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The History of

Upledger Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral Therapy was developed by Dr John Upledger, an osteopathic physician. He has been featured in TIME magazine as one of Americas next wave of innovators

In 1985 Dr Upledger founded The Upledger Institute to teach people worldwide about the value of this effective approach. More than 80,000 therapists have since been trained in Craniosacral Therapy. 

In 2010 the Craniosacral Society in the Uk redefined our title to, Upledger Craniosacral Therapy, to distinguish our work from other schools of Craniosacral Therapy.

The first investigations into craniosacral system were begun by an osteopath, William G Sutherland. He worked in America in the early 1900's.It had always been thought that the bones of the head in an adult were fused together. He saw that the bones of the head were designed to provide movement in relationship to each other as they had joints, called sutures.For more than 20 years he work at proving this fact

  • He performed experiments on himself with helmet like devices designed to impose variable and controlled pressure on different parts of his head. His wife recorded personality changes he displayed in response to different pressure applicaions.He described head pain and problems with his co-ordination etc. relating to the various pressures.

  • In the early 1930's Sutherland published his first article on the subject.

  • Based on his experiments, he developed a system of examination and treatment for the bones of the skull.

  • He then organised a small group of osteopaths who studied cranial work with him. His system became known as Cranial Osteopathy.

  • In the 1970's during surgery on a patients neck, Dr John Upledger viewed the rhythmical movement of the dura matter (the outer layer of the meninges) within the spine. It appeared to him to be a hydraulic system moving at the rate of about 10 cycles per minute. None of his colleagues or any medical books had an explanation for this.

  • Two years later Dr Upledger attended a seminar explaining Dr Sutherlands techniques. Using his scientific background, from this he was able to understand how a hydraulic system might function inside a membranous sac encased within the skull and the spinal column.

  • He incorporated and refined Dr Sutherlands techniques with success.

Dr John Upledger

  • In 1975 joined the Michigan State University Osteopathic College as a clinician researcher and professor in the Department of Biomechanics. He led a multidisciplinary research team made up of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists and bioengineers. They performed and published the clinical research that formed the scientific basis for the existence of the approach he called Craniosacral Therapy

  • With further investigations he discovered sensory nerves in the sutures of the skull which register small amounts of movement. It has been proved that the craniosacral dural membranes and the cerebrospinal fluid play a major role in cranial movement.

  • The team were able to explain in scientific and practical terms the function of the craniosacral system and how it could be used to evaluate and treat malfunctions involving the brain and spinal cord as well as many other health problems that were previously misunderstood.

  • Craniosacral therapy is used by a wide variety of health care professionals including:
    Osteopaths Medical Doctors Physiotherapists Massage Therapists
    Dentists Midwives Nurses Chiropractors Psychologists- Psychotherapists Acupuncturists. 

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