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Parkinson’s Disease and Craniosacral Therapy

Parkinson’s disease is a complex and lingering degenerative disorder. Myself I have seen a grandfather and grandmother from both sides of the family suffering from Parkinson. Craniosacral therapy has the potential to be great complementary therapy for Parkinson’s disease and to reduce it’s symptoms.

Craniosacral therapy can help to treat and prevent aging diseases like Parkinson’s disease. I wrote my thesis for my craniosacral therapy BA on the cause of aging diseases. Bio engineer Aubrey de Grey distinguishes in his book “Ending Aging” seven causes of aging and how they can be prevented in the future. In my thesis I translated some of his solutions to a craniosacral approach. Especially the cleansing of garbage from the brain that a craniosacral therapist does while working on the skull should have a positive influence. And also talking to the cell, as developed by Dr. Upledger himself, has a lot of potential in treating aging diseases. If for example you can make contact to stemcells, the possibilities are endless. Let me explain possibilities of how to treat Parkinson’s disease with craniosacral therapy.

The elegant solution

The most elegant solution is of course to tackle the cause of Parkinson. Unfortunately scientists haven’t found of agreed yet on the exact cause of Parkinson’s disease. There has been done a considerable amount of research that can help us though. As is general known if more than 70% of dopamine producing cells have died symptoms of Parkinson will become visible. The nerve cells that make dopamine are placed in the substantia nigra. With the different parts of the brain you can make contact by placing the hands on the relating part on the skull. Through intention you can make contact with the substantia nigra and communicate. If this happens discharge and detoxification can take place, which will be healing for the client.

Lewy_Body_alphaSynucleinThe real potential is actually much larger. Imagine that you can make contact on cell level with the neurons in the substantia nigra? In dead neurons from the substantia nigra of Parkinson patients researchers have found an accumulation of a certain proteins, called Lewy Bodies. In a later stage of Parkinson the Lewy Bodies are also found in cells of the midbrain and forebrain. Finally in the neocortex as well. With the help of communication of the cells (Cell Talk) you can see what the cause is of the accumulation of Lewy Bodies and ask to clean it. There could be an emotional cause behind it as well. Lousie L. Hay wrote that the possible emotional cause of Parkinson’s disease is “fear and an intense desire to be the boss over everything and everyone”. Maybe you should take that with a pinch of salt, but somehow I can relate to it as well. Of course it is not an easy solution to make contact with the cells. It requires a deep connection of client and therapist with the neurons. It is the most elegant solution though.

Basal Ganglia

The loss of neurons in the substantia nigra causes a dopamine deficiency in the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia can be found in the midbrain next to the sides of the lateral ventricles. They are part of motor system. This motor system is responsible for the automatic and mostly unconscious movements. Through the dopamine deficiency the basal ganglia will start to fucntion less. Slow movements, shaking, rigidity and difficulty with walking.

What can craniosacral therapy do for the damaged basal ganglia? First the basal ganglia are place on the sides of lateral ventricles, which are filled with cerebro spinal fluid. One of the foundations of craniosacral therapy is to work on a better balance and movement of the cerebrospinal fluid. Also with the lateral ventricles the therapist has been taught how to connect to them. It will then also be possible to connect with the basal ganglia, once connection with lateral ventricles has been. If the connection with basal ganglia has been established connection stress release and cleansing can be done. The cells will communicate themselves what is needed. Als contact can be made to different parts of the basal ganglia like the striatum, globus pallidus, nucleus accumbus and the subthalic nucleus. Working on the basal ganglia has the potential to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.


After working with the basal ganglia the other main component of the motor system can also be treated. This is the cerebellum which is often already part of craniosacral treatment. The cerebellum can be balanced and discharged by putting hands on both parts of the cerebellum. The cerebellum vermis can be balanced. Both parts left and right can be treated seperately. And finally the different lobes of the cerebellum can be unwinded as well. Like working on the basal ganglia, treating the cerebellum can reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Finally we can conclude that craniosacral therapy has the potential to be a great complementary therapy for Parkinson’s diseases. Unfortunately no clinical research has been done yet to proof the effect of craniosacral therapy on Parkinson patients. I hope in the future this will be done, because I have trust that next to calmness and balance, craniosacral therapy can also on a deeper level help the Parkinson patient.

Update 2017 July 12th:

I would like to add a link to the Parkinsons Energy Project in Portland, Oregon. In this project 11 volunteers with Parkinsons diseases received 6 treatments of 30 minutes within 4 months. The study showed a relief of the symptoms of Parkinson’s diseases. Quality of life also impressive improved for the participants. Especially the videos on the website show dramatic improvement of the motor functions of the volunteers. For more informatin see this link:


5 thoughts on “Parkinson’s Disease and Craniosacral Therapy

  1. Donna Waks

    Thanks for sharing this. I have been working with a person w/Lewey Body weekly for almost 2 years. Now my work is mostly cst (vs. Structural release & rom) as she has little voluntary movement i.e. stuck in a contracted pattern of flexion and clearly it is coming from a deeper more primal place . . . I work mostly at head & sacrum and the work generally seems to relax her and sometimes she is more engaged postcsession. I will let your information influence my intention and let you know if anything of note happens.

  2. Donna Willems

    I just began working with a re English diagnosed client with Parkinson’s disease. Cst clearly decreases his stress cascade and gives him an overall peace and calming. Is there anything specific that you can offer me other than what you h already posted. Thank you in advance.

    1. willem Post author

      Dear Donna, most things I know I already posted here. Everything that takes tension out of the nervous system seems to be good, also techniques like unwinding the arms I always use. There are some alternative methods that are good for the brain that I listed in my posted in my article on Alzheimer’s: Especially the daily 12 minute meditation is very good in my experience. Willem

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