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History of Craniosacral Therapy

CranioSacral Therapy originated from the work of Osteopathic doctors.  It is founded on the observation that there is motion within the cranial bones and this motion is purposful. William Sutherland, D.O.,(1873-1954), founding father of this concept, believed that the cranial sutures of the human skull did not fuse by calcification in early childhood, but continued to move in relationship to the pulsation of spinal cord fluid. 


Beginning in the early 1900's, Sutherland conducted several  decades of detailed anatomy study and research, convinced  that a  rhythmic movement of the cranial bones existed.  This repetitive motion today is referred to as the CranioSacral Rhythm, pulses from the cranium through the sacrum in tide-like motions. It wasn't until the 1970s  that his work was greatly researched. 



John D. Upledger, Doctor of Osteopathy and Professor of Biomechanics at Michigan State University, supervised an extensive investigation and testing to prove or disprove Sutherland's theories. From 1975-1983 Upledger led a scientific team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists, bioengineers, whose extensive research of craniosacral dynamics confirmed Sutherland's theory, the sutural bones do move and are inherently purposeful. Thus, the development of the mechanisms behind this motion-the CranioSacral Rhythm and the development of CranioSacral Therapy.


Roger Gilchrist, author of Craniosacral Therapy and the Energetic Body described " a craniosacral therapist's perception of bony movement patterns, which therapists are taught to recognize, may give one a great deal of information about the functioning of that client's system.  The positions of these bones are indicative of cranial base patterns, primary structural patterns held deep in the body that can affect an enormous spectrum of functions.  These basic patterns held within a person's system are actually held in the motility of the cells and the energetic forces at the cranial base. This is where the biodynamic perspective has it greatest impact."

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