why osteopath’s hands are on your head?

Have you ever thought what really happen beyond your face or under your scalp?

The skull, usually considered only the box that contains brain, is made up of  29 bones, and has a complex structure of sutures and channels for the 12 cranial nerves and for thousands of blood-vessels that pass through.


At your first appointment with an osteopath you, for sure, will find his approach a bit “strange”, unusual at least! He/she will put his/her hands on your head and on your sacrum. The question that will probably arise in your mind will be: WHY?

I’m going to explain briefly one of the basis of the cranial osteopathy:


I suggest you to take time to watch the videos to visualize what I’m talking about.

The first osteopath that conceptualized this mechanism was W. G. Sutherland (1873-1954). Studying the cranial bones and their structures, he supposed that they should move.

In the skull we find  a  sagittal membrane and a trasversal membrane, the tentorium.  They rhythmically coil and uncoil around a fulcrum that is the point of conjunction of the two membranes. You can imagine this movement from outside as the rhythmic movement of the inhalation and the expiration.


Because of the fact that the cranial membrane, by the reciprocal tension membrane, is attached at the sacrum, the the cranial movement generates a movement of the sacrum.



It seems to be due to  mechanical variations of the  CEREBROSPINAL FLUID pressure and it can be felt synchronously all over the body.



The CRANIAL RHYTHMIC IMPULSE is linked to all the most important functions of our brain (the hypothalamus, the IV ventricol – the core of the breathing, digestive, circulation control- ect).

Any unresolved force held within the system, such as unresolved trauma or toxins, will affect the expression of the CRI in some way. A limitation of  this movement can be due to external causes (muscle strains, traumas, etc) or internal causes (infections, strokes, neonatal causes or traumas). In both cases will be a change of the health state of the body.

Now you can understand how important is the cranial approach for an osteopath…

and WHY the hands are on your head.

D.O. Vera Fittipaldi


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