The Origins of CranioSacral Therapy
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.
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 .