Mental Models


On a recent flight from Lima to Cusco, I sat next to an American lady who was visiting Peru to do some charity work.

It turned out she was a Physiotherapist, and when our conversation moved onto Cranio-Sacral therapy, she advised me that in the US it is not considered a ‘proper’ therapy. One reason being that someone carried out an ‘experiment’ whereby two therapists tuned into the cranial rhythm of a subject, and they came up with a different rate for the subject’s rhythm. Hence, logic (?) dictates it must be quackery.


The cranial rhythm, is just one of tens, and maybe hundreds on rhythms in our bodies. And like most of them, its just an indicator. If two therapists did come up with a different count of a subject’s cranial rhythm, then isn’t this a cause to explore this observation further. I.e. there is a cranial rhythm, why does it appear differently?

The lady went further and said, since therapeutic outcomes of Cranio-Sacral therapy could not be measured and quantified in a consistent way, it was clearly a dubious activity, and not scientifically proven.

Could it simply be that therapists, such as Cranio-Sacral therapists, work with humans and not with chemical machines.

However, what is more disturbing to me, was the mind-set which first of all sets up childish experiments and then uses them to try and prove the falseness of something. This all sounds a bit like the witch trials of the middle-ages. The medical insurance and drug corporations must be getting desperate.

And, further, applying quantitative testing to a non-quantitative situation, and then pretending that this approach is somehow ‘scientific’, is highly misleading. If you were testing for the effectiveness of a drug on patients suffering from a discrete virus, then quantitative testing is highly appropriate and desirable. But, that is not what therapists, such as Cranio-Sacral therapists, are working with. These therapists are working with people’s life experiences, which are often totally unique to them. Hence it is inherently not a situation where quantitative testing has anything to add.

© David R. Durham

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