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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Origins and uses of Craniosacral Therapy

Oct 27, 2011 08:10PM ● By Michelle Major-Katz, P.T.

The CranioSacral system is a fairly new physiological system that was named by John Upledger, an osteopathic M.D. While assisting with surgery on a patient’s spinal cord, Upledger was unable to hold onto the tube of dense connective tissue surrounding his patient ‘s spinal cord because it kept moving. He felt frustrated and unable to help the surgeon operating.

Although embarrassed at the time, this led to his discovery of the ability to monitor the ebb and flow cycle of the cerebral spinal fluid as it cycled through that same tube of dense connective tissue, and it was through this problematic surgery that the CranioSacral system was born. The patient’s surgery turned out fine, and after much growth and research, Upledger went on to eventually open the Upledger School of CranioSacral Therapy. Upledger realized that the connective tissue of the craniosacral system was a giant tube that wrapped around the spinal cord all the way into the sacrum, and ran up through the hole in our skull, around our brain, and attached to the inside of our skull bones.

During his intensive research in areas of connective tissue restrictions around the brain, Upledger found out that displacement of the cranial bones, spine or even a more peripheral source, such as a major muscle pulling on the spine, could have significant effects on the functions of the brain and its many connected systems.

The chronic tension of connective tissue, pulled off-center, can and does play havoc with our energy, moods, cranial nerves, brain function, neck motion and right on down into the rest of our spine and outward. All “craniosacral” therapy is not the same. Upledger techniques are highly skilled. Therefore, look for both experience and schooling in a therapist. The good news is that you may get rid of that headache and back pain, after all.

Michelle Major-Katz P.T. practices at Inspire Physical Therapy, in Tucson. Contact her at 468-2214. For more information visit