Saturday, August 9, 2008

JoyDad's Thoughts on Craniosacral Therapy

In the comments to this post, Barbara asked what I thought about CS therapy and our decision to try it on Joy....

I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say that of the two of us, I was the more skeptical of the woo that is CS therapy. I'm an economist, so I tend to approach interventions with/for Joy (and other decisions in life) from that perspective. I want to provide all of the help to Joy that we can, but our resources (time and money) are finite. I try to weigh things like costs and benefits/expected outcomes, risk and reward, and opportunity costs (what else could we do with that time and/or money) in order to try to determine what the best mix of therapies is. Don't get me wrong, I do also have a heart that enters into the process, but I need data to make a decision.

The big piece of data that was (and in fact remains) missing for me as we were trying to decide whether to go ahead with the CS therapy was how it is supposed to work. I'm sorry, but I just can't buy the whole "Breath of Life" business. I just can't. It is not logical, and appears to be based on concepts of physiology that are contrary to what medical science has been operated under for the last 100 years or so.

The risks of CS appeared to be low (as opposed to something like chelation), and the rewards if it worked seemed to be something Joy could benefit from. The cost is not outrageous, and we could afford a few sessions without depriving ourselves of anything else of consequence. But the biggest stumbling block for me was the woo factor. I just could not get past that. It didn't help that Orac's blog post (the one JoyMama linked to in her post) appeared right in the middle of our decision-making.

What finally tipped the scale for me was that we had heard from a number of people that it had helped them. Of course, it helped them with issues other than what Joy is struggling with (a classic sign of woo-based medicine is that the treatment is touted for an incredible range of ills), but I digress... Given the low risks and costs, I finally agreed to go for it.

And I have to say that while there did seem to be a short-term change in Joy's behavior, I remain skeptical. Other than the couple of hours following the treatment, Joy's behavior is not any better. She has thrown a couple of tantrums during the time I've been typing this post.

Yesterday's session provides only one data point, and what we're looking for is a trend. I've agreed to a series of treatments, and I will suspend judgment until they have run the course. So stay tuned...


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the thoughtful post and answering my question. There is no physiological basis for CS treatment - nor have we found chakras in any of our dissections. There is physiological underpinning for specific responses to touch in certain places. But I know of almost no effective medical intervention that doesn't require a specific dosage - surgery is an example of a one-time, long-term effective medical intervention - if done properly, of course. I will stay-tuned for more Elvis Sightings.

Trish said...

I hope you will continue sharing about this therapy. I don't know much about it and have been told to consider by several other parents, but have not really pursued it. It is interesting and helpful to follow your journey.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting on this. I'm looking into carniosacral therapy for my 8 year old who has autism. I'm curious to learm more of your experiences with this.

I have two boys ages 8 and 4. My eldest has autism and my youngest has a foot into PDD-NOS. Just wanted to stop by and say hi.

Stacy from One March Day

JoyDad said...

We tried to re-arrange the next CS therapy session to a Saturday so that I could take Joy and see it done for myself (in the interest of data collection, of course...). But alas, the Saturday session was booked.

Anonymous said...

That's unfortunate, JoyDad, but your efforts to watch are not lost on me, and likely, not on JoyMama. I was impressed with JoyMama's description of the treatment and hope that she will be as detailed next time.