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Cranial Treatment.. Really..?!

Muscle Joint PhraseCranial Adjusting has been in Chiropractic and Osteopathic written histories for almost a century with Cottam being credited as a pioneer in Chiropractic and Sutherland being credited as a pioneer in Osteopathy. The doing cranial hands on part has been around for a century but the ideas, concepts and principles have been inventive and innovative yet unscientific on the most part. Before Nephi Cottam DC and according to Sutherland DO, Taoists recorded cranial motion long before the 1920’s.

In 1994 a single case MRI study was performed by two Chiropractors and written up with an MD. Between the three of them the results were able to show brain changes in line with expected or theoretical brain structural change. Whilst the MRI is only able to show a short term change a change nonetheless is powerful to note as the MRI evidence demonstrates that cranial motion is not a psychological fantasy cooked up by some creative snake oil salesmen.

Receiving cranial care with MRI evidence could ultimately become very expensive and thus not applicable as an objective clinical measure. Sadly the teaching of cranial techniques is somewhat sporadic at best and like visceral techniques not quality controlled. The evidence presented in the paper below shows that structural changes are possible but do not therefore mean everybody attempting cranial techniques is achieving what they think they are every time… Like medicine in general there are no guarantees!


Pick, M, Grusd R and Allen DW (1994) A Preliminary Single Case MRI Investigation into Maxillary Frontal-Parietal Manipulation. JMPT 17 (3) 161-166

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