There are two poles of thought in Cranial Osteopathy that sometimes appear oppositional, but can be viewed as a spectrum of physician-patient interactions. Physician’s awareness of patient’s and their own inherent tendencies allow for improved communication and treatment results.   

     At one pole the doctors perceive themselves as evaluating objective data, treating mechanical problems that are encountered and addressed directly. While operating from the outside, there is a clear dialogue or negotiation with the patient’s internal mechanism and sense of self, a dance with two partners. The physician is most comfortable in a logical coherent, inducible scientific paradigm, wherein they operate as a mechanic.

     At the other pole, doctors work indirectly, trying not to impose themselves on the patients’ inherent healing mechanism. Although interacting with the patient down to the spiritual level, they act as a witness, or conduit  for higher powers that come out of a centered stillness. Physical obstructions may be viewed as an enneagram that may enfold emotional or mental aspects. The physician is comfortable with an inuitional, quantum, creative, deductive approach historically most easily identified with the cultural role of shaman or healer.

     In the early 1900’s Rudolf Steiner created a system of physical training to improve cognition skills in children, called Eurythmy. Letters of the alphabet and their sounds where translated into physical movements so that words and concepts could be physicalized. His counterpart to teaching the abstract science of mathematics to young children was to physicalize numbers as objects, as in 3 or 4 blocks, or 2 or 3 dogs, or ½ or ¼ of a pie. To this system of quantitative shapes, sounds and motions at least one qualitative spectrum was added. At one pole was Apollonian Movement, which was intentional, self directed and had the characteristics of  Apollo, the Greek god of wisdom and thought. At the other pole was Dionysian Movement which was outer directed, reactive and had the quality of a leaf being blown by the wind, or of being pulled by a magnet. The same movement vocabulary can be done in either mode, or by a mixture of the two. Similarly, persons with a musical inclination can recognize the same melody in two different modes, or scales, although one may sound lighter or darker, sadder or happier. It is a singular peculiarity of human beings that we are able to selectively magnify or diminish parts of the perceptual field around us, in fact the very act of thinking about a patient changes them. The interaction of two bioelectric fields is an inevitable byproduct of touch. That bioelectric interaction is the sin qua non of cranial osteopathy, as well as other manual methods of treatment.

     The most practical, down to earth Osteopathic mechanic has to recognize in certain patients a need/desire for a more psychological succor that they are prepared to offer.

     The most spiritually committed, intuitional Cranial Osteopath has to acknowledge in all humility, that being less than perfect, there was a mesomorph that rapidly improved somewhere else with a treatment that they were not inclined to offer.

     These differences between Dionysian and Apollonian, between mechanical and intuitional, can be resolved to the patient’s therapeutic benefit when the physician recognizes their own strong suit, and ultimately the mode that will most benefit a particular patient.