Cranial Sacral

Describing what a craniosacral therapy session feels like is not easy. A recent client of mine said, “It feels like being in the womb of the world!” Words like “peaceful, relaxed, balanced, centered, free, calm” are often used to describe the experience of a session.

You might think of receiving craniosacral work for numerous types of symptoms or conditions. Headaches, low back pain, symptoms from injuries, recovery from surgeries, nervous system disorders, brain injuries, spinal injuries, muscular-skeletal issues, tension, stress of all kinds, integration of emotional and spiritual issues, hiatal hernias, immune system issues, and more. This modality treats the whole person, so it seems almost limitless as to what might be addressed.

Craniosacral therapy originates in the western medicine practice of osteopathy. It is a profoundly relaxing and gentle modality that promotes healing on a deep level. The focus of the practitioner is mainly on the subtle movement and slower rhythms of the fluid continuum that is present in the body.

This work began with an osteopathic doctor named William Sutherland. As a student of Franklyn Taylor Stills in Kirksville, Ill., around the turn of the 20th century, he began exploring the possibility and significance of a type of motion occurring between the sutures of the cranial bones. He began experimenting on his own cranium, applying devices that restricted movement of some areas of the skull, while freeing up or amplifying movement in other areas. He observed how these restrictions caused imbalances in other systems of the body, including mental and emotional.

These experiments revealed a relationship between the free-flowing subtle movements of the cranium and the health of the whole person. The results led Sutherland to a mechanical view of the relationship of the cranial bones to each other, almost like a system of pulleys and levers, with the spheno-basilar joint in the center of the head being the focal point of this movement. He also observed a relationship between the sacrum and the cranium through the involuntary movement of the spinal dura. He hypothesized that these movements might be caused by the motion of the cerebral spinal fluid around the brain and spinal cord.

Sutherland began working on patients to restore balance to this system or mechanism, and he taught this system to other osteopaths. It took many years of success with his patients and much lecturing and teaching before it became accepted in the osteopathic community that the cranial bones did have motion and that cranial osteopathy was an effective healing modality.

Dr Sutherland became deeply interested in what was the driving force behind this motion. He observed a type of respiration of the whole body, or the fluid body, that is separate from lung breathing. He called this motion Primary Respiration. This is the kind of breathing we were doing inside our mothers’ wombs. As his work deepened and matured in his later life (mid 1940s), he began to discover that the more he got out of the way and observed this process of Primary Respiration, the better the results for his patients. He observed the presence of very slow movements that he called Tides, which seemed to move through the body at various rates. He also observed stillnesses in which it seemed that the system was able to come to a deep rest and get recharged or reorganized. He observed that sessions in which these deep states of rest and stillness occurred resulted in his patients being able to change long-held patterns of imbalances in the body and mind. He began to develop and teach this very gentle method of the work in his later years. The continuation and evolution of this phase of his work is what is now known as the biodynamic approach to craniosacral therapy.

Today, this work is done by some osteopaths and has been embraced by many massage therapists as well, thanks to Dr John Upledger, who was the first person to present and teach this work on a wide scale to non-osteopaths. Today, many different schools offer craniosacral therapy, some with a more bio-mechanical point of view (Upledger), some with a pure biodynamic approach (Charles Ridley, Franklyn Sills, Micheal Shea), and some with a combination of both (the Milne Institute offers both biomechanical and biodynamic perspectives, as well as explorations of shamanic practices).

Craniosacral therapy is gentle and safe for all ages from newborn to the elderly.  Heidi Wilson offers classes through ASIS Massage Education in Clarkdale.  For more information, visit

4 Aspects present in all successful therapy

1)  Therapist’s local is designated as place of healing.
-The setting arouses client’s expectation of health/ help
-Setting acts as temporary refuge from client’s daily life
– Is sanctioned by the society it’s in
– In the home, setting becomes healing space by some ritual
-Such as a settling is sharply distinguished from the client’s normal
-The client is protected and contained by the setting
(Containment= space where client feels she can go anywhere they
need to-safe)

Important shared aspects of there space
-Cleanliness/ hygiene
– Therapist’s presence
-Outside environment (street, airport, noise)
-Sensory – lighting, sound, music, smell, temperature,
-Therapist’s dress
-Size of room
-Or none of the above-
-Serving (tea, h20, etc)
-Displaying degrees/diplomas

2)  A particular type of relationship exists between client and therapist
-Essential ingredient is client belief in therapist’s competency and
desire to be of help.  There genuinely cares
-Therapist believes client can Master their problem, validating
– Client senses they are accepted and understood-potentially
enhances morale

3)  All therapies are based on a rationale or myth, which includes a
explanation of illness and health, i.e. deviance and normality.
-The rationale must imply an optimistic outlook/ outcome

-Each school of therapy gives cause of distress, goals for
– Therapeutic myth must be compatible w/ client and therapist
– Rationale allows client to make sense of their symptoms, gives

4)   The procedure used by the therapist demands some effort or sacrifice
on the client’s part
-Provides sense of mastery to the client, allows client to marshal
his/her own resources.  Active participation
-Allows client to value the therapy
-Active participation serves as vehicle, encourages and maintains
healing relationship between therapist and client
-Enhances therapist and self confidence
Caution: competences vs. power/ ego

Enter the therapy with interest, attention, and heart


In the unforgettable words of Jack LaLanne, “. . . exercise is the king and nutrition is the queen.”  He nailed that comparison.  In life, as in the game of chess, Regina is much more influential than Rex.
Nutrition can compensate for sloth much better than exercise can overcome bad food.  In today’s world, how much of which foods you put in your mouth determines roughly 60% of your level of health.  Even the American Medical Association estimates that two of every three deaths in this country are essentially self-inflicted, i.e. “the direct result of lifestyle choices.”
In these days of declining life spans – sure, infant mortality rates are way down but adult mortality rates are worsening – it’s hard to stay optimistic about our species.  At the same time that research is revealing more about which foods really nourish us, our tastebuds are busy leading us farther astray.   Since the end of the 19th century, health-nuts have been warning us that we are “digging our graves with our forks.”  Why do we act this way?
Through countless generations, human beings became physically adapted to unpredictable, even intermittent, food supplies.  Long before our ancestors learned to store excess food in granaries, icy caves or airtight containers, their bodies learned to store excess food as energy (body fat).  Without that layer of protection, they would not have survived long winters or bad times, and we would not be here now.
In effect, our bodies are programmed to store fat as quickly as possible.  Every day, as we consume more than we burn by moving, we get bigger.  That’s the way we’re built.
Now that we are faced with a mind-boggling variety and availability of goodies, from complete junk to superfood concentrates, even adults act like Pinocchio’s friend Lampwick on Pleasure Island.  This “problem” of abundance is aggravated by the fact that our guts, including every one of our digestive organs, are not yet adapted to modern foods or to modern cooking.
While the most dangerous cooking techniques (microwaving, frying, baking) clearly wreak havoc on our bodies, they are just the tip of a threatening iceberg.  Problems such as soil depletion, soil distortion, pesticide and insecticide contamination, loss of vital factors over time and in processing, and intentional adulteration grow larger with every passing day.

What can an intelligent eater do?  Consider the following observations.

1.  Good digestion is the key to lasting health.  Cultured and fermented foods are crucial for this.

2.  Synthetic vitamin supplements can very easily upset normal, healthy metabolic processes
(including digestion).

3.  Human beings digest proteins from animal foods better than proteins from plant foods.

4.  Bone strength and kidney health both suffer as protein intake drops.

5.  Most people are not physically equipped to be strict vegetarians.  Our ancestors were highly
carnivorous and plants do not supply all the nutrients our bodies require.

6.  Food cooked right is healthier than most raw foods.  [Up to the boiling point is fine.]

7.  Most overheated food is worse than indigestible; it is toxic and/or carcinogenic.

8.  “Organic” foods are not just less contaminated than commercial foods, they have more
nutritional value and more flavor.

9.  Cholesterol in unprocessed food is less dangerous than the chemicals and rancid fats
in packaged food.

10.  For the entire world population, the most widespread food intolerances (aka “allergies”) are
to cereal grains.
John  Ogle has owned health food stores, taught nutrition, and health, and currently teaches anatomy and physiology at ASIS Massage Education in Prescott. He resides in Northern Arizona.  For more information about ASIS Massage, go to

10 Steps to Getting the Most Out of Your Massage Education, by Joe McCue

No matter what your reasons are for attending massage school, you are making an investment in yourself. If you take the steps now to get the most out of your education, it will be an investment that will continue to pay you dividends for years to come.

As a massage teacher, I see many of my students making the same mistakes I did when I was in school. Following is a distillation of the top 10 things I tell my students, so they can get the most out of their schooling.

for more of this article go to:

1. Don’t underestimate the necessary commitment.

2. Get plenty of sleep.

3. Become engaged in your learning.

4. Ask lots of questions.

5. Think of your tuition as an investment.

6. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

7. Develop good study habits.

8. Work on your teachers.

9. Don’t underestimate the personal growth that will occur.

10. Trust in yourself.

Joe McCue, 10 Steps to Getting the Most Out of Your Massage Education, www.futureLMT.comJoe McCue has been a practicing massage therapist and small-business owner for eight years and currently holds certifications in 12 different modalities, from reiki to deep tissue. He has more than 1,200 hours of training, is nationally certified and currently teaches between eight and 11 classes per semester at three different massage schools in the Chicago, Illinois, area. He also sits on the Patient Advisory Board of the Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern University. In addition, McCue is a trained life and business coach. For more information, visit


The History of REFLEXOLOGY
Egypt: The oldest documentation of the use of reflexology is found in Egypt, in the tomb of Ankhmahor, a physician who was the most influential official, second only to the king. In this pictograph dating back to 2,500 B.C. medical practitioners are shown treating the hands and feet of their patients. The hieroglyphic above the scene reads:
“Do not let it be painful,” says one of the patients. “I do as you please,” an attendant replies.

India: The art of reflexology was also known 5,000 years ago in ancient India. Hinduism, one of the oldest religions in the world, is the major religion of India. Various temple shrines portray the divinities in sculptured images and in paintings. A painting titled “Vishnu-padas” shows the feet symbolizing the unity of the entire universe. All elements of the universe are represented by the signs and also indicate the many aspects of the Ultimate One. Many of the Sanskrit symbols can be translated and their exact placement closely corresponds to various reflex points used today

China and Japan: Ancient Chinese writings described a pressure therapy using the fingers and thumbs. Acupressure is an old Oriental therapy, developed before traditional Acupuncture, which evolved around 2,500 B.C. The 12 meridians used in TCM also play an important role in reflexology systems. Buddha’s footprints carved in a rock at Kusinara, China, show symbols on all the toes depicting the sun, possibly reflecting the Chi energy within the toes.
A form of reflexology originated in China about 4,000 years ago under Emperor Hwang as part of Chinese acupuncture and moxibustion. The roots of reflexology can be traced to the Chinese medical book Hwang Tee Internal Text where it is called the “Examining Foot Method”.
It is recorded that a Japanese monk and others studied in China and brought the knowledge to Japan around the time of the Tang Dynasty.

Europe: Around 1300 A.D. Marco Polo is credited with bringing Chinese massage to Europe after having traveled extensively in the Orient. Also there were many Franciscan and Dominican missionaries that traveled to China, therefore they also could have brought reflexology to Europe. However, it is evident that the two streams, one from the East and one from the West (Egypt) found their way to Europe sometime during the Dark Ages.
Much later, a form of reflexology called zone therapy was known and practiced. Zone therapy relieves pain and stress with the application of pressure to zones of the body. The pressure causes a reflex action to occur in another part of the same zone. Dr. Adamus and Dr. Artatis wrote a book on the subject of zone therapy which was published in 1582.
In the late 1890’s massage techniques were developed in Germany that became known as “reflex massage”. This was the first time that the benefits of massage techniques were credited to reflex actions.

Americas: Pressure applied to the feet as a source of healing, was used by the American Indians, which could have been passed down from the Incan Empire. The Inca’s probably did have some kind of footwork, but since they did not develop any writing system there are no sources to reference.
The practice of reflexology had been passed on through an apprenticeship since the 1690’s in the Cherokee nation. Although they were the only Indian nation with a written language there is no record of footwork or charts among the Cherokees or any other American Indians.
Formally, the development and practice of reflexology in the United States is a result of studies conducted by Dr. William Fitzgerald in the early 1900’s.
Dr. fitzgerald was a senior nose and throat surgeon at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. It was at this time that he made his findings of zone therapy known to the medical world.
He developed this therapy, because he observed that when applying firm pressure to certain points on the hands, toes, and other parts of the body, it caused a type of anesthesia to a limited area. This allowed him to perform minor surgery without the use of cocaine or other local analgesics. Dr. Fitzgerald is credited for his findings of the 10 vertical zones used in modern reflexology.
Dr. Fitzgerald taught Dr. Joe Shelby Reily zone therapy. Dr. Reily used this method extensively in his chiropractic school, which led him to discover eight horizontal divisions, which also govern the body.  His work with reflexes and zones also included the hands, head, and ears.
Auriculotherapy, as ear reflexology is termed, was also practiced through the ages by the Chinese.  In 1950, a French doctor, Paul Nogier brought ear reflexes again to the attention of the West.
During the 1930’s Eunice Ingham trained and worked with Dr. Reily in St. Petersburg. Florida. She is known as the ‘Mother of Modern Reflexology’. Eunice made two major contributions. Her first was that she found alternating pressure, rather that having a numbing effect, stimulated healing. For forty years she lectured and traveled back and forth across the United States. She wrote three books in the process. Most authors of reflexology have at one time studied the Ingham method.


The primary effects of local heat applications can be pretty predicable.  First there will be an increase in cellular metabolism, and a vasodilation directly under the skin, resulting in an increase in sweat (diaphoresis), and reddening of the skin (hyperemia), and a relaxation of the tissue.  Even though the heat does not penetrate deeply, it has a systemic warming of the body because the newly warmed blood’s circulation.   Because of the vasodilation, blood is rushed into the area, drawing blood from other areas, (hydrostatic effect), draining congested fluids from deeper areas in what is called derivation.
An increase in cellular matabolism usually decreases musclular tone, which in turn, decreases any muscular pain, therefore, working as an analgesic.  An increase in blood supply, also creates an increase in white blood cells called leukocytosis.

The Primary effects of local cold applications can also be predicable, in that it is nearly opposite the result of heat.  First there will be an increasing of the muscle tonisity, followed by an immediate vasoconstriction of the vessels.  The vasoconstriction will create a decrease in circulation, resulting in less oxygen and cellular transport, known as Ischemia.  This response is essential if we are looking to reduce, or limit swelling, while blocking the body’s over zealous histamine response.  This effect essentially pushes the fluid away from this area (retrostasis).   All this leads to a decrease in swelling, a decrease in cellular matabolism, a decrease in body temperature, and also a decrease in pain sensory input called anesthetic.


HYDROTHERAPY has long been a staple in European spas. It’s the generic term for water therapies using jets, underwater massage and mineral baths (e.g. Balneotherapy, Kneipp Treatments, Scotch Hose, Swiss Shower, Thalassotherapy) and others. Whirlpool bath, hot Roman pool, hot tub, Jacuzzi, cold plunge, ice packs and mineral baths are also included. Essentially, hydrotherapy uses physical water properties, such as temperature and pressure, for therapeutic purposes, to stimulate blood circulation and treat the symptoms of certain diseases.
Hydrotherapy’s use has been recorded in ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations. Egyptians bathed with essential oils and flowers, while Romans had communal public baths for their citizens. Hippocrates prescribed bathing in spring water for sickness. A Dominican monk, Sebastian Kneipp, again revived it during the 19th century. His book My Water Cure in 1886 was published and translated into many languages. The use of water to treat rheumatic diseases has a long history.  In older texts, hydrotherapy was also called hydropathy.
Today, hydrotherapy is used to treat musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, or spinal cord injuries and in patients suffering burns, spasticity, stroke or paralysis.   Sports therapists and physical therapists rely on hydrotherapy as an important therapy. It is also used to treat orthopedic and neurological conditions in dogs and horses and to improve fitness.
HelioTherapy is the term used when temperatures are accessed through light, rather than water.


I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,
but looking and touching and loving…
-Mary Oliver

Deanne Juhan’s Job’s body, a must for massage therapists

If you are interested in ordering this Station Hill production of Deanne Juhan’s Job’s Body, visit the ASIS book store:

Psyche and Soma:
Of course if we view all illnesses as being the results of genetic deficiencies, physical traumas, chemical toxins, or the invasions of micro-organisms, then “learning” to be sick or well does not make any sense. The word “psychosomatic” itself usually suggests a disturbance that is not after all a “real” sickness. Psychosomatic disorders are “in the head,” and have little to do with the actual function or dysfunction of our nerves and organs.
And yet over and over, in many different situations, we find demonstrated that this strict separation of what is “in the head” from what is “in the tissues” is not an accurate representation of reality. Whatever is happening in the brain will inevitably find its way into the tissues, and through these avenues depression, anxiety, anger, and the like are as capable of damaging the organism as are accidents, diphtheria, or cirrhosis.
The relationships between our experiences, our feelings, and our body chemistry are undoubtedly far more intricate than we can presently imagine. We have seen how specific mental states effect specific glandular secretions, circulatory patterns, organ functions. If we now remind ourselves that every nerve cell is itself a type of gland, a gland whose chemical secretions are the mechanisms for carrying action potentials from cell to cell, we can appreciate the fact that there is probably no limit to the influencing of function and behavior by feelings and attitudes.
What we are given by genetics is the schematic layout for this system of neural glands, a layout that replicates itself in astonishing derail in individual after individual. But the number of impulses, the patterns of the impulses, and the material effects of those impulses by this generically standardized layout can fluctuate so widely from individual to individual, and even from rime to time in the same individual, that our functional and behavioral differences are equally as striking as are our generic constants.
One of the things that is becoming increasingly clear in neurological research is that mere anatomical constants in the structure of neural circuits does not neces¬sarily imply functional constants in the actual activities in those circuits. Nowhere in the body do we find experience, attitude, and chemistry more reciprocally interwoven than in the performance of the neural cell itself. Both habitua¬tion and sensitization by far the most common modes of processing sensory information to establish selective awareness, memory, habit, associations, and so on-appear to operate by virtue of variations in the chemical secretions of the presynaptic cell membrane, and in the fluctuations of those secretions lies one of the principle mechanisms for the organization of our thoughts, our actions, our postures, our mental outlook.

Habituation is the gradual decaying of a nerve cell’s response that occurs when an initially novel stimulus is repeated over and over. I habituate a sensation when I cease to hear background conversation while I am reading intently, or when I cease to consciously feel a shirt that I have put on, even though it continues to rub my skin. Although its mechanism is very simple, habituation is probably the most prevalent of all forms of learning. Without this screening device, we could estab¬lish no orderly background/foreground relationship of stimuli in our conscious¬ness, and every sensory message would register itself just as forcefully as all the others and demand an equal response-a hopeless cacophony of sensations and twitches.
The presynaptic membrane of each nerve cell is the site of this dampening of repeated stimuli. Less and less transmitting substance-acetylcholine or one of the other neurotransmitters-tends to be released from the presynaptic membrane of a cell when it is stimulated over and over in the same manner. If it is established over a relatively brief period of repetitions, this decrease in chemical secretion gives rise to short term memory-even after the repetition is stopped, the cell remains indifferent to the renewed onset of an identical stimulus for a short period of time. And if the repetitions continue for long enough, the amount of neurotransmitter released remains diminished for long periods of time, perhaps even permanently in some cases. When this occurs, a datum of long term memory is established, an enduring neurological shift, a chemical storage of a bit of our experience.
Notice here the remarkable plasticity of the nervous system, even at the level of individual cells: Even though the physical circuitry remains unchanged, the actual nature of every synaptic transmission may either fluctuate rapidly or be set more or less permanently, as these bits of memory come and go or accumulate and reinforce one another. And even though the outside world has not changed, my awareness of and response to a bit of it has been diminished. It is easy to see why this dampening effect is absolutely necessary in order to focus my attention, but it is also easy to see how it could become dangerous as well: My attention is shifted away from certain stimulations, but in some cases those stimulations, numbingly repetitive or not, may in fact be very significant to this or that function over long periods of time.

TMJ is really TMD. by Judith DeLany

The temporomandibular (TM) joints are located just anterior to the opening of each ear. These bilateral synovial joints hinge and slide on their fibrocartilaginous surfaces to provide movements of the mandible. These movements occur in most people without any problem, which is remarkable considering the incongruent and naturally unstable design.

If the joint remains functional and non-painful, then chewing, talking and displaying a wide range of facial expressions goes on practically unnoticed by the person. However, once temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) develops, life is anything but normal. Symptoms of TMD include headache in a variety of patterns, toothache, burning or tingling sensations in the face, tenderness and swelling on the sides of the face, clicking or popping of the joint, reduced range of motion, ear pain without infection, hearing changes, dizziness, sinus-type responses, overt pain behaviors and postural changes. It is characterized by so many symptoms that could arise from other ailments that it has a strong reputation as an elusive, baffling condition.

“Temporo” refers to the temporal bones which make up the side of your skull.  “Mandibular” refers to the mandible or lower jaw. Temporomandibular joint is where those two bones come together.  A viscous synovial fluid provides a liquid environment with a small pH range that lubricates and nourishes the disc as well as the joint surfaces, thereby reducing the possibility of friction and erosion.

Although all functions of the articular disc are not completely understood, its design displays the ability to remodel in response to stress, changing shape to accommodate imposed forces, such as the mechanics of chewing, grinding and talking, or from chronic head positioning and other postural compensations. It also provides shock absorption, improvement of fit between surfaces (congruity), facilitation of combined movements (slide and rotation), checking of translation, deployment of weight over larger surfaces, protection of articular margins, facilitation of rolling movements and the spread of lubrication. Whew! That sure is a lot going on in such a small space!

It is often suggested that the discs stabilize the temporomandibular joint while allowing considerable movement of roll, spin and glide of the condylar head. These movements are often performed with full loading while also attempting to reduce the possibility of trauma. Does this create stability? Gray’s anatomy (2005) implies otherwise, suggesting “its function is to destabilize the condyle (certainly not to stabilize it) in the same way that stepping on a banana skin destabilizes the foot.” This concept certainly makes more sense given the slippery, sloped surface on which the disc travels.

Conditions that improve the chances for healthy TM joint function include:
* both discs being firmly attached to their respective condyles
* each disc resting in ideal position to load and transport the mandible
* internal joint surfaces being well nourished and lubricated by healthy synovia
* normal range of joint motions
* symmetrical postural balance
* masticatory muscles being free of contractures
* no significant traumas having been suffered by the joint

Real-life situations seldom offer all of these conditions simultaneously. More often, various combinations to the contrary are observed and with nutritional, emotional and structural stresses imposed as well. Although historically TMD has been thought to be primarily based on mechanical dysfunction (such as disc derangement, malocclusion, deformity or bruxism) and has been primarily addressed by the dental profession, a more integrated biopsychological model has now emerged. A whole team of clinicians, each influencing the body and its healing process while interfacing with each other, is often required to achieve long-term results. Understanding the role that you play, as well as those of other team members, is an important step in the success of the treatment plan.

For information regarding our next seminar sponsored by ASIS go to our website at or visit


    DeLany J 1997 Temporomandibular dysfunction. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 1(4):198–202
    Gray’s anatomy 2005 (Standring S, ed) 39th edn. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh