CraniosacralThe origins The evolution of the discipline The craniosacral mechanism Cranial and craniosacral osteopathy Effects on the organism Mechanism of action The craniosacral session
- The origins
- The evolution of the discipline
- The craniosacral mechanism
- Cranial and craniosacral osteopathy
- Effects on the organism
- Mechanism of action
- The craniosacral session
The craniosacral discipline owes its conception and its roots to William Garner Sutherland (1873-1954), a journalist who left the profession at the age of 25 to become a student of the first school of osteopathy, that of Kirksville in Missouri. Sutherland was a pupil of Andrew Still, the father of osteopathy, and during his studies he had the intuition that led him to discover the principles and structure of the craniosacral system: he saw a disassembled skull (in anatomical terms exploded) and, concentrating the attention on the temporal bones came to consider them as the gills of the fish, which open and close favoring breathing of the brain. From this moment Sutherland began an intense experimentation activity, which he first conducted on himself and then on his patients: he built a sort of hat starting from an American football ball, to which he added screws, springs and belts of all kinds, and if it was used to study the individual cranial bones and their movements. One day he firmly stopped all the bones of the skull and realized that the sacrum moved a lot: this confirmed that the movements clearly perceived on the skull had a close correlation with the sacrum. Over the next seven years Sutherland studied and experimented with new approaches and methods in the osteopathic field, without ever sharing his work with anyone: he looked after his patients and, between sessions, wore his craniosacral hat to check and analyze what he had previously felt under his own hands; it even seems that, during an intense day of work with numerous individual sessions, leaving the study to receive the next patient he forgot the strange hat on his head, to the amazement of those who were sitting in the waiting room. Perhaps also following this episode, Sutherland decided to make his theories public among his osteopathic colleagues, who were received with a lot of skepticism (a situation moreover common to anyone who introduces new theories contrary to the belief of the majority).
The idea that the cranial bones, once developed, continue to move although welded through the sutures and that this derives from a vital force that also involves the sacred, was systematically rejected for several years by the contemporaries of Sutherland. With the passage of time, however, the theories he expressed were slowly accepted and recognized by all schools of osteopathy.
Sutherland devoted the rest of his life to experimenting and exploring: he defined as part of a "primary respiratory mechanism" the movements of the bones and meninges, animated by what he called the breath of life (with reference to the biblical image of the divine breath that creates life): this impulse gives rise to slow biological rhythms, which interact with the main systems of our organism and govern it.
William Sutherland was a great pioneer, with an extraordinary ability to perceive and visualize; attentive and sensitive observer of natural phenomena, he always tried to help others take care of their health, as can be seen from these words: "the professional task of the therapist is delegated largely to our fingers, which must try to locate the profound etiological factors that extend to all body tissues. Being this problematic like a needle in a haystack, we need to use fingers with brain cells on their tip […] fingers capable of hearing, seeing, thinking. Our fingers must be like detectives, skilled in the art of finding hidden things. "
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