As the study of medicine continues to progress, scientists and doctors are discovering more and more about the human body and what causes problems in it. One of the most recent discoveries involves the implementation of Craniosacral Therapy also known as CST.
Studies into Craniosacral Therapy began about thirty years ago with John Upledger. His research stemmed from that of Dr. William Sutherland, who began treating patients using cranial osteopathy nearly twenty years previously. Using these methods, he began studying the effects of the case studies he had compiled and observations of patients who suffered from a variety of symptoms.
Early in his research, Upledger discovered that the meninges – the viscous membranes that cushion the spinal column and brain – moved rhythmically on their own. Upledger theorized that in some patients, the bones of the cranium do not fully fuse during childhood, as they are supposed to, and that because of this, the pulsations of the meninges are offset, causing problems.
Craniosacral therapists – those who followed Upledger’s philosophies and medical practices – are conditioned through years of training to discern and evaluate the pulsations of the meninges by simply placing their hands at the base of the head and the base of the spinal column firmly while focusing on the sensations that transfer from the patient’s body to their hands.
Following the evaluation, the Craniosacral therapist is able to very slowly and carefully “adjust” the tiny bones of the skull so that the fluid that lines the spinal column and brain (the cerebrospinal fluid) is able sustain a more natural and healthy flow.
Craniosacral therapy is implemented during the treatment of a wide range of symptoms, including:
– neck pain
– lower back pain
– joint pain and disorders
– psychological issues such as anxiety and depression
Craniosacral therapy has proven especially beneficial for chronic neurological conditions such as problems with coordination, severe hyperactivity and psychological disorders.
Upledger was also able to apply his research to the treatment of autism. He discovered through the course of his research that in children who suffer from autism, the meninges are more taut than in most people, and can be loosened using craniosacral therapy.
Craniosacral therapy is performed using a massage-like table, with the patient lying flat on their back, typically on a table that resembles a massage platform. The therapist will hold the head and the base of the spine, feeling for the rhythms produced by the meninges. He or she will adjust accordingly, and the entire process is completely painless. In fact, many patients have reported that they feel like nothing is happening at all during treatment, and many fall asleep while the therapist gauges the subtle ebb and flow of the cerebrospinal fluid.
The effects of craniosacral therapy often differ from patient to patient. The most common first signs are an ability to relax and concentrate easier. Posture, coordination and tension may improve, and pain will lessen as treatment continues. Craniosacral therapy can also have emotional and psychological benefits, such as renewed energy and a more positive outlook on life.
Craniosacral therapy has been used to treat patients of all ages, from small children to the elderly. It is not recommended for patients who suffer from brain tumors, intracranial pressure, aneurisms, strokes or any other problems with the brain or spine. The craniosacral therapist will request copies of medical history from the patient, and may take time to consult with the patient’s primary care physician before scheduling treatment.