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Autism: Connecting Through CranioSacral Therapy – By Karen Elizabeth Rowan, LMT, CST

July 25, 2010

There are a number of health modalities available today that can support a child, teen or an adult that has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. In addition to traditional medicine, the field of complimentary medicine offers therapeutic services to support people diagnosed with Autism. This field includes Naturopathic Physicians, Cranial Sacral Therapists, Speech and Occupational Therapists, Massage Therapists, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Nutritionists and many other practitioners representing a number of specialized modalities.

In 1943, Autism was first described by Dr. Leo Kanner, who noted an unusual pattern of symptoms and behaviors displayed by a number of children in his clinic. Autistic children show deficiencies in social interaction, difficulty expressing their feelings, impaired communication abilities and other related symptoms. Other signs of Autism may include repetitive behaviors, motor actions (such as flapping of hands, rocking and twirling), fixation on objects, lack of interest in others and little or no eye contact. Asperger s has been described as a milder form of Autism. The perceived differences between the two conditions are that children with Asperger’s Syndrome rarely show a delay in speech and tend to have less serious cognitive difficulties.

Autism usually appears during the first three years of a child s life. It has been reported by the Centers for Disease Control that 1 in 110 are diagnosed with autism. With early diagnosis and intervention, significant improvements in the health and well being of an individual may be facilitated through adjunct therapies, including CranioSacral Therapy, which are now available.

The cranial system consists of membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround the spinal cord and the brain. The cerebrospinal fluid acts like a cushion to protect and nourish the brain. The cranial rhythm is created by the flow of cerebrospinal fluid through the membranous tissues. If restrictions or abnormal inflammation is present in the cranial system it can adversely affect the function of the central nervous system including other systems in the body.

Our skulls are miraculously designed to allow the soft, cartilaginous bones to squeeze together and overlap. We may have experienced a natural birth, C-section delivery or the use of suction and forceps. During the birthing process, any of these scenarios may cause restrictions within the cranial system and that can lead to problems after birth. When there is resistance in this system, it can build up pressure and cause discomfort and pain, and increased sensitivity in response to sound, light, and smell. By relieving structural stress in the cranial system we influence the body s own healing mechanism, which also encourages the elimination of toxins through the lymphatic system. Studies have shown that children with Autism have an impaired ability to detox toxins. Our bodies are designed to heal themselves and, at times, our bodies need assistance.

A practitioner working with CST uses an extremely light touch to detect the rhythm of the cranial system. The therapist can then evaluate and release soft tissue restrictions, which can enhance your overall health and function. CranioSacral Therapy helps to calm the central nervous system and reduce inflammation in the membranous tissues that surround the spinal cord and the brain. With CST, we invite the body to find its own inner balance or state of homeostasis (“the body regulates its internal environment and maintains a stable, constant condition”). CranioSacral Therapy may lessen the symptoms of Autism, hyperactivity, sensory integration dysfunction, sleeplessness, ADD, ADHD, birthing traumas and other medical conditions and concerns.

Parents have observed and noted significant changes in their children s behavior after they have received CranioSacral Therapy. A reduction of autistic symptoms is often reported, including a sense of calmness within the child. Additionally, children appear to be more relaxed and less sensitive to their external environments and other stimuli. They have shown decreased reactivity to situations that may have previously caused emotional upset or tantrums. Individuals appear to be more at peace and, at times, more focused and able to communicate. Eye contact has been reestablished after a CST session, when it was absent prior to the session. Doctors and Naturopaths have documentation showing that children undergoing a detoxification program have responded extremely well to the addition of CranioSacral Therapy, which assists in the elimination of toxins.

CST, in combination with other medical and holistic therapies, can help individuals diagnosed with Autism (and related disorders) to achieve a more balanced and comfortable state of being.

Karen Elizabeth Rowan, LMT, CST, is the founder and owner of the Rhythm of Life Healing Centre in Canton, Connecticut. She specializes in CranioSacral Therapy, Somato Emotional Release, Samvahan Vibrational Healing and is an Intuitive Life Coach and Feng Shui Practitioner. She is one of only two people in the United States that holds an Advanced Certification in India’s Ancient Art of Samvahan Vibrational Healing . Karen brings over twenty-nine years of holistic health education and experience to her private practice and to her teaching.

For more information, please visit www.sacredintegration.com or call 860.693.0680

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