resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
CCE Finally Takes a "Baby Step" Toward Reform
During a 16-month period from October 2010 to February 2012, I devoted four separate columns to the heavy-handed attempt by the Council on Chiropractic Education to radically change the chiropractic profession through the accreditation process.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
A Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
News in Brief
National Chiropractic Health Month: Be Proactive; Collegiate Roundup: Academic Appointments at Parker, Logan.
Waking Up the Gluteus Maximus
In previous articles in this series, we expounded on the importance of the gluteus maximus (GM) in athletic performance and protecting the knee from injury. We also know there is a link between iliotibial band syndrome and GM weakness.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
October, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 10
CranioSacral Therapy vs. Cranial Osteopathy: Differences Divide
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
CranioSacral Therapy, which I developed in the 1970s, is compared frequently to cranial osteopathy, developed by Dr. William Sutherland. Although 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.
What was to become cranial osteopathy began as the idea of an osteopathic student in Kirksville, Missouri, in the early 1900s.Dr. William Sutherland saw that the bones of the skull were designed to allow for movement in relationship to one another. It was a radical idea that flew in the face of American and British anatomy textbooks, which taught that skull bones fuse together before adulthood.
To test his theory, Dr. Sutherland filled a skull with dry beans and added water. This caused the skull bones to move along the suture lines, and ultimately to disarticulate. He also performed makeshift experiments on himself with helmet-like devices that imposed variable controlled and sustained pressures on different parts of his head. His wife recorded personality changes, head pain and coordination problems he displayed in response to different pressure applications.
Based on his experiments, Dr. Sutherland developed a system of examination and treatment for the bones of the skull that became known as cranial osteopathy. Because so little was known about how it worked - and patient results seemed miraculous at times - Sutherland's system acquired an esoteric reputation.
Conversely, the origin of CranioSacral Therapy can be traced to the accidental discovery of the craniosacral system during a seemingly routine surgery in 1970. At the time, I had a unique view of the dura mater, the outer layer of the meningeal membrane in the neck. Ordinarily compromised as part of surgical procedure, the dura mater was deliberately left intact during this surgery to prevent any risk of meningeal infection.
My task as a surgical assistant was to hold the dura mater still while the surgeon scraped a calcium plaque off its surface. No matter how I tried, I was unable to do it. The membrane continued to move rhythmically at a rate of about 10 cycles per minute. Neither my colleagues nor any medical text I consulted could explanation this phenomenon.
Still curious about what I had seen, I enrolled two years later in a seminar that explained Dr. Sutherland's ideas and taught some of his evaluation and treatment techniques. Coupling my scientific background with tactile sensitivity, I surmised that the rhythmical motion I had seen during surgery could have been caused by a hydraulic-type system functioning inside a membranous sac encased within the skull and canal of the spinal column. After further study and research, I refined Dr. Sutherland's techniques and successfully incorporated them into my private medical practice.
In 1975, I was invited by Michigan State University to lead the world's first task force to study and verify the mobility of cranial sutures and bones. For the next five years, I led a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists and bioengineers, and together we researched the basics and potential for performing therapy on the craniosacral system.
Through an extensive series of studies and experiments, we demonstrated how the craniosacral system could be used to assess and improve numerous health problems involving the brain and spinal cord. Yet this was a very different approach than that used in cranial osteopathy. Here we were focusing not on the bones of the skull, but on the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
We verified that the craniosacral system does indeed operate like a semi-closed hydraulic system. Pressures build as the amount of cerebrospinal fluid increases in the system, forcing the fluid to move up and down the spinal cord. When the fluid moves, the membranes containing it also move, normally at a rate of 6-12 cycles per minute.
CranioSacral Therapy practitioners are trained to gently monitor this rhythm to detect and release imbalances and restrictions in the membranes that could potentially cause sensory, motor or neurological dysfunctions. As such, CranioSacral Therapy is never intended to cure disease, but simply to facilitate the body's ability to self-correct. It offers a comprehensive, whole-body structural and functional evaluation protocol.
Even today, the focus of cranial osteopathy remains on manipulating the sutures of the skull. With CranioSacral Therapy, the bones of the skull are involved in that they serve as "handles" for the practitioner to use to access and affect the membrane system that attaches to those bones.
Another major difference between the two approaches is in the quality of touch. In general, the manipulations used in cranial osteopathy are often heavy and directive. Practitioners of CranioSacral Therapy usually use a light touch, scientifically measured to be between 5 and 10 grams. That's about the weight of a U.S. nickel resting in the palm of your hand. This gentle quality often belies the effectiveness of the therapy. Most patients report feeling nothing more than subtle sensations during a typical session.
Yes, CranioSacral Therapy and cranial osteopathy are quite different. Yet they remain linked in history by two osteopaths who trusted their observations and continued undaunted in their quests to prove their theories.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.