Allison Woods

M.Ost Med, DO, ND, RCST

Healing Tides Craniosacral Therapy

I'm at Cloud 9 Health & Wellness
319b (upstairs) 4th St
Courtenay, BC V9N 1G8
Tel: 250-650-3679
I am often unable to answer the phone. Please email or text preferred.

Courtenay Clinic Days:

Mon: 5:30pm-8:30pm
Wed: 9am-Noon
Thur: 10am-8pm
Fri: 10am-8pm

I look forward to seeing you!

History of Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral Therapy has its roots in Osteopathy. Around the start of the 20th century William Garner Sutherland, a final year osteopathic student was studying a set of disarticulated bones of a human skull in his collage laboratory. Sutherland had been taught the sutures (joints) in adult skulls become fused and do not move. He had a insight which changed his life, he realized the sutures of the bones he was studying resembled gills of a fish and were designed for respiratory motion. This thought echoed throughout Sutherland’s mind and he set out to try to prove himself that cranial bones do not move as he had been taught.

William Sutherland, a true experimental scientist deduced that if indeed cranial bones did move then the movement could be prevented. He designed a helmet of sorts made out of linen bandages and leather straps that could be tightened in various positions, therefore preventing any potential cranial motion from happening. Sutherland proceeded to experiment on his own head by tightening the straps in different directions, and within a short period of time he experienced digestive upsets and headaches – this was unexpected. He was particularly interested in the way he experienced a great sense of relief and improvement in cranial circulation when the straps on the helmet were tightened in certain other positions. After many months of experimenting with the pulling and restricting of his cranial bones, Sutherland had convinced himself that adult cranial bones do in fact move. Sutherland felt in his own body showed him the importance of cranial movement in relation to physical function. Sutherland spent the rest of his remaining 50 years exploring the significance of his findings.

Tissue breathing

Sutherland understood from an early stage he was exploring an involuntary system of “breathing” in tissues, and how this is important for maintenance of health. Fundamentally this property of tissues to express motion distinguishes living tissues from those which are dead. He recognized that all cells in the body need to express rhythmic breathing motion in order for optimal function. Most of Sutherland’s research was conducted by combining his extensive knowledge of anatomy with an acute tactile sense. He began to realize that the subtle respiratory motion could be palpated by sensitive hands and provided a wealth of clinical information.

Sutherland understood the connection between the motion of cranial bones and their associated surrounding tissues. The membrane system runs continuously with the cranial bones along their inner surfaces and plays a vital role in this phenomenon. Sutherland also discovered the central nervous system and the cerebrospinal fluid which surrounds it has a rhythmic motion, and that the sacrum too plays an important role in this interdependent system. As Sutherland delved deeper into the origin of these rhythms, he came to realize there are no external muscular agencies which could be responsible for this rhythmic motion. He came to the conclusion that this motion is produced by the body’s inherent life-force, he called this the Breath of Life

The Breath of Life

The Breath of life, the inherent life-force of the body was seen by Sutherland to be the spark behind these involuntary rhythms. The Breath of Life is thought to carry a subtle yet powerful force or “potency” producing subtle rhythms as it is relayed around the body. Sutherland understood the significant role cerebrospinal fluid has in expressing and distributing the potency of the Breath of Life. As cerebrospinal fluid “takes up” the potency of the Breath of Life it generates a tide-like motion described as its longitudinal fluctuation. This motion has a great importance in carrying the Breath of Life all throughout the body. The potency of the Breath of Life has extraordinary properties for maintaining overall health and balance. This potency carries an essential blueprint for health, that acts as a basic ordering principle at a cellular level. This then unites the physiological functioning of all the body systems. Sutherland had a fundamental belief that the potency of the Breath of Life carries a basic Intelligence, and this essential force could be utilized by the practitioner to promote health. A similar concept is found in many forms of traditional medicine, where the healing is placed on creating a balanced distribution of the body’s vital force.

A healthy system is signified by the presence of full and balanced rhythms produced by the Breath of Life. The body’s essential ordering principle is harmoniously distributed so long as these rhythms are expressed naturally. Consequently, this rhythmic motion is primarily an expression of health. Its existence verifies the distribution of the ordering principle of the Breath of Life, and its restriction can have far reaching repercussions.

The two basic teachings of craniosacral work are:
1. Life expresses itself as motion.
2. There is a clear relationship between motion and health.

Good health comes from an expression of the Breath of Life at the cellular level. If the rhythmic expressions of the Breath of Life become restricted or congested, the body’s basic ordering principle is hindered and health is compromised. The main intention of craniosacral work is to coax, strengthen and support these rhythmic expressions of health. This is achieved by facilitating a restoration of primary rhythmic respiratory motion in places where inertia has developed.