The following is not a recommendation one way or the other, but a sharing of information to help you make your own decision in this matter. This is a lay interpretation of the article cited below which is a review of research into cranial osteopathy, a practice that has not been proven to be beneficial but for which there are thousands of practitioners with satisfied patients worldwide.
The body has many rhythmic systems. The cranial rhythmic impulse (CRI) has a rate of 6-15 cycles per minute. It is slower than the heartbeat and asynchronous with breathing. Recent research suggests that CRI may be synchronous with the rhythms of fluctuations in arterial blood pressure (Traube-Hering-Mayer waves or THM). Currently, there is no mechanism for measuring CRI - it is done by hand. A skilled osteopath will have consistency in his own measurements, but there are variations from osteopath to osteopath which suggest some unreliability in measurement (and the need to find an experienced osteopath if you go this route).
The questions currently being asked of cranial osteopathy for which more research is needed are:
- Can the CRI rhythms actually be measured reliably by hand?
- Can the CRI rhythms be altered by gentle manipulation of the cranial and sacral bones?
- Will such manipulation have a positive effect on the patient?
I received cranial osteopathic treatments as an adult. In the treatment I received, sometimes the osteopath would have her hands under my head as I lay on a table, and occasionally she worked in the roof of my mouth, around the occipital bones or underneath my hip bones. She applied a very gentle pressure. Her goal as I understood it was to even out this rhythm of movement of cerebrospinal fluid.
I found the procedure very calming, but I cannot say that it helped me medically - it may have contributed to an improvement in well-being, but other factors may have been responsible. I have met people who swear by it, especially for infants. I have not researched infant cranial osteopathy specifically. It is a common practice in some countries, and was covered by insurance where I lived at the time.
Ferguson, A. (2003) A review of the physiology of cranial osteopathy. Journal of Osteopathic Medicine 6(2):74-88.