Craniosacral massage therapy

A massage therapist was explaining craniosacral therapy to me and made some statements that I’d like your opinions on.

One was that the spinal fluid circulates between the brain and the entire length of the spinal column.

Another was that the body occasionally “resets” this circulation in some manner.

Are either of these true?

http://www.skepdic.com/craniosacral.html

http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/cranial.html

The only thing craniosacral therapy might be good for is to help you pull your head out of your ass and high-tail it out of the quack’s office. Otherwise, it’s separating you from your money.

I’m not even sure how that would work. Cerebrospinal fluid circulates through ventricles in the brain and the central canal in the spinal cord, and is circulated by the choroid plexus (which produces CSF) and the cilia on the cells lining the ventricles.

I can’t think of anything a masseuse would do that would change CSF circulation that would not also probably injure you severely.

CSF does circulate over the brain and spinal cord. There is no “reset”, except that more or less CSF can be resorbed into the venous circulation (at least to some degree) if there is too much or too little CSF produced.

“Craniosacral therapy” and any activities of massage therapists are not going to affect CSF flow, unless (as previously suggested) they are violent enough to cause trauma to the brain and/or spinal cord and thus affect CSF circulation.

And it’s a really good idea not to have massage therapists, chiropractors and the like do anything sudden or forceful around your head/neck area.

So rare that a form of quackery deliberately embraces such a poetically appropriate name.

The most recent massage therapist I was referred to is a proponent of this therapy. Yeah, I stuck with the typical massage for two sessions, but she kept trying to push craniosacral therapy so I didn’t go back. Give me a regular massage and keep your woo to yourself, TYVM. Can’t do that? I am sure there is someone else who will take my money and massage my muscles.

No, no, they use only as much pressure as the weight of a nickel. There’s no possibility of injury or negative side effects!

And it worked for my cousin!

I had an otherwise rational midwife suggest this for breastfeeding trouble. When I called her on the lack of evidence, she said yeah, there’s no reason to think it works, but it might be worth trying. :smack:

(FWIW, I recently bloggedabout a quick list of quackery indicators.)