Craniosacral therapy is an alternative medicine approach used to treat back pain, neck pain, headaches, and a variety of other physical ailments.
The concepts utilized in craniosacral therapy were first postulated in the late 1800’s by Dr. William Sutherland, an osteopathic physician, and have been expanded upon by various instructors over the past several decades.
And, as with most complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) approaches, the scientific validity of craniosacral therapy is controversial. Presented here are two opposing viewpoints of craniosacral therapy.
Craniosacral Therapy “Facts”
View this brief video by expert therapist Rebecca Flowers, OTR, BCP, CST-D, describing the basic tenets of Upledger CranioSacral Therapy. Learn how this innovative light-touch modality addresses a number of conditions in the body, and get a glimpse into the inner workings of the craniosacral system from a trained practitioner and instructor with over 20 years of experience.
Mark Crislip, wriiting for Science-Based Medicine, completely opposes the notion of craniosacral therapy based on its complete lac of scientific validity.
Craniosacral Therapy “Fiction”
Every time I think the heights (or depths) of absurdity has been reached, I discover a Braco the Starer or Himalayan Salt Inhalers. This blog is not affiliated with the British Medical Journal in any way, and although this is being published near Christmas, I want no one think that what follows is a hoax. I am not, I repeat not, making up what follows. It is not fiction. Well, it is fiction, but not written by me and believed and practiced by some who really should know better.
Like many CAM modalities, from Reiki to Chiropractic, Craniosacral Therapy (CST) was invented? discovered? fabricated? pulled out of the a.., well, er, Drs Novella and Gorski want this to be a professional blog *, so lets say, a three letter word that starts with ‘a’. Air. It was pulled out of the air by William Garner Sutherland.
While a student at the American School of Osteopathy in 1899, Dr. Sutherland pondered the fine details of a separated or “disarticulated” skull. He wondered about the function of this complex architecture. Dr. Still taught that every structure exists because it performs a particular function. While looking at a temporal bone, a flash of inspiration struck Dr. Sutherland: “Beveled like the gills of a fish, indicating respiratory motion for an articular mechanism.
Dr. Sutherland’s insight did not stop there. He synthesized his observations into “The Primary Respiratory Mechanism”:
This Primary Respiratory Mechanism has five basic components:
1) The inherent rhythmic motion of the brain and spinal cord.
2) The fluctuation of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that bathes and nourishes the brain and spina l cord.
3) The shifting tensions of the membranous envelope (dura mater) surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This entire membranous structure acts as a unit and is called a “Reciprocal Tension Membrane.”
4) The inherent rhythmic motion of the cranial bones.
5) The involuntary motion of the sacrum (tailbone) between the ilia (hip bones).
If you have an opinion or personal experience with craniosacral therapy as a patient or practitioner, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the form below this article.
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