P o n d e r i n g s

. . . on CranioSacral Therapy.

It is not often that I support a therapy of any kind without having extensively tried it first, but such is the case with what is known as CranioSacral Therapy, or CST. Though the therapy has been around since the early 1900s, it wasn't until recently that the mechanism for it was even partially understood. Medical science knew the techniques worked, but not how or why. In early 1970, Dr. John Upledger discovered, quite by accident, that ordinarily the dura mater, the membrane encompassing the brain, is not only pliable, but actually moves around in a rhythmic manner. Dr. Upledger later noted that whenever this membrane ceased to be pliable, a variety of nervous system-related disorders and conditions would inevitably erupt. (1) Dr. Upledger also notes "the manual stretching of the restrictive dura mater by the use of CranioSacral Therapy techniques has provided impressive improvement in autism." (2)

Whenever I hear of a new therapy for autism, my first response is always to question why such an approach should work, given what we currently know of how the human body functions. After all, the body is a very logical set of machinery. I have also known that if there were three constants in autism, it would be (1) the core of the brain has suffered a setback in its development, and now must work to catch up with the rest of the body; (2) the autistic individual suffers high levels of stress on a constant, almost continuous basis; and (3) everything is inter-related. Obviously, the membrane would have to be quite pliable for this kind of development to occur. Like in any other kind of "office" setting, not much gets done when things get too cramped. The neocerebellum is hindered even further in its functioning, and the resulting frustration is expressed in terms of autism-related behaviors. It makes sense to me, alright.

I also find it interesting that Dr. Upledger notes that stress frequently correlates with a lack of pliability in this same ever-so- valuable membrane. (3) Having autism myself, I have had to cope with high levels of stress my entire life. I treasure my ability to be high-functioning most of the time, but even that has its downside in that it makes me acutely aware of my sensory-related pain. I have noticed, throughout my childhood and teen years, a recurring tightness in my skull that always seemed to precede times when my sensory-related problems were at their worst. In all my years of searching for a way to cope, mostly by trial and error, one of the few things I found to really help lessen the sensory torture was to just stand in the shower and let the hot water beat down on the back of my head. Perhaps that was my own version of this kind of therapy. I never have understood why therapy should be expensive to be effective.

(1)Upledger, John E. (2000). Discover CranioSacral Therapy. [Online]. Available HTTP: http://www.upledger.com/discover.htm

(2)Upledger, John E. (2000). Autism - Observations, Experiences, and Concepts. [Online]. Available HTTP: http://www.upledger.com/Clinic/autism.htm

(3)Upledger, John E. (2000). Autism - Observations, Experiences, and Concepts. [Online]. Available HTTP: http://www.upledger.com/Clinic/autism.htm

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More Ponderings on:
  • New Year Resolutions
  • Rituals
  • Sensory Integration
  • Sensory Overload, #1
  • Sensory Overload, #2
  • Why I Chose To Speak Out
  • Working Together

  • * "A Reason for Hope: Insights into Autism" by Daniel R. Hawthorne, copyrighted 2007. "Child of the Forest" by Daniel R. Hawthorne, copyrighted 2004.

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