What is CranioSacral Therapy?
The gentle touch that treats the craniosacral system
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a hands-on therapy, where the touch is gentle, non-invasive and usually subtle. It is also a powerful therapy that affects the central nervous system to assist in improving function in the whole body.
The aim is to treat the craniosacral system using our ‘listening hands’, tuned to the feeling of the craniosacral rhythm. We feel how well the rhythm is reflecting out to the rest of the body and what we may be able to do to improve its function. This may mean simply encouraging it, as if you are gently flushing more fluid through a slightly sticky pipe, or it could mean using gentle techniques to unwind kinks in the body’s fascia – sort of like straightening out a sleeve or sock that isn’t on quite squarely!
An important part of our approach is that it is the person’s body that knows exactly what to do in order to straighten out the above mentioned kink itself, and all we are really doing is listening to what it needs and helping it to do it! So, we do not try and figure out what is wrong and then try to fix it. This can mean that the area we treat is sometimes different from the area in which symptoms are experienced, as our bodies can be very clever in how they adapt to stresses and strains.
Patients find CranioSacral Therapy effective for a wide range of problems associated with discomfort, pain and dysfunction. Interestingly, this approach also appears to complement and stimulate the body’s natural healing processes, so CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure to keep us on the straight and not so narrow!
What conditions does CST treat?
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) can be used to treat a range of conditions including:
- Migraines and Headaches
- Chronic Neck and Back Pain
- Stress and Tension-Related Disorders
- Motor-Coordination Impairments
- Infant and Childhood Disorders
- Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
- Chronic Fatigue
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Orthopaedic Problems
What is different about CST?
Compared with other bodywork approaches, the main differences are that the touch/pressure used is much gentler and that we do not aim to diagnose or fix anything from what our ‘head’ thinks needs to happen – or even where our clients say their problem is!
Rather we do our very best to ‘listen with our hands’ to a person’s body tissues and invite them to show us what they need to do. Osteopathic traditions have always believed that the body has an inherent self-healing mechanism and we do our best to honour and access this at all times.
From newborns right through to the elderly, and for all sorts of issues…
It is quite beautiful to treat newborns whose systems may have simply become a bit misaligned during their nine months’ ‘evolution’ or that sometimes challenging birth process, and the speed and efficiency with which they self-correct is seemingly miraculous.
It is also fantastic to work with older folk who want to keep their fascia and their functioning as top notch as possible. Used for maintenance of general health or regularly for more chronic problems, it is also something you can return to over long periods of time.
We have found over the years that there are many issues and problems that respond very well to the touch of CranioSacral Therapy. When changes can be made in the soft tissue structures housing the brain and spinal cord, in the rhythm that comes from the production of the fluid that surrounds the central nervous system and in the levels of tension held in any area, we have seen some, apparently miraculous, changes in people’s health and symptoms.
Please be aware that we do not make any diagnoses about medical conditions. We also highly recommend that anyone with a medically diagnosed condition, choosing to use CranioSacral Therapy, does so with the full knowledge and cooperation of their medical specialist.
What happens in a session?
Treatments are done on a clothed body, with the receiver usually lying on their back on a treatment couch. If this is not comfortable, we may have an adaptable couch, treat people on their side or even sitting, if need be. We may start at the feet or the head with our different evaluative techniques, and this will help us figure out where your body needs us to start.
When we learn to work with these techniques, there is usually a natural focus around the head and vertebral column, but treatments are by no means restricted to these areas. Factors that compromise posture and function can be present throughout the whole body and, by using the craniosacral rhythm and accessing the craniosacral system, because it acts on the deepest structures and organs of the nervous system, CST techniques influence movement and coordination, pain pathways, the digestive system, the respiratory system, heart function, the endocrine system… potentially the majority of the body systems.
Receiving CranioSacral Therapy tends to be very relaxing and positively pleasurable. Ignored or hidden problems are resolved as often as those for which help was initially sought.
Treatments usually last around an hour, although appointments for babies and small children are usually shorter, typically around 45 minutes. During your first session we will have an indepth discussion of your case history.