During the early 1900s American osteopath Dr William Sutherland discovered intrinsic movements of the bones in the head. Further observations revealed a variety of different rhythms which along with the intrinsic movements, Sutherland considered to be a direct expression of health which offered a way of working with the physical as well as the more subtle aspects of life.
Additional studies drew a link between the movements and mental and emotional health, showing that if movement was restricted our natural capacity to self heal was reduced. Similarly a limitation or absence of the movements implies a reduction in the expression of health which could lead to disease. Sutherland discovered that by using his hands to find the areas of restricted movements he could facilitate changes and re-establish normal movement.
Craniosacral therapy is a slightly different process, developed around 30 years ago by Dr John E Upledger who initially practised in cranial osteopathy. After making observations during his career as an osteopathic physician Upledger developed a similar process, now known as craniosacral therapy.
Whereas cranial osteopathy focuses on the rhythm in the cranial bones and the manipulation of these bones to restore the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, craniosacral therapists believe the rhythms originate in the membranes that encase the brain and the spinal chord and instead focus on locating these imbalances before using their hands to gently apply pressure to certain areas of the body in order to improve the fluid circulation.