Craniosacral Therapy

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 19, 2007 2:24 AM GMT
    I've been getting craniosacral therapy for the past year, and it's done tremendous things for me. I've always had a problem with my pelvis tilting forward, lower back issues, TMJ, and neck problems, and CST has really helped me to loosen up those areas.

    I'm wondering if anyone else here has also had some experience with it.
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    Jul 19, 2007 2:27 AM GMT
    Oh, and if you don't know what it is, here are some links.

    The Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America
    Wikipedia's entry on Craniosacral Therapy
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    Jul 19, 2007 11:02 AM GMT
    Actually, as a PT, this branch of therapy is highly controversial as it is not evidence based and considered by a lot of PT's and ortho MDs as scientifically unsound and "rehab voodoo"... It is not just the technique that is in question, but the whole foundation of its theories are considered by a large majority of clinicians to be based on poor logical and scientific thinking, and a good amount of sound and strong evidence based studies out there show that this branch of treatment is highly placebo, while the studies that suggest craniosacral therapy are all very poorly constructed...

    I never advocate teaching my interns craniosacral therapy... They can look into it at thier own time but it, like the well known John Barns "Myofacial Release Technique", is considered an embarrasing example of "rehab voodoo" by the majority of PT's out there....

    but, if it works for you, then there is no reason to stop the treatment...
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    Jul 19, 2007 11:23 PM GMT
    Hey NYC,

    While I don't have the medical background that you do, I do know what works. I've had many medical practitioners in all the fields that have a lot of scientific backing, and they haven't been able to do anything near the relief I've gotten from the CST.

    While I appreciate the rigourousness of the double-blind study crowd (I even worked in health care for a couple of years,) I do know that it doesn't have all the answers either. I just know that the results work for me.

    Anyone else have experience?
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    Jul 19, 2007 11:41 PM GMT
    Actually, one of the massage therapists I worked with during my training did cranio-sacral therapy, along with many other types of body work.

    I had a bunch of sessions with him and I didn't feel particularly changed by the experience, although my mood was altered. Of course, lying on a table and having someone manipulate your body for an hour in any way is going to be mood-altering.

    I try to be open minded about this stuff. Today, I had someone at the house repairing the washing machine. He was in his 60s, from the Urkaine. He walked into my office and saw a book on the body and psychotherapy and got very excited. He turned out to be a reiki practitioner and insisted on giving me a session. I've never understood that stuff either, but, hey, I'll take all the "positive energy" I can get.

    I've also had experience with Barbara Brennan's work, with Core Energetics, EFT (which is weird but seems to work), EMDR (which is super weird, but approved by the APA for PTSD treatment) and just about every kind of massage work imaginable. Also: Reichian therapy, reflexology (foot massage), healing touch, Hakomi (fascinating), psychomotor work, etc, etc.

    I think what you may not be accounting for, NYC, is the way psychological stuff gets somatized. (Somatic psychology is a legitimate field of study.) Most of these alternative therapies are trying to explore/treat that psyche/body link -- Freud said the body IS the unconscious -- but 95 percent of it really does seems to be placebo effect. On the other hand, nearly everyone somatizes psychological material and one way of effectively approaching it initially is through the body.

  • UStriathlete

    Posts: 320

    Jul 20, 2007 1:35 AM GMT
    I just had my first session of CST from it was great. i went because of alot of TMJ pain and whiplash accidents from cars and bikes. It was amazing how relaxed I was, but still had energy. She also deals with Trauma side of things to, she explains on her website. I have another treatment on Tuesday.
    listing to Dr. OZ on XM radion, he even said today, just somethings dealing with holistic treatments, just can't be explained scientificly. Being on the holistic side of things, certain treatments work on certain people/conditions on many different levels and some don't, that's why there are several treatment to chose from, find one the works for "you". Even in the medical field, some treatments don't work and some do.
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    Jul 20, 2007 1:58 AM GMT
    Geez, small world. I have met Peggy Olsen. She is involved in pre- and peri-natal psychology. I did my training under the president and founder of the Association for Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology in Sonoma County.
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    Jul 20, 2007 3:35 AM GMT
    My point is not to suggest holistic approaches to treatments are all "voodoo." I just have a problem with how some of these techniques explain their approaches and theories as if they are based on evidenced medicine... The reagular everyday patient is easily impressed with big medical jargons and buys into a lot of hype that has very poor logic and reasoning. If certain phenomenon is not well understood and not adequately studied and based purely on someone's creative theories, say so.

    If cranio-sacral therapy claims that it can work for some patients and that it is based on theories not proven, well understaood, or base one any form of adequate empirical evidence, then it would not get the bad rep it got within the rehab community itself...

    I actually send patients to accupunture as some of them reports it works for them. But I cringe a bit when patients ask me about cranio-sacral therapy and John Barn's Myofacial Release. Physical therapist are not trained psychotherapists... Our scope of practice is not alternative medical treatment. One can practice that at thier own discretion, but I would hesitate to call it "physical rehab" but rather alternative psycho therapy through movment or touch or whatever...
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    Jul 20, 2007 3:42 AM GMT
    One more thing to mention...

    Physical rehab does not "treat pain" but to improve function...

    If you charge for a service and your goal in your documentation mentiones something like "Increase strength of weakend muscle groups at least 1/2 MMT grade so pt. can walk without pain", your payment would be denied by insurance... Rehab is not pain management.

    Therefore, a lot of somatic pain syndrome are NOT covered by insurance to be treated by rehab.

    If your pain is a result of a specific PHYSICAL impariment such as excessive scar tissue, a joint mechanical dysfunction, etc, NOW that is what physical rehab and medicine is for...

    Somatic pain syndrome is more appropriately referred to psycho therapy, not PT or physical medicine...
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    Jul 20, 2007 4:14 AM GMT
    NYC: Are you aware that the whole concept of "evidence-based medicine" is under intense scrutiny now? A couple of books highly critical of it have been published recently.
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    Jul 20, 2007 4:50 AM GMT
    Here's an article that discusses one book that takes up the subject of evidence-based medicine:
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    Jul 20, 2007 6:20 AM GMT
    I had a patient recently who came in complaining of feeling tired and worn out for about a week. Just prior to this he had visited his brother in a large city for the weekend. Had done nothing remarkable while there or afterwards, or before or anywhere, had not past medical history, not family history no nothing. I ordered labs which had slightly elevated liver enzymes, but nothing else. He came back in a week feeling better. What did he have? I don't know. Somewhere I missed something, and probably in communicating with him -- not asking the right question or pressing him for an answer. I told him that my best guess was that he had some virus that he was now recovering from, but that I wasn't sure. Did I feel comfortable with that? No, but I didn't have anything better to say and he was getting better. But overall the encounter left me feeling uncomfortable.

    Evidency based medicine is good in that it has cleaned out, and continues to clean out a lot of the myths and voodoo in medical practice, but no, it is not the salvation of it as sometimes hailed. The same with double-blind studies. Yes, they are the gold standard, but they are often impossible, for phyical, ethical, or other reasons. Most studies in fact are not randomized double-blind studies. That doesn't mean the information gained wrong or not useful, often not as sure as would be ideal. Still you have to go with what you have and make a decision.

    As humans though we want explainable, repeatable answers. To say I don't know, or I don't have a good answer is not seen as satisfactory, or that there must be some deficiency -- and there probably is. But sometimes you don't have a good answer, as in the case of my patient, or CST, or acupuncture, or reiki or many things.
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    Jul 20, 2007 11:25 AM GMT
    I am with Wrerick 100%.

    All approaches have their limitations. We do not have answers to everything. However, evidence based medicine, althought not without flaws, provided far more understanding and accurate and reproducable anwers than alternative methods. THIS IS NOT TO SAY it has adequate answers to everything.

    The article Obscenewish provided is NOT describing the flaw of evidence based medicine, but rather the poor use of it by unexperieinced clinicians. You have your systems review and all that, but it is up to the experienced clinician to use his or her extensive experience to guide and interpret the information he gathers from the patient. What the articile is describing is how some new residences and interns, only iwth book knowledge, do a sort of "check list" type of examiniation based on evidence... This is not dynmaic and tunnel visioned. This is not a flaw of evidence based medicine, but rather the inapt use of it as a tool to help a clinician treat and examin patients...
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    Jul 20, 2007 11:47 AM GMT
    This is slightly off track, but I get some email asking what was wrong with the PT documentation that is denied by insurance for payment above...

    Insurance will deny payment if you write:

    "Increase strength of weakend muscle groups at least 1/2 MMT grade so pt. can walk without pain",

    It will pay if you write:

    "Increase strength of weakend muscle groups at least 1/2 MMT grade so pt. can walk on flat surface such as treadmill at least 15 min duration at more than 2.0 mph with normalized gait in order to perform community distance ambulation"

    Pain when walking? They would say take NSAIDs, insurance won't pay for that...
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    Jul 20, 2007 1:47 PM GMT
    Well, it's been a while since I read that particular article, and I don't have time to read it again right now, but I've read quite a few articles questioning the data collection methods themselves. This was the case with the scandal at Walter Reed, where everyone loved the staff but was also aware they were getting ineffective treatment.

    I'll see if I can find it later.

    In any case, I didn't suggest wholesale scrapping of evidence-based medicine. The articles I've read suggest there is too much blind faith in it, not that it is inherently faulty throughout.
  • andydude

    Posts: 14

    Jul 21, 2007 4:59 AM GMT
    I'm not going to get into the whole issue about whether alternative therapies are valid or not. I'll just say that a significant component of healing is in your own mindset, and if you don't believe something will work it's likely that it will have limited or no effect.

    It's interesting that my PT, very well regarded nationally, actually had positive things to say about craniosacral therapy, so I question the "bad rep" reported by the previous poster. The original poster asked if anyone else had some experience. I don't think calling it "voodoo" or reading other's polemics against it qualifies as experience.

    I have had CST and it was very effective. Would I recommend it to everyone? No. But I would recommend it to someone who I know would be open to that type of therapy.
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    Jul 21, 2007 11:52 AM GMT
    I welcome any questions about what I posted. As far as "nationally" well regarded, Cranial Sacral by Upledger and Myofacial Release by John Barns are THE 2 branches of theories within the rehab community that get the worst rep. AND yes, they ARE indeed well regarded by some rehab clinicians but generally very looked down by the rest of PT's, ortho MD's, and OD's because of the inablity to generate sound studies.

    One has to also understand that many well respected branches of rehab has borrowed and taken the above 2 techniques and turned them into their own treatment techniques with similar "brand names"... However, they support their own branch off treatment techniques with sound and evidence based studies.

    Well respected Stanly Paris, who has his own branch of treatment techniques, also teaches "Cranial Sacral" treatments, BUT it is NOT like the ORIGIANL Cranial Sacral advocated by Upledger.

    The very effective ART (Active Release Technique), which I am a certified practitioneer, may also seem similar to John Barns "Mayofacial" technique, BUT ALSO different. AND it has been studied objectively with EMG tests.

    And I stand with what I said, but it was pointed directly to the ORIGINAL cranial sacral therapy, which the thread starter is referring to (he made the referrence with his links.)

    I welcome ANYONE to check with APTA and even call them and aks what their stance on eveidence based practice is, I know, I teach this stuff as a clinical instructor for years at my hospital. The bad rep I report is not made up, you can question all you want, I welcome you do you own research and look into the theories themselve.
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    Jul 21, 2007 11:57 AM GMT
    Sorry I meant to type DO, not OD..
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    Jul 21, 2007 12:25 PM GMT
    Here are some referrences from Google Scholar...

    AND some studies even found Cranial Sacral to cause ADVERSE reactions to brain injured patients:

    And you will see that studies that support cranial sacral therapy is generally very poorly constructed and not objective, and all are generated by DOs oof the Upledge camp...

    I welcome everyone to do some research and be their own judge.
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    Jul 21, 2007 1:33 PM GMT
    Oy. Check this out. For only $4500 (including no expenses like hotel or meals), you can undergo 3 days of "dolphin assisted healing" at the Upledger Institute's facility in the Bahamas:

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    Jul 21, 2007 11:18 PM GMT
    Actually using animals for therapy is a big thing in the world of pediatric. You do not have to resort to only dolphines, horses will do as well :)

    Of course a lot of nursing homes also use "Pet Therapy" where dogs are used to calm the elderly...

    I am not sure if any animal have specific "supernatural" type of healing power... Personally I think that is goinhg a bit to the far end... But the interaction of people and certain animlas have been shown to restore their vitals to more appropriate ranges...
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    Jul 22, 2007 12:25 AM GMT
    Please. $4500 to float in the water with dolphins for 4 days, alternating with craniosacral work? Plus airfare, plus meals, plus hotels.

    Stay home, adopt a cat or dog from a shelter and get a massage from a CMT. Then send the remaining $4375 to me.

    I was once assigned a story on a woman who claimed to work with "dolphin surgeons" in a "crystal cave." This was in Florida. So I go to the damn crystal cave with her to experience the healing of the dolphin surgeons.

    I look around. I don't see any dolphins.I asked her where Dr. Flipper was.

    "Oh," she says, "these are discarnate dolphins that do the surgery."

    Fucking invisible dolphin doctors doing totally pain-free surgery. Woo hoo!!
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    Jul 22, 2007 12:38 AM GMT
    OMG, that sounds like something you would see on Comedy Central... Are you for real? She had the nerve to tell you something so insane?

    I agree with you LOL. As far as animal therapy, I was just reporting "trends." I certainly do not do that and I have never referred any of my patients to swim with dolphines...

    Animal interaction therapy is often performed by recreational therapists instead of someone in healthcare field. You do not need formal training in health care to do this... If anything, an animal trainer might be a better fit for this job as to avoid patients aggitating animals and thus creating an unsafe enviroment...

    BUT it generates a lot of $$$... Of course, the ones who are open to this pay out of pocket (yeah, try to ask your insurance to pay for it. Please let me know how they treat your claim if you do!)

    I am with you, I can use the $4500 in many other ways, all of them much more therapeutic than a dolphin camp..
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    Jul 22, 2007 2:44 AM GMT
    Oh, I believe animals are great for consolation and many other things. "Cat fur is very healing," one of my professors used to say. (Dog fur is very annoying.)

    Yes, I'm totally serious about the dolphin surgeons in the crystal cave. The next day I attended a lecture by the woman and my questions afterward got me pegged as the crazy non-believer. You know: I'm narrow-minded because I wouldn't admit the possibility of invisible dolphin surgeons.

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    Jul 23, 2007 5:01 AM GMT
    MY ex has had cranial work done for years for fibromyalgia and it has given her great relief from pain, but it is unfortunately only short term relief. Most insurance companies don't recognize it, but like her fibro they are now changing and finding out it is a real disease. Hey if it brings you relief continue!