This video is a wonderful testimonial to the power of CranioSacral Therapy in addressing children with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Please watch if you know of anyone with a child with autism or SPD. The ADD, ADHD diagnoses of hypersensitivities in children can also be alleviated using CST treatments. How? An overall relaxation of the nervous system and increase in the circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid seems to have a great effect upon children’s brain membranes. The following article explains why.
July, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 07
Autism Spectrum Disorder: How CranioSacral Therapy Can
By Tad Wanveer, LMT, CST-D; guest author for John Upledger, DO, OMM
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) has been shown to help the autistic individual find greater ease, both within
themselves and in the world around them, by decreasing structural stress and strain on their central nervous
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is estimated to affect one child in every 150 births. It’s the fastest growing developmental disability, with a diagnosis rate rising 10 to 17 percent each year. ASD is considered to be a result of biological and/or neurological disorders that affect the functioning of the brain. To date, there is no known single cause of ASD.
The CST Model of ASD
Dr. Upledger’s recent model of autism is based on his hands-on experience with autistic children and their responses to therapy. It’s supported by research at Johns Hopkins University showing “increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines, neuroglial activation and inflammatory changes” in the cerebrospinal fluid of
the autistic patients studied.1 Simply stated, ASD is partially caused by a loss of flexibility and probable inflammation of the membrane layers surrounding the brain.
This compromise can create restrictive force on the brain tissue leading to adverse strain on the internal body-regulating components of the hypothalamus, the reticular activating system and the autonomic nervous system; irritation and hypersensitivity of neurons, glial cells and neurological pathways; abnormal pressure change within the brain tissue; adverse affect on the limbic (emotional) system; over-heightened central nervous system immune response; brain tissue congestion and toxicity; and endocrine system compromise.
What is observed as typical ASD behavioral impairment in social relationships, social communication and imaginative thought might be the effects of inner chaos created by the abnormal grasp, squeeze and irritation of the membrane on the brain. Combining the extreme tension caused by an abnormally inflexible brain container with inflammation can lead to a brain confined within biomechanical and biochemical turmoil.
The CST Approach to ASD
The focus of CranioSacral Therapy is to enhance the balanced motion of:
- The membrane layers surrounding the brain;
- The fluid (blood and cerebrospinal fluid) moving into the cranium, out of the cranium, and throughout the brain tissue; and
- The areas of the body that do not show normal response to the craniosacral rhythm, which might be straining the craniosacral system and the brain.
When working with an ASD individual, the initial focus often is on the cranium to locate an area that has the greatest motion response to the craniosacral rhythm. Delicate release and pumping techniques are used to create more motion in that area.
The increased motion is used as a dynamic biomechanical tool – one hand is used to continue to increase motion and direct fluid flow, while the other hand is used to encourage motion in non-moving areas. Little by little, small changes create larger changes that enhance the mobility of the brain’s container, (the
Increased balanced motion of the membrane surrounding the brain helps flush toxins and inflammation out of the brain tissue. As this occurs, it naturally can elevate biochemical processing, which increases the function of neurons and neurological pathways.