The Therapeutic Value of CranioSacral Therapy
While the validity of the cardiovascular and respiratory rhythms is undisputed today, for eons the very existence of these systems sparked debates in medical communities around the globe.
Now for nearly 25 years, osteopathic physician and researcher John E. Upledger, D.O., O.M.M., has been a proponent of using the rhythm of another body system -- the craniosacral system -- to enhance body functioning, and help alleviate pain and discomfort.
The craniosacral system consist of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protects the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones of the skull, face and mouth, which make up the cranium, down to the sacrum, or the tailbone area.
Since this vital system influences the development and performance of the brain and spinal cord, an imbalance or restriction in it could potentially cause any number of sensory, motor or neurological disabilities. These problems could include chronic pain, eye difficulties, Scoliosis, MotorCoordination impairments, learning disabilities and other health challenges.
CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle method of detection and correction that encourages your own natural healing mechanisms to dissipate these negative effects of stress on your central nervous system. You also benefit from better overall health and resistance to disease.
How is CranioSacral Therapy Performed?
CranioSacral Therapy is performed on a person fully clothed. Using a light touch -- generally no more than the weight of a nickel -- the practitioner monitors the rhythm of the craniosacral system to detect potential restrictions and imbalances. The therapist then uses delicate manual techniques to release those problem areas and relieve undue pressure on the brain and spinal cord.
A CranioSacral Therapy session can last from about 15 minutes to more than an hour, and the initial evaluation alone is often enough to correct a problem. The result? A central nervous system free of restrictions. And a body that's able to return to its greatest levels of performance.
Who can perform CranioSacral Therapy?
Because of its positive effect on so many body functions, CranioSacral Therapy is practiced today by a wide variety of healthcare professionals. They include osteopathic physicians, medical doctors, doctors of chiropractic, doctors of Oriental medicine, naturopathic physicians, nurses, psychiatric specialists, psychologists, dentists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and other professional bodyworkers.
What Conditions Does CranioSacral Therapy Address?
CranioSacral Therapy strengthens your body's ability to take better care of you. It helps alleviate a range of illness, pain and dysfunction, including:
What is SomatoEmotional Release
Have you ever had a physical injury that seemed to plague you long after the site had healed? That's not as unusual as you might think. Even when CranioSacral Therapy releases restrictions in the body tissues, sometimes a release of emotional energy is necessary to fully discharge a trauma. In those cases, the CranioSacral Therapist may gently encourage a SomatoEmotional Release.
Research conducted in the late '70s by Dr. John Upledger and biophysicist Zvi Karni led to the discovery that the body often retains the emotional imprint of physical trauma. These imprints, especially of intense feelings that may have occurred at the time of injury --anger, fear, resentment -- leave residues in the body in areas called "energy cysts".
Although you can adapt to energy cysts, over time your body needs extra energy to continue performing its day-to-day functions. Then as years pass and the body becomes more stressed, it can lose its ability to adapt. That's when symptoms and dysfunction's begin to appear and become difficult to suppress or ignore.
Through SomatoEmotional Release, the therapist engages in imaging and dialoguing techniques that can guide the patient through and otherwise challenging encounter with long-held emotions. The patient does not need to analyze the problem to release it. Often the body will spontaneously return to the same position it was in when the injury was first sustained. As this occurs, the therapist can feel the tissues of the body relax as the energy cyst is expelled. Then the body is free to return to its optimal levels of functioning.
How Do I Locate Practitioners Skilled in CranioSacral Therapy
You can locate healthcare professionals through the international Association of Healthcare Practitioners (IAHP) membership directory. Go to http://www.iahp.com/ and then click on Locate Practitioners then click on your state. The letters after the persons name you are looking for is VMI, VMIA, VMIB, VMR, VLT, PIVM, MFR. The more letters they have after their name the higher levels of therapy they provide. If you wish to speak to a live person contact the Upledger Institute at 561-622-4334
How Did CranioSacral Therapy Begin?
CranioSacral Therapy dates back to 1970 when osteopathic physician John E. Upledger first witnessed the rhythmic movement of the craniosacral system during a spinal surgery. Yet none of his colleagues nor medical texts could explain the phenomenon.
Two years later, Dr. Upledger attended a short course on cranial Osteopathy developed by Dr. William Sutherland. The course focused on the bones of the skull and the fact -- surprising at the time -- that they weren't fused as doctors had been taught in medical school. Instead, Sutherland's material demonstrated that skull bones continue to move throughout a person's life.
Putting this new information together with the odd pulsing rhythm he'd observed years before, Dr. Upledger theorized that a hydraulic system of sorts was functioning inside the craniosacral system. He then set out to confirm his theories.
In 1975 he joined the Osteopathic College at Michigan State University as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics. There he led a team of anatomists, physiologist, biophysicists and bioengineers to test and document the influence of therapy on the craniosacral system. For the first time they were able to explain the function of the cranisacral system, and demonstrate how light touch therapy could be used to evaluate and treat malfunctions involving the brain and spinal cord.
In 1985, Dr. Upledger went on to establish the Upledger Institute to teach the public and healthcare practitioners about the benefits of CranioSacral Therapy. To date, The Upledger Institute has trained more than 50,000 healthcare practitioner's worldwide in the use of CranioSacral Therapy.
Check out the Upledger Institute website at www.upledger.com