"CranioSacral Therapy" as a separate modality is relatively
new although the basic ideas are several thousand years old, under different names of
course. One of the basic ideas is that of working with the spine and the dural tube and
meningeal membranes and with the movement of the cerebrospinal fluid from the brain in to
the spine and the sacral region.
The CranioSacral system is a recently recognized, functioning
physiological system. While there are subtler energetic, mental, emotional and
spiritual aspects, the anatomical parts in the CranioSacral system are:
- the meningeal
- the osseous
structures to which the meningeal membranes attach.
- the other
non-osseous connective tissue structure which are intimately related to meningeal
- the cerebrospinal
- all structures
related to production, resorption and containment of the cerebrospinal fluid.
Credit to Dr. William Sutherland for his genius and insight at a time when it was taught and believed
that the normal adult human skull bones are fused solidly all together by calcification
and hence movement was impossible. Dr. Sutherland became convinced that the bones of the
cranium was designed to move and must move in relation to each other throughout life. He
became more familiar with the cranial movements by self-experimentation. Later he
experimented on others by gently palpating their heads. Soon he was able to sense minute
rhythmic motions of the crania of humans of various ages. There is also a palpable motion
in synchrony with the motion of the cranium.
In the last few decades Dr. John Upledger has done in a tremendous
amount of study and development refining, standardizing and establishing the concept of
the CranioSacral system. Dr. Upledger and
his colleagues have established what is called today CranioSacral Therapy. Eventually
because or since all learning has to be "centered" some place
Institute was born. I am told that there are
now over 40,000 practitioners all over the world with at least the basic knowledge of
The CranioSacral system is a more recently recognized physiological
system by Western standards. (I say western standards because there are certain practices
that have been known to the Yogis which are very ancient, and, which by practicing has
direct impact on the very same CranioSacral system. But there are limited amount of real
documents on that, and the conclusion is based on personal experience and working with the
system for some time, and using myself as the subject of experiments).
There is a physiological rhythmic activity that is unique to the
CranioSacral system, which displays the characteristics of a semi-closed hydraulic system
which means that only certain fluid are allowed to pass through the membranes. The
CranioSacral system is intimately related to, influences, and is influenced by: the
nervous system, the musculoskeletal system, the vascular system, the lymphatic system, the
endocrine system, and the respiratory system.
Studies in CranioSacral Therapy have shown that the "hydraulic system" boundaries are
bounded by the meningeal membranes, and then extend down the dural tube through the spine,
most specifically the dura mater. This fluid that make up the "hydraulic system"
is referred to as the cerebro-spinal fluid. The simple mechanistic view is that
cerebro-spinal fluid affects the structures of the brain, the auxiliary brain, that being
the spinal system and the sacral system.
Related to the spinal and sacral system is the
central and autonomic nervous system which are influences and are influenced by the
visceral organ located in the thoracic and abdominal cavities and the pelvic region. This
also means that it is related to the movements of the limbs as a consequence of the
nervous system and the orchestration of the internal organs.
Simply put, if there is a restriction to the free flow of the
cerebro-spinal fluid (from the brain and through the dural tube into the sacrum), this
restriction will inhibit the natural functions of the physical structure in that region as
well as the other biological function pertaining to the internal organs within that
region and the psychological functions as well. Of course, when one organ system is affected there is a cascading effect as a
consequence and other relating systems are then affected. Beyond the simplistic view there is also
an energetic, an emotional and a spiritual component that is involved based on a
CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle, powerful hands-on technique to help detect and
correct imbalances in the CranioSacral system that may be the cause of sensory and
neurological dysfunction. The rhythm of the CranioSacral system can be detected in much
the same way as the rhythm of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. But unlike those
body rhythms, both evaluations and corrections of the CranioSacral system can be
accomplished through palpation.
CranioSacral Therapy is used for a myriad of health problems including headaches, neck
and back pains, TMJ dysfunction, chronic fatigue, motor coordination difficulties, eye
problems, endogenous depression, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, central
nervous system disorders, autism, as well as many other conditions.
CST is a perfect tool to help remove the restrictions: lesions that the individual is
afflicted with, following the strengthening of the nervous and endocrine system through
Zen-Shiatsu and Yoga Therapy.
One incredible aspect of CranioSacral is its work with the dural tube and spinal
meninges, which has been a point of focus for thousands of years by the adepts of
The MicroMovement Series I developed is a perfect adjunct to CST that one can do
for themselves at home.
Somato Emotional Release
Every system of therapy has its own limits. For example, Aromatherapy
does quite a bit in pain relief and alleviating emotional hurts and traumas, but it
reaches a plateau where it becomes impossible to go beyond. You try to go beyond and the
very aroma that helped you, now pulls you down to that plateau where you have reached, to
that level of smell. Music Therapy, takes you to plateaus and then it
becomes a hindrance. You become dependent on it, and heaven forbids the music should stop!
Light Therapy, takes you to a level where that itself becomes a
distraction. It is just that the mind learns to depend on these as props. The mind can
even produce its own symptoms and show relief of the symptoms by the chosen props just so
as not to go after the real affliction.
As an illustration, in 1988 I had to do a special meditation practice and my intention
was to stay for a full ten minutes. I used a timer to help me stay in the practice for a
full ten minutes.
I struggled but was able to make the ten minutes the first day.
The second day I heard my mind saying "isn't it ten minutes yet...it feels like ten
minutes...maybe the timer was not set to activate in ten minutes", so I opened my
eyes and took a peek at the clock and it was exactly nine minutes, this frustrated me.
The third day I decided that come what may I am going to wait for the beep of the timer,
and that went ok for that day, but I struggled to stay for ten minutes because all these
thoughts were going through my mind. Here are some of the thoughts: maybe I did not set
the timer again!...It should have been ten minutes by now!...ten minutes is an awful long
time!...I am just going to have to wait this one through!...my knees are hurting!...I have
to go to attend nature's call!...anytime now! and many such thoughts that would validate
me getting up and ending the practice. Then finally I heard the beep of the timer. The
experience felt like an eternity.
The fifth day I sat to practice and again I decided to wait for the beep and struggles a
bit less but waited for the beep and lo and behold the beep, so I open my eyes and looked
at the clock in frustration to find nine minutes had gone...but I heard the beep. I was
not happy to say the least.
The next day I decided to wait and continue the practice even if I hear the beep. So after
a while I heard the beep, but I was not going to get up and continued the practice and
then I heard a loud beep again, I opened my eyes and on the timer was ten minutes. I was
relieved and felt great!
The mind can be very deceptive and can produce all kinds of symptoms to prevent getting
to the real issue. Many experienced therapists see this happen time and again.
However we need to go beyond these props. For effective Self-Transformation the
conscious mind and the non-conscious mind have to communicate in order to reach deeper
within and transform/heal further, to transcend to greater states of health and longevity.
This end can be achieved though meditation,
but it takes effort and discipline which again is developed only through long practice.
Another method of communication between the conscious mind and the non-conscious and all
the records and impressions stored is called Somato Emotional Release (SER). SER is a
very effective system that produces psycho-physiological releases. The
technique uses the CranioSacral Rhythm as a significant detector to establish the rapport
between conscious and non-conscious, set up through dialog by the therapist. In my
experience SER can only be surpassed in its effectiveness by Meditation
even if it were for one reason, and that reason being, that the therapists skill can only
go "so far". During the process of deep meditation
one can go into the unconscious and retrieve any information needed, and replace if
necessary. But the ultimate purpose of meditation is to resolve disturbance and
fluctuations without getting involved in them. There is another stage beyond meditation
but cannot be discussed here universally.
At this point in the treatment all of the different modalities can be can be used interchangeably
as is needed.
Most of my recent studies and advance training in Cranio Sacral Therapy was done
through the Upledger Institute