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Does cranial osteopathy work?

(25 Posts)
Heloise1982 Mon 12-Sep-16 09:23:03

Any personal experiences would be appreciated. My nearly 7 mo twins have never seemed comfortable in their own skin - lots of squirming, fidgeting and whinging. They hate being on their backs and aren't comfortable in one position for more than a minute or two at a time (including being held.). It's pretty draining! I was hoping they'd settle by 6 mo but they haven't really.

I'll be honest, I'm pretty much a sceptic when it comes to alternative therapy and I can't find any really satisfactory explanation for how cranial therapy works beyond vague talk of releasing stress (how?) and realigning the spine (what the heck does that even mean??) On the other hand, I'm desperate and seriously tempted!

Can anyone share their experiences? Or explain to me how it actually works?

RuskBaby Mon 12-Sep-16 10:22:53

Saw this earlier and was hoping others would give their parenting not experience. I can only give my pregnancy experience which has been amazing. Like you I am pretty sceptical but having had osteopathy and cranial osteopathy I can only recommend. I was suffering badly with PGP in earlier pregnancy. Cranial osteopathy is literally (from my user experience) a laying on of hands and honestly I was laid there thinking really? I've paid a lot of money for this and she's not doing anything. She 'realigned' me again it felt like she just held her hands on me. Well, I've gone from a hobbling, sick from the pain mess to totally great. I will be taking the baby when it arrives even if we have a great birth as the difference in me has been remarkable.
Hope some others with a parenting view are along soon.

anotherdayanotherdinner Mon 12-Sep-16 11:31:55

I haven't used it for my LOs but a friend of mine did for her 3 month old who struggled to settle too. She swore by it saying it was amazing, LO is much more settled now. I'd probably give it a try.

yahtri Tue 13-Sep-16 13:44:31


The short answer is a resounding and very certain 'No'! It's just a pretty good way for extracting cash from desperate people.

It cannot do what it says, although there is always likely to be a placebo effect. Although this can produce some benefits, they are short-lived, mild and tend to be less and less effective with subsequent treatments.
There is no acceptable or scientific explanation for how cranial osteopathy works, at least none that doesn't oppose everything that we know about physiology and anatomy.

A number of studies have been done which confirm it is utter make-believe on the part of practitioners. One study asked a number of practitioners to perform the technique on a patient and diagnose the problem. Result? Fifteen practitioners and fifteen different, unrelated diagnoses.

Have you thought of visiting your health visitor or GP?

PrimalLass Tue 13-Sep-16 13:48:17

Worked for us. I saw my baby go from screwed up in pain to looking like he was a frog that had been run over flat - stretched out on the bed. And with a bumpy forehead that flattened out. I don't care if there is no scientific evidence - I watched it work.

Thank goodness my mum was there too, as otherwise I might have thought I imagined it.

CurlsNoMore Tue 13-Sep-16 13:52:13

It really worked for my two children - plus excellent when they are teething to help relax tension in their jaws. There will be people who says it doesn't but hand on my heart, it helped my two. (Silent reflux, reflux, teething and growing pains.)
Key is to find someone recommended and used to treating babies.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 13-Sep-16 13:54:33

It's a lot of bollocks.

Heloise1982 Tue 13-Sep-16 14:57:31

Sigh. I would be lovely if it was true, wouldn't it? I actually phoned an osteopath up yesterday, and thought, if she can offer me a convincing explanation for how this works, I'll go for it. She couldn't - she talked a lot, but none if it really meant anything.

That said, if it's placebo, it must be a pretty powerful one, as so many people clearly have had results! And right now to be honest I would take a placebo...

Barksdale Tue 13-Sep-16 15:37:05

Although five of the six trials suggested crying is reduced by treatment with manipulative therapies, there was no evidence of manipulative therapies improving infant colic when we only included studies where the parents did not know if their child had received the treatment or not.

It's a placebo for anxious parents. Nothing more. Save your money.

Barksdale Tue 13-Sep-16 15:40:00

PetraDelphiki Tue 13-Sep-16 15:47:38

All I can say is that at 3 weeks dd was getting a flattened head because she only ever lay one way, one session with cranial osteopath (looked like a cuddle) and she started sleeping either way equally happily!

And no, I wouldn't have believed it either...but I saw it!

Hufflepuffin Tue 13-Sep-16 15:55:05

My son was seen at 8 days old. I was hopeful going in (I'd had it as a baby) but my husband and I said to each other as we left there was no way it had worked as she didn't do anything. But! Baby immediately latched for the first time without having a screaming hullabaloo fit first. So... it worked for us. I don't think there was a placebo effect as we thought it had been a complete waste of (my MIL's) money. There's no regulation though so be sure to find someone through a personal recommendation.

StressedNHSemployee Tue 13-Sep-16 16:05:03

Why don't you have it on just one of the twins first and see if it makes a difference. You can do your own experiment as you can compare them

Heloise1982 Tue 13-Sep-16 16:14:19

I hadn't thought of that but it's actually not a bad idea, I could do my own (very non-scientific) twin study.

MrsSunshine27 Tue 13-Sep-16 16:19:45

Sorry I have only had a chance to read your original post and not replies but just quickly wanted to say yes it helped my daughter immensely. She had all kinds of tightness's across her head, neck and back. Probably due to the funny position she was in whilst I was pregnant. She sleeps perfect now and is all round much happier.

MrsSunshine27 Tue 13-Sep-16 16:23:08

Also, I'm pregnant and i'll be taking this one for a newborn check at 7-10 days.

yahtri Wed 14-Sep-16 15:39:31

It doesn't work with anybody. It can't work. Cranial osteopathy is to health care as flying carpets are to air travel.

As a parent myself, with limited financial resources, I urge you not to waste money. I am a chartered physiotherapist, specialising in paediatrics, and I wouldn't let a chiropractor or anybody suggesting this nonsense near my child. Although I think it is probably harmless I cannot rule out any harm to your children through somebody as ignorant as this practitioner fiddling with the soft bones of your children's unfused skull.

An analogy to some of the anecdotes above: I woke up with a headache on Saturday morning. It was still with me at lunch time but after I had my favourite weekend lunch of beans on toast with cheese it had gone completely. I do not, of course, suggest that beans on toast with cheese cures headaches. My headache had followed its normal course and cleared up. To be less facetious, my child once had a spell of colic. We did nothing other than cuddles and patience and it stopped after three weeks - colic always stops eventually. Sometimes it stops coincidentally when someone tries some sort of alternative procedure that is unsupported by scientific knowledge.

This is why science includes adequate numbers of participants randomly allocated into different experimental groups including a control group, and uses blinded assessors. It removes bias, subjectivity, hope and wishful thinking. Because, in the words of the great Richard Feynman, 'The first principle is that you must not fool yourself; and you are the easiest person to fool'.

YouAreMyRain Wed 14-Sep-16 15:57:08

Placebos are more effective, the more you pay for them. The parent is paying for a treatment, they are therefore invested in its effectiveness, they also feel more relaxed/confident/ empowered as they have taken action to solve a perceived problem.
The children pick up their parents reduced stress and become magically better.

Heloise1982 Thu 15-Sep-16 07:09:32

Yahtri you're right. I know you're right. I shall resist.

I do wish there was some sort of miracle cure all though!

BendydickCuminsnatch Thu 15-Sep-16 07:14:37

It seemed to work for DS but I'm still sceptical and it was weird sitting in the appointments with the osteopath holding DS waiting for a 'release' - she barely touched him so I never worried it would be dangerous or anything but it was weird then that it seemed to work! And again she couldn't really explain what she was doing other than waiting for a 'release'. He had a torticollis (could only turn head to left) after a forceps delivery and it's quite the coincidence that that vanished with a couple of osteopathy sessions, and he was clearly a lot more comfortable and looser immediately after the sessions. Having said that i still wonder if I did The right thing and if it would have sorted itself at the same time anyway!

yahtri Thu 15-Sep-16 09:22:30

It is tricky. What parent doesn't want the best for their child? I feel quite cross about these people who dish out their outdated, unproven, unlikely and sometimes dangerous techniques and advice. While charging quite large sums for it too.

Sunshineonacloudyday Thu 15-Sep-16 13:28:54

My eldest and my youngest had cranial osteopathy it did help it opened him up a bit more. My last child was a forceps baby I did notice the difference. Less crying etc. Its up to you but for it to work you have to fully trust the osteopath or it wont work. Find someone with years of experience with babies. I would rather alternative therapies to seeing the doctor if I can help it. I would never say it was a waste of money read into it before deciding.

Sunshineonacloudyday Thu 15-Sep-16 13:33:54

BendydickCuminsnatch my baby boy was very stiff and he loosened him up. I think that is when he started wriggling out of his chair after that. I was in complete shock when he done it.

You do have to go to university to be an osteopath and join a body there is a lot involved. There must be something in it if they are going to charge you £9000 a year in uni fees. I wish people would do their research before making comments.

fabulous01 Thu 15-Sep-16 13:37:56

I have had friends who swear by it. I went once and not sure if it made a difference.
Could it be reflux though as the problem? Mine both ended up on neocate which made a big difference

YouAreMyRain Thu 15-Sep-16 18:15:45

I give you this Bad Science article written by the wonderful Ben Goldacre who is dedicated to exposing poor science.

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