While CranioSacral Therapy is a “relatively new” therapy it has its origins back to 1901 when William Sutherland, DO discovered that the bones of the skull have inherent motion. At that time, he was a student of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri under Andrew Still, the father of Osteopathy. Over the next fifty years he experimented with the motion of the cranial bones and fluids and in particular what affect their immobility had on the body as a whole. He found that not only did restrictions impact on the physical health of the body but also on mental and emotional health as well.
Background on Dr. John Upledger
Dr. John Upledger, Osteopathic Physician has been recognised as an innovator and leading proponent into the functioning of the craniosacral system. In the 1970's, John Upledger, DO, OMM, discovered the evidence of a craniosacral system surrounding the central nervous system during a routine surgery. From 1975 through to 1983 he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics at Michigan State University. During those years he led a team of physiologists, biophysicists and bioengineers in experiments that tested the existence and influence of the craniosacral system on the physical, emotional and dare I say “spiritual” wellbeing of the body. Using polygraph tracing, research recorded the changes in electrical potential before, during and after craniosacral therapy.
The Craniosacral System
The Craniosacral system comprises the “intercranial membrane system” and associated structures of the bones of the cranium, including the face and mouth and extends down to the sacrum or tailbone area. The craniosacral system surrounds the central nervous system. It is essentially a semi-closed hydraulic system contained within the tough, watertight membrane called dura. Cerebrospinal fluid is produced and enclosed within this membrane and this fluid maintains the physiological environment in which the brain and nervous system develop, live and “breath.” The production, absorption and reabsorption of this fluid create a resonant pulse or rhythm throughout the entire body, and can be felt or palpated anywhere on the body. The skilled therapist feels the pulse or rhythm which is not unlike that of the cardiac pulse or the rise and fall of breathing. Monitoring this rhythm allows the therapist to work with areas of restriction in the body.
Functions of Cerebrospinal Fluid
- Cerebrospinal fluid brings nourishment to the central nervous system.
- Provides protection to the brain and spinal chord.
- Transports enzymes and ions and helps to eliminate toxins.
- By improving the flow of CSF we are helping the body to perform and function better.