Bristol, 5 - 8 March 2014
Solihull, 11 - 14 June 2014 *Pending Confirmation!
Frome, Somerset 3 - 7 February 2014
Upledger CranioSacral Therapy Roots
What we now tend to refer to as Upledger CST (as it has distinguishing features from other trainings - more on that in a moment) was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician Dr John E. Upledger.
Early in the 1970s, during a surgery on a patient’s neck, Dr Upledger was fascinated to observe the distinct, regular movement of the dural tube (the tough membrane that surrounds and protects the spinal cord). Curious as to whether this movement had previously been investigated, he discovered the work of William Sutherland, who developed Cranial Osteopathy. Dr Upledger’s subsequent research in this field led to the evolution of some highly effective healing techniques, but without much scientific evidence as to how they actually worked. Collaborating with a team of scientists at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics, he was able to gain a greater understanding of some of the key aspects of this cranial work and found that many problems previously thought to be confined to the head can in fact have primary causes elsewhere in the body.
In the years since then, Dr Upledger has developed the CranioSacral methodology, written a number of key text books, expanded and refined his approach to this work and treated and taught thousands of people. In 1985 he established The Upledger Institute, a clinical and educational training centre in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
So What is CranioSacral Therapy?
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, powerful health care approach that acts through the central nervous system to assist in improving function in the whole body. The craniosacral system is the term used to describe the structures supporting the brain and spinal cord, specifically the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect these areas. Using a hands-on method of evaluation and treatment, the functioning of this physiological body system can be gently influenced and improved. As it tends to complement and stimulate the body's natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.
The rhythmic movement that Dr Upledger felt and saw in the membranes, and that Dr Sutherland had described, remains a key factor guiding what is done during a treatment. Dubbed the craniosacral rhythm, it is an indicator of the mobility of the body’s connective tissue, symmetry and vitality. Upledger-trained practitioners learn to use it in conjunction with other subtle evaluative techniques to locate and identify dysfunctions and restrictions within the craniosacral system (ie those connective tissue membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord); we also learn how to improve these. The ability to feel the rhythm (or lack of it) can also pinpoint areas of active tissue ‘issues’ anywhere in the body, and often just in the ‘testing’ process the system is able to self-correct.
When we learn to work with these techniques there is usually a natural focus around the head and vertebral column, but treatments are by no means restricted to these areas. Factors that compromise posture and function can be present throughout the whole body and, by using the craniosacral rhythm and accessing the craniosacral system, because it acts on the deepest structures and organs of the nervous system, CST techniques influence movement and coordination, pain pathways, the digestive system, the respiratory system, heart function, the endocrine system… potentially the majority of body systems.
Receiving CranioSacral Therapy tends to be very relaxing and positively pleasurable (as is giving treatments!). Ignored or hidden problems are resolved as often as those for which help was initially sought. Improvements in bite or eyesight, for example, are commonly experienced by patients presenting with spine-related issues.
Whether you are looking to receive treatment for yourself or are a healthcare practitioner looking to expand the work that you offer (or both!) you will find that CranioSacral Therapy can be of assistance with many conditions. In our experience we have found that people with a variety of problems have reported benefit, including (here comes the list, though it is not exhaustive!): migraine headaches, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, chronic neck and back pain, emotional difficulties, motor co-ordination difficulties, stress and tension-related problems, central nervous system disorders, temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), orthopaedic problems, chronic fatigue, neurovascular or immune disorders, scoliosis, infantile disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, learning disabilities, fibromyalgia and other connective tissue disorders. Used throughout pregnancy, CranioSacral Therapy improves comfort by helping the body adapt to the growing foetus, as well as helping to normalise hormonal balance. Treatment of newborns can quickly resolve problems arising in utero and during birth, which could cause developmental and other difficulties as the child grows, and may require more prolonged intervention if left until later.
However, please be aware that we do not make any diagnoses about medical conditions, unless we are otherwise qualified to do so and that level of medical ability is within our other scope of practice. We also highly recommend that anyone with a medically diagnosed condition choosing to use CranioSacral Therapy is higly recommended to do so with the full knowledge and cooperation of their medical specialist.
What is SomatoEmotional Release®
Dr Upledger developed SomatoEmotional Release® (SER®) from many strands of mind and body work, drawing on both conventional science and traditional wisdom. This part of his work is based in the belief that mental and emotional trauma, as well as physical, can be retained in the body and can restrict our potential, either on a mental, emotional or physical level. This shows itself most obviously as chronic physical illness for example, but also more insidiously in sub-clinical dysfunctional patterns such as poor immunity, lack of energy, lack of confidence, anxiety and fearfulness.
Most healthcare approaches separate mind and body – you can have either physical therapy or psychotherapy. What SomatoEmotional Release® provides is a framework and toolkit for working with the body tissues (‘somata’) at the same time as with the emotions, to work towards a ‘release’ of the retained trauma. This can occur in a myriad of ways and is frequently gentle and creative as we listen to and learn from both mind and body. SER® facilitates personal growth, helps us move from illness, unresolved issues and lack of potential, towards health and fulfilment and is an ingenious tool for sorting out our lives and redesigning our futures.
We know that a radical change in physical health, whether for the better or the worse, is invariably accompanied by profound mental change. We also know from studies of behaviour and body language that the reverse is equally true - a major change in mental perspective is always accompanied by a change in body activity, posture and movement. SomatoEmotional Release® and the tools of CST combine all aspects of human nature - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual - into one approach that can facilitate tremendous change and growth in a person’s life.
Dr. John E. Upledger D.O., O.M.M.
Dr. John E. Upledger is founder and president of The Upledger Institute, Inc. Throughout his career as an osteopathic physician, Dr. Upledger has been recognized as an innovator and leading proponent in the investigation of new therapies. His development of CranioSacral Therapy in particular has earned him an international reputation. He has also served on the Alternative Medicine Program Advisory Council for the Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C.
Although much of his experience has been garnered through private clinical practice, Dr. Upledger served from 1975-1983 as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics at Michigan State University. During those years he supervised a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists and bioengineers in experiments testing the existence and influence of the craniosacral system.
The results of those scientific studies explained the function of the craniosacral system and its use in evaluating and treating poorly understood malfunctions of the brain and spinal cord. Dr. Upledger went on to develop CranioSacral Therapy and other complementary modalities that are now taught worldwide to healthcare professionals through The Upledger Institute's educational programs. He has also written numerous textbooks and study guides, and more than two dozen research articles.
- President, The Upledger Institute
- Medical Director, Upledger Clinical Services
- Certified Fellow of the American Academy of Osteopathy
- Academic Fellow of the British Society of Osteopathy
- Doctor of Science, Medicina Alternativa
- CranioSacral Therapy
- CranioSacral Therapy II - Beyond The Dura
- SomatoEmotional Release and Beyond
- Your Inner Physician and You
- A Brain is Born
- Cell Talk
- CranioSacral Therapy, Touchstone for Natural Healing