Developed by John E. Upledger, DO, OMM, Cranio Sacral Therapy (CST) encourages the body’s natural healing processes and has been proven effective in treating a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction. cranio sacral therapy is a gentle, nonintrusive method of evaluating and enhancing the function of the physiological body arrangement known as the cranio-sacral system, which consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones of the skull, face, and mouth--which make up the cranium--down to the sacrum or tailbone. Cranio Sacral therapy Because this system influences the development and function of the brain and spinal cord, any imbalance or dysfunction could cause sensory, motor, or neurological disabilities including chronic pain, eye difficulties, scoliosis, motor-coordination impairments, learning disabilities, and other dysfunctions of the central nervous system. Practitioners of CST use a light touch to assist the natural movement of fluid within the cranio sacral system. Therapists generally use roughly five grams of pressure, about the weight of a nickel, to test for restrictions in various parts of the cranio sacral system. Often the evaluation alone can remove the restriction and the system will correct itself. A forerunner of CST, Cranial osteopathy was originated by osteopath William Sutherland (1873–1954) in 1898–1900. While examining a dis-articulated human skull, Sutherland was struck by the idea that because the cranial sutures of the temporal bones where they meet the parietal bones were beveled, like fish gills, this may indicate articular mobility for a respiratory mechanism. When John Upledger devised CST he compared it to cranial osteopathy, writing: "Dr. Sutherland's discovery regarding the flexibility of skull sutures led to the early research behind CranioSacral Therapy – and both approaches affect the cranium, sacrum and coccyx – the similarities end there." Today however, cranial osteopaths largely consider the two practices to be identical, the only difference being cranial osteopathy is taught to non-osteopaths under the name Cranio Sacral therapy. Upledger and neurophysiologist and histologist Ernest W. Retzlaff worked at Michigan State University from 1975 to 1983 as clinical researchers and professors. There they assembled a research team to investigate the purported pulse and further study Sutherland's theory of cranial bone movement. Upledger and Retzlaff went on to publish their results, which they interpreted as support for both the concept of cranial bone movement, and the concept of a cranial rhythm. Practitioners of both cranial osteopathy and cranio sacral therapy assert that there are small, rhythmic motions of the cranial bones attributed to cerebrospinal fluid pressure or arterial pressure. The premise of CST is that palpation of the cranium can be used to detect this rhythmic movement of the cranial bones and selective pressures may be used to manipulate the cranial bones to achieve a therapeutic result. Modern therapeutic practitioners trained in cranio sacral therapy often integrate CST techniques into their sessions.

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