The breadth and depth of Craniosacral Therapy is great, and this can make simplifications misleading.
Competing approaches within cranial therapy have fractured the field and confused people.
It is distinct from counseling, emotional release, shamanism, meditation and related ideas.
An understandable curiosity can become a pre-occupation for academics interested in the cause of the Cranial Rhythm. This can actually obscure its relevance and usefulness and become a stumbling-block.
More popular in Europe and North America, Craniosacral (CST) is an uncommon therapy in Australia at this time, with few teachers and locations available for students. Much online content is of poor quality.
The number of competent practitioners is relatively few, and determining who they are is not simple.
The learning curve is initially steep for some students, and prolonged (to attain true proficiency). The upside is a rich professional development outcome and client satisfaction.
The clinical experience to usefully interpret the tactile feedback information from the client, and hence modify one’s technique, is like a reference library that takes time to stock.
Noticing familiar cases with common symptoms, recognising compensation patterns, and anticipating treatment outcomes all assist in therapist development.
4 Anatomy issues
Arcane terminology abounds and alternatives present difficulties. The language is specialised, with many multi-syllable words of Greek and Latin origin. Cracking the code makes study and insight easier.
The sutural mobility of the cranial bones over the age of 18 is not supported by your anatomy book at this time, despite the archive of available research in the osteopathic sphere and elsewhere.
The Cranial Rhythm* is not acknowledged by medical science, primarily as objective measurement has not been achieved, plus difficulties in subjective palpation measurement. * approx 4.5 cpm or 0.075 Hz
5 Research issues
A wealth of research dating from the 1940’s to the current day exists, but it has not permeated orthodox medical science practice or underpinned popular versions of Craniosacral.
Knowledge is political and Craniosacral has little medical science power as it is not medical science; it is a valuable alternative.
Research has not been done by the right people and not read by the right people.
The research playing-field is not level. Current evidence-based developments have marginalised CST.
Paradoxically, scientific interest in fascia /connective tissue is deepening, the first international Symposium being held at Harvard in 2007, with further symposia since then.
Having learned Craniosacral Therapy, bodyworkers include it in different ways in their practices, sometimes using only simpler /favorite techniques. A particular client with an issue can prompt skill development.
Clients with cranial symptoms seek CST despite the funded medical system and weak referral systems.
Practitioner skill and clinical results with clients play an important role, and many factors can limit that.
Despite all these obstacles, bodyworkers of many sorts continue to seek training and study to build their skill and experience base as they successfully employ this valuable approach to treating clients.
Historically, Rene Descartes investigated the cranial ventricles and showed them in opposing states of tension in ‘Traites de L’homme’, published in 1677.
In 1744 Emanuel Swedenborg discerned that “The fascia is the dwelling-place of the spirit” and “Life exists in the juices between the fibres”.
Two hundred years later the genius William Sutherland created cranial osteopathy with ‘The Cranial Bowl’, published in 1939.
Manual cranial therapy has a long heritage and a still-promising future, particularly if these barriers diminish.
Malcolm Hiort, Australian Craniofascial Therapy School, Feb 2020