CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is the most gentle form of hands-on healing. It uses a light touch – sometimes an extremely light touch – to balance the flow of movement and information in your body.
The techniques of CranioSacral Therapy can be traced back to the 1920’s when manipulative practitioners (osteopaths and doctors of chiropractic) began to apply the principles of manual therapy to treatment of the bones of the skull.
More recently, John Upledger, D.O. has been a major popularizer of CranioSacral Therapy. The manual treatment techniques of CST are now used to address imbalances not only of the skull but throughout the body.
Despite the many clinical success stories attributed to CranioSacral Therapy, it has yet to acquire a solid enough research footing to establish it as an “accepted” medical procedure.
Even among practitioners who use it, there isn’t a consensus about the mechanisms through which CST has its effect.
In my efforts to understand the workings CranioSacral Therapy, I’ve evolved a scientific model of its effectiveness that makes sense to me. That’s what I’d like to share with you in this article.
Eight Steps to Understanding CranioSacral Therapy
- Your body is mostly water.
- The fluids of your body are divided in separate compartments bound by connective tissue membranes.
A stiff connective tissue wrapping – the subcutaneous fascia – holds your whole body together so that water doesn’t gush out.
Inside of your body, connective tissue membranes divide you into fluid-filled sub-compartments – the abdominal cavity, the thoracic cavity, the skull, the right arm, left arm, right leg, etc.
Then, within each sub-compartment there are sub-sub-compartments. In the abdominal region, for instance, there are connective tissue wrappings that keep the fluids of the liver separate from those of the stomach, spleen, pancreas, etc.
Within the liver there are smaller compartments still – the separate lobes of the liver. And within each lobe, smaller groupings of cells, and within them, smaller sub-sub-compartments still, and so forth, until you get down to the fluid of each individual cell, and even within the cell, the sub-cellular organelles, and so forth.
3. The waters of your body are constantly rocking or undulating, like waves in the ocean.
When your heart beats, it sends a pulse of undulations throughout your fluids, just like the ripples that spread through a pond when you drop in a stone.
Movement of your arms or legs, and the rhythm of your breath also initiate rocking of your fluid compartments.
4. Because of all the sub-compartments, the fluid undulation can be choppy and noisy.
5. There are nerve endings in your connective tissues constantly being stimulated by the fluid movement.
6. If the fluid undulations are choppy or noisy, the feedback to your brain will also be choppy and noisy, and your brain will have a harder time staying focused and centered.
7. CranioSacral Therapy works to dampen the noisy undulations in your connective tissues.
8. The result is better-integrated nerve feedback and a calmer, more centered brain.
Deepen Your Body of Knowledge
Another blog post about the brain effects of CranioSacral Therapy
Article on Dr. Lavine’s website about CranioSacral Therapy
Wikipedia entry on CranioSacral Therapy
Home page of the Upledger Institute