POSTED OCTOBER 16TH, 2013
By Donald Levy, MD
Medical Director, Osher Clinical Center
There is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion over many treatments and health related professions that fall outside of mainstream medical care. We would like to dedicate some space in this, and future, issues of Healthy 850 to present and explain some therapies that are considered “Complementary” or “Alternative.” This month, we begin with “Craniosacral Therapy.”
What is “Craniosacral Therapy”
Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a method of evaluating and enhancing the function of a physiological body system called by its practitioners the craniosacral system. The goal of this gentle, hands-on method is to encourage the release and relaxation of membranous and musculoskeletal connective tissues surrounding the central nervous system and throughout the body that are potential causes of sensory, motor or neurological disability. It was developed by John E. Upledger, in the late 1970’s and has been used in the management of a variety of problems including migraines, chronic head neck and back pain, TMJ syndrome, fibromyalgia, emotional and stress-related disorders, chronic fatigue and even multiple sclerosis.
In our clinic, we have seen positive responses with this modality and there are almost no reports of adverse effects. However, as with a number of modalities that might be loosely classified as forms of “energy medicine”, there is skepticism from some in the scientific community about this therapy because it does not seem biologically plausible according to our current understanding of basic anatomy and physiology. As we wait for better research on the underlying concepts, we can say that there are some early clinical outcome studies suggesting that, whatever the exact mechanism, craniosacral therapy can be effective. For example: