Craniosacral therapy is a relatively new therapy, in that it has been around much less than a hundred years, being developed in the seventies by Dr. Upledger. Utilizing small amounts of force and pressure, measured in grams, osteopathic manipulation is performed. Craniosacral therapy is built on the principles of osteopathic medicine, and specifically the work of Dr. Sutherland in the 1930s.
Very often, patients receiving craniosacral therapy are surprised by the relief of symptoms in one area which have been affected by therapy to a very different and sometimes distant area. For example, there have been patients suffering from TMJ or migraine headaches who experience an alleviation of pain symptoms after therapy at the sacrum and pelvis. Some of the principles of craniosacral work are that the body system is connected, and that often times, pain in one area can be what is known as referred pain, coming from an entirely different area.
While there are not very many studies on the effects of craniosacral therapy, the few randomized clinical trials that do exist have shown positive effects on pain in patients who received it. For example, one study published in Clinical Rehabilitation in 2011 concluded that craniosacral therapy “improved medium-term pain symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia.” Anyone who knows someone with fibromyalgia will understand that it is a very difficult disorder to treat. When someone has this disorder, they are in widespread generalized pain all of the time. Craniosacral therapy can be used as an excellent adjunct to standard medical care for these patients.
Another study published in Complimentary Therapies in Clinical Practice concluded that craniosacral therapy can help to reduce the severity and frequency of migraine headaches. Considering the debilitating nature of migraines, this is very promising to those suffering from migraines.
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