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Craniosacral Therapy— Description and Benefits

Craniosacral therapy (CST) was developed about 30 years ago by John Upledger, DO. Dr. Upledger originally studied the practice of cranial osteopathy, which was devised by William Sutherland, DO in the early twentieth century, but adapted it based on his own research and personal observation during his career as an osteopathic physician.

Craniosacral therapy is based on several theories. The first of these is that the bones of the skull do not fuse completely in early childhood as is usually believed. Also, in his early career Dr. Upledger observed, while assisting during a surgical procedure, that the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord - the meninges - actually move rhythmically. At first it was thought that this rhythm was due to the heartbeat, but Dr. Upledger discovered that the rhythm of the meninges is a different pattern from that of the heartbeat.

Craniosacral therapists are taught to detect and evaluate the movement of the meninges by just holding the head and the base of the spine - the sacrum - very still and focusing on what they feel with their fingers and hand. After the evaluation, it is possible to very slowly and gently "adjust" the bones of the skull, so that the cerebrospinal fluid - the fluid lining the brain and spinal cord - can flow more naturally.

Craniosacral therapy is used for a wide range of symptoms, including neck and low back pain, chronic fatigue, temporomandibular joint syndrome, fibromyalgia and even emotional issues like depression and anxiety. It is especially good for chronic conditions that may have a neurological component, like coordination problems, hyperactivity and learning disorders. It has even been used to treat autism; Dr. Upledger has found that the meninges of most autistic children are unusually tight and that it is possible to loosen them during a CST treatment.

Craniosacral therapy is performed with the client lying on a treatment table while the therapist holds the head and/or the sacrum. The therapist's hands then move slightly as they do the needed adjusting. It may not feel like much is happening during the treatment; the therapist needs to maintain their concentration, so they don't talk much and the client, because they are not moving much themselves, may fall asleep. The effects are subtle and it can take a lot of sensitivity to notice them at first.

And what are the effects? To begin with, the client may notice that they are calmer and can concentrate more easily. Their posture or coordination may improve and they may have less pain; perhaps that nagging headache they've had is now gone. Or maybe they feel more optimistic about life in general. The issues in their life that have been a source of anxiety no longer seem so challenging— or hard to get over. (Because it has such a wide range of benefits, CST can be used in conjunction with other therapies, including emotional treatment.)

Craniosacral therapy can help people of all ages, from infants to elders. About the only time it is definitely not recommended is when there is a high-risk condition located in or affecting the brain or spinal cord, like an aneurysm or intracranial hemorrhage. The craniosacral therapist will obtain a medical history and may consult with a physician or other practitioner before doing a treatment.

Craniosacral therapy can be practiced by massage therapists, but it is not massage. It can be done by osteopathic physicians, but it's not an osteopathic adjustment. It takes special training to do this sort of work. But many people - practitioners and clients alike - swear by it and would never try anything else.

Michael Russell has been involved in online business since early 2001, and whilst spending countless hours each month running his business still finds time for various hobbies and interests. Article Source: Ezine Articles


Tips for Establishing a Meditation Practice

1. Meditate with Music

If music is soulful and peaceful, it brings our soul to the fore. When we hear soulful meditative music, our inner being begins to aspire for a deeper and more meaningful reality. This aspiration to reach a more fulfilling, expansive consciousness is the real secret of meditation. When we have a burning inner flame, then our meditation technique becomes of little importance. When we are inwardly aspiring for peace, light and joy, our soul meditates spontaneously on our behalf. Music can definitely awaken our slumbering inner spirit.

"Each time we hear soulful music, we get inspiration and delight. In the twinkling of an eye, music can elevate our consciousness." (Sri Chinmoy, Music: God's Universal Language

Music for meditation can give us real inspiration, but we should make sure the music is composed and played in a meditative consciousness. If the music creates restlessness and excitement, then this will not help in any way our meditation.

2. Meditate on Nature

Nature embodies a dynamic peace. The beauty, expanse and scale of nature are very conducive to meditation. The Spiritual Master Sri Ramakrishna told his disciples to always meditate when they came across an expanse of water. Water signifies consciousness and purity; this consciousness and purity are the essence of meditation. If we can meditate at the ocean's edge, we will also feel a sense of infinity and expanse. It is hard for the human mind to conceive of concepts like infinity and immortality, but when we see the ocean stretching into the distance, we can definitely be inspired by this concept of infinity.

3. Meditate with an Adept

If we can have the opportunity to meditate with a real expert in meditation, we will definitely feel something in their meditation. When we meditate in the presence of a real Spiritual Master, we can benefit from the peace and light that they bring down. If we do not have the opportunity to meditate in the presence of a living spiritual master, we can meditate on the photo of some Teacher, whom we have the utmost faith. If the photo was taken during meditation, the picture will embody a meditative consciousness. If we can enter into this meditative consciousness, it will bring our own inner meditative power to the fore. This consciousness is the secret of meditation.

4. Meditate with Others

If we meditate in a group with other like-minded people who enjoy meditation, we will gain increased inspiration and confidence in the power of meditation. If we only meditate on our own, it can feel like we are battling against the world; however, when we meditate in a group our own meditation will be heightened because we benefit from the meditative consciousness that occurs in a group meditation.

4. Meditate Regularly

If we meditate on a regular basis, then we will gain an increased meditative capacity. We should not be in a hurry to judge our own meditation. If we feel we have meditated badly and start feeling we are hopeless, then we will definitely lose inspiration. Instead we should feel that each time we meditate there is a golden opportunity to feed our inner being. Even if we don't feel as if we are making much progress, we should remember that each time we meditate, we are taking an important and necessary step to improving our own meditation.

Richard PettingerRichard Pettinger became interested in meditation and Eastern mysticism while studying at University in Oxford. After studying various spiritual traditions, he became a meditation student of Sri Chinmoy. Richard now offers meditation classes at the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Oxford.

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Nov. 2006

In This Issue

purple spiral

Reading Corner


Image: Francesco Marino / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Tales of Power by Carlos Castaneda. I had forgotten how much I like Castaneda until I was cleaning and decided to read him again before donating him to the Goodwill. I am re-reading all his books and see so much I didn't understand when I was younger. I've decided to keep my old copies. They are still teaching me.

Wandering Hill by Larry McMurtry. Actually this is an audio book I found on sale. There are four in the series though I listened to this second book first. I'm now on the third of the series. I've ordered the first, Sin Killer, from Amazon. I adore the reader, Alfred Molena, who makes the historical Old West come alive as I drive down the Interstate.

Your Inner Physician and You by John E. Upledger, DO. This is the book I was required to read before my first Upledger training. Since reading it, I've fallen in love with Craniosacral work. My own therapist used it to help me overcome a vertigo condition that had gone on for months. It works.

Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas by D. Bonhoeffer, John Donne, Meister Eckhart, T.S. Eliot, et. al. This is a collection of essays from some of the world's greatest spiritual writers. Suggested only if you really want to think about the meaning of the season.

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Copyright 2006
Suzanne H. Eller

Quotes about Thanksgiving and Gratitude

harvest squash and pumpkins Image: Jeff Ratcliff / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.  ~William Shakespeare

Got no checkbooks, got no banks.
Still I'd like to express my thanks—
I got the sun in the mornin' and the moon at night.
~Irving Berlin

An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day. ~Irv Kupcinet

The pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts…nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
~H.W. Westermayer

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.
~Erma Bombeck

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.
~William Falkner

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