What is it and how does it work?
It is a therapy using the craniosacral system. Its name is derived from the Latin word skull (cranium), where the system has its starting point and, the Latin word sacrum (sacral bone), where the system ends.
The craniosacral system consists of:
1/ three-layered membrane system (dura mater, arachnoidea, pia mater)
2/ cerebrospinal liquid inside of the membrane system
3/ structures inside of this membrane system regulating the inlet and outlet of the cerebrospinal liquid
The brain and spinal cord are encapsulated in membranes. Between the membranes there is a space filled with cerebrospinal liquid. Its role is to lighten the cerebrum, to ensure mutual gliding of the membranes, as well as nourish the brain, eliminate waste produced by nerve cells and also transmit signals among various parts of the central nervous system.
Cerebrospinal liquid forms in brain chambers, from there it flows to intermembrane spaces, where it is subsequently absorbed. This phenomenon (forming and subsequent absorbing or also filling and emptying of chambers) occurs in a continuous rhythm of 6-12 cycles a minute (6-12 filling and emptying). This rhythm starts soon after conception and ends a few minutes after death. It cannot be controlled by our will.
The whole craniosacral system reacts and adapts to it. When chambers are being filled, it kind of expands, when the chambers are being emptied, it kind of narrows (shrinks, deflates). The cranial bones react similarly. Doctor Upledger (the founder of this method) has proved in his research that in adult age, certain, even though only slight movability among cranial bones is preserved, through which the cranial bones adapt to the pressure change of the cerebrospinal liquid. If limitation or loss of this movability in the area of cranial joints or anywhere in the path of the craniosacral system (due to accident, illness, long term supercharging, stress) occurs, its functioning is disrupted and it results into various physical or mental difficulties.
Because the craniosacral system comprises the brain, spinal cord, more remote parts of the body through nerves coming out of the spinal cord, the craniosacral therapy can positively influence a broad spectrum of difficulties – headache, pain in the neck, back pain, sinusitis, dizziness, tinnitus, allergies, sleep disorder, hormonal imbalance, visual impairment, hearing impairment, depressions, anxiety states, musculoskeletal system, jaw joints, etc. Thanks to the fact that it influences the activity of the brain, it is, too, a success among the children with learning difficulties, ADD, ADHD (50-60 percent success rate is stated), autism, epilepsy.
During the therapy session the client is lying on a couchette wearing comfortable clothes. By first putting softly his hands on certain spots on the client’s body, the therapist examines the quality of his craniosacral rhythm and then, by putting his hands on pre-specified spots (a ten point protocol comprising loosening of adversely stripped fascias, mobilization of the pelvic bones, work with dural tube, mobilization of cranial bones), he relaxes tension in the client’s body and enables the restoration of the flow of the cerebrospinal liquid into all parts of the craniosacral system.
The treatment takes about 30 minutes (children) to 60 minutes (adults).
The frequency of sessions varies. Sometimes just one session might help, but in most cases more sessions are needed. It is advisable to start with shorter intervals between sessions (1-2 weeks), and later on switch to once-a-month treatment, which has health-preventing and health-preserving effects.
Rest mode with enough fluid intake is recommended after the session.
SPS method (previously SM system)
It is a set of exercises compiled by Dr. Smíšek, where during the exercise, by using special requisites, (rubber rope, flexible mat, stick) spiral muscle chains are activated, which normally tend to be weakened ( e.g. diagonal abdominal muscles) and the same time vertical abdominal muscles become subdued, which normally, by contrast, tend to be too tense (e. g. muscles along the back).
Exercise causes correction of this disbalance as well stretching of the back upwards, furthering of vertebrae, elongation of the vertebrae, alleviation of the pressure on intervertebral discs joints, which enables their better nourishment, regeneration and treatment. This method is suitable for all patients with vertebrogenic diseases (back pain, after operation states, scoliosis, disc prolapse…), arthritis of the large joints, states after the replacement of joints etc., and it can be practiced by people of all age groups.
Sensorimotor stimulation (SMS)
It is a system of balancing exercises practiced in various postural positions, often using various balancing props. The exercises consist of deflecting the mat or directly the patient from balanced position. The order of exercises is individual. The exercise starts with the correction of position of foot arch and with the drill of the so-called corrected standing position (standing position based on correct position of the foot, through correct position of supporting joints, pelvis, shoulders, and head), which is the basic prerequisite for all balancing exercises and is important for the perception of the body in the environment.
Through the SMS, the most motion activities (sitting, standing, walking) can be influenced. Exercises done vertically enable the people to eliminate incorrect motion stereotypes and achieve quick and automatic activation of the muscles necessary for a correct body control (standing, sitting) and to improve the stability and the walking.
This exercise is suitable as a treatment and prevention of injuries, pain syndromes resulting from wrong body control, balance disorders etc.
The therapeutical method named Visceral Manipulation was created and is constantly being developed by recognised French osteopath and physiotherapist J.P. Barral. It was him who noticed an interconnection between internal organs (viscera) and the motoric apparatus.
Organs are held at their places by a system of ligaments and fascias. This system not only secures the position of an organ, but also its ability to move and react to various outside impacts (movement of the diaphragma when breathing, heart activity, body movement). If this system is in any way damaged or impaired (surgery, accident, illness, stress, faulty body posture, etc.), its ability to react to such outside impacts decreases and the organ moves to a different position, its optimal functioning is impaired and changes can then influence the adjacent organs, and also the motoric apparatus.
The goal of this method is to restore, by applying soft manual techniques, normal mobility, tonus and motility of internal organs, adjacent connecting tissues and other parts of the body where the physiological movement is damaged.
By applying specific techiques, the therapist first checks the area with the highest tension and sebsequently, relaxes this area by using soft targeted movements.