Craniosacral therapy originated in the work of Dr. William Sutherland. He was a student of Dr. Andrew Still, the founder of osteopathic medicine. Sutherland studied the bones in the human cranium. He found that the osteopathic principles already in use also applied to the human head.
Sutherland researched what is known as the craniosacral system for decades. That system includes the cranium, sacrum, spine and the cerebro-spinal fluid. 1
The craniosacral system operates with:
- A rhythmic motion of the brain and spinal cord.
- A fluctuation of tension in the brain and spinal cord membranes.
- A natural rhythmic motion of cranial bones.
- An involuntary movement of the sacral region of the body.2
The Life and Motion of Health
Sutherland described an ‘involuntary mechanism’ which runs the “life and motion cycle of health.3 He identified subtle, natural, and rhythmic movements in the bones of the head. These movements, felt through palpation by the practitioner of craniosacral therapy, indicate physical health or disease, as well as psychological health or disease.
Rigidity or restriction in these subtle movements interrupts the body’s innate self-healing capacity. Restoring more functional movement restores the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Craniosacral techniques involve hands-on sensing of these movements and the release of any rigidity/restriction that is found.4 Although the work is gentle and works with the subtleties of the body, its effects can be powerful.
Craniosacral Therapy Uses
Craniosacral therapy is used to treat a wide range of conditions. It is also used to maintain wellness and prevent illness. Some conditions treated with craniosacral therapy techniques are below. This is not a complete list by any means but is meant to demonstrate the range of applications. Some conditions treated with craniosacral therapy techniques are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Anxiety, Stress, And Depression
- Auto-immune Disorders
- Back Pain
- Central Nervous System Disorders
- Chronic Back and Neck Pain
- Chronic Fatigue
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
- Neck Pain
- Neurodegenerative Diseases
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Sinus Infections
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder
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