CST: Science

CranioSacral Therapy was developed in the 1970s and thereafter by the osteopathic physician Dr. John Upledger. His early focus was on the connective tissue membranes wrapping the brain and spinal cord. Thus the name CranioSacral, or HeadTailbone.

It all started in 1971 when Dr. Upledger was asked to assist in a surgery to remove a calcium deposit on the connective tissue around a patient’s spinal cord.  He had one job: to hold the membrane steady so the surgeon could scrape off the deposit.  The surgeon yelled at him all through the surgery because he couldn’t keep the membrane from  moving back and forth.

He started studying this movement and discovered it was normal, and caused by movement of  fluid beneath the membrane. His research also showed  that  the bones of the skull are not fused, but move apart in response to this same fluid flow. This movement is very slight, but can be felt by trained hands.

Accidents, immobility, dehydration, and emotional trauma can create areas where bits of connective tissue stick together.  This can pull on nerves and create pain. CranioSacral therapy works to gently unlatch stuck areas and release nerves from unwanted pulling.

That’s really the basis of the work: un-latching problems one velcro loop at a time.

We work gently because that’s the most efficient way to get results. Gentle work doesn’t trigger the body’s guarding reflexes.  Gently pushing knotted connective tissue into shortness lets them unwind.  We’re also helping nerves re-set the volume control back to normal.

Connective tissue problems don’t show up  on X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, and they don’t go away with painkillers.

And here’s another cool science fact: our brains have the consistency of custard.  If the connective tissue bag around our brain gets tight, it squishes our brain and we develop anxiety and personality tics.

Or check this out: the pituitary sits in a little depression (the Turkish saddle) in the sphenoid bone.  If stuck connective tissue makes that bone wobble like a car with a bent axle, then the pituitary won’t gently rock back and forth, but will whirl around in a circle.  It won’t be a happy pituitary, and lots of people will show anxiety from it.

It only takes attention to the cerebrospinal fluid to find out where the stuck spots are, and to release them.  The brain can fluff back up, the sphenoid can rock gently back and forth, and the pituitary can calm down.

CST is a wonderful way to help reduce anxiety and other problems.  As my old boss, Bill Nye, used to say, “It’s science!”