Craniosacral Therapy

craniosacral

Craniosacral Therapy is an alternative healing therapy where the healing of the body and mind is generated by the body itself. CranioSacral therapy is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of the physiological body system called the craniosacral system. Most people know about the body’s two main rhythms; the cardiac rhythm (heartbeat) and the respiratory rhythm (breathing). Yet there is a lesser known but equally important third rhythm known as the craniosacral rhythm. This rhythm is caused by the increase and decrease in the volume of cerebrospinal fluid within and around the craniosacral system. This subtle rhythm ranges from six to ten cycles per minute, and is for the most part unaffected by the heart and respiratory rhythms.  Cranio refers to the cranium, or head, and sacral refers to the base of the spine and tailbone. The craniosacral system is comprised of the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system); the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord; and the bones of the spine and skull that houses these membranes.

More than 100 years ago, William Sutherland, an osteopathic physician, recognized a connection between the rhythmic movement of the fluid and membranes around the brain and spinal cord with health and well-being.

Today, craniosacral therapy is used to relieve a wide range of physical and psychological problems, including headaches, chronic pain, scoliosis, learning disabilities, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, TMJ, anxiety and depression. Restrictions that result from injury, inflexibility of the joints of the spine and cranium, or from dysfunctions in other parts of the body, can all cause abnormal motion in the craniosacral system. The abnormal motion leads to stresses in the cranial mechanism which can contribute to dysfunction and poor health, especially in the brain and spinal cord. The purpose of craniosacral therapy is to restore and enhance the proper functioning of this important system.

The craniosacral therapist may use one of two approaches: biomechanical or biodynamic. Each approach produces changes to the body and mind, yet they are different from one another.

The biomechanical approach, craniosacral therapy (CST), adds the methods of another osteopathic doctor, Dr. John Upledger, correcting imbalances in the client’s system using gentle hand pressure. The craniosacral therapist is trained to feel the motion of the craniosacral system to determine any restriction or dysfunction in the craniosacral system. Using a soft touch, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.

The biodynamic approach, biodynamic craniosacral therapy, involves two slower, distinct fluid rhythms throughout the body. Sutherland recognized that patients became ill when the rhythmic movement of life was out of balance and discovered that by helping his patients to reestablish their own balanced rhythm, the regenerative powers of the life force were able to heal and keep them healthy. Healing comes from within the client, rather than from the practitioner.


To find a practitioner in your area, check the Biodynamic and Upledger websites below:

Find an Biomechanical Craniosacral Practitioner

Find a Biodynamic Craniosacral Practitioner


Craniosacral Therapy Overall rating: ★★★☆☆ 3 based on 3 reviews
5 1

Just Not Sure

★★★☆☆
3 5 1
We started craniosacral as recommend by our PT for my daughter's head shape (neurosurgeon recommended helmet) and overtime her head shape did improve--I think partially from the treatment and partially just from time. I recommended it a a friend and her son tried it for awhile and then ultimately decided to get a helmet because the results were not dramatic enough. After our craniosacral doctor moved, we tried two others and I didn't see any results from those appts--and paid quite a bit out of pocket. At that point, we just decided to move on to treatments that I saw a quicker/more obvious results.

Not for us

★☆☆☆☆
1 5 1
We tried this treatment on the recommendation of our pediatrician and several moms. But while it was interesting, and certainly not harmful, neither could we see it as beneficial. I later did some reading into how the treatment was developed, writings of Dr. Upledger and the premise on which it is based. It all seemed very unlikely to me. Some of Dr. Upledger's writings were really "out there" in a way that made me uncomfortable. The premise of CSF having its own pulse that can be manipulated via light touch through bone seems unlikely. More, in our daughter's case, her choriod plexus is cauterized, so it seems even far less likely. This just didn't seem worth chasing after, particularly when our resources are limited and treatments need to be prioritized.

Fixed Wonky Eyes

★★★★★
5 5 1
My daughter has been having craniosacral treatments twice a month since she was born. I can't know for sure, but I believe these treatments have contributed to her overall wellbeing. The craniosacral system stretches from head to tailbone and has a wave-like rhythm caused by the movement of cerebral spinal fluid. I have an amazing story. During a recent treatment, the therapist immediately honed in on my daughter's head and spent the entire session there. She had never done this before. Halfway through the treatment her eyes got big and she told me that she felt some serious movement on the suture between two of the cranial bones. She said it was "compressed" and then released. This made me remember that I wanted to talk to her about her "wonky eyes". For over a week my daughter's eyes had not been tracking perfectly. It wasn't constant and it wasn't severe, but it was noticeable by all members of the family. When I told her this she moved to a different suture that affects the eyes. She again felt movement. And then it hit me - - she had fallen off the couch the previous week! So here's the crazy part, after the treatment her eyes were back to normal. No more wonky eyes ever since. It was really amazing!

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