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CranioSacral Therapy


"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:

  1. the meningeal membrane
  2. the osseous structures to which the meningeal membranes attach.
  3. the other non-osseous connective tissue structure which are intimately related to meningeal membranes
  4. the cerebrospinal fluid
  5. 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…the Upledger 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 CranioSacral Therapy.

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 hierarchical structure.


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 ancient Yoga systems. 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