CranioSacral Therapy History: CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle form of bodywork using no more than 5 grams of pressure to release muscle tension and restrictions throughout the body. It was developed by John E. Upledger D.O. and is based in Osteopathic Medicine's Manual Cranial Techniques. Osteopathic Medicine originates in Shawnee and Cherokee traditional medicine and bodywork. If you are interested in learning more about the history of Osteopathic Medicine I recommend this article by Nina Renfrew.
So What Exactly Is It? When you come in for a CranioSacral Therapy appointment you're coming in for a full body treatment. CranioSacral Therapy deals specifically with the membrane systems of the brain and spine. This membrane system protects, nourishes, and cleanses the spinal column, brain, and nervous system and thus impacts the entire body. It even has it's own rhythm! This rhythm can be felt throughout the body by a CranioSacral Therapist and is used to evaluate tissue restrictions that need to be treated. This rhythm is created by the filling and draining of cerebrospinal fluid in the CranioSacral System and is very slow and gentle but anyone can be taught to detect this rhythm. CranioSacral Therapy also works with releasing and unwinding the muscles, fascia, and other tissues of the body in addition to working with the CranioSacral System. There are additional techniques that work with the organs, energy systems, and emotions as well. You can even have restrictions in your mouth that can be treated with mouth work.
So if it's not massage and it's not chiropractic what exactly are you doing if you're not massaging or putting bones back in alignment? So what CranioSacral Therapist are is excellent listeners. It's our job to spend time getting to know your body by listening to the subtle movements in the bones of your skull created by the cerebrospinal fluid rhythm and encourage, very gently, self correcting movements so the body can continue to self correct on it's own outside of a session. In addition to this it is our job to act as facilitators in helping unwind tensions in the body using a variety of CST techniques. So each time you come in for an appointment you and your body are getting a completely unique treatment that is tailored exactly to what you and your body need on that day.
What to Expect During and After a Session: When you come in for a CST session we'll start with a review of your intake form before getting you on the table. During your session you'll be asked to remain clothed and you can take your shoes off (you can even leave them on if you want). Once you're on the table we'll begin with a full body evaluation starting at the feet and working up to your head. After the evaluation is complete we'll begin treatment with some tissues releases that are designed to allow for better fluid movement through the entire body.
From there, if it is your first session, we'll walk through and treat all areas of the body including the tailbone and cranium in addition to spending some time on any trouble spots found. If you are further along in your treatment plan and have had the full body treatment this makes for excellent time to focus in on those trouble spots and really begin setting you up for some full body self correcting.
When I look at treating someone and learning about what their body needs I begin to think of the body as an elaborate puzzle box where certain releases and techniques need to be done before others to fully allow for long held restrictions to begin to self correct. This puzzle box nature of the body is why a series of 3-5 sessions over the span of a month or two is recommended when you begin CST. As time progresses you begin to shift into maintenance mode and can come in as you feel it's needed.
After your session you may begin to notice subtle changes and improvements over the week. Some have immediate overnight changes. Some my experience an increase in symptoms before relief. Some may feel "table drunk" right after a session. Each body responds to the work differently and it's important to take the time to let your body self correct. After each session it's important to be kind to yourself, drink plenty or water, eat a good meal, and get some rest.
So How Come it Doesn't Feel Like you Did Anything? Because we are so used to the immediate gratification of a massage or instant relief from a Chiropractic adjustment your first session of CST may be a bit underwhelming. Although the sessions are extremely relaxing and you leave feeling well cared for you may be wondering what exactly was done. CST works very deep within the body so it's important that the work is done very gently and because we are working with the body's natural movements it may feel that there wasn't much "work" done. However from the perspective of the CranioSacral Therapist we know just what was released and the level of work done (and I will always be happy to share what was found and worked on during your session) and it can be a lot!!!! It takes time for the body to digest that new information and incorporate it but as you walk out of your CST session your body is continuing to self correct and it may take a few days to noticing the changes.
So How Can it Help Me? Essentially if you've got a body you can benefit from CranioSacral Therapy. There are a few contraindications where CST is not advisable but that is where Reiki treatments come in.
Because we're working with the brain and nervous system and the body's tissues just about everything can be treated with CST. In particular it is especially good in treating nervous system disorders, chronic pain, headaches and migraines, TMJ, autism symptoms, ADD/ADHD, learning disorders, speech issues, injury recovery, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, anxiety, depression, motor-coordination impairments, spinal cord injuries, scoliosis, orthopedic problems, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and post concussion syndrome. There is even documentation of CST helping Coma patients recover.
At our practice we are always striving to make CST accessible to all who are interested and if you have special considerations that need to be taken in order to be comfortable at an appointment just let us know ahead of time and we can prepare the space just for you. This includes, but is not limited too, mobility restrictions, sensory sensitivities (light, sound, smell, touch, etc), or of inability to recline without pain. Unfortunately due to Covid-19 we are unable to make calls to those that are homebound but we are able to offer remote Reiki Sessions in the interim.