Article: Craniosacral therapy
Craniosacral therapy is a form of alternative therapy used to assess and enhance the functioning of the craniosacral system, which consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid of the central nervous system. Practitioners manipulate the bones of the skull in order to remove restrictions in the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, relieving stress, decreasing pain, and enhancing the body's overall health.
The concepts of this therapy were originally researched by Dr. William Sutherland, an osteopath, in the early 1900s. Sutherland researched the theory that the bones of the skull could be moved along their sutures, a theory that was at odds with the available medical research of the time (and indeed that of today) . Towards the end of his life Dr. Sutherland began to sense a power generating corrections from inside his clients' bodies without the influence of exeternal forces applied by him as the therapist. Similar to Chi and Prana this contact with what he called "the Breath of Life" changed his entire treatment focus to one of spiritual reverence and subtle touch. This particular approach to the work has come to be known as Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy with further contributions made by such practitioners as Dr. Roland Becker, James Jealous, and Franklyn Sills.
In 1970, another osteopath by the name of Dr. John E. Upledger observed during a surgical procedure on the neck what he described as a pulse within the craniosacral system. He then discovered the work done by Sutherland, and thought that if movement of the cranial bones were possible, the pulse he had observed would be explained. From 1975 to 1983, Upledger worked for Michigan State University as a clinical researcher and professor, and set up a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists, and bioengineers in order to investigate the pulse he had observed and study further Sutherland's theory of cranial bone movement. Upledger went on to publish his results, which show support for both the concept of cranial bone movement and the concept of a cranial pulse. In 1985, he established the Upledger Institute, a health center dedicated to the education and certification of practitioners in craniosacral and related therapies.
Skeptics point out the scientific evidence for cranial bone movement is insufficient to support the theories claimed by craniosacral practitioners. Scientific research has long supported the theory that the cranial bones fuse during adolescence, making movement impossible. Further, while evidence exists for a cranial pulse, skeptics suggest it is caused by the functioning of the cardiovascular system and not by the workings of the craniosacral system. Finally, while there is plenty of colloquial evidence in support of the link between the cranial pulse and general health, no research to date has supported this claim.
Cache Date: March 9, 2005