J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1997 Aug; 26(2): 95-103.
The controversy of cranial bone motion.
United States Air Force, Colorado Springs, CO 80840-9999, USA.
Cranial bone motion continues to stimulate controversy. This controversy affects the general acceptance of some intervention methods used by physical therapists, namely, cranial osteopathic and craniosacral therapy techniques. Core to these intervention techniques is the belief that cranial bone mobility provides a compliant system where somatic dysfunction can occur and therapeutic techniques can be applied. Diversity of opinion over the truth of this concept characterizes differing viewpoints on the anatomy and physiology of the cranial complex. Literature on cranial bone motion was reviewed for the purpose of better understanding this topic. Published research overall was scant and inconclusive. Animal and human studies demonstrate a potential for small magnitude motion. Physical therapists should carefully scrutinize the literature presented as evidence for cranial bone motion. Further research is needed to resolve this controversy. Outcomes research, however, is needed to validate cranial bone mobilization as an effective treatment.