The Origins of Cranial Osteopathy, Craniosacral Therapy andCraniosacral Process

The roots of CranioSacral therapy come from the work of Andrew Taylor Still, M.D. (1828-1917).   As an MD during the Civil War he was deeply disturbed by the crude and ineffective ways the medical profession was treating disease. He rejected the frequent use of amputations and overuse of drugs. Over time, he developed a drugless, manual medicine, now called Osteopathy.

“The cerebrospinal fluid is one of the highest know elements in the body, and unless the brain furnishes this fluid in abundance a disabled condition will remain.”
— Dr. Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917) founder of Osteopathy, from which CranioSacral Therapy was born.

One the central tenants of Osteopathy is that by correcting structural imbalances in the musculoskeletal system, most diseases can be cured. A.T. Still was the first western doctor to realize the immune system could be stimulated naturally by hands on treatments.   Interestingly, considering our current era, at the end of his life he predicted that the United States would have a major drug problem if physicians did not stop over-prescribing addictive drugs.

One of A.T. Still's students William Sutherland, discovered that there was an intrinsic movement to the bones within the cranium. The bones were not fixed in place as taught in medical schools throughout America and England. His research included seemingly absurd techniques of him wearing helmets with clamps that held certain bones locked in place to see what happened to his body. Later in life, he discovered the movement within the cranium was like a tide. He concluded that this tidal breathing, moving cerebral spinal fluid around the brain and nervous system was essential to health.

In the 1970's Dr. John Upledger re-discovered the CranioSacal rhythm while assisting in a surgical operation, in which he had to hold still the thick membrane surrounding the spinal cord.   Amazed by this unexplained rhythm in the body he dedicated his energies to rediscovering and teaching manual approaches to healing the CranioSacral system. His institute, the Upledger Institute is currently the largest school in the country dedicated to teaching healthcare professionals CranioSacral Therapy.

I have had the privilege to spend time working with Dr. John Upledger at his institute in Florida and am currently being mentored by one of his teaching staff in New York City, Ken Frey, PT, Diplomat CST. I am honored to be able to work in a path that is both quite fresh and also has deep roots in western medicine .  

Miichael Shae, PhD.

Miichael Shae, PhD.

After doing five years doing of "Upledger style" work, I undertook an advanced 2.5 year Biodynamic Craniosacral Training with Michael Shae, PhD.  Having been a teacher with the Upledger Institute from their very beginning, he had the same background as I.  However, the biodynamic approach he taught, I discovered was very different, much slower and deeper.  The approach is derived from William Sutherland's work at the very end of his life.   Michael Shae had become one of the world's specialists in an embryological approach to Craniosacral Therapy, meaning being keenly aware of tensions a client may have taken on during birth and their gestation period, when many of our deepist issues find their origin.  By integrating both approaches in Craniosacral Process, I am able to help people's anatomical pains while also making space to handle the patterns they have struggled with for their whole lives.