What is Cranial-Sacral Therapy?
CranioSacral Therapy is a very relaxing light touch bodywork. The goal is to palpate & explore the craniosacral system (bones, nerves, fluid, & fascia of the cranium and core), encourage homeostasis (balance and symmetry) in the craniosacral rhythm, release restrictions in the central nervous system hindering motility, and bear witness to any transformation that occurs.
The Cranial-Sacral wave is the ebb and flow created by the hydraulic pump of cerebral spinal fluid as it is produced & absorbed in the brain, then flows down the Dural tube (in spine) into the sacrum (the triangular bone on the back of the pelvis). It is also connected with the movement of the myofascial tissues in and around the skull, spine, abdomen and pelvis that flow in relation to breathing, circulation, abdominal motility, etc. The CS wave moves every bone in the cranium and can be observed in almost any part of the body if you know how to listen to it. The CS wave is generally 6-12 times a minute, but can vary in each individual. It can be affected by medical and psychological conditions, skeletal displacements, stress & anxiety levels, energy deficiencies, abdominal dysfunctions, etc.
Is It Energy Work?
It utilizes some energy work –every work includes energy transfer, and it may feel to the client similar to energy work, but it is not energy work. Energy work’s main goal is to restore energy flow in the body. CST’s main goal is to release restrictions in a biomechanical system. It is hands on (touch is applied) and small manipulations are done with the skeletal, nervous, and myofascial systems.
Touch is generally applied to the bones of the skull, including intra-oral work, sacrum, spine, abdomen & feet, but may include other areas of the body. Small manipulations of the bones and tissues are done in order to assess and release restrictions.
One of the most awesome techniques in Cranial Sacral Therapy is Myofascial unwinding. This unwinding can occur anywhere in the body. Fascia is the tissue that connects every part of the body- skeletal, muscular, visceral, vascular, & nervous systems together. It’s that sticky translucent stuff. Restrictions (physical, energetic & psychological) can build up in the fascial system causing pain and a decrease in movement, breath, and function. Unwinding is a process of releasing restrictions in the fascia through gentle movements.
Benefits of Cranial-Sacral Work
Facilitates healing for conditions like: TMJD, Headaches, Migraines, Head, Neck, & Sacral Pain, Disoriented Feelings, Dyslexia, Disgraphia, Dizziness, Insomnia, Anxiety, Stress, and many more. It has even been demonstrated to help improve mood and physical calmness for kids with Cerebral Palsy.
New perceptions or insights, increased sleep, increased dream activity or more vivid imagery, nostalgia, long forgotten memories may surface, acute and chronic conditions are likely to shift, emotional release, integration of mind & body.
CranioSacral Therapy has been around since the 1800s. It was first developed by Dr. William G. Sutherland, an cranial osteopath and student of Dr. Still, the founder of osteopathy in 1892. It was further developed by Dr. John E. Upledger and his team at the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University, 1970s, in an effort to solve the controversy about whether cranial bones are able to move or whether they are fully fused in adults.
While there he led a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists and bioengineers who performed and published clinical research that formed the basis for the approach he named CranioSacral Therapy.
You can learn more at the Upledger Institute.
* photo courtesy of ABMP