The osteopathic philosophy:
Osteopathic medicine as we know it begins with Andrew Taylor Still, M.D. (1828 - 1917), who introduced its concepts in 1874. "Osteopathy is based on the perfection of Nature's work. When all parts of the human body are in line we have health. When they are not the effect is disease. When the parts are readjusted, disease gives place to health.
According to Dr. Still the musculoskeletal system (bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues) is the largest collective system of the body, making up 60 percent or more of the body's mass. From the osteopathic point of view, the musculoskeletal system is the primary machinery of life.Viscera & internal organs with which medicine is always so concerned are the secondary machinery of life.
Through careful study and experimentation, he was able to associate abnormalities in the structural system (musculoskeletal system) of the body with signs and symptoms of various diseases. Dr. Still developed manipulative methods (now known as osteopathic manipulative treatment) to remove these musculoskeletal structural abnormalities to alleviate the patient's illness.
Dr Sutherland, Breath of Life & Craniosacral bio-dynamics:
Biodynamic view of craniosacral therapy stress an emphasis on the inherent healing potency called “the Breath of Life”. The diagnosis and treatment by this approach has a direct link to the pioneering insights of Dr Sutherland.
Cranial movement & History of discovery of CST
While examining the bevel-shaped sutures of a sphenoid and temporal bone, Sutherland had an insight which changed the course of his life. William Sutherland set out to try prove to himself that cranial bones do not move, just as he had been taught. As a true experimental scientist, he reasoned that if cranial bones did move and that if this movement could be prevented, it should be possible to experience the effect. So he designed a kind of helmet made of linen bandages and leather straps which could be tightened in various positions, thus preventing any potential cranial motion from occurring.
Experimenting on his own head, he tightened the straps, first in one direction and then in another. Within a short period of time he started to experience headaches and digestive upsets. This response was not what he was expecting, so he decided to continue his research to find out more. Some of his experiments with the "helmet" led to quite severe symptoms of cranial tightness, headaches, sickness and disorientation. Of particular interest was that when the helmet straps were tightened in certain other positions, it produced a sense of great relief and an improvement in cranial circulation.
After many months of pulling and restricting his cranial bones in different positions with these varying results, Dr Sutherland eventually stopped this research, having convinced himself that adult cranial bones do, in fact, move. Furthermore, the surprising responses that he felt in his own body had shown him that cranial movement must have some important physiological function. Sutherland spent the remaining 50 years of his life exploring the significance of this motion.
As Dr Sutherland dug deeper into the origins of these rhythms, he realized that there are no external muscular agencies which could be responsible. He concluded that this motion is produced by the body's inherent life-force itself, which he called the Breath of Life.
THE BREATH OF LIFE
Dr Sutherland realized that the cerebrospinal fluid has a significant role in the expressing and distributing the potency of the Breath of Life. As potency is taken up by the cerebrospinal fluid, it generates a tide-like motion which is described as its longitudinal fluctuation. This motion has great importance in carrying the Breath of Life throughout the body and, as long as it is expressed, health will follow.
Primary respiratory motion.
Dr. Sutherland named the system of tissues and fluids at the core of the body which express a subtle rhythmic motion, the primary respiratory mechanism. As these tissues are not under voluntary muscular control, they are also sometimes referred to as the involuntary mechanism (or I.V.M.). Dr. Sutherland used the term "primary" because this motion underlies all others. It is the manifestation of the life-stream itself. Every cell expresses this primary respiratory motion throughout its life. Significantly, many different symptoms and pathologies which involve both body and mind are related to disturbances of primary respiratory motion.
There are, of course, other vital rhythmic motions in the body such as the heartbeat and lung respiratory breathing. Although necessary for the maintenance of life, these are considered "secondary" motions because they are not the root cause of the body’s expression of life. Without the Breath of Life there would be no other motion. Lung respiration or the breathing of air is therefore sometimes called secondary respiration.
Sustained by the Breath of Life.
The expression of the Breath of Life at a cellular level is a fundamental necessity for good health. If the rhythmic expressions of the Breath of Life become congested or restricted, then the body’s basic ordering principle is impeded and health is compromised. The main intention of craniosacral work is to encourage these rhythmic expressions of health. This is done by gently facilitating a restoration of primary respiratory motion in places where inertia has developed.