The central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and the spinal cord, is typically a focal point for many manual manipulation therapies. This is true for Craniosacral Therapy. What distinguishes this system from others is that it goes beyond just the central nervous system to include the craniosacral system, meaning the membranes and fluid that surround the brain and spinal cord.
What is the Underlying Principle Behind Craniosacral Therapy?
The practitioners of the methodology believe that the normal daily tensions that a person encounters causes body tissue to tighten in addition to altering the correct functioning of the craniosacral system. When this system is interfered with, tension forms around the brain and spinal cord resulting in restrictions and these restrictions interfere with the normal functioning of the central nervous system and all the other systems that interact with it.
How Does Craniosacral Therapy Work?
An accredited Craniosacral Therapist finds and corrects the restrictions through a regimen made up of specific methods of touch. Using a level of pressure approximately equal to the weight of a nickel, the therapist feels a number of locations on the body to determine ease of motion and the ability of the cerebrospinal fluid to flow freely around the brain and spinal cord. Once the areas of restriction have been located, touch techniques are used to remove the restrictions in any soft tissue that interacts with the craniosacral system.
Removing the restriction normalizes the environment around the brain and spinal cord, enhancing their ability to heal themselves. Craniosacral Therapy is recommended by its practitioners to relieve a number of disorders including chronic pain, sports injuries, stroke and neurological impairment.
Are There Any Circumstances Under Which Craniosacral Therapy is Not Recommended?
This form of therapy causes changes in the level of pressure within the skull. If a person has any medical conditions where variations of pressure inside the skull would cause instability, then they should not receive Craniosacral Therapy.
Some examples of this type of condition include:
- Acute aneurysm
- Cerebral hemorrhage
- Other preexisting severe bleeding disorders
How Did Craniosacral Therapy Originate?
The regimen was developed by osteopath John Ledger. In 1970, while assisting at a neck surgery, Dr. Ledger observed the rhythmic flow of the craniosacral system. However, there was no available medical information to explain what he witnessed.
His curiosity was aroused and he started trying to find more information. It was then that he discovered the research of Dr. William Sutherland, who is considered to be the originator of cranial osteopathy.
In the early 1900s, Sutherland started investigating the idea that the bones of the skull were built to allow for movement. His theory remained in contradiction with the beliefs of the scientific and medical communities for many years. On the other hand, Dr. Ledger felt that there might be truth to Sutherland’s idea because it seemed to explain the rhythm he had seen during surgery.
Dr. Ledger went about trying to confirm the existence of cranial bone motion scientifically. From 1975 to 1983 he worked as clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics at Michigan State University. While at Michigan State, he worked with a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists and bioengineers to test the theory. The results from the clinical testing confirmed the existence of cranial bone motion and led to the discovery of the craniosacral system.
It was this research that was the basis for the development of Craniosacral Therapy.