With the lightest of touches, your body knows how to heal, and you’ll feel so much better.
The craniosacral system includes the bones, cerebral spinal fluid, tissue, and membranes that protect and nourish the central nervous system. Craniosacral Therapy is deceptively gentle but is a treatment that can affect profound physical and emotional shifts and change. It can also be used on both babies and the elderly because it is such a gentle but effective technique. Because the craniosacral system directly impacts the nerves connected to the spinal column, the functioning of the body’s organs, musculo-skeletal, nervous and immune systems can all be improved. Once there is more vital life force energy available and flowing within the body, we are able to hold a higher vision of ourselves.
The fundamental osteopathic principle is that given proper resources and support, bodies correct themselves with very little, if any, intervention. Craniosacral Therapy believes that everyone’s body has the innate wisdom and knows what is needed to heal. Rather than trying to “fix” a problem or situation, the craniosacral practitioner facilitates and is a witness who supports the body’s knowing.
In the 1970’s, Upledger began doing extensive research on children with autism. His results documented excellent outcomes but over time they lost their effects without follow-up treatment. He began to train teachers and caregivers how to do hand positions and gentle movements that would maintain the improvements. Needless to say, the osteopathic community did not think that anyone other than a doctor should be taught this information. Upledger argued that he was not teaching cranial osteopathy, but a safe therapeutic touch that didn’t require a doctor’s level of training. This was the beginning of Craniosacral Therapy, a healing system that has expanded to include protocols for people of all ages and is profoundly gentle and safe.
Craniosacral Therapy encourages the body to rebalance and heal itself. The practitioner first discusses your concerns and areas you wish to be assisted in, including physical, emotional and mental. You lay fully clothed on a comfortable massage table and the practitioner will begin the treatment. The practitioner craniosacral therapy will usually work with very subtle and gentle points on the head, neck, spine, and sacrum. Craniosacral Therapy can be accessed from other parts of the body as well. People find it deeply relaxing and often drift into a light sleep.
Besides improving and relieving symptoms of imbalance and nerve dysfunction, such as pain, numbness, weakness and tingling, craniosacral therapy can help:
- Reduce swelling
- Improve functioning of organs
- Improve and enhance breathing
- Increase energy levels
- Relieve arthritis
- Improve and relieve back pain and injuries
- Neck pain
- Eliminate or improve headaches
- Pain, and tingling in the extremities
- Digestive problems
- Premenstrual problems
- Encourage restful sleep and relaxation
- Increase a sense of wellbeing
- Colic in babies
- Frequent ear infections
How strong is the pressure?
The pressure is very, very, light and therefore unlikely to cause any pain. This makes it particularly suitable for treating babies, the elderly, and painful or tender conditions.
Can it be used to treat babies and children?
Yes. It is particularly helpful for babies with colic, feeding difficulties, spinal curvature, constant crying and sleeping issues. Childbirth can cause compression and imbalances in the craniosacral system.
Are there any conditions that should be avoided?
The only contraindicated condition is when a change in intracranial pressure would be harmful. Examples are when it’s unsafe to go from lying down to sitting upright because of active bleeding in the brain, or a cerebrospinal fluid leak. For this reason, it is important to communicate a thorough health history to your practitioner, who can assess the situation and adjust your session as necessary, or recommend an alternative therapy.
How often do I need a session?
This is individual and unique to what issues you are working on and how quickly your body responds. Your practitioner is your best resource, as they know you and your needs.
Craniosacral Therapy has its roots in osteopathy. In the late 1800’s, a surgeon named Dr. Still became disillusioned by the direction in which medicine was moving since it was killing or hurting patients rather than curing them. He developed a different medical system, based on these holistic principles, that became cranial osteopathy:
- The body is a unit. The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of health are completely related to each other.
- All structures and functions in the body are connected; changing one affects all the others.
- Bodies are self-regulating and self-healing. Given proper support, bodies have self-healing properties.
One of Dr. Still’s students was William Sutherland. He was very interested in the bones of the skull and common medical wisdom stated at the time that the bones of the skull were completely fused by the time we became adults. Dr. Sutherland observed movement in the sutures between the bones of the skull and also discovered a rhythmic pulsation ebbing and flowing like a tide moving up and down the cerebrospinal system. He found that he could influence the way people felt physically and emotionally by placing pressure on the bones and cerebrospinal fluid in the cranium, spine and sacrum. He believed this tide-like pulse was responsible for all movement within the system and called it the Breath of Life, a form of vital life force energy that is also felt as an energy impulse in traditional Chinese medicine.
Sutherland’s work was continued in the 1970’s by John Upledger, DO, who proved the bones of the skull continue to move throughout life rather than fusing, and proved the existence of the craniosacral system as a functioning body system. He documented the tidal movement of the craniosacral rhythm and developed Craniosacral Therapy (CST) as a therapeutic healing modality for health practitioners and lay people who are not doctors.
To learn more about craniosacral therapy we recommend the following:
These links were used as sources of information in writing this page:
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