View Full Version : Quackery or Not?

Kevin Anderson
02-24-2005, 07:42 AM
Since I know there are Doctors and Chiropractors on this site I would like to get your opinion about a Therapy that my wife has been taking my daughter to. It is called Cranial Sacral Therapy and if you have an opinion on it I would like to hear it. I am a complete skeptic and have told my wife she is wasting our money but my 2 year old has been going since she was an infant because of what my wife considered torticollis but I think was just a lot of back arching fits. Anyway, she always came back very calm and she hasn't been back in a year until the other day when my wife took her because she had been sick for about two weeks with no real symtoms other than a mild fever, low energy and pain in her legs and back. She would grab at her back, legs and feet and tell us they hurt. So anyway she comes back from the witch doctor and it is like night and day. She is happy, full of energy and no longer showing signs of pain. I laugh at my wife when she describes what the therapist says about what was wrong with her but I can't help but admit it seems to have an effect. What do you think? I've seen the therapy myself and she doesn't seem like she is doing anything other than placing her hands in certain positions without pressure around her neck and spine.

William Hunter
02-24-2005, 09:37 AM
Very interesting post Kevin. I'm not sure how to address this but I'll give it a shot. Also, it is my guess that very few MD's would know what CST actually is, but maybe they'll prove me wrong.

CST is an Osteopathic technique that's been around for a while. Some DC's get into it as well. It involves subtle analysis and correction of the sutural system of the cranium, thereby restoring proper cerebrospinal fluid flow from the cranium down to the sacrum (hence the name). Sound pretty "out there"? I think so too. However, results speak for themselves, and this stuff has been around for nearly a hundred years. Even you, an admitted skeptic, has acknowledged that your daughter looks and acts like she's better after treatment. I've had mini treatments performed on me before. It kind of cleared my head a little bit. I felt something, it's just hard to describe.

Disclosure: You may have others say that they love this technique and that it's awesome. I've always gravitated towards the nuts and bolts of my profession. I take painfully fixated joints and "unstick" them. If the joints are unstable, I provide stabilization exercises. I treat pain and dysfunction of the musculoskeletal system, not kids with fevers. My specialty is soft tissue injury, both acute and chronic. I work in a huge medical clinic (I'm the only Chiro on staff). My partners are neurosurgeons, neurologists, orthopods and pain management specailists. If I told them I was going to realign their sutures for them, I might end up on my *** in the street.

As a father of three (including a soon-to-be 2 yr old girl) the only thing that really matters is that your daughter is healthy (and that you don't **** off your wife too much).

Kevin Anderson
02-24-2005, 12:22 PM
Very well put, especially the last paragraph regarding the wife part. We had a a pediatrician tell us that if we wanted to waste our money then feel free. That really ****ed her off and notice I said "had" a pediatrician. That coupled with the fact that he was agressive with imunizations really rubbed her the wrong way. Thanks for the feedback.

Larry Lindenman
02-24-2005, 12:22 PM
Awsome outlook William. I'm not a doctor, far from it...I'm a cop, but I have attended a lot of autopsies. The sutures on the skull are FIXED, I believe by the end of year 1. There not fixed in babies because of traveling down the birth canal and brain protection for the young. It would take A LOT of force to move sutures, enough to break the skull! The thing I would worry about is are you missing any underlying causes to your daughter's illness because your going to this guy? Also how much does it cost? As you could tell, I think this is BS.

William Hunter
02-24-2005, 01:01 PM
Thanks Larry and Kevin. I did not want to sound overly technical, but sutures really do lose their pliability quite rapidly after birth. The upper neck has extensive musculature, a lot of which extends into the scalp. If you've not seen this technique performed, it is very gentle and calming, with no real force being used (which supports Larry's point of the force that would be required). The room is usually darkened and the patient is lying still for some time, while the therapist appears to be simply supporting the back of the patient's skull. It could be that there's just a nice relaxing effect on the upper cervical spine and the muscles of the scalp.

I've attended a "cranial palpation" seminar before. I really couldn't feel a damn thing. I absolutely could not look a patient in the eye and tell them that I need to work on their skull bones. I need procedures that I can reproduce and have a measurable outcome.

One last comment: Weird things do happen when you're worked on manually. I've worked on people's necks (manipulation + soft tissue work) and had their tinnitus (ringing in the ears) disappear, and had their sinus' drain completely. I never advertise this, because I honestly have no idea if I could reproduce it. The human body is still a mystery. I just stick to what I know works, and what I can rationally explain.

Frank C Ollis
02-24-2005, 01:14 PM
I am and advocate of Chiro. Every time I walk out of that office I feel great. If that is just because of an "endorphine pump" I could care less. I have seen the x-rays of myself before and after. Despite the choice of profession, and physical lifestyle, on my part, my body is not well designed. I suffer from Scoliosis(17% curvature), and I take my back development very seriously. I do dorsals/supermans almost every day. You can barely feel my spine with your fingers.

If you notice a difference, and it is for the better, it is worth it. I am a father of three, and I have done the massage therapy stuff on my kids in conjunction with child behavioral specialists, and I have no regrets. When it comes to our kids, it is better to try, and get nothing for it, than to do nothing.

Kevin Anderson
02-24-2005, 03:17 PM
I forgot to add one other detail which is really crazy, knowing my daughter. She falls asleep while the therapist lady is working on her. She never falls asleep with us unless it is bedtime or naptime and she is in her bed. I think maybe the therapist just has a real calming ora about her and that is what produces the effect, not moving bones which I agree is complete hogwash. She sees regular doctors all the time and I don't think anything is wrong with her and my wife just wants to do everything she can for her. I'll consider it sort of like a kid's trip to the spa.

Barry Cooper
02-24-2005, 07:07 PM
I talked to a guy about that about ten years ago, and he said that the skull retains some flexibility until death. Don't know if that's true or not. It does seem to me, though, that it would be difficult to explain improvements psychosomatically for a 2-3 year old. Adults, sure, they can talk themselves into anything, but little kids, I'm not so sure. It could be your wife is influencing her. Hard to say.

Alex Kus
03-02-2005, 10:54 PM
During my rehab for two herniated discs in my lower back (L4-L5 and L5-S1) I received both physiotherapy and osteophathic therapy. The manipulations that the osteopath did were not drastic and often he didn't do much more than place his hands on my abdomen or hold my head and neck in his hands. All I know is that it was one of the only things that relieved the pain in my back and it seriously helped my recovery. My sister has had her back worked on by an osteopath as well, and after a few visits she felt much better. From my experience, osteopathy, while a little "out there", really does work.