Cranio-Sacral therapy represents a method based on the concept that there are a rhythmic pressure and flux of cerebrospinal fluid between the cranium (skull) and sacrum (spine base) that regulates the way the craniosacral structures, including the brain, pituitary and pineal glands, spinal cord and meninges, or membranes, function and maintain the well-being of the body.
Smooth hands-on "manipulation" of the sutures of the skull, that is, the delineations between the sections of the cranial bone and the spinal column, the rib cage, and the limbs, is reported to restore flow and alleviate disorders including headache, sinusitis, brain trauma, transient ischemic attack (called TIA, akin to a ministroke), strabismus (cross-eyes), trigeminal neuralgia (strong jaw pain), asthma, colic, Bell's paralysis, post-traumatic stress disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, dizziness, hyperactivity, visual disturbances, epilepsy, postpartum depression, learning disabilities, ear infections, brain weakness, autism and head injury, neck, arms and leg injury.
Upon assembling a team of researchers — physiologists, biophysicists, bioengineers, anatomists, and others — at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in the 1970s, American osteopathic physicist John E. Upledger developed CranioSacral Therapy (CST).
Upledger concluded his principal solution would include manipulating the craniosacral system's meninges. He theorized that the body's cells and structures are capable of "remembering" the physical or emotional shock that occurs in certain places which he called "energy cysts."
These energy cysts portraying suppressed painful experiences had to be dislodged, released, or broken both physically and mentally in order for the body to function normally again; Upledger described the process as the SomatoEmotional Release (SER) technique;
In parallel to Upledger's meningeal method, Dr. William Garner Sutherland, an early 20th-century osteopathic physician, introduced the sutural approach — manipulation at the cranial sutures.
There is still uncertainty about the ability of the cranial bones to move at all, which conventional medicine says are fused together, and also about the presence of a craniosacral rhythmic impulsion. There is however some medical and clinical evidence supporting the diagnosis of Sutherland, originally known as cranial osteopathy.
One method of craniosacral therapy, called the reflex approach, incorporates the techniques of kinesiology applied with the stimulation of nerve endings inside the cranial sutures and in the scalp.
The Sacro-Occipital Technique (S.O.T.), developed by Dr. Major B. DeJarnette, a chiropractor and a student of Sutherland in the 1920s, is a combination of all three approaches.
Since craniosacral therapies consist of light palpations, as opposed to chiropractic adjustments or more intense bodywork types, critics argue that it can not be efficient.
Whatever the treatment may be beneficial or harmless, it may not be prescribed for young children or anyone with a condition that causes intracranial pressure, like a brain tumor or aneurysm.
Encyclopedia of Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- Tova Navarra, B.A., R.N.
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