The craniosacral rhythm is an ongoing cycle of expansion and contraction of the entire body that takes place about nine times every minute. Every so often the rhythm pauses for an extended period of time; this pause is called a stillpoint. Stillpoints occur spontaneously, or CranioSacral Therapy manual techniques can bring them about, or stillpoints can be self-produced using a devise called a stillpoint inducer.
William G. Sutherland, D.O., creator of Cranial Osteopathy, made the first stillpoint inducer. He wanted to improve overall health and well-being by enhancing the function of vital physiological centers located in the brainstem.
He thought he could do this by increasing the flow of cerebrospinal fluid into the brainstem by using a device to compress the fourth ventricle (a cavity in the brain containing cerebrospinal fluid) forward. The devise he created was made of two catcher’s mitts sewn together so they formed a “V” shaped headrest, and a strap attached to the mitts.
Dr. Sutherland described lying down, placing the back of his head (occiput) upon the “V” shape, and then compressing his occiput by tightening the strap, which was wrapped around his head. He stayed in this position for a little while and experienced such profound inner quietness that he described his feeling as a “state of inanimation.” Immediately after taking the contraption off his head he recounted, “A sensation of warmth followed, and a remarkable movement of fluid, up and down the spinal column, throughout the ventricles, and surrounding the brain.” “Fantastic!” “Believe it or not there also was movement of my sacrum!” In addition he described feeling a fluctuating motion of cerebrospinal fluid.
Various devices have been made to simulate Dr. Sutherland’s original baseball mitt apparatus (minus the strap), such as two tennis balls in a sock, or shaped foam. These devices are known as stillpoint inducers. Stillpoints can rejuvenate and optimize one’s health, and they can help in a myriad of ways, such as by increasing energy, alleviating headache, lessening pain, decreasing stress, removing fluid congestion, or reducing anxiety.