Craniosacral Therapy

Photography by Luzia Maria Grob

I was dealing with a chronic hip / back issue that often brought pain when doing things like housework, exercise, and even sleeping. I had worked with physical therapy, chiropractor, and massage with some success but the pain was getting worse rather than going away. I was familiar with massage, but not Craniosacral. When it was suggested I thought it was worth a try. After one session I had more (still limited) movement in  my hip and could feel a different connection between this hip issue and the back pain. I have been focused on working through this issue and can now trail short distances without pain again. I am amazed at how simple, soft touch made such a difference.

– Stacy R.

What is Craniosacral Therapy?

Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a hands-on therapy that works with the craniosacral system (CS). The CS is comprised of specialized membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, cerebrospinal fluid that nourishes the brain and spinal cord and carries out waste and toxins via the blood stream, ventricles, cranial and facial bones, and sacrum. The CS is a semi-closed hydraulic system with a mechanism that responds to the production and reabsorption of the cerebrospinal fluid. This creates a rhythm called the craniosacral rhythm. This rhythm is palpable to the craniosacral practitioner and can be felt anywhere on the body.

The craniosacral system is connected to all your fascia. Fascia is a continuous, web-like connective tissue that surrounds and supports all your muscles, nerves, organs and blood vessels. CST works with tissue, fluid and energy allowing for the whole body to be addressed in a session.

Why would I come in for a Craniosacral Therapy session?

Craniosacral therapy looks at the wholeness and health of the client and not the illness or diagnosis. It is beneficial to most everyone whether you are working through an acute condition, seeking maintenance or would like a deeper sense of well-being. Working with your body in present time allows us to see what needs attention in your body as it arises. Where your body takes us is often related to the “problem” that you come in with even if it doesn’t seem like it initially.

Clients have expressed being able to sleep better, feel more balanced and aligned, calm, energized and grounded after their session. They have also reported pain and tension lessening or going away completely.

CST also helps to regulate and resource the central nervous system. This can be especially beneficial for clients who are working through trauma with a therapist to help assist their bodies in the healing process. Clients have shared feeling more space in their bodies, less anxiety and fatigue, clarity and integration.

CST is an effective therapy alone or integrated with other methods of therapies and treatments whether it’s your doctor, naturopath, acupuncturist, psychotherapist, or chiropractor.

How does a session work?

Quiet attention, presence, awareness, and palpation skills of the craniosacral practitioner, along with what your body expresses, directs where the session goes and how it will unfold moment to moment. The craniosacral rhythm, connective tissue, energy and fluids informs the practitioner where your body needs attention. We trust the bodies innate wisdom and self-healing processes to provide the resources your body needs so it can return back to its natural state of being for optimal health. This natural state of being is the body returning to its original “job” before the outside impact occurred. These experiences (for example: whiplash, an injury, or grief) can get held in the body causing discomfort, pain, feeling “off”, and stressed. As held patterns in the tissues start to unwind and release it can free up energy, transform held patterns, dissolve pain and stress and strengthen the immune system.

A little history about Craniosacral Therapy…

Dr. W.G. Sutherland D.O. (1873-1954) was the person who first discovered and described the craniosacral motion. He discovered that the production and distribution of cerebrospinal fluid created a fluid driven system at our very core – our central nervous system. He felt our bodies were constantly trying to express health, but since the human body is a “map of experience”, some of those experiences may create blocks that prevent us from expressing our fullest health. Since the origin of western approaches to CST, there have been multiple influences furthering the field of CST including the work of Osteopathic physicians Roland Becker and Dr. John Upledger (Founder of the Upledger Institute). Dr. Franklyn Sills, a cranial osteopath, is the early pioneer in the development of a biodynamic understanding and approach to Craniosacral TherapyCST is practiced in many parts of the world.