European Cranio-Sacral Therapy

European Cranio-sacral therapy was developed by Bulgarian scientist Boris Ivanov MD. Ph.D. In 1966 he completed the research on the subject and proposed the concept of the relation between spinal mechanical disturbances and the development of spinal degenerative diseases. Dr. Ivanov was searching for the way to improve performances of professional athletes, prevent spinal column sports-related injuries and, disproportional to the young age, development of degenerative disease in the spine by an improvement of spinal biomechanics. Dr. Ivanov called his methodology for clinical bio-mechanics/craniosacral therapy.

This methodology should not be confused with what is typically called craniosacral therapy in the United States.

During his study, prof. Ivanov found out that spinal movement segments, those composing the entire spine, are related from the perspective of biomechanics. If any segment of the cervical spine, because of subluxation or any other reason, would be blocked or limited in movement, other segments located below or above it, would start compensating this limitation in the spinal movement by becoming hypermobile. At the same time, other divisions of the thoracic or lumbar spine will change their biomechanics. Some will become hypermobile while some others will become blocked or limited in movement. In additional prof. Ivanov found out that the sacrum division of the spinal column plays a very important role in the movements of cerebral spinal fluids. Similarly to the lymphatic system that is responsible for the disposal of metabolic waste from all body components, cerebral spinal fluid supports the disposal of metabolic waste from CNS.

Normal spinal biomechanical function implies sacrum movements in the anterior-posterior direction, playing the role of a mechanical pump, increasing pressure as well as circulation of cerebral spinal fluid.  In the case of spinal biomechanical disturbances, motion in anterior-posterior direction is limited and sacrum moves in different axes and planes.

Insufficient and improper movement in sacrum not only triggers a compensatory movement, pre-exposes one to injuries as well as to developments of degenerative spinal diseases, but also disturbs local metabolism within the brain, on the level of cerebral spinal fluids.  This exposure causes calcification of brain cells, blockage of cerebral spinal fluid drainage through “pipes“ or pathways and initiates and stimulates Alzheimer's disease and other brain functions. Restoration of spinal mechanics not only prevents sports-related injuries and spinal degenerative diseases but also normalizes cerebral spinal fluids circulations including drainage, sustains pressure, pushes large volumes of cerebral spinal fluid, stimulates metabolic waste disposal from CNS, as well as increases nutritional supply to the brain. Insufficient nutritional supply to the brain is the main cause of dementia developments.

For many years and due to its massive utilization, Dr.Ivanov's clinical bio-mechanics/ craniosacral therapy proved to be a safe and effective treatment for spinal biomechanical disturbances. In turn, these biomechanical corrections lead to the prevention of sports-related injuries, slow down degenerative changes within the spine, and, seemingly, prevent the developments of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

At the beginning of the 70s, Dr.Ivanov took over the health management of the Bulgarian national Olympian weightlifters team.  During the first two years of his management, the Bulgarian team received the disproportion amount of Olympic medals. The percentage of sports-related injuries was significantly lower than average.  As a brilliant scientist, physician and a great massage therapist, Dr, Ivanov understood that massage therapy techniques have no substitute.
European Cranio-sacral therapy sequences include the connective tissue massage, muscular mobilization, periosteal massage, circulatory massage, scapula manipulation, cervical spine traction, lumbar spine traction, and every spinal vertebra mobilizations. The concept and clinical approach of European Cranio-sacral therapy are very useful and effective for biomechanical corrections, stress management, post-event rehabilitative efforts.  It is used in cases of orthopedic disorders and for athletic performance improvement.  These techniques are easy to learn and perform.

Below are links to the short fragments from my medical massage educational video, Mainly these fragments represent introductory parts.

Interestingly enough, Prof. Ivanov’s scientific hypotheses on cleansing the system in the brain were based on the following simple logic:

  1. Metabolic waste has to be removed by some systems. Otherwise, it cannot function.
  2. Disturbances in metabolic cleansing surely lead to brain dysfunction, including dementia /Alzheimer's disease, etc.

The cerebral angiography data, already available at the time, supported his scientific hypotheses of the perivascular pathway of the cleansing system.   Most importantly, Dr. Ivanov repeatedly achieved favorable clinical outcomes, when treating initial stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Approximately 15 years ago, I wrote an article about European Cranio-sacral therapy, and it's effectiveness not only for the improvement in athletic performance and injury prevention but also in cases of dementia /Alzheimer's disease. Also at the same time on my medical massage educational video, I proposed hands-on techniques as well as offered extensive theoretical explanation. Thanks to now available imaging techniques, professor Ivanov’s scientific hypotheses became a solid theory. Please click this link to read about these discoveries.

Scientists Discover Previously Unknown Cleansing System in Brain

I feel that every massage therapist should understand that in most cases disturbances of biomechanics can lead to sports-related injuries, accelerate painful degenerative arthritis developments, muscular aches and pains, spinal disease developments, and in most cases, this all this happened because of dysfunctions of muscles and fascia. No other modalities available in physical rehabilitative medicine can be as effective as massage techniques. Besides proposing assessment techniques, Prof. Ivanov always stressed the importance of detecting tension within fascia /muscles by fingers and eliminating these abnormalities by specifically developed techniques.

You're welcome to post comments, to ask questions. 

Best wishes.


  1. In 1975 I had a great opportunity to sit two days in his class. Since then, I routinely, with a good deal of success, incorporate European Cranio-sacral therapy techniques in my practice.
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