What causes an imbalanced Cranial-Sacral System?
An imbalanced system commonly begins with a head or back injury causing scar tissue to form between the skull and spinal bones and ligaments. This scar tissue can restrict the skull’s ability to respond to respond freely to its natural internal rhythm. A traumatic birthing process, extensive dental work, a bite imbalance, or even a long standing habit of clenching one’s teeth (bruxing) can cause an imbalance.
The Cranial-Sacral System
Most people think of the skull as one solid bone with a brain inside. In actuality, it is a complex system of individual bones fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Within the skull, the brain pulses to a continuous rhythm called the “Cranial-Sacral Rhythm” at a rate of approximately 6-12 cycles per minute. Adverse symptoms can appear when this rhythm is restricted, altered or disrupted.
Some of these symptoms include jaw, tooth, facial, back, and neck pain. Other symptoms include headaches, visual disturbances, hearing loss, tinnitus, sinus trouble and various emotional and thought disturbances.
Treating the Cranial-Sacral System
Cranial-Sacral Therapy releases restricted skull joints and supporting tissues through a painless procedure entailing a gentle application of focused pressure.
Once the joints have been “released” they tend to remain moveable because the body is designed to support a healthy, aligned Cranial-Sacral System.
Without help, it may be difficult for the body to release these restrictions by itself; it frequently adapts to abnormal movement which can set off a series of uncomfortable side effects.
Cranial-Sacral Therapy uses the body’s own natural mechanisms to improve brain and spinal cord functioning which in turn helps to reduce tension, improve general health and increase resistance to disease.
After an examination to determine the appropriateness of care, treatment typically begins with a trial series of five to ten treatment sessions, depending on the severity and longevity of the imbalance. Whether or not this approach will be successful can usually be determined within these first few visits.
The Discovery of the Cranial-Sacral System
Dr. William Sutherland an Osteopathic student of the 1900’s first researched and considered the possibility that the skull bones were moveable and restricted movement might lead to physical or emotional problems. Dr. John Upledger witnessed this rhythmical movement while assisting with surgery and put this together with Dr. Sutherland’s ideas.
Dr. Upledger then led a research team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists and bioengineers who established a scientific basis for the Cranial Sacral System. (1)
How to tell if your child has a Cranial-Sacral Injury
If your child is constantly irritable and has difficulty sleeping, something other than a diaper rash or indigestion (“colic”) may be at the root of the problem. Children frequently suffer from an imbalanced Cranial-Sacral system caused by birth or other injuries.
Recently the government released figures that showed half of all infants have fallen from a high place (such as changing table or counter) in the first year of life.
If your child experienced a difficult birthing process (forceps, vacuum, caesarean, etc.), consider this possibility.
One crucial difference between children and adults is their inability to tell us where it hurts. Infants cry to communicate. Frequently, infants who cry incessantly are labeled as “colicky”, “behavior problems” or “difficult children”. Chiropractors have traditionally treated children and newborns for neck and back problems. Cranial-Sacral therapy is an important option that adds to the tools of traditional Chiropractic and medical care.
A child born in pain learns to adapt. Living with pain uses up much of the childs “buffer zone”, a protective physical and psychological layer that enables one to deal with adversities. This can lead to low frustration tolerance, low anger threshold (short fuse), short attention span, depression, learning disabilities, hyperactivity, and other emotional and physical dysfunctions.
If your child suffers from headaches, earaches, neck and back pain, irritability, frequent digestive difficulties, upper respiratory infections or allergies, Chiropractic and Cranial-Sacral therapy is a safe and non-invasive form of treatment. It is a combination that should be considered before potentially unnessary and dangerous drugs or surgery.
Copied with permission by Dennis W. Hertenstein
John Upledger, D.O.
Jon d. Vredevoogd, M.F.A.
Copyright 1983, Eastland Press
Osteopathy in the Cranial Field
3rd edition Harold I. Magoun, A.B., D.O.
Copyright 1976, Journal Printing Co.
Additional reading: Your inner Physician and You
By John Upledger, D.O. F. A.A.
Dr. Laura Sheehan was trained by the Upledger Institute in 1995 and since then has treated hundreds of people with Cranial-Sacral therapy as well as numerous babies, safely and effectively. She continues to educate herself on this complex system.