Introducing CranioSacral Therapy

What is CranioSacral Therapy? CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, non-intrusive, but potent hands-on therapy. It can greatly improve someone’s health and function. The therapist’s touch is very gentle, no more than 5 grams of pressure. The client is clothed and can be lying down or seated. CST supports the body’s innate ability to balance, restore and heal itself. This practice 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 whole body and its extremities, via its network of fascia. This form of therapy is suitable for most people, from new born babies to the elderly.fascia painting - Lucy Bristow

In more detail…..

CST 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 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, which runs at a different speed to the breathing rhythm and the heart rate rhythm, produces a movement which can be felt with a very light touch. Any restrictions or dysfunctions within this system mean that the natural flow of this rhythm is affected. A therapist can feel how well the rhythm is reflected throughout the entire body. If a rhythm is strong, clear and symmetrical, the body is healthy. Restrictions make the rhythm feel weak, unclear and sometimes asymmetrical. A therapist can treat the restrictions and improve the flow of the CSF, enabling a stronger better rhythm.

A CranioSacral treatment consists of….

The client is fully clothed and comfortable. Any fascial or bony restrictions within the body are released. An evaluation and gentle mobilisation of the head, membranes around the spine (dural tube) and the sacrum will release any further restrictions. The whole treatment uses a very light touch which means a client can become very relaxed, their parasympathetic nervous system switches on.

The principle of CST is that the body is perfectly able to mend and repair itself, the therapist merely facilitates this process. A client’s body shows the therapist 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, creating patterns of restrictions which can ripple from head to toe.

How can it help me? 

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

Our busy daily lives means that our body has to deal with many stresses and strains for which it makes compensations in order to carry on working. This often means that the tissues within the body become restricted, which results in a distortion of the CST rhythm and restricts the freedom for the spinal fluid to move through the membranes. These distortions can cause tension to develop around the system, around the brain and spinal cord, and by extension anywhere within the fascial network of the body.

CST can help with a really wide range of issues, as a few examples – 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; concussions and brain injuries; Chronic Fatigue; Fibromyalgia and other connective tissue problems. CST  helps with Central Nervous System disorders, motor co-ordination problems and immune disorders. Respiratory issues can be greatly helped (colic; asthma; emphysema and pleurisy) and digestive problems such as IBS. Learning disorders and behaviour associated with autism and symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.

CST can also involve an area known as SomatoEmotional Release, which helps to rid the mind and body from residual effects of trauma. Negative memories from the time of a trauma can be stored within the body tissues. Often physical restrictions will not release and heal effectively until an associated emotional component has released. The body tissues can be worked with at the same time as careful dialoguing to reframe any associated negative memories. This is a very effective way to properly release any chronic restrictions, which may have persisted for years as niggling pain, restrictions or emotional issues. CST is a very effective way of helping with PTSD; stress and anxiety and sleeping problems.

In Summary, what is CranioSacral therapy?

CST complements and stimulates the body’s natural healing processes. 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.

I discovered CST and it’s powerful effects just a few years ago and have been training in this practice ever since. I am constantly amazed at what it can do and achieve, and feel very priviledged  and excited to be able to use this practice with my clients.  With regular treatments myself, I find each time presents a new and interesting piece of the body’s jigsaw.

Further information can be found here