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Craniosacral Therapy and Alzheimer’s

Craniosacral therapy is a perfect complementary treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Craniosacral therapy helps to improve the fluid circulation throughout the body and brain. Further, it reduces stress and can help to unlock trauma. Together with a healthy diet, meditation and physical activity, craniosacral therapy also has great benefits in prevention of Alzheimer’s.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer ’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease. The disease usually starts with short term memory loss. Later symptoms include language problems, mood swings, and disorientation and behavioural issues. Finally the patient is totally dependent on his/her environment. The average live expectancy following diagnosis is from 3 to 9 years.

Cause of Alzheimer’s?

Scientists haven’t found the definite answer to the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease. What is clear is that the so-called amyloid plaques play an important role in the cause of the disease. Amyloid plaques are aggregates of folded proteins that stick together in the brainbetween neurons. All people aging will have these plaques in their brain; some people develop them faster and they will show the characteristics of Alzheimer’s.

Current Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

Current treatment for Alzheimer patients can’t cure the underlying cause. There is medication that can soften or temporarily improve the symptoms, such as medication that improves the signals of neurons, which improves memory. There are a lot of mainly pharmaceutical treatments being investigated at the moment in different clinical trials. Some try to stop the making of the proteins that form the plaques. Other medication aims to improve the functioning of the immune system.

Alternative Treatments for Alzheimer’s

There are also different alternative therapies that can help Alzheimer’s patients or work preventively. Physical activitities reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. It doesn’t matter if its swimming, walking, gardening or dancing, moving is good for the brain. It also has been shown that is never too late to start becoming active. In addition to physicical activity, activities that stimulate the brain like board games, crossword puzzles, playing music or social interactivity reduce the risk for Alheimer’s disease. Meditation also has been proven to have benefits for Alzheimer’s patients.

Diet is another major factor that can reduce the risk to get Alzheimer’s. Red meat, not good for the heart, also isn” good for the brain. Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, eel) on the other hand have been shown to be good against Alzheimer’s  (see article). This is likely to be caused by the high level of fatty omega-3 acids in fatty fish.  These fats are contained in seeds and nuts as well. Especially walnuts are very healthy for brain and heart. Additionally cacao, curcuma and coffee have been claimed to be good for brain and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Craniosacral Therapy and Alzheimer’s

Why is craniosacral therapy a very effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease? During a a treatment the therapist makes contact with the cerebrospinal fluid which flows along the spine from sacrum until the cranium (skull). In the brain the brain-fluid carrying waste is drained into the cerebrospinal fluid system. This waste includes these beta amyloid proteins, which aggregates in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

With aging the daily turnover of cerebrospinal fluid reduces significantly. For people with Alzheimer’s disease it reduces by 75% (see link). This not only causes more waste to remain in the brain. It also means less important nutrients and vitamins enter the brain. Craniosacral therapy causes a better circulation of the cerebrospinal fluids and gives more space. So,as you can imagine, the waste can be removed from the brain more efficiently and more nutrients be fed to the brain. This on its own should have a big impact in prevention of or treating Alzheimer’s disease.

In an interview about craniosacral therapy and dementia on the website Psychology Today Michael Morgan of the Upledger Institute gives a few reasons why craniosacral therapy helps to combat dementia. The first reason is that it helps to reduce stress. As I have shown earlier, stress has a negative influence on Alzheimer’s. Further he states that craniosacral therapy reduces inflammation throughout the brain and body. Inflammation of brain tissue is a characteristic of Alzheimer’s. Craniosacral therapy can help to strengthen the immune system and combat these inflammations.

There has been scientific research about the effect of craniosacral therapy on dementia. This research showed that there was a significant improvement on seniors with dementia. The nursing staff and family also noted these improvements. Clients started to recognize people again. One woman even began to talk complete sentences again and could feed herself again.

In an interview with craniosacral therapist Janneke Borghans on my Dutch blog, she tells “cranio brings rest, but above all it helps closing off traumatic processes. People with dementia often have unresolved traumas that they already carry througout their lives, because their head can’t control it any longer, it finally can leave their body. This allows them to pass away more quietly.” Janneke Borghans works as a craniosacral therapist in a hospice with patients with dementia. Although trauma is not the first indication while working with dementia, it often comes up. Craniosacral therapy is then really good at guiding the client through the process and letting go of the suppressed emotions.

In summary craniosacral therapy is a very effective treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Especially in combination with meditation it could be very healing. For prevention I also would advise regular craniosacral treatment combined with a healthy diet and more physicical activity.

Read here about craniosacral therapy and Parkinson

Read more about craniosacral therapy

Click here to make an appointment for a craniosacral therapy treament. I give craniosacral therapy sessions in the Amsterdam, the Netherlands in combination with meditation excersises. If necessary I will do home visits to give the treatment.


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