Subtle in its approach. Powerful in its effect.
CranioSacral Therapy is a mindfulness-based, hands-on bodywork modality that works to enhance the function of your central nervous system.
Your central nervous system oversees every other system in your body. By addressing the central nervous system directly, CranioSacral Therapy enhances the body's natural healing processes. It improves the overall function of the central nervous system, dissipates negative effects of stress, enhances health and well-being, and strengthens resistance to disease.
Because of the gentle nature of this work, CranioSacral Therapy is ideal for babies, children, pregnant moms, the elderly, and adults in fragile or acutely painful conditions.
What is the CranioSacral system?
Your craniosacral system comprises the bones of the skull and the membrane system surrounding your brain and spinal cord (i.e., your central nervous system). It is named for the cranium ("cranio") and the sacrum ("sacral"), which is the triangle-shaped bone in your low back where the bottom of your spinal cord attaches.
When you think of the three major organs we need to live, you think of the heart, lungs, and brain, right? The heart has a natural, rhythmic motion we can feel when we take our pulse. The lungs also have a natural rhythm we can feel when we place our hands on our ribs and feel them expand and contract in synchrony with our breath.
So it makes sense that our body's other major organ -- the brain -- has a similar inherent rhythm. Of course it does. We call it the craniosacral rhythm. This soft, subtle motion is felt in the head in response to the production and reabsorbtion of the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord. We also feel this rhythm bodywide via the connective tissue network (or fascia).
The craniosacral rhythm is often said to be reflective of the core essence of your being. It reflects your life force energy. Indeed, it can be a direct expression of your physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual health. A strong rhythm may indicate a robust central nervous system that is able to oversee the function of all body systems easily. A shallower rhythm may indicate that the body is not able to function at its highest level of health or maintain homeostasis.
Within the body motion is health, so everything vital to our existence -- organs, blood flow, the skeleton, etc. -- has a certain intrinsic motion much like the heart, lungs, and brain do. In order for the body to remain strong and healthy, all structures must maintain their natural movements. When things stop moving or movement is restricted, that's when pain or disease sets in. It's like the old adage, "Use it or lose it." Top of Page
How CST works
Injuries, traumatic events, muscle strain, and every-day stress can cause irregularities in the craniosacral rhythm, thus blocking the free flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Such restrictions greatly inhibit the body's ability for self-healing, which in turn may result in physical aches and pains, acute and chronic disease, and emotional or psychological disturbances.
With CranioSacral Therapy, I work the bones of the skull and the membranes (i.e., the meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord to ensure that there are no restrictions within the system. I also work with the craniosacral rhythm to gauge the health of your central nervous system, or your core essence. Restrictions anywhere in this area can adversely affect brain function, the cranial nerves (which operate your senses), or the spinal nerves (which oversee the organs and other body systems).
Working from that core system outward, I work with the fascia throughout the body to remove restrictions that may lead to pain, disease, or reduced range of motion. Top of Page
As a holistic modality, CranioSacral takes into consideration how one's emotional state may affect the physical body, and vice versa.
SomatoEmotional Release is an adjunct to CranioSacral Therapy that allows you to explore the emotional, mental, or spiritual aspects of pain, disease, or dysfunction. If issues of that nature arise while receiving structural bodywork, SomatoEmotional Release provides a means for handling them.
There is a saying in CranioSacral circles: "There can be issues in the tissues." The body retains memory not only in the cortex of the brain, but in every cell of the body. SomatoEmotional Release may involve the resolution of old "issues" to help rid your body of the residual effects of trauma, injury, or suffering. It can also provide an amazing opportunity to achieve deeper levels of self-awareness.
Click here for a great case study on how SomatoEmotional Release can facilitate greater understanding of the body-mind connection.
Click here for a New York Times article in which the writer seeks hands-on manual therapy after years of talk therapy to help finally rid her body of the residual effects of trauma.
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CellTalk is another adjunct to John Upledger's CranioSacral Therapy. It is a way for you to get to know parts of your body on a deeper level so that you can better understand what messages your body has for you when it manifests a pain, disease, or problem. CellTalk can help you better understand why a given organ, muscle, body part, or even individual cell has become dysfunctional. Top of Page
What to expect in a CST session
You will lay fully clothed on the treatment table while the therapist applies very light pressure to help your body to begin making the needed self-corrections. Pillows, bolsters, and blankets are available to help you be as comfortable as possible.
Through such techniques as cranial manipulation, tissue unwinding, dialoging, SomatoEmotional Release, and CellTalk, CranioSacral Therapy can effect not only profound structural change, but also mental, emotional, and spiritual change. As a result, the work can be profoundly relaxing, exhilarating, or deeply moving. Top of Page
Conditions CST can help with
CranioSacral Therapy has been found to be effective in helping alleviate such sensory, physical, motor, or intellectual dysfunctions as:
* Alzheimer's disease and dementia
* Central nervous system problems
* Chronic fatigue
* Chronic neck and back pain
* Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
* Ear infections
* Eye problems
* Hearing disturbances
* Infant disorders (colic, reflux, excessive crying, difficulty breastfeeding)
* Learning disabilities
* Migraines and headaches
* Orthopedic problems
* Post-traumatic stress disorder
* Spinal cord injuries
* Stress and tension
* Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD)
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How often should you have CranioSacral Therapy?
Length of treatment depends on your goals for healing and the nature of the disorder being addressed -- i.e., whether you want to relieve acute symptoms; release the effects of physical or emotional trauma trapped within the body and restore balance and mobility to the whole structure; or improve your overall well-being on an ongoing basis.
Acute injury, for example, can benefit enormously from five to 10 sessions. With chronic, debilitating disease or severe injury, more sessions would probably be required.
I recommend trying three to five sessions initially. After that, we can see how you feel. If you feel 100 percent better -- great, we're done! If you are 50 percent better, then we can try a few more sessions to get you to 100 percent. If you feel absolutely no change (and this is extremely rare), then perhaps CranioSacral Therapy isn't for you.
I also offer intensives, in which clients are seen from one to two hours each day for five consecutive days. Please call for rates and availability. Top of Page
Download a CST brochure
CST case studies and articles
"I recognized a 90 percent improvement in movement and pain after a single CranioSacral session. This was possibly the best money I've ever spent on bodywork--and I've had a lot of bodywork. I'm in shock and awe over the whole thing! At this rate I don't think there will be surgery.
Redondo Beach, CA,
CranioSacral Therapy addresses the central nervous system -- and everything else it oversees.
"You have been a crucial part of my healing and helped me unlock the very deepest stuff that I carried. I am full of gratitude that you landed in my life."−M.V.