The Craniosacral Therapy is based on the experiences and researches of the american osteopath William Garner Sutherland (1873 – 1954), direct pupil of the father of Osteopathy, Dr. Andrew Still (1828-1917).
It was in the early twentieth century, when Sutherland found that the skull bones were not fused, as he had been taught at the medical school, but designed for movement. Sutures between the different pieces serve as joints and facilitate motion.
Sutherland began developing a craniosacral system of diagnosis and treatment based on what he called Primary Respiratory System. The later study of cranial mobility and its different components is known as Cranial Osteopathy.
The Primary Respiratory Mechanism (PRM) gives the skull a movement that is transmitted through the spinal canal towards the sacrum. It is through the Fascial System that this movement reaches the whole body. This means that although we are in a complete rest, our whole body is in a continuous physiological motion. This movement has its own physiological rhythmic activity with the characteristics of a semi-closed hydraulic circuit. The PRM has a different rhythm from the pulmonary and cardiac circulations, but is also an involuntary movement. Craniosacral normal rhythm frequency is from 6 to 12 cycles per minute, although these values can change under pathological conditions.
Abnormalities in the structure or function of the craniosacral system will impact on other body systems and functions and vice versa. The primary aim of a PRM treatment is to release resistances and blocks in order to restore the body’s balance. Sutherland decided that the term primary breathing was appropriate to describe this movement, as it starts within the fourth month of intrauterine life. Therefore, pulmonary breathing was considered as “secondary” breathing. Studies confirm that this pulse lasts between four minutes and two hours after clinical death.
During the 70s and 80s, both Dr. John E. Upledger and Dr Karni continued Dr Sutherland´s studies. Dr Upledger transmitted the osteopathic concept of PRM to other therapists and health professionals, recording this set of studies, diagnoses and treatments with the name of Craniosacral Therapy.
With practice and the development of the sense of touch, the craniosacral rhythm can be felt both in the head and in the sacrum, as in any other part of the body. It is perceived as a soft and subtle movement, and therefore subtle must be its diagnosis and correction