Cranial Sacral Therapy
Cranial Sacral Therapy is a gentle, hands on technique that connects with the tissue surrounding the Central Nervous System. By touching different locations on the cranium, spine & sacrum, the flow of cerebral spinal fluid pulsating around the brain & spinal cord is enhanced. Pain & stress are relieved and the body can correct itself to initiate its own healing.
History & Practice of
Cranial Sacral Therapy
Cranial Sacral Therapy was developed by John Upledger D.O., in the 1970's from the previous works of an osteopathic physician, Dr. William Sutherland, who first theorized & taught the cranial sacral mechanism.
In the early 1920's, Sutherland discovered a unique movement felt within the bones of the cranium he called the 'the breath of life' or primary respiration. The 22 bones that make up the human skull, all surround the brain with cerebral spinal fluid & provide its protection & support. It had been said that the eight main cranial bones fuse during teenage years, but while investigating an adult skull in college lab, Sutherland discovered that the bones were not fused and in fact were designed for movement. He believed that 'nature never did anything without reason' and became inspired to find out more.
He performed experiments on himself creating helmets to hold the cranial bones in place, preventing movement to see what effects if any this would produce. The results proved his theory, when the cranial bones weren't allowed to move, he became ill, almost losing consciousness. After removing the helmet he felt a surge of fluidity all the way from his sacrum, up his spine and into his skull. It was from this discovery that primary respiration became known.
Sutherland continued with experiments and case studies and found that primary respiration could be measured & was different from the body's normal heart beat & lung respiration (secondary respiration). It was found to cycle every 100 seconds and fluctuated in three levels or tides with its own inhalation & exhalation rate.
The primary respiratory mechanism controls five different movements; the motility of the Central Nervous System, the motion of the cranial bones, the involuntary motion of the sacrum between the iliac & pelvis, an inherent fluctuation of cerebral spinal fluid and the mobility of the intracranial & intraspinal membranes.
Cranial Sacral therapists develop an awareness of & synchronize with this gentle movement in and around the cranium, spine & sacrum. They create a stillness with their hands, devoid of expectation, while honoring & respecting the energy of this intrinsic force. It is during moments of this stillness or rest that the fluids recharge, restoring order & balance to the body. Essentially the therapist identifies & supports what the body already knows how to do.
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An Evolutionary Process
For shifts in health to occur, the conditions maintaining the problem have to be ripe for change. Creating ripeness for health is an evolutionary process rather than a specific event. In craniosacral work the body is supported to resolve its inertial patterns in a sequential, unfolding manner. Steps one, two, three & four, and so on, are taken during this process until there are no more steps to take and healing is complete. The further emergence of health is always built on the basis of previous steps taken. If the foundations for health are not established and we try to trick the body with a drug, an external force, mental gymnastics or posturing, then sooner or later we will fail. The missing steps must be taken for health to be sustained.
Wisdom in the Body
Michael Kern D.O., R.C.S.T., M.I.Cr.A., N.D.