All forms of Craniosacral Therapy derive from William Sutherland, an osteopath and student of Andrew Tyler Still in the late nineteenth century. Since his pioneering of this healing work, others have further developed the field in their own directions, and these unique forms of Craniosacral Therapy are like branches of a great and majestic tree.
Upledger CranioSacral Therapy
Upledger CranioSacral Therapy was developed by Dr. John Upledger. John Upledger briefly encountered the work of William Sutherland during his osteopathic training, and then studied it further in post graduate work with the Cranial Academy, Dr. Sutherland’s original training institution.
John Upledger adapted and modified Dr. Sutherland’s therapeutic techniques and also developed many of his own, and he continues to do so to this day. He also established the Upledger Institute, which trains CranioSacral Therapy students all over the world, and which has its own treatment center, the Upledger Clinic, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Upledger CranioSacral Therapy is based on perception and palpation of the CRI, or cranial rhythmic impulse, which is the movement of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the borders of the dural and intracranial membranes. This fluid movement can be palpated anywhere on the body because of the body’s continuous fascial, or connective tissue, network. The subtle movements of the CSF cause rhythmic changes in the tonicity of the nervous system itself, which via the peripheral nerves, causes changes in the tone of the continuous bodily fascia. Thus, the fascia reflects the rhythmic movement of the CSF.
What causes this fluid movement, according to Dr. Upledger, is the production and reabsorption of CSF. He suggests that the production is of CSF is cyclical, leading to changes in volume and pressure of the CSF within the dural canal of the spine. There are many more details to this theory, but in essence this is the Pressurestat Model, Dr Upledger’s way of understanding the fluid movements within the body that CranioSacral Therapists use in our assessments and treatments.
Because, as part of Dr Upledger’s vision, he chose to teach these therapeutic techniques widely to people of all backgrounds, he chose not to label the greater forces at work in this process, but rather to let people draw their own conclusions as to the involvement of more numinous causes in the movement of CSF. He does not believe, however, that understanding the mechanics of the fluid flow and doing research that supports this, rules out the presence of God or Spirit or Chi/Qi, or a Breath of Life as a deeper cause.
Upledger CranioSacral Therapy involves a great many subtle structural techniques, but also, when indicated, Therapeutic Imagery and Dialogue. It is one of Dr. Upledger’s major contributions to the field of cranial therapies that he developed a process called SomatoEmotional ReleaseÂ® whereby the patient and therapist can engage together directly with the inner wisdom of the patient and access knowledge about the patient’s situation that may not be conscious to the patient. Thus many hidden dynamics and causes may be explored and resolved, thereby facilitating the healing of many challenging and mysterious problems.