Cranial osteopathy: how necessary is it?

It is William Sutherland, one of the pioneers in the art and science of osteopathy that developed the concept of cranial osteopathy. Sutherland noticed that the temporal bone shared sutures with the parietal bone. A suture is a type of joint and supporters of cranial osteopathy believe these joints allow some form of movement.


Do I believe in the cranial osteopathy theory that there is movement? I won’t answer without the presence of my lawyer yet, I will state the following:

–          2 organs of the cranium most definitely move:

  • The mandible moves on the temporal bone;
  • The eyes move in the orbital cavity.





In all cases in the body, when we speak of musculo-skeletal function, we take for granted that it is the muscles that move the bones. Cranial osteopathy proponents believe that it is a form of cranial rhythmic impulse that does so. I don’t know if that’s the case. Frankly, neither do they. What makes sense to me is that, if muscles of all joints move bones, why would it be different in the cranium?


Let’s assume there is movement between the cranial bones. Gray’s anatomy states that there is almost complete immobility – which means there is some movement.



Could it then be possible that, even if such a cranial rhythm impulse does exist (most likely via the fluctuation of the cerebro-spinal fluid), more of this movement could be attributable to muscles of the jaw and eyes?

Take a look at where these muscles attach! You will realize just how many cranial bones are under the influence of these structures:


–          Mandible;

–          Sphenoïd;

–          Frontal bone;

–          Parietal bone;

–          Temporal bone;

–          Zygomatic bone.


There are 8 cranial bones. 6 of them relate to a muscle of the mouth and/or the eyes. In some cases, like in the case of the sphenoid bone, both muscles of the mouth and eyes attach to it.



Tenants of cranial osteopathy believe that is the junction between the sphenoid and the occipital bone that is responsible for the movements of the other cranial bones.

Take into account that muscles of the eyes, mouth and neck are connected neurologically in the brainstem via a pathway called the MLF (medial longitudinal fascicule).


So what if your eyes are not moving in sync, that your mouth makes a funny noise when you open and close it and that your neck is stiffer when you rotate to the right… Could that interlinked system be the cause of the cranial movement dysfunction?


Could Posturology be a key component to regain balance at the level of these organs/receptors to create balance… all the way up to the cranium?

I would say the answer is an obvious… yes!

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