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 current Osteopathic western medical training.

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

Dr. William Sutherland an Osteopath created Cranial Osteopathy. 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.

Osteopathy was created by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, M.D. at the end of the 1800’s. He established the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Some prominent Osteopaths have made significant contributions to the Osteopathic profession. Dr.’s William G. Sutherland, D.O. and Dr. John E. Upledger, D.O.

The Upledger Intitute is based in Palm Beach Florida since 1983.

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 movement exists between the plates of bones at the sutures. He called this system, the Craniosacral mechanism, which comprise of the cranial-bowl (head) as well as all the bones inside and of the face.

Dr. Sutherland’s Cranial Osteopathy techniques have paved the way for Craniosacral Therapy methods which also includes manual hands-on treatment of the body.

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

Dr. Kaminsky is a 1999 graduate of the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic. He is licensed to practice in NY and has completed close to three thousand hours of professional continuing education since becoming licensed in March of 2000.

The primary approach used in his office is Craniosacral Therapy (CST) which is a method focusing on the cranium (head) and sacrum (a large bone at the base of the spine) scientifically proven to control life sustaining fluid flow throughout the body.

Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle, non-invasive, hands-on manual therapy approach that brings about healing via the fluidity of the body. The existence of the Craniosacral System was first discovered by Osteopath Dr. William Sutherland in the early 1900’s, calling it Cranial Osteopathy.  And later rediscovered, validated, and developed by Dr. John Upledger in the late 70’s early 80’s, who renamed it Craniosacral Therapy after doing five years of research at the Michigan State University, School of Medicine. In 1983 Dr. John, as he was fondly called, established a teaching institute in Palm Beach, Florida, to teach this cranial sacral method to all healthcare providers. The Upledger Institute is still very active today.

The craniosacral mechanism pumps fluid which is produced in the brain, called cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF), through the fascial network of the body, the purpose of which is to lubricate joints, muscles, organs, all cells and all tissues. It is the driving life force for your body’s systems to function properly, CSF also carries healing properties to bodily traumas, injuries and past surgeries.

The proper function of your cranial sacral mechanism, via CSF flow, maintains the normal tone of your muscles, provide nutrients to your organs, and keeps you out of pain. It sustains human life and allows your nervous system to stay responsive to challenges of daily living and your mind-body life experiences. The better your craniosacral mechanism functions, the better the flow of this life sustaining fluid, the better your body can handle physical and emotional stress. The uninhibited flow of this fluid throughout your body allows you to thrive, opposite of survival mode.

CSF is part of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) brain and spinal cord), which is physically encapsulated within the dural membranes of the spine and head.

One of the functions inside of your brain is to automatically generate energetic rhythmic impulses that function to pump CSF throughout your body, regulating your peripheral nerves, nervous system and organ systems, which in turn, sustain your function (physiology) and life. It is an important force that maintains everything functioning in your body. This is what we call the Craniosacral System, or Craniosacral Mechanism. It is the hydraulic, energetic and rejuvenating system of your body.

This measurable life force of moving fluid is palpable to a trained craniosacral therapist, like the heart rhythm, pulse rhythm, breathing rate, that can all be felt, so too can the Cranial Sacral Rhythm (CSR) be palpated and measured. It is the foundational diagnostic tool in real-time used to evaluate your current state of well-being (or lack thereof), and potential for health improvement and healing.

Compromises of your rhythmic impulse, correlates to CSF flow restrictions in the system which the body is unable to self-correct or overcome on its own. This is the reason why over time we develop pain, dis-ease, symptoms, conditions, mind-body disconnect and basically all human physical and psychological ailments.

When the fluid isn’t flowing optimally, your bodily rejuvenation is affected, and this is where the skill of an experienced craniosacral therapist becomes valuable. By placing his or her hands on your body, most commonly on your head and sacrum, for diagnostic purposes, the practitioner can detect, feel, evaluate, and rate the SSQAR (strength, symmetry, quality, amplitude, rate) of the rhythm; then bring forth correction of any limitations with subsequent experienced hand placements on different parts the body during a session.

A craniosacral therapist helps your rhythm reset, restore and renew allowing for healing to take place of the mind-body connection, musculoskeletal tightness and spasms, neurological deficits, autoimmune issues, organ function, many common conditions, and of course pain. Through a practitioners properly focused and attuned touch, your body is facilitated to release channels of fluid stagnation and flow restriction, which ultimately breakthrough, overcome and improve CSR and the function of vital fluid flow.

Dr. Alex Kaminsky is an advanced practitioner of Craniosacral therapy, having studied up to advanced levels including SER and pediatric courses. He has built a solid foundation with many years of experience, treating babies, children and adults.

To learn more, visit the other pages on this website. Call to schedule your appointment with Dr. Kaminsky.