CranioSacral Therapy is a trademarked approach to cranial work taught by the Upledger Institute. Dr. Benson has taken a full range of courses in this approach, studying directly with John Upledger, DO, originator of the technique. I have combined that technique with chiropractic cranial techniques called Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT) and osteopathic cranial adjusting. The cranial system has been an area of interest and expertise throughout my 30+ year career.
Dr. Benson is Kitsap County’s doctor of Cranial Therapy
Anyone with a license to provide massage therapy or other health care can present themselves as doing CranioSacral therapy if they have completed certain courses. Skill and expertise levels vary widely. Trust your pain and your brain to a deeply skilled and experienced practitioner.
How does Cranial Therapy help?
There are 27 bones that make up the skull, and they normally move slightly in relation to one another at joints called sutures. This motion is critical in circulating the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)- the cushioning and nourishing fluid around the brain and spinal cord. Research suggests the cerebrospinal fluid affects sleep, appetite, and sexual behavior; I would suggest that it affects everything in the nervous system. CSF provides nutrients to the parts of the brain and nervous system that are protected from the general circulation by the blood-brain barrier.
CSF is also the ‘sewer system’ of the brain, allowing the removal of waste products during sleep. When the circulation of this fluid is disturbed, many symptoms may result, including headaches, dizziness, “foggy brain”, jaw and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, reduced mental functioning,some forms of tinnitis, focus and gaze difficulties, facial spasm and pain, chronic fatigue, and recurrent sinus infection.
This disturbance may begin as early as the birth process– as it did in my case. Sometimes the misshapen head you see in a newborn is inconsequential, sometimes it’s the beginning of a lifelong problem. It’s worth having a newborn checked within a few days of birth, to prevent later issues. Many cases of colic and recurrent ear infections can be cleared in a few treatments.
Cranial therapy is subtle and extremely gentle, but very powerful. I work with the natural hydraulic respiration of the skull bones, gently encouraging release where it is needed. There is no “forcing” in cranial therapy, properly done. Any alteration in the normal motion or position of the cranial bones is referred to as a cranial fault, and treatment is directed toward removing those faults for optimum CSF circulation.
Migraine and tension headache relief
Cranial problems can cause headache directly, as the joints and sutures become inflamed. Since sinuses drain through small holes at the edges of the cranial bones, inflammation at those edges can prevent the sinuses from draining properly, causing sinus headache. Cranial faults can serve as triggers for migraine and tension headache, and combined with appropriate chiropractic work, especially on the neck, can reduce frequency and intensity of these troubling symptoms.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD)
The joint between the mandible (jawbone) and the temporal bone (just ahead of your ear canals) (TMJ) can be a source of pain and difficulty eating. It is a complex joint, and depends on proper alignment between the joint surfaces. In fact, the TMJ is just one part of a deeply interconnected joint complex involving everything above the collarbones. Muscles pull the jaw open and closed and from side to side, and cooperate with the structures involved in swallowing. Cranial work can recalibrate and realign the entire complex and greatly reduce or eliminate TMJ problems.
Depression and reduced mental alertness- ‘foggy brain’
If the fluid isn’t circulating properly around the brain and spinal cord, the nervous system isn’t nourished well, and waste products build up. The brain doesn’t work at it’s optimum level. Patients often describe this sensation as “foggy brain”. For proper function and full alertness, you need a fresh, healthy flow of CSF!
Trigeminal Neuralgia (Tic Douloureux)
This is an extremely painful and debilitating problem that has been described as ‘having a knife stuck into your face a couple of times an hour’. I have had exceptional success in treating this disorder with cranial work. Several patients who were at the end of their rope and considering surgery to destroy the painful nerve were thrilled to have the condition completely resolved in a few weeks.
Deep relaxation, deep integration
CranioSacral therapy is deeply relaxing, and normalizes some of the most fundamental rhythms in the body. For even more information about the techniques, follow these links to the Upledger Institute and to Sacro-Occipital Technique.