CranioSacral Therapy also known as Cranial Sacral Therapy
CranioSacral Therapy also interchangeably known as Cranial Sacral Therapy, CST, and Cranial Osteopathy is a form of osteopathic manual therapy dating back to the 1920′s.
William Sutherland, DO (1873-1954) was the originator of the early version of Cranial Osteopathy. Dr. Sutherland was fascinated with the articulations of the cranial bones which he observed were “beveled, like the gills of a fish“, and thus believed were articulated for a respiratory mechanism of sorts. This was the foundation of the Primary Respiratory Mechanism (PRM).
In the 1970′s osteopathic physician John E. Upledger, with a team of anatomists, biophysicists, physiologist and bioengineers, began investigating the pulse caused by Sutherland’s proposed hypothesis of the primary respiratory mechanism. Upleder and his team believed it to be a driving force for health and healing within the body. Between 1977-79, John Upledger and neurophysiologist Ernest W. Retzlaff published their findings, including support for cranial bone movement and rhythm in the Journal of the American Osteopath Association.
Following the publishing of these studies in 1985 John Upledger founded the Upledger Institute for the expressed purposes of training therapists and lay people world-wide the mechanisms of his interpretation of Cranial Osteopathy which he coined Craniosacral therapy. Currently Craniosacral therapy or Cranial Sacral Therapy is taught around the world in various intepretations of the original work, as well as new interpretations as discovered by skilled practitioners.
Primary Respiratory Mechanism (PRM)
The PRM is largely a result of the fluctuations of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) through the brain and spinal cord.
It is believed that the PRM has wide reaching effects on the body as a whole and can be influenced to positively effect health and healing with the various holds and mobilizations used in CranioSacral Therapy.
Therapists trained and skilled in palpating this inherent fluctuation of fluids can determine it’s cycle and therefore restore balance and function to it’s flow through the various membranes and ventricles of the spine and brain. This fluctuation of fluid is also believed to cause a “tide” or slow oscillation throughout the whole body and using various still-points, a skilled therapist can palpate the rhythm from cranial holds all the way down to foot holds with proper training and instruction.
What is a typical treatment like?
In a typical CranioSacral Therapy session the client will often remain clothed. There are many methods of CST some following a more bio-mechanical method of diagnosis and treament, and others a bio-energetic approach. The therapist will have developed a finely tuned sense of palpation to feel where the PRM is blocked in the body, and apply a variety of holds, mobilizations and moves to help release blockages. Sessions are usually an hour in length, and can involve home care activities including exercises, breathing and gentle movements to help facilitate the effects of treatment and incorporate the benefits gained into everyday living. See video’s demonstrating the technique by clickin here.
What can you treat with CranioSacral Therapy?
List of conditions:
Autism, Headaches, Migraines, Head trauma’s and concussions, TMJ, Visual disturbances, Earaches, Bells Palsy, Shoulder pain, Breathing difficulties, Digestive disturbances and visceral pain, Low Back Pain, Sacral Pain, Pelvic dysfunction and malalignments, Endometriosis, Hip/Knee/Ankle pain and sprains.
Where to find CranioSacral therapy training
While the Upledger Institute remains on the forefront of popular training institutes for CranioSacral Therapy, there are many professional therapists who have had a hand in helping to bring this style of bodywork or manual therapy to it’s current recognizable status as a viable soft-tissue technique. CST is taught by and to massage therapists, physiotherapists, osteopaths, general practitioners of medicine, acupuncturists, chiropractors and is even gentle enough for non-professional body workers or practitioners to incorporate into various forms of hands-on healing techniques. Due to it’s gentle nature there are very few, if any, contra-indications and patients will often report feelings of increased relaxation, awareness and reduced tension from the various light touch holds in CST.
Associations for CranioSacral Therapy have since been formed in the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia to further research and provide support for this popular therapy.