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Christina RMT

What is CranioSacral Therapy?

Commonly Asked Questions

How does CranioSacral Therapy Work?

Few structures have as much influence over the body's ability to function properly as the brain and spinal cord that make up the central nervous system. And few systems have as much impact on the central nervous system as the craniosacral system - the membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord.

Every day your body endures stresses and strains, and your structures work to compensate for them. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort the craniosacral system, which can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord. The result is a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with.

Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of touch. Generally using about 5 grams of pressure — roughly the weight of a nickel - the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.

By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body's ability to self-correct, CranioSacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.

Who can benefit from CranioSacral Therapy?

Because CranioSacral Therapy is so effective as a preventive health measure, almost anyone can benefit from a session. For more pressing concerns, CST has proven especially effective on puzzling cases that have not responded well to other approaches. It's particularly helpful to those with head, neck or back injuries resulting from an accident.

The extremely light touch also makes CranioSacral Therapy a safe approach for children and infants who have experienced early stress, including birth trauma. By releasing restrictions around the central nervous system early, you may help prevent future difficulties such as learning disabilities or hyperactivity.

How did it happen that CranioSacral Therapy developed - and going back to when?

It was in 1970, during a neck surgery in which he was assisting, that osteopathic physician John E. Upledger first observed the rhythmic movement of what would soon be identified as the craniosacral system. None of his colleagues nor any of the medical texts at the time could explain this discovery, however.

His curiosity piqued, Dr. Upledger began searching for the answer. He started with the research of Dr. William Sutherland, the father of cranial osteopathy. For some 20 years beginning in the early 1900s, Sutherland had explored the concept that the bones of the skull were structured to allow for movement. For decades after, this theory remained at odds with the beliefs of the scientific and medical communities. Dr. Upledger believed, however, that if Sutherland's theory of cranial movement was in fact true, this would help explain, and make feasible, the existence of the rhythm he had encountered in surgery.

It was at this point that Dr. Upledger set out to scientifically confirm the existence of cranial bone motion. From 1975 to 1983 he served as clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics at Michigan State University, where he supervised a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists and bioengineers in research and testing. The results not only confirmed Sutherland's theory, but led to clarification of the mechanisms behind this motion - the craniosacral system. Dr. Upledger's continued work in the field ultimately resulted in his development of CranioSacral Therapy.


What conditions does CranioSacral Therapy address and potentially help?

Migraines and Headaches
Chronic Neck and Back Pain
Stress and Tension-Related Disorders
Motor-Coordination Impairments
Infant and Childhood Disorders
Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
Chronic Fatigue
TMJ Syndrome
Central Nervous System Disorders
Learning Disabilities
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Orthopedic Problems
And Many Other Conditions

Is there any condition for which CST shouldn't be used?

There are certain situations where application of CST would not be recommended. These include conditions where a variation and/or slight increase in intracranial pressure would cause instability. Acute aneurysm, cerebral hemorrhage or other preexisting severe bleeding disorders are examples of conditions that could be affected by small intracranial pressure changes.