrictions in the nerves that are causing the problems.

Newborns should be treated with cranial as one ounce of prevention is a pound of cure. Osteopathic treatments can help infants prevent chronic problems in the future, generally in just one or a few treatments.

Barbara Gordon-Cohen, D.O. is board certified in family medicine and neuromuscular medicine. Her office is on 4 Boar Court in Suffern. She can be reached by calling 354-4507 or visiting

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