Craniosacral Therapy for Cats and Dogs:
Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle, light-touch therapy founded by an osteopathic doctor, Dr. William G. Sutherland. The craniosacral system is comprised of bones (the cranium or skull, vertebrae and sacrum), the meninges (the three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord), fascial attachments (connective tissue) and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF functions by providing buoyant support and shock absorption to the brain, transporting nutrients, hormones and neuropeptides to the brain, spinal cord and glands, lubricating cells in the central nervous system (CNS), helping maintain the proper electrolyte environment, and eliminating waste products from the brain.
This fluid is mostly produced by the choroid plexus (a capillary network) in the brain and is distributed within the craniosacral system. The CSF fluctuates rhythmically along with the motion of the cranial (skull) bones and other components of this system and has a normal 'respiratory cycle' and 'pulse'. This was discovered by Dr. John Upledger, founder of The Upledger Institute. The pulse and other aspects of the craniosacral system (temperature changes, tingling of energy) can be assessed by the skilled practitioner through their hands.
Craniosacral Therapy balances the craniosacral system and attempts to remove any restrictions within it. These restrictions may be induced by injury, stress, infections, etc. and will compromise the functions of the system. Subsequently, this can affect multiple organ systems including the immune, respiratory, vascular, lymphatic, endocrine,and musculoskeletal systems, as well as the nervous system. Thus, the craniosacral system can affect the whole body.
Treatment involves placing the hands on the skull, sacrum or other part of the body where the doctor feels is needed in a very light manner, using only 5 grams of pressure (the weight of a nickel). Patients may become relaxed or may not show any immediate signs at all. The number of treatments needed and the frequency of treatments will vary from individual to individual. This therapy can be used to help painful conditions, seizure disorders, neurological dysfunction, and emotional problems. It can also be used to improve general well-being since it helps the body to heal and regulate itself. Sometimes chiropractic treatment is recommended before craniosacral therapy is utilized.