Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle form of bodywork that works directly on the craniosacral system to re-balance the body and clear up restrictions within the central nervous system. Practitioners use light touch, the bodies own healing capacity, and a series of manual techniques to bring the body back into balance.
Craniosacral Therapy is used as a preventative health treatment and to alleviate body pain, fatigue, stress, anxiety, emotional trauma and blockages, headaches/migraines, TMJ, post- surgery dysfunction, motor coordination impairments, and more.
The history and development of Cranial Fluid Dynamics
Craniosacral Therapy was pioneered by American Osteopath John Upledger DO FAAC. Upledger, an osteopathic surgeon, who noticed a rhythmical motility of the spinal cord while observing spinal surgery.
The early osteopaths in the 1950’s, headed by the founder of Cranial work, William Sutherland, introduced the idea that the cranial and spinal dura of the body moved in rhythm, and that the cranial and all other bones reciprocated this innate movement.
The cranial fluid system is a powerful self-organizing homeostatic system inherent in all of us
Sutherland came across the notion of the skull having movement, when he noticed that the articulation of the temporal bone moved slightly in the skull that he was observing. He theorized that the skull was “plastic” and the sutures allowed for continuous yet minute movement throughout life.
Through his study he found that all tissue can be palpated as possessing a very small or minute movement, and all tissue – whether bone, ligament, muscle, viscera – moves, when in health, at the same time and in various but particular planes of motion. This movement had its prime origin in the cranium, originating from a filling and partial emptying of the fluid spaces (ventricles) within the brain, as well as the brain tissue itself, and a reciprocal movement occurs in all the vertebra and sacrum, as well as all other bones and tissues. This movement is augmented by the transmission of this rhythm and the force of it, through the fascial network of the body otherwise know as connective tissue. This connective tissue is found throughout the body, surrounding the muscles, bones, and lining the skin, vessels etc.
This summated rhythm is palpable at the rate of about 10 cycles per minute, but may be different in individuals naturally, and can act as an indicator of wellbeing when the rhythm is lower or faster than this norm. Osteopaths refer to this process as the Cranial Rhythmic Impulse (CRI) and believe that this is an innate rhythm which provides a pump for the circulation of cerebral spinal fluid, much like the heart rate which occurs as a response to the heart pumping blood throughout the vessels of the body. The cerebrospinal fluid was found to flow through the dura, fascia and the spaces around the spinal nerves. The ventricles are the motive power of this movement and this fluid flow augments healing, induced homeostasis, alters tissue tensity, and quiets noxious stimuli in the sympathetic system.
Influences on the Cranial system
Physical trauma, poor diet, posture, and visceral ptosis alters the structure of the body, which in turn disorganizes the musculature and its attendant fascia. These aberrant structures then cause feedback up into the spinal cord through nerve receptors relaying altered structural tone and position. The sympathetic plexi also become altered and they too, send ‘noise’ up into the spinal cord. Eventually the combined ‘noise’ of sub damaged tissues sends enormous yet often erroneous neurological information to the brain, which registers this summated display as pain or certainly as an ‘alarm’ and automatically re-arranges, via the motor cortex, the intrinsic musculature of the spine and the trunk to try ‘silence’ the noisy receptors. The osteopath is to “find it (the lesion), fix it and then leave it alone.” The lesion, they said, is the disturbed structure which then alters the function of the system.
If the physical body becomes disturbed, our physiology also becomes disturbed. This changes our internal environment— and consequently our altered biochemistry disturbs our movement, how we act and how we think. Correcting the disturbed structures initiates changes so that our organism moves back into homeostasis and balance. Cranial work that uses a fluid approach believes that trauma and other accidents alter the relationship of the fluid body at cellular, tissue, and organ levels, putting us out of rhythm with a primary organizing tide.
Cranial Fluid Dynamics
Many osteopaths recognize that exogenous forces impose themselves upon the human body and the underlying fluid body, causing illness and dysfunction. Structure governs function, however, “forces” govern everything and impose their will upon the structures. Read more about these “forces” and Inner Dialog. You may change the structure time and again, but unless the underlying forces are dealt with, the pattern returns. It is advantageous to tend to causal affects of the unseen that press quietly and constantly upon the body, until the organism becomes disorganized, causing illness.
Cranial Fluid Dynamics, founded by Solihin Thom DO (UK) DAc (SL), further expands Sutherland’s and Upledger’s work by introducing the idea that it is human consciousness that governs structures, and ultimately alters the function of the human being, creating states of dysfunction and disease. The use of Kinesiology enables the practitioner to “dialogue” with the client at the deepest levels of the subconscious to determine not only the precise nature of the dysfunction, but also what is needed to begin to resolve the aberrant state. This revolutionary method pays tribute to the innate wisdom of the being, enabling the practitioner to step away from the role of “healer” and into that of facilitator of the client’s own process.
Cranial Fluid Dynamics uncovers the causative forces that have influence on or disrupt the system. It is therefore beneficial for many chronic conditions that have not been helped by other methods of treatment. It provides the individual the opportunity to shift these underlying forces and rebalance the system so that sustainable and dynamic function of the body may be accessed. Furthermore, the individual is brought into awareness around the causative patterns and therefore given freedom and choice about how they may choose move forward that will support their health and wellbeing.
Read more about Cranial Fluid Dynamics
- Serron Wilkie, ND, LAc – Cranial Fluid Dynamics
- Teresa Laughlin, LMT – Cranial Fluid Dynamics
- Emerald Mansfield, ND -Craniosacral Therapy