Patricia Leat L.Ac.Dipl. Ac., Dipl. Herb.
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Cranio Sacral

CranioSacral Therapy strengthens your body's ability to do what it does best ... take care of you. In that way it helps alleviate a range of illness, pain and dysfunction.


The CranioSacral Therapy practitioner uses a light touch - generally not more than the weight of a nickel - to test for restrictions in the craniosacral system. This is done by monitoring the rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid as it flows through the system. Cerebrospinal fluid is a water based, nutrient-filled liquid that is generated within the two largest ventricles (the lateral ventricles) within the brain. Each hemisphere of the brain contains one of these lateral ventricles and these fluid filled cavities then connect with centrally located third and fourth ventricles. These in turn connect to the spinal column. In the best of circumstances, cerebrospinal fluid circulates relatively freely around the brain, throughout these cavities, and within the dural tube of the spinal column. While experienced clinicians can detect the rhythmic flow of cerebrospinal fluid anywhere on your body, they can most easily feel it at the skull, sacrum and coccyx. These bones attach to the membranes that enclose the cerebrospinal fluid. The positive effects of CranioSacral Therapy rely to a large extent on your body's natural self-corrective activities. The therapist's light, hands-on approach simply assists the hydraulic forces inherent in the craniosacral system to improve your body's internal environment - and strengthen its ability to heal itself.

Therapeutic Value

The validity of the cardiovascular and respiratory rhythms are certainly not disputed today. Yet, for eons, the very existence of these systems sparked debate in medical communities around the globe. Now, for nearly 25 years, osteopathic physician and researcher John E. Upledger, D.O., O.M.M., has been a proponent of using the rhythm of another body system - the craniosacral system - to enhance body functioning and help alleviate pain and dysfunction. The craniosacral system 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 craniumdown to the sacrum,or tailbone area. Since this vital system influences the development and performance of the brain and spinal cord, an imbalance or restriction in it could potentially cause any number of sensory, motor or neurological disabilities. These problems could include chronic pain, eye difficulties, scoliosis, motor-coordination impairments, learning disabilities and other health challenges. CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle method of detection and correction that encourages your own natural healing mechanisms to dissipate these negative effects of stress on your central nervous system. You also benefit from better overall health and resistence to disease. Because of its positive effect on so many body functions, CranioSacral Therapy is practiced today by a wide variety of healthcare professionals. They include osteopaths, medical doctors, doctors of chiropractic medicine, doctors of Oriental medicine, psychiatrists, psychologists, dentists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, acupuncturists, massage therapists and other professional bodyworkers.


The history of CranioSacral Therapy dates back to the early 1900s when osteopathic physician William Sutherland was struck by the unusual idea that the bones of the skull were structured to allow for movement. For more than 20 years he explored this concept, eventually developing a system of examination and treatment known as Cranial Osteopathy. Then, in 1970, Dr. John E. Upledger observed the rhythmic movement of the cranisacral system first-hand during surgery. Yet none of his colleagues nor any medical texts could explain his discovery. Two years later, Dr. Upledger attended a seminar that explained Sutherland's ideas as well as some of his evaluation and treatment techniques. Coupling a scientific background with tactile sensitivity, Dr. Upledger was quick to undertsand how a hydraulic system using cerebrospinal fluid might function inside a membranous sac encased within the skull and spinal column canal. He incorporated and refined Dr. Sutherland's techniques with success. Dr. Upledger then set out to scientifically confirm the existence of the craniosacral system. In 1975 he was asked to join the Osteopathic College at Michigan State University as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics. There he led a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists and bioengineers to test and document the influence of therapy on the craniosacral system. For the first time, they were able to explain, in both scientific and practical terms, the function of the craniosacral system. They also demonstrated how this system could be used to evaluate and treat malfunctions involving the brain and spinal cord, as well as a myriad of other health problems that were previously misunderstood. Dr. Upledger's continued work in the field resulted in the development of CranioSacral Therapy. In the decades since his initial research, Dr. Upledger has written three textbooks that detail the functioning of the craniosacral system. He has also written two books explaining CranioSacral Therapy to the public: Your Inner Physician and You and A Brain Is Born: Exploring the Birth and Development of the Central Nervous System. In 1985 Dr. Upledger established The Upledger Institute, Inc. - a clinical and educational resource center founded to teach the public and healthcare pratitioners about the benefits of CranioSacral Therapy. To date, The Upledger Institute has trained more than 100,000 healthcare practitioners worldwide in the use of CranioSacral Therapy.


The Upledger Institute maintains the UI HealthPlex Clinical Services at its headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Designed especially for those seeking CranioSacral Therapy and other complementary techniques, the clinic is staffed by physicians and therapists of all disciplines. In addition to individual sessions, UI HealthPlex offers a number of one- and two-week intensive therapy programs, including those for brain and spinal cord dysfunctions, autism, learning disabilities and pain. You can also locate healthcare professionals through the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners (IAHP) membership directory as well as contacting The Upledger Institute, Inc. for more details.