Craniosacral Therapy vs. Cranial Osteopathy

Craniosacral Therapy vs. Osteopathy

In Dr. Kaminsky’s opinion, today’s qualified, experienced, Craniosacral therapy practitioners from the Upledger curriculum are more comprehensive and better trained than most current Osteopathic western medical training.

Craniosacral Therapy comes from Cranial Osteopathy. The developer of Craniosacral Therapy, Dr. John Upledger was an Osteopath.

Osteopathy was created by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, M.D. at the end of the 1800’s. A few prominent Osteopaths have made significant contributions to the profession. Of them are Dr.’s William G. Sutherland, D.O. and Dr. John E. Upledger, D.O.

Dr. Sutherland’s contribution to the profession of Osteopathy parallels that of the practice of some ancient cultures, on what many consider the most important area of the body, the head. He called it Cranial Osteopathy.

Cranial Osteopath - Dr-William Sutherland

Dr. William Sutherland, Cranial Osteopath

Dr. Sutherland developed the techniques of Cranial Osteopathy, the implementation of Osteopathic manual therapy principles on the plates of bones of the cranium. He discovered that inherent mobility exists between the plates of bones at the sutures. He called this system, the Craniosacral mechanism, which that comprise the cranial-bowl (head) as well as all the bones inside and of the face.

Sutherlands Model

While a student at the American School of Osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri in the early 1900’s, William G. Sutherland Became fascinated by the anatomical design of the bones of the human skull. It seemed to him that they were designed to move, even though he had been taught that in the normal adult human the skull bones are fused solidly one to the other by calcification and that movement was, therefore, impossible. The only exceptions to this condition of immobility in the human skull were said to be found in the tiny mobile ossicles of the ear and at the temporomandibular joints. The anatomists taught Sutherland, as many still teach today, that the skull serves protective and hematopoietic functions only.

Possessing the deep conviction that all nature’s designs are purposeful, Sutherland became convinced that the bones of the cranium must therefore move in relation to each other throughout normal life. Certainly, detailed study of the human skull and it’s sutures indicates the potential for interosseous cranial motion.

After Sutherland became more familiar with cranial motion by self experimentation, he began experimenting on others by gently palpating their heads. Soon he was able to sense minute rhythmic motions of the cranium of humans of various ages. An early correlative finding was the palpable sacral motion in synchrony with the motion of the cranium.

Sutherland accounted for the rhythmic synchrony of motion between the cranium and the sacrum on the basis of the continuity of the tubular spinal dura mater which firmly connects the occiput to the sacrum with few significantly restrictive osseous attachments in between. He reasoned that motion of the occiput at the dural attachment of the foramen magnum must necessarily influence sacral physiological motion and vice versa, except under pathological, restrictive conditions.

He then developed a model which placed the sphenoid bone as the keystone of the osseous cranium. The sphenoid supplied the driving force which was transmitted to the rest of the cranium via its articular relationships with the occiput, temporals, parietals, frontal, ethmoid, vomer, palatines and zygoma. (There is also an indirect articular relationship with the maxilla by the sphenoid.) From this model, it is obvious that a force which moves the sphenoid must necessarily cause motion in all the bones with which it articulates. Bones such as the mandible, with which the sphenoid has no direct articulation, are influenced indirectly by the sphenoid through the temporal and other bones. The sphenoid influences the maxillae by way of the vomer and the palatine bones. From a mechanical point of view, this model of interosseous relationships with the sphenoid as the driving force is quite plausible.

Some doubt has been cast upon the possibility of motion at the sphenobasilar joint in the adult human. However, motion at this joint is an essential part of Sutherland’s functioning model. Early in embryonic life the sphenobasilar joint is a synchondrosis. It is located just posterior to the sella turcica and anterior to the foramen magnum, where the posterior projection of the sphenoid body joins the anterior projection of the occipital base. This thin band of cartilaginous material retains some degree of flexibility throughout life. Sutherland described this joint as a symphysis. His illustrations of the joint as a symphysis make use of the characteristics of the symphysis to hypothesize abnormal shearing conditions between the sphenoid and the occiput as well as torsions, sidebending and flexion-extension motion patterns.

The torsions, sidebending and flexion-extension motions can conceivably occur if some flexibility is retained between the sphenoid and the occiput. The shearing relationship between the sphenoid and occiput, which Sutherland called a vertical or lateral strain is, however, somewhat more difficult to conceptualize as inherent in a joint which is not, in fact a true symphysis.

Histologically, the sphenobasilar joint is correctly named synchondrosis. It does maintain some degree of flexibility throughout life. It is probably more correct to conceptualize anatomical distortions between the components of the sphenobasilar synchondrosis as secondary to cranial base suture dysfunctions and/or abnormal membrane tension within the dura mater. Abnormal sphenobasilar relationships are probably not maintained by inherit primary distortion of the anatomical relationship between the sphenoid and the occiput. The dura mater is firmly attached to the bones of the cranial vault and base as a periosteum and endosteum. Abnormal tensions placed upon the dural membranes are therefore transmitted to the various bones to which these membranes attach. This circumstance produces abnormal functional motion of these bones.

In Sutherland’s model, the sphenoid was regarded as the driving force of the motion for the bones of the cranium. Inevitably, the question must be asked, “What is the driving force upon the sphenoid? ” Sutherland suggested that the sphenoid moved in response to a circulatory fluctuation of the cerebrospinal fluid and its effect upon the intracranial membrane system. he saw the falx cerebri, the levers of the tentorium cerebelli and the falx cerebelli as parts of a reciprocal tension membrane system which responds to the circulatory fluctuations of the cerebrospinal fluid by driving the sphenoid and its rhythmic pattern of motion at the cranial base. The origin of all this motion, Sutherland believed, was the rhythmic contraction and expansion of the ventricular system of the brain. He regarded the brain as the primary source of the force which drives the craniosacral system and produces motion.

This seems to be a phenomenal piece of insight and further research has largely supported this model. In general, modern technology is beginning to show that Dr. Sutherlands model is largely correct.

Dr. John E. Upledger expanded on Sutherland’s principles and created CranioSacral Therapy, a healing hands-on approach taught to over 125,000 licensed healthcare practitioners worldwide since the mid 1980’s.

Cranial Osteopath - Dr. John Upledger

Dr. John Upledger, Cranial Osteopath

Dr. Alex Kaminsky is a Chiropractor who has studied with experienced cranial osteopaths one-on-one and craniosacral therapists via continuing educational seminars with the Upledger Institute. He also studied the work of Dr. Major Bertrand DeJarnette, a Chiropractor and Osteopath who created Sacro-Occipital Techique (SOT) based on Chiropractic and Osteopathic principles.

Dr. Kaminsky is experienced in the art and philosophy of manipulation, cranial work, manual therapy, craniosacral therapy and other hands-on methodologies. All teachings comes from one on one lessons and seminars from within the leaders of the healthcare industry.

Learning and implementing effectively Cranial Osteopathy and Craniosacral Therapy takes patience and practice. Check out Dr. Kaminsky’s Bio and Experience pages.

About Dr. Kaminsky & Craniosacral Therapy

Having a Chiropractic background since the year 2000, Dr. Kaminsky offers many methods of treatment with an emphasis on Craniosacral Therapy and Pranic Healing in NYC.

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a method focusing on the link between the cranium (head) and sacrum (the second to last bone at the base of your spine), scientifically proven to work in unison to pump fluid throughout the body, an unknown disruption of which can cause many health issues.  The craniosacral mechanism pumps vital fluid called cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) through the body and in a sense energetically lubricates the joints, tissues, organs; basically all cells of the body. It is the driving force of all your body’s systems of function; including maintaining the tone of your muscles.

The Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord) are surrounded with CSF generating energetic rhythmic impulses of fluid delicately pumping throughout your body’s parts “breathing” the movement of life. This measurable rhythm of moving fluid, like the heart rhythm, pulse rhythm, breathing rhythm is the foundational “blueprint” and primary principle of our real-time state of our health. 

Compromises of our rhythmic movements of fluid flow correlates to the impulse restrictions in the system which the body is unable to overcome or self-correct. This is the reason why we have “dis-ease”, symptoms, conditions, basically all ailments.  This is where the skill of an experienced craniosacral therapist becomes valuable.  By placing his or her hands on your body the practitioner can feel, detect, evaluate, and facilitate correction of these restrictive arrhythmic impulses.

The craniosacral therapist helps your rhythm restore and renew in compromised areas allowing for healing to take place of sensory, motor, musculoskeletal, neurological disorders, symptoms, conditions and pain.  To learn more, visit the other pages on this website. Call to schedule your healing treatment with Dr. Kaminsky.