CranioSacral Therapy

What is CranioSacral Therapy?

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a non-intrusive, hands-on therapy which improves health and function of the client. The touch is very gentle, no more than 5 mg of pressure. The client is clothed and can be lying down or seated. It involves a series of techniques which are designed to assist the self-correcting mechanism of the body. These techniques apply not only to the cranial (head) and sacral (tailbone)areas, but can be used throughout the entire body and its extremities.

CST is a powerful therapy which affects the Central Nervous System, which in turn affects the whole body system. Our brain and spinal cord is bathed and protected by Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) and enclosed within Meningeal membrane sacks. This whole unit has a semi –closed hydraulic pumping system which creates a faint rhythm within the body, known as the CranioSacral Rhythm (named by Dr Upledger after extensive scientific studies (1975-1983) at Michigan State University.) This rhythm, a different rhythm to the breathing rhythm and the heart rate rhythm,  produces a movement which can be felt with a very light touch. If there are any restrictions or dysfunctions within this system, the natural flow of the rhythm is affected. The therapist is able to ‘read’ how well the rhythm is reflected throughout the body. If there are restrictions, the therapist is able to treat the restrictions and improve the flow of the CSF. This could be just a ‘flushing through’ of the fluid scenario, or unwinding kinks and restrictions within the tissues.

The principle of CST is that the body is perfectly able to mend and repair itself, the practitioner merely facilitates this process. A client’s body shows the practitioner what needs to happen for change. Often it is at a part of the body very different to the area where the client is experiencing any problems. The body can cleverly adapt and compensate to issues within it. CST is a type of bodywork that can create a dynamic improvement to your body and life.

Personal space fascia painting - Lucy Bristow

How can it help me?

Our busy daily lives means that our body has to deal with many stresses and strains which it makes compensations for in order to carry on working. This often means that the tissues within the body tighten, this will then pull on and distort the Craniosacral System. These distortions can cause tension to develop around the system, around the brain and spinal cord, which in turn can prevent an optimal healthy and fully functioning Central Nervous System. By extension, this then can potentially affect any part of the body and any other body system.

CST can help with a wide range of problems of pain, discomfort and dysfunction.

Whether it is chronic soft tissue and muscular pain (for example neck, shoulder, hips or back pain) or headaches; migraines; TMJ pain and dysfunction (particularly helpful if the client has had a brace on their teeth in the past). It can help with post surgical dysfunction; spinal cord injuries; scoliosis; concussions and brain injuries; Chronic Fatigue; Fibromyalgia and other connective tissue problems. Also Central Nervous System disorders, motor co-ordination problems and immune disorders. Respiratory issues can be greatly helped, such as colic; asthma; emphysema and pleurisy. Learning disorders and behaviour associated with autism has been affected using CST with exciting results. Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia as well.  It is also an effective way to treat infantile disorders. Digestive problems can be helped, such as IBS.

CST can also involve an area known as SomatoEmotional Release, which helps to rid the mind and body from residual effects of trauma. Emotional issues or memories can be stored within the body tissues and sometimes some physical symptoms will not release and heal effectively until an emotional component has been taken care of.  The body tissues can be worked with at the same time as with the emotions to release any trauma. So CST is a very effective way of helping with emotional difficulties; PTSD; stress and anxiety and sleeping problems.

CST complements and stimulates the body’s natural healing processes, and so is useful to treat infections.  It has an ability to bolster resistance to disease and many people have begun to use it on a regular basis as a preventative health measure.

How does CranioSacral Therapy Work?

Our body’s craniosacral system comprises of the cerebrospinal fluid and the surrounding membranes which hold it all in together within a semi hydraulic system. The cerebrospinal fluid surrounds, protects and nourishes our brain and spinal cord. 

 The brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system. Few structures have as much influence over the body’s ability to function well as the central nervous system. This system is heavily influenced by the craniosacral system.

Every day your body endures stresses and strains that it must work to compensate for. As a result, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort the craniosacral system. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord resulting in restrictions. Hence this can create a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with.

Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of touch. With a light touch, the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system. By gently feeling various locations of the body, the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord can be tested. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.

By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s ability to self-correct, CranioSacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.  

What does a session involve?

During your first session a written case history will be taken, listening with care to the reasons for your visit. This part of the session is important, both for gathering information and to establish a good understanding with your practitioner. The session typically lasts an hour, although it can vary. You remain clothed and will usually lie face up or on your side, or you may be seated. The practitioner makes light contact with your head, the base of your spine and other areas, encouraging your body to relax and begin to make the changes it needs. Because the body functions as a whole, your practitioner may focus on areas other than where your symptoms occur.

How many CranioSacral Therapy sessions will I need?

After a session there is occasionally a short period of adjustment as part of the healing process, when you may become more aware of symptoms. Some people report relief after only one or two sessions. For long standing issues further sessions may be needed. Some people find they benefit from regular treatments, noticing an improvement in physical and/or emotional symptoms and increased self-awareness. Response to CST varies from individual to individual and condition to condition. Your response is uniquely your own and can’t be compared to anyone else’s, even those cases that may appear to be similar to your own. 


CranioSacral therapy treatments with Lucy

I have recently trained in this therapy with Upledger institute, and I am offering a special introductory rate for your initial session of £40 for a one hour treatment. Subsequent treatments will be at the usual rate of £50.

Please note that as yet I have not taken the final Upledger exam qualification.

You can find more information at this link