Craniosacral therapy (also known as cranial therapy) is a fringe approach whose advocates claim that it is effective as a treatment for attention-deﬁcit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), chronic fatigue, disorders of the central nervous system, and a variety of physical illnesses. Craniosacral therapy purportedly involves the gentle movement of the bones of the skull to adjust the ﬂow of the cerebrospinal ﬂuid (CSF) beneath. Advocates claim that the CSF pulses with its own rhythm, independent of heart rate and breathing, and that disruption of this rhythm and blockage of CSF ﬂow are the underlying causes of many illnesses. This disruption is said to be due to restriction of movement of the cranial sutures (the lines of contact between the skull bones). What is most fascinating about all of this is the extent to which it contradicts basic biological knowledge of human growth; the bones of the skull fuse together early in life to form a solid surface and cannot be moved independently. Under no circumstances, outside of a very serious head injury, would the bones in an adult human skull move at all. As its underlying theory is demonstrably false, craniosacral therapy is unlikely to possess any value as a treatment.
- Barrett, S. “Craniosacral Therapy.” Quackwatch Home Page, www. quackwatch.com, 2001;
- Wirth-Pattullo, V., and Hayes, K. W. “Interrater Reliability of Craniosacral Rate Measurements and Their Relationship with Subjects’ and Examiners’ Heart and Respiratory Rate Measurements.” Physical Therapy, 74 (1994): 908–916.
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