Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral Therapy

About Craniosacral Therapy

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. Using a soft touch – practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it''s effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.

The Therapeutic Value of the CranioSacral System

We are all familiar with the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Like them, the cranioscaral system also influences many body functions. An imbalance in this system can adversely affect the brain and spinal cord which can result in the sensory, motor and intellectual dysfunction.

The name craniosacral is derived from the system’s associated bones. Included are those of the skull, face and mouth – which make up the cranium – and of the spinal column which extend down to the sacrum. Membranes enclosing a hydraulic system connect the craniosacral system.

For 20 years, osteopathic and surgeon Dr John Upledger has been the chief proponent of using the craniosacral system to evaluate and treat medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction. His reseach and clinical work with the craniosacral rhythm has led to the development of CranioSacral Therapy, a ligh-touch manipulative approach which has been effective with poorly understood dysfunctions, chronic pain, lowered vitality and recurring infections.

The positive effect of CranioSacral Therapy relies to a large extent upon the patients natural self corrective physiological activities. The therapists light, hands-on approach assists the hydraulic forces inherent in the craniosacral system to improve the internal environment.

Because of its influence on many body functions, CranioSacral Therapy is used by a wide variety of healthcare professionals including osteopaths, doctors, physiotherapists, chiropractors, dentists, psychologists, psychotherapists, massage therapists and acupuncturists.

What is the Origin of the CranioSacral System and its Therapy?

While the existence of the cardiovascular and respiratory rhythms is not disputed today, a debate concerning their reality raged medical communities around the globe for centuries.

The history of the craniosacral system’s discovery is still recent. In the early 1900’s, as an osteopathic student in Kirksville, Missouri, Dr William G Sutherland was struck by an idea. He saw that the bones of the skull were designed to provide for movement in relationship to each other. For more than 20 years he pondered the prospect of moveable bones in the adult skull. He performed experiments on himself developing a system of treatment which became known as Cranial Osteopathy.

Further research followed over the years, with a major discovery in 1970 by a surgeon, Dr. Upledger, who was quick to understand how a hydraulic system might function inside a membranous sac encased within the skull and the canal of the spinal column. In 1975 Dr Upledger joined the Michigan State University Osteopathic College as a clinican researcher and professor in the Department of Biomechanics and he led a mulit-disciplinary research team which first established the scientific basis for the existence of the craniosacral system and function. The team was able to explain in scientific and practical terms the function of the craniosacral system. It showed how this system could be used to evaluate and treat malfunctions involving the brain and spinal cord as well as a myriad of other health problems.

In the two decades since his origional research. Dr Upledger has written three text books: CranioSacral Therapy, CranioSacral Therapy II Beyond the Dura and SomatoEmotional Release and Beyond which explain the functioning of the craniosacral system in detail. In 1985 he established.

The Upledger Institute, a clinical and educational resource center in Florida. Since then thousands of healthcare professionals have studied the therapeutic value of the craniosacral system.

How is CranioSacral Therapy Performed?

CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle, non-invasive manipulative technique. Seldom does the therapist apply pressure in excess of five grams or the equivalent weight of a British 20p piece. Examination is done by testing for movement in various parts of the system. Often, when testing is completed, the restriction has been removed and the system is able to self-correct. Trained therapists are able to palpate the motion of the craniosacral system anywhere on the body.

How Does CranioSacral Therapy Help You?

Because each of us produces our own different reactions to trauma, stress and loss of healing capacity, we each present our own unique combination of ailments, pains and dysfunctions. And, because CranioSacral Therapy helps clear the way for our self-healing mechanisms to be more effective, its scope is very wide indeed.

Some more common difficulties that CranioSacral Therapy may help are chronic pain, reduced mobility – ‘stiff joint’, low energy, headaches and migraines, jaw (temporomandibular joint) problems, neuralgia (including trigeminal), learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyscalclia, menstrual and menopausal problems, and clumsiness.

In newborns, infants and children colic, hyperactivity, feeding and sleeping problems, and faulty development are often helped by CranioSacral Therapy.

Routine evaluation of newborns often reveals and permits the easy release of subtle strains and restrictions that may, if left, lead to chronic dysfunction later in life. This applies not only where birth has been difficult, but also with ‘normal’ deliveries.

CranioSacral Therapy enhances the body’s natural healing processes, and has been effective over a wide spectrum of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, including:

  • Migraine headaches
  • traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
  • chronic neck and back pain
  • emotional difficulties
  • motor co-ordination difficulties
  • stress and tension-related problems
  • central nervous system disorders
  • temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ)
  • orthopaedic problems
  • chronic fatigue
  • neurovascular or immune disorders
  • scoliosis
  • infantile disorders
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • autism
  • learning disabilities
  • fibromyalgia and other connective tissue disorders.

How to Find Practitioners Skilled on CranioSacral Therapy?

John Williams and Isabel Machado-Williams are graduates of the Upledger Institute U.K. which is based in Perth, Scotland and follows the methods of the Upledger Institute in Florida.

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