History of Craniosacral Osteopathy
In the 1930s, an osteopath by the name of William Sutherland (1873-1954) founded the field of Cranial Osteopathy. Sutherland was an American osteopath and a student of Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of Osteopathy He noticed the importance of cranial (the head) bone mobility as well as the effects that restrictions in this area had through the whole body. By the 1940s, Sutherland had established specialized training in this area at The American School of Osteopathy.
The field was expanded by some of Sutherland's pupils and in time their pupils too. In the late 1970's another American osteopath, John Upledger
began to teach cranial work to non-osteopaths, and coined the name 'Craniosacral Therapy'.
Dr. John Upledger, an osteopathic physician, was a researcher at Michigan State University in the 1970s. He was involved in a number of scientific
studies in the area of Cranio-Osteopathy, bringing together a team of researchers with the objective of proving or disproving the movement of the
cranial bones. Optical and electron microscopy showed the existence of blood vessels, nerve fibres, collagen and elastic fibres (and therefore movement!),
within the cranial sutures.
As a result of his research and practice, he established the field of Craniosacral Therapy. He developed training in Craniosacral Therapy for
osteopaths, medical doctors, doctors of chiropractic, doctors of Oriental medicine, naturopathic physicians, psychiatric specialists, psychologists,
dentists, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, acupuncturists, massage therapists and other professional bodyworkers.
The Craniosacral System is a semi-enclosed hydraulic system encompassing the brain and spinal cord.
Dr. Upledger described this system to consist of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord,
extending from the bones of the skull (which make up the cranium) down to the tailbone area (or sacrum).
The function of the cerebrospinal fluid is to maintain the physiological environment in which the brain and nervous system develop, live and function. Within the system, the cerebrospinal fluid rhythmically pulses at a rate of about ten cycles per minute. This is independent of heart or respiratory rhythms.
The craniosacral system's fluid barrier is the dura mater, which also composes the skull's inside lining. This membraneous barrier is also attached to the upper neck vertebrae (C2-C3), the lower back sacrum (S2), and the tailbone (the periosteum of the coccyx).
Why is craniosacral therapy so effective?
In simple terms, if the cranial bones are not in the right place, then the brain and central nervous system cannot be in the right place. The hormonal system cannot perform optimally.
Even though the cranial bones only move half the thickness of a sheet of writing paper, the human head is so delicate, and so suffused with vital nerve
pathways, that even slight deformations of a bone's movement or position can produce physical or psychological symptoms, and often both.
Cranio-Sacral Osteopathy is particularly valuable in treating all ailments from minor aches and pains to severe and persistent chronic health problems.
In general, the Cranio-Sacral Opetopathy helps to stimulate and harmonise the physical and mental power of an individual. It is suitale to apply it in the case of short term acute discomfort as well as in chronical condition. The natural self-regulative ability of the body is supported by this treatment and these helps to improve the functionning of the brain, spinal cord and other systems related to Central Nervous System:
- vascular and respiratory
The following are examples of the many conditions which benefit from Cranio-Sacral treatment:
- migrain, headache
- Down syndrom
- paralytic face
- twitching in the face
- high blood presssure
- middle ear infection
What you may experience during a CSO treatment session
Most people feel a general sense of relaxation (in fact some fall asleep during the treatment). This is popularly associated with an increase of endorphins.
Experiences during a CSO session are as individual as the clients and practitioners themselves. Experiences can even vary from session to session. At times a client may fall asleep, may recall memories or may see colours. Others will experience sensations within the body such as tingling, hot/cold, pins & needles, pulsations, a stretching of tissues in particular parts of the body, increased fluid flow or increased energy flow.
What you may experience after a CSO treatment session
Just as individual experiences can differ, so can the immediate results. This relaxed state may cause some to sleep for many hours after a session.
Others may experience an increase in energy. Some people report that they feel as if somebody had moved things about in their body.
Reduction of pain or an increase in function may occur immediately after the session or it may develop gradually over the next few days. For some there
may be a reorganization phase as the body adapts to the release of previously held patterns.
Occasionally, certain CSO techniques will dredge up "old pains" that had gone away. This is a good thing!! The old pains hadn't disappeared; they were
simply dormant and waiting to reappear at another time. The dredging up offers an opportunity for total correction of the problem at that time.
Will CSO treatments help a healthy/uninjured person?
Yes, many people find that craniosacral therapy helps them feel better in a
general sense. Patients of mine have reported:
·increased energy levels
improved well being
·better sleeping pattern
·female clients always comment on how settled their hormonal levels have become
·people are able to deal with everyday stress more positively
·people often find it easier to overcome minor infections
·regular treatments may help prevent more serious conditions from developing in the future
·It also helps increase physical vitality and well-being not only effecting structural change but also having much wider implications, emotionally and spiritually.
FOOD FOR THE BRAIN......Bear in mind that the brain requires 750 ml of oxygenated blood every minute to maintain normal activity. Balancing the craniosacral rhythm increases the production of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This in turn enables the adequate nourishment and maintenance of the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.
CSO for Babies, Infants and Children - what to expect
A baby can be treated at any stage but generally 'the earlier the better'; even as early as a few days old. This helps to prevent many difficulties with infants before they take root. Their cranial experience tends to differ from adults as they have 'no layers' and they generally 'feel' everything as a result. Instinctively, they trust it.