Oh, those aches and pains
As the weather turns colder and a bit of rain creeps into our daily routine, many of us experience body pain. Maybe it is a backache, a knee that acts up or an all-over feeling of discomfort. Perhaps there is no pain, but a feeling that the physical body is just not quite aligned, or that our mental function is not optimal. This month, the physicians at Bambú Clinic discuss physical medicine, the branch of naturopathic medicine that focuses on the musculoskeletal system.
When you make a bed, what happens if the sheet is twisted at one end? It pulls on all parts of the sheet, and nothing lies correctly. This also happens within our bodies. Our musculoskeletal system and organs are covered in fascia, a type of connective tissue that spans our entire physical body. This fascia, when working correctly, holds us together and allows everything within us to stay in its proper place. However, injuries and traumas can cause fascial restrictions, which in turn cause pain or organ dysfunction.
These restrictions can pull on our nerves and bones, which then affects nervous system function and cerebrospinal fluid rhythm.
For example, a person injures their knee, and develops headaches two years later. While a headache may not seem to be related to an old knee injury, the body has created a pattern of adaptation that is now pulling on the muscles and nerves of the head and creating pain. Fascial restrictions can also result from everyday processes such as birth, exercise or even sleeping in an incorrect position. Once the fascia is restricted, it is difficult to get it to smooth out without some sort of intervention.
The science behind craniosacral therapy
While assisting with a neurosurgery in 1971, Dr. John Upledger discovered that the dural membrane, the membrane that covers the inside of the skull and spinal canal, moved at a pulse rate of approximately 8 cycles per minute. This was later termed the craniosacral rhythm, which cycles due to the production of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. Dr. Upledger further showed that the rhythm can be felt in any part of the body, and can change in pace depending upon restrictions in the body. These restrictions were present in many conditions of Dr. Upledger’s patients, including headaches, chronic pain, neurological diseases, autism and developmental problems.
Craniosacral rhythm changes are not only clues for the practitioner in how to treat the patient, but also were objectively measured in research settings with the use of mechano-electric technology such as electrocardiography and electromyography machines. With the publication of research studies supporting his craniosacral therapy theories, Dr. Upldeger proved that craniosacral therapy is based on scientific findings and can be objectively measured.
What to do:
Craniosacral therapy is an excellent, pain-free way to reduce fascial restrictions and restore normal function of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. Fully clothed, you will lie comfortably on a treatment table while Dr. Karon-Flores touches your feet, legs, spine, and head. Once restrictions are discovered, she will work gently with the rhythm of your craniosacral system to remove those restrictions and facilitate normalization of your rhythm. Pressure is very light, generally about 5 grams or the weight of a nickel. Sessions generally last 45 minutes and patients report that they feel relaxed and rejuvenated during and after treatment. We recommend that you allow enough time after your appointment to take a walk and allow the treatment to settle into your body.
Over time, your body will release restrictions in your fascia and craniosacral systems. Patients report that they feel calmer, sleep better, and experience less pain. Specific conditions that can benefit include, but are not limited to: chronic illness, fatigue, fibromyalgia, insomnia, birth trauma, head and body injuries, and TMJ symdrome. Generally a series of treatments are required for lasting results. Dr. Karon-Flores is available to discuss craniosacral therapy with you and determine whether it is the right form of physical medicine for you.
The Physicians of Bambú Clinic