Main article: Craniosacral therapy
Cranial osteopathy is a well-established branch of CAM therapy based on working with what is known as the cranial rhythm. Cranial osteopaths/osteopathic physicians are trained to feel a very subtle, rhythmic pattern of movement or shape changes while holding a patient's head. Outside the profession this is a contested phenomenon; also it is not known what proportion of osteopaths or osteopathic physicians are practitioners nor is it known what portion of practitioners have formal osteopathic training. Cranial osteopathy is based on the subtle involuntary mechanisms or rhythms which can be felt with a very finely developed sense of touch and, generally, through the use of an elaborate adjustable "lift" massage table which allows the practitioner to position the hands, arms and shoulders of the practitioner with a sufficiently relaxed angle (attitude) that the rhythms can be felt. From the experienced cranial osteopath, pulses in hydrostatic pressure can be initiated by pulsing the pressure of the practitioner's palms and fingers on the head and neck of the patient. The practitioner's own neurotransmitters are said by many practitioners to be somehow "activated" as the practitioner's fingers and palms find and settle in on locations on the patient's head which have an electrostatic presence. Treatments are generally weekly and continue until cranial osteopathy has re-established the rhythmic movement of the plates which together form the skull. Generally the patient begins with the plates locked into a single unit by calcification. This rhythm was first described in the early 1900s by Dr. William G. Sutherland.
Craniosacral therapy is based on the same principles but the practitioners have not attended medical school and are therefore not osteopathic medical physicians. Chiropractor and osteopathic physician, M B Dejarnette further developed craniopathic techniques inside of a complete Chiropractic system known as Sacro-Occipital Technique or simply "SOT"
Proponents of visceral osteopathy state that the visceral systems (the internal organs: digestive tract, respiratory system, etc.) rely on the interconnection synchronicity between the motion of all the organs and structures of the body, and that at optimal health this harmonious relationship remains stable despite the body's endless varieties of motion. The idea is that both somato-visceral and viscero-somatic connections exist, and manipulation of the somatic system can affect the visceral system (and vice-versa).
Practitioners contend that visceral osteopathy relieves imbalances and restrictions in the interconnections between the motion of all the organs and structures of the body--namely, nerves, blood vessels, and fascial compartments. During the 1940s, osteopaths like H V Hoover and M D Young built on the work of Andrew Taylor Still to create this method of assessment and manipulation. The efficacy and basis of this treatment remains controversial even within the osteopathic profession.
SacroOccipital Technique (SOT) - was begun by Major B. DeJamette, DC and blended both chiropractic and osteopathy. This technique includes a unique method of diagnosis, pelvic blocking and reflex techniques. The underlying principles of SOT state that the sacrum has a sagital plane respiratory movement mechanism and is associated via the dura with the cranium.
Based on this theory, manual methods of synchronizing cranial motion were developed to influence circulation of cerebrospinal fluid that is thought to depend on normal inspiration and expiration and movement of the sacrum and cranial sutures. For more information go to www.soto-USA.org