What is Craniosacral Therapy for Pain Relief?

According to that digital font of all contemporary knowledge, Wikipedia

“Craniosacral therapy (CST) [is a] forms of bodywork or alternative therapy using gentle touch to manipulate the senatorial joints of the cranium. A practitioner of cranial-sacral therapy may also apply light touches to a patient’s spine and pelvis. Practitioners believe that this manipulation regulates the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and aids in ‘primary respiration.”

According to the American Cancer Society, although CST may relieve the symptoms of stress or tension, ‘available scientific evidence does not support claims that craniosacral therapy helps in treating cancer or any other disease’. CST has been characterized as pseudoscience, and its practice has been called quackery.”

Now, since I am a practitioner of CST, with a firmly founded belief in the efficacy of the practice based on training and experience, I take umbrage at the characterizations expressed above. However, I must also acknowledge that empirical evidence to prove the effectiveness of CST has been sorely lacking.

Until now…

New Research into the Efficacy of Craniosacral Therapy

According to an article at the website Regenexx.com, written by Chris Centeno, M.D. a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics, the latest research in the field has shown that “CST improved neck [and]… physical function was also improved for the CST group. In essence, CST seemed to work well to help neck pain in this small, randomized, controlled placebo trial.”

Let’s explain this a bit further, shall we?

According to Dr. Centeno, “The idea behind craniosacral therapy is that there’s fluid that circulates around the spinal cord (CSF, or cerebrospinal fluid) and that a trained therapist can manipulate the flow of that fluid. So basically someone gets ahold of your head and uses pressure on the plates of the skull to help pump CSF around your spinal cord and nerve roots.”

“Hence, when I saw this new craniosacral therapy research, I wasn’t that surprised. I had seen these CSF flow studies at medical conferences and knew that they opened up a whole new world of study in how certain diseases, like Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and certain pain conditions, may be linked to blockages in this flow [of CSF]. Why? The CSF is both the cooling system and waste removal for the brain, spinal cord, and nerve roots.”

In other words, and in my experience, the subtle manipulations we use during craniosacral therapy influence the pressure and circulatory rhythm of cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord, allowing your body to heal itself, as it can and should.

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