You’ve heard the expression “this is as much of an art as it is a science.” This was never as true as in our research on CranioSacral Therapy and Dementia and Alzheimer’s. I learned in the process of coordinating this study that a scientific study is not just all white lab coats and clipboards. There is a lot of subjective “behind the scenes” observation and assessment.

One of the things I begin to notice as I would check in on the patients in our six-week study is their starting point. If you’ve been around a Dementia or Alzheimer’s patient you notice how withdrawn and deeply inside their psyche they seem to be. Having also worked with a number of autistic and cerebral palsy children, I was also familiar with that withdrawn, “hard to get to” mental place. Although the mechanism of why these kids display their symptoms is a bit different, the outcome is the same-lack of connection and communication with the outside world.

We began to notice that about halfway through our six-week Alzheimer’s study the patients started to change-get more interactive, more cognizant, more changes in verbal and social behavior. I began to ask our key investigator, “Do any of these patients have any prior disease process or history?” It was as if I’d asked the stupidest question in the world. “Of course” was the answer.

It turned out when I was able to examine the medical history of these patients that many of them displayed indications of sometimes decades old inflammatory processes diabetes, arthritis, and a whole host of problems that we commonly associated with the aging process. I would notice that our subjects seemed to be sitting on a mountain of accumulated issues, and as the momentum of our 5-10 minute daily treatments took hold, not only would they display momentary clarity but also begin to process and release restrictions that might have been lodging in the body for decades. We had one 100-year-old woman in a nursing home in Minneapolis who started speaking in complete sentences and was able to start feeding herself.

In my own experience of treating early onset dementia I found a common first response is that patients feel more relaxed and less anxious. This is also something the caregivers and family members notice as well. The less stress there is on the body, the healthier the immune system and the greater the fluid flow.

Another effect we noticed was that family members and caregivers were able to have much more interaction with the patients. As the patients began to retrieve some memory of who they were speaking with, sometimes surprised caregivers had the opportunity to interact in a more meaningful way. This is not usually the case in the degeneration that is associated with this condition. Our hope is that continued application of these CST Techniques will offer even more improvement.