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Natural Awakenings National

CranioSacral Therapy: A Gentle, Yet Powerful, Form of Healing

Apr 01, 2008 03:00AM ● By Linda Sechrist

David Tomlinson is a licensed massage therapist who teaches the first and second levels of CranioSacral Therapy (CST) at The Upledger Institute, founded in 1985 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, specifically to teach this innovative approach to health. He believes that given the escalating costs of health insurance, CST can provide an excellent path of preventative maintenance.

Of course, it’s best to have the treatment done on a consistent basis. “It’s the equivalent of regularly maintaining a car,” advises Tomlinson, whose teaching is in demand throughout the world.

“CST works because it empowers people to take their health back into their own hands,” he says. “We are tapping into the body’s internal wisdom, the inherent resource that allows the body to heal itself.”

Osteopathic physician John E. Upledger created this gentle, hands-on therapy based on his research studies at Michigan State University between 1975 and 1983. Intrigued by the slow, pulsating movements within the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord that he first observed while assisting a neurosurgeon with a surgical procedure on the neck, Upledger went on to dedicate his years as a professor of biomechanics at the university to exploring the head, the spine and the body’s fascial tissue.

Upledger worked in concert with a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists and bioengineers and wound up with breakthrough insights into the function of the craniosacral system by focusing his studies on the dural membrane that covers the inside of the cranium and spinal canal. Today, CST practitioners use Upledger’s method to evaluate and treat malfunctions of the brain and spinal cord that generally are poorly understood. More recently, CST has been opened up for those with no medical training because its gentle manipulations do not pose a threat to the body.

Tony Hansen of Absolute Health, in Naples, explains that CST practitioners listen with their hands to the slow pulsations of the craniosacral system. With a soft touch, equivalent to the weight of a nickel, they explore any fascial restrictions throughout the body of their client, who rests, fully-clothed, in a supine position. Effects of the treatment can be wide-ranging, affecting the musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as the body’s organs, connective tissues and energy systems. It works to release deeply-held physical and psychological patterns held within the body. Most sessions last about an hour.

Tomlinson reasons that CST can address virtually any problem because, in the body, everything is connected. “We don’t approach the therapy with an agenda,” he notes, “because everyone stores their traumas in the body in different locations, and individuals heal differently.”

Janice Jackson, of Naples, has trained in five levels of CST. “When I combine CST with massage and the Cranial Release Technique (developed by Dr. William Doreste), the releases happen so fast. It’s like comparing a high-speed Internet connection to the old dial-up method,” she says.

Jackson recently worked on a client suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Results after the first session were profound. “She called to report that the tremors disappeared for three days,” reports Jackson. 

Hansen, who also practices a multi-faceted approach to massage, uses CST on all his clients. “I’ve had clients come in with a migraine headache that they’ve had for a week, and they left my table without one,” he says. “CST is included in my toolbox of therapies because it makes everything work better.”

Connect with Janice Jackson at 5051 Castello Dr., Ste. 250, in Naples, 239-272-8539.

Contact Tony Hansen at Absolute Health, 1250 Tamiami Trail N., Ste. 208, in Naples, 239-261-8033.

For in-depth info on CranioSacral Therapy, visit

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