Osteopathy for Children

About Osteopathy for Children

Osteopathic treatment of children, or paediatric osteopathy, is an area requiring specialist skills and an understanding of anatomy and physiology as well as treatment principles. Most osteopaths treating children use traditional osteopathic techniques originally developed by osteopath William Garner Sutherland (1873–1954), the first 'cranial osteopath'. Subtle palpation allows the osteopath to feel areas in the cranium or elsewhere that would benefit from osteopathic treatment, often as a result of a difficult birth or other traumatic event.

Sutherland was a student of Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of osteopathy. Still developed osteopathy as a complete medical system, an alternative treatment to medical treatment that was available in the United States at the time. According to Dr. R Paul Lee DO, Still handed down the philosophy of osteopathy to Sutherland, who further developed it and passed on his discoveries to his own students.[1]

Specialist organisations provide postgraduate training in using osteopathic techniques in the cranial field, and support the development of what is known as 'cranial osteopathy'. The Foundation for Paediatric Osteopathy in London (formerly the Osteopathic Centre for Children) offers a Diploma in Paediatric Osteopathy. In the UK, the Sutherland Society promotes cranial osteopathic techniques, and explains the benefits of osteopathic treatment for adults and children. These osteopathic techniques have been used for more than 80 years in the treatment of adults as well as children.

Babies, infants and children are treated from birth to teenage using the same principles of osteopathy. Osteopathic philosophy is based on the understanding that the body has a self-healing mechanism that maintains health when it is functioning correctly. Tensions and restrictions in the body tissues and fluids can prevent the self-healing mechanism from fully maintaining health, and osteopathic treatment aims to remove these obstructions to health.

Children often respond to osteopathic treatment quickly, sometimes needing few treatments to resolve tension in the body. Some children also have regular checkups at intervals to monitor their growth and development, or after an accident or illness.

Treatment of young children often focuses on the head. Other areas that are often treated by osteopaths include the neck, the navel or umbilicus, and the diaphragm, but any area of the body may require osteopathic treatment.

Osteopaths at greenfields clinic are experienced in paediatric osteopathy, having completed postgraduate courses in paediatric osteopathy in the cranial field, and having worked at the Foundation for Paediatric Osteopathy.

To discuss whether osteopathy may be a suitable form of treatment for your child or to book an appointment please contact reception or call us on 01227 454 848.

© greenfields clinic
© greenfields clinic
© greenfields clinic
© greenfields clinic
© greenfields clinic
Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash


1. R. Paul Lee. Interface: Mechanisms of Spirit in Osteopathy. Stillness Press Llc, 2005, 311 pages. ISBN 0967585139.