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Perspectives on the effects and mechanisms of craniosacral therapy: a qualitative study of users' views

Perspectives on the effects and mechanisms of craniosacral therapy: a qualitative study of users' views
Perspectives on the effects and mechanisms of craniosacral therapy: a qualitative study of users' views
Introduction

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a ‘body based’ complementary or alternative medical practice which aims to support natural healing mechanisms. There is limited evidence regarding its effectiveness or mechanisms of action.

Methods

Qualitative study based on constant comparative methods informed by grounded theory. Semi-structured interviews explored 29 participants’ experiences with CST. Inductive thematic analysis resulted in themes, concepts and illustrative quotes.

Results

Participants consulted for pain relief, emotional and psychological issues and help with rehabilitation. All but four participants reported improvement in at least two of the three dimensions of holistic wellbeing: body, mind and spirit, others in one. Experiences during CST included altered perceptual states and other specific sensations and emotions. The importance of the therapeutic relationship was emphasized. Theory emerging from this study regarding CST and the ways in which healing can be enabled holistically suggests that the establishment of a trusting therapeutic relationship enables CST to take clients into altered perceptual states; these in turn facilitate a new level of awareness regarding the interrelatedness of body, mind and spirit, together with an enhanced capacity to care for self and manage health problems.

Conclusion

All participants in this study observed positive changes in their health status and most attributed these to CST; these changes were frequently accompanied by new levels of health awareness which enhanced participants’ capacity to self-care. Interviewees were self-selected users of CST and the data are therefore subject to certain methodological biases.
craniosacral therapy, self-care, holistic wellbeing, qualitative, grounded theory
1876-3820
172-183
Brough, N.
32b711e8-d3cc-45c0-8bc9-f9b02211a6b2
Lindenmeyer, A.
039aa2a8-b447-4fac-9f37-8949a0501805
Thistlewaite, J.
ad55078a-34ec-4baf-ac66-fae52d0835ca
Lewith, G.
0fc483fa-f17b-47c5-94d9-5c15e65a7625
Stewart-Brown, S.
02ee3c2b-aae8-4eb0-ac48-10e42e69e619
Brough, N.
32b711e8-d3cc-45c0-8bc9-f9b02211a6b2
Lindenmeyer, A.
039aa2a8-b447-4fac-9f37-8949a0501805
Thistlewaite, J.
ad55078a-34ec-4baf-ac66-fae52d0835ca
Lewith, G.
0fc483fa-f17b-47c5-94d9-5c15e65a7625
Stewart-Brown, S.
02ee3c2b-aae8-4eb0-ac48-10e42e69e619

Brough, N., Lindenmeyer, A., Thistlewaite, J., Lewith, G. and Stewart-Brown, S. (2015) Perspectives on the effects and mechanisms of craniosacral therapy: a qualitative study of users' views. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 7 (2), 172-183. (doi:10.1016/j.eujim.2014.10.003). (PMID:24926392)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Introduction

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a ‘body based’ complementary or alternative medical practice which aims to support natural healing mechanisms. There is limited evidence regarding its effectiveness or mechanisms of action.

Methods

Qualitative study based on constant comparative methods informed by grounded theory. Semi-structured interviews explored 29 participants’ experiences with CST. Inductive thematic analysis resulted in themes, concepts and illustrative quotes.

Results

Participants consulted for pain relief, emotional and psychological issues and help with rehabilitation. All but four participants reported improvement in at least two of the three dimensions of holistic wellbeing: body, mind and spirit, others in one. Experiences during CST included altered perceptual states and other specific sensations and emotions. The importance of the therapeutic relationship was emphasized. Theory emerging from this study regarding CST and the ways in which healing can be enabled holistically suggests that the establishment of a trusting therapeutic relationship enables CST to take clients into altered perceptual states; these in turn facilitate a new level of awareness regarding the interrelatedness of body, mind and spirit, together with an enhanced capacity to care for self and manage health problems.

Conclusion

All participants in this study observed positive changes in their health status and most attributed these to CST; these changes were frequently accompanied by new levels of health awareness which enhanced participants’ capacity to self-care. Interviewees were self-selected users of CST and the data are therefore subject to certain methodological biases.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 6 October 2014
Published date: April 2015
Keywords: craniosacral therapy, self-care, holistic wellbeing, qualitative, grounded theory
Organisations: Primary Care & Population Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 380832
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/380832
ISSN: 1876-3820
PURE UUID: 0a169032-a105-4e48-bc5e-34ce4e1d58d9

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 14 Sep 2015 14:50
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 21:07

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