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What is CranioSacral Therapy?

History, development and benefits of CST


Although CranioSacral therapy is considered a relatively new technique, it has been around for almost a century. It was originally developed by osteopath William Sutherland. Cranial Sacral Therapy remained primarily a very specialized osteopathic technique until John Upledger D.O. made his contributions to the work. Somato Emotional Release (SER) was created and developed By Dr. Upledger as a result of research he did with a biophysics attempting to prove or disprove the existence of the human energy field. The following is an excerpt from the Upledger website:

CST was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger following extensive scientific studies from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics.

CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system - comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.

Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams, or about the weight of a nickel, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.

By complementing the body's natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, including:

  • Migraine Headaches
  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain
  • Motor-Coordination Impairments
  • Colic
  • Autism
  • Central Nervous System Disorders
  • Orthopedic Problems
  • Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Scoliosis
  • Infantile Disorders
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Emotional Difficulties
  • Stress and Tension-Related Problems
  • Fibromyalgia and other Connective-Tissue Disorders
  • Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
  • Neurovascular or Immune Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Post-Surgical Dysfunction

SER is a therapeutic process that uses and expands on the principles of CranioSacral Therapy to help rid the mind and body of the residual effects of trauma. SERI offers applications designed to enhance results using CST and other complementary therapies.

  • Assess and mobilize the Avenue of Expression working through more than 10 different body components, including the thoracic inlet, hard palate and hyoglossal tissues.
  • Locate and release Energy Cysts.
  • Release suppressed emotions that may be inhibiting complete structural releases.
  • Refine listening and comprehension skills.
  • Improve palpation and whole-body evaluation skills.
    © 2007 2006 2006 The International Alliance of Healthcare

My personal experience with Cranial work has led me to believe that, cranial work enhances proper nutrition to the brain by alleviating membranous tissue restrictions which result in mild ischemia. This ischemia or reduced blood flow decreases the ability of that area of the brain to function properly and as a result decreases the effectiveness of other therapies.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to witness miraculous changes in patients when I have added cranial work to there treatment plans. However, I do believe that it is important to treat more than just the cranial system. The cranial system enhances the body’s potential by dramatically enhancing the function of the entire nervous, circulatory and endocrine systems. Once these systems are set up to aid the individual on there quest for optimum health, the next step is to get the body to utilize and function with this new potential. To make this a reality, the cranial work must interface with other modalities or therapies for the total well being and optimal function for the patient. In addition it is important to note that other therapies are extremely limited in there effectiveness without the enhancement of the cranial system. The body is required to overcome a greater number of compensatory mechanisms related to body alignment and proper brain nutrition in order to regain function; this is not always necessary when proper alignment and brain nutrition is restored via cranial work. Why work harder when you can work smarter?

I believe the enhanced functioning of the cranial system multiplies the effectiveness of any other appropriate intervention, and that is why there has been such remarkably dramatic improvements seen with cranial work in such a short period of time. It allows the body to integrate many years or learning to over come a problem into a strength to enhance that area of function. This work allows other work to finally be realized. Cranial function multiplies the body’s ability to utilize its maximum potential.

Because I have witnessed these effects first hand, Cranial Sacral Therapy and Somato Emotional Release have been combined with my own treatment techniques and style to make up the main stay of my practice.


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