• The Reciprocal Tension Membranes (RTM)

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The Reciprocal Tension Membranes (RTM)

6 August 2021

Craniosacral therapists understand the importance of listening to The Reciprocal Tension Membranes (RTM) and getting a sense of dural mobility.

The dural membranes are a part of membranous envelopes called the meninges that encase the brain and CNS.

The dura mater attaches to certain cranial bones intracranially and can have external portions through the sutures of the skull. In addition the dura attaches to upper cervical bones and the sacrum.

The dura mater envelopes the brain and spinal cord. In the head the falx cerebri and tentorium cerebelli are a part of the dural system with shifting tensions. The falx cerebri and tentorium cerebelli are called ‘reciprocal tension membranes’.

The bones move in rhythm with the motion of the shifting tensions in the reciprocal tension membranes. It is by this mechanism that the bones of the head are theorized to move as the head goes through its inhalation and exhalation phases.

As the CNS coils (inhalation) and the spinal cord moves upward, so does the dural membranes. As the CNS uncoils (exhalation) and the spinal cord drops, then the dural membranes follow as well.

Underpinning the work is an inherent understanding of human anatomy & physiology. CST has its roots in osteopathy, so in order to understand how to work with the CNS, therapists must have a deep understanding of the mechanics of the body.

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