By Emily Merrell
When I was growing up, my dad co-founded and was the first CEO of Upledger
Institute International. Headquartered in Southern Florida, it was a very forward-thinking
establishment in the mid 80s. It focused on treating and teaching using a bodywork
technique, developed by Dr. John E Upledger, called CranioSacral Therapy. This
philosophy and approach differed from what was offered at traditional western hospitals
and clinics. Many manual therapists visited to learn their techniques.
My dad left the Institute in the mid-90’s, and now he’s back as a Director of
the non-profit Dr. John E. Upledger Foundation. Read on to learn how this
incredible institution and foundation is helping with CTE and PTSD in ex-NFL players, returning military and combat veterans and those suffering from dysfunction or chronic pain.
Emily Merrell: Can you tell us what the Dr. John E. Upledger Foundation is and
what drew you to get involved?
Allen Merrell: I was approached by John Matthew Upledger, son of the developer of
CST, to join the Board of Directors of the Dr. John E. Upledger Foundation. He recruited
me as I was familiar with and passionate about the Upledger Institute’s work, and am
happy to help raise funds and awareness of these unique programs. The mission of the Dr. John E. Upledger Foundation is to support the overall therapeutic philosophies and visions Dr. John E. Upledger. Specifically, we want to bring awareness, support, education and availability of all therapeutic modalities recognized by the Upledger Institute International.
A. Providing treatment for those in need. This is individual treatment and/or
intensive therapy programs, depending upon the needs of the patient.
B. Supporting and developing existing and new innovative research, in such areas
as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Concussions and Brain Injuries,
Autism, and Dolphin Assisted Therapy. These programs might be pilot programs
initially done to establish benefits in a certain population or the continuance of
established intensive programs.
C. Supplying education to therapists. This includes scholarships based on financial
need. For example, therapists in Haiti who wanted to learn Craniosacral Therapy
after our therapeutic team went there to treat the earthquake victims. Additionally, education can be provided in exchange for participation in our Heal it Forward Network.
D. Promoting community and general awareness of Dr. John E. Upledger and his
life’s work, philosophies and therapeutic methods – as well as the worldwide
network of practitioners who practice and promote his living legacy.
EM: What is CranioSacral Therapy and what sort of ailments does it treat?
AM: CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a
physiological body system called the craniosacral system. It’s comprised of the
membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.
Using a soft touch generally no greater than five grams, or about the weight of a nickel,
practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of
the central nervous system. By complementing the body’s natural healing processes,
CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster
resistance to disease.
It’s effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction,
● Migraine Headaches
● Chronic Neck and Back Pain
● Motor-Coordination Impairments
● Central Nervous System Disorders
● Orthopedic Problems
● Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
● Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
● Spinal Cord Injuries
● Infantile Disorders
● Learning Disabilities
● Chronic Fatigue
● Emotional Difficulties
● Stress and Tension-Related Problems
● Fibromyalgia and other Connective-Tissue Disorders
● Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
● Neurovascular or Immune Disorders
● Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
● Post-Surgical Dysfunction
EM: The Institute has been in the news recently for the treatment of ex-NFL
players struggling with concussions. What sort of work are you doing with these
players and what have the results been from the treatment?
AM: We have had amazing results with the two programs we run. We measure multiple areas on each person before we start the therapy program and then remeasure at the end of the five-day program. The differences have been significant, and
we continue to watch them in the months that follow.
EM: Do you have any transformation stories you can share of individuals and
their time spent at the Institute?
AM: As we have trained over 125,000 healthcare professionals worldwide in
CranioSacral Therapy techniques, we see individual transformations on a daily basis. If
you are interested in some specific stories, I suggest that you go to our site and read
some of the amazing transformations there, www.upledger.com.
EM: Where could I learn more about how to receive a CranioSacral Therapy
AM: www.upledger.com has a link to a directory of therapists worldwide so you can
search for a trained therapist local to your area. Most appointments are an hour long and very relaxing!