What age can you start treatment?

Treatment can be done at any age. One of the best and most important times for treatment is for the newborn. Gentle, precise Cranial Osteopathy can release strain from the birth process and strain related to limited space in the uterus during the third trimester. Older patients benefit from treatment too. Many of my patients are thankful for the way I can release deep and significant dysfunctions using gentle forces that are appropriate for their stage in life.

How often should I come for treatment?

In general I recommend that everyone have one treatment yearly or every six months. Life causes a lot of physical strain in our bodies and I believe treatment can release some of these significant strains and assist in the prevention of disease. For patients coming with a specific complaint the best interval for the initial several treatments is usually weekly. After that it really depends on the individual. Recommendations vary from continued weekly treatment in chronic or difficult cases to monthly or bimonthly treatment until adequate improvement has occurred.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments varies from 2 or 3 to 6 or more. It depends upon the severity of the problem, its duration, and the body’s own response to treatment. Difficult, chronic problems may require long term treatment.

Does treatment hurt?

Treatment itself is quite gentle. Every once in awhile I may find a tender spot and put pressure on it to release it. Patients sometimes have discomfort in the first 24-48 hours after a visit as they process the treatment.

How long will it take to feel improvement?

This response varies from patient to patient. In general more recent, simple problems respond more quickly than chronic, complicated problems. Cranial Osteopathy is usually not a quick fix for difficult issues. Some conditions like Autism or significant chronic back problems will require ongoing treatment.

Do you do Craniosacral therapy?

Many or perhaps most of my patients refer to the work I do as Craniosacral Therapy. Technically the work I do is called Cranial Osteopathy. Oftentimes the term Craniosacral therapy is informally used when referring to Cranial Osteopathy, because it is a handy, descriptive term.

What is the difference between Craniosacral Therapy and Cranial Osteopathy?

Cranial Osteopathy is grounded in structural treatment of the whole person. Cranial Osteopathy involves treatment of the cranium, the sacrum and everything in between on both a structural level and a fluid level. It is grounded in the study of Osteopathic Medicine which requires an undergraduate degree and fulfillment of premedical school requirements, plus four years of full medical school, and usually at least three additional years of full-time residency training. It takes many, many years to develop this expertise (at least 11 years after high school). During this training and while in practice, specialization can be obtained in Cranial Osteopathy. The Certificate of Cranial Proficiency, which I hold, requires all of the above; written, oral and practical exams; plus five years in clinical practice.

Craniosacral therapy addresses movement of fluid and energy at the cranium and sacrum and sometimes through the body. It came out of Cranial Osteopathy and is a simplified approach to a complicated system. Craniosacral therapy is done by a large variety of practitioners with varying amounts of education and experience. Since Craniosacral is taught to practitioners without full medical training, and without comprehensive structural training it tends to be less helpful in addressing the underlying cause of medical conditions. While Craniosacral therapists are able to help many patients, it is important to understand the limitations of this discipline. Particular care should be taken when selecting a practitioner for infants or children whose systems are less fully developed.

Is your treatment similar to Chiropractic?

Chiropractic work traditionally uses quick thrusts to address poor alignment of the vertebrae. Osteopathic treatment does treat the vertebrae specifically. Instead of a quick thrust I usually balance the vertebra along with its surrounding muscles, fascia and ligaments. This releases the entire pattern rather than just the joint. Another important difference is that Osteopathic Medicine is more holistic. Chiropractic generally focuses on releasing nerves that are impinged at the level of the spine. Nerve impingement is very important with Osteopathic Medicine but we also release restrictions throughout the body including large patterns of restriction in the fascia, local muscular restrictions, restrictions in the blood flow and cerebrospinal fluid, and restrictions within the membranes and bones of the cranium.

Is Osteopathy similar to acupressure?

No, acupressure is based on the Chinese model of meridians and pressure is applied to points along these meridians. Osteopathy is based on the Western understanding of anatomy and physiology: specific bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves and blood vessels.

Where can I find a D.O. near me who does this kind of work?

The Cranial Academy and the American Academy of Osteopathy have resources available online. In the state of Washington you can check with the Washington Osteopathic Medical Association.

Seattle DO

Stephen Cavanaugh, D.O., Manager
Osteopathic Physician
521 19th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 325-7435

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