Craniosacral Therapy is extremely relaxing. It is a gentle hands-on therapy that addresses soft tissue restrictions anywhere in the body. It also has a unique ability to assess and address the environment of the brain and spinal cord and thereby can assist with many challenging neurological conditions. With a light approach, CST is able to find and locate subtle but significant restrictions, anywhere in the body. It helps restore normal mobility of soft tissues and thereby enables correct structural alignments with widespread effects, affecting bones, the support of organs, the environments of nerves and the vascular system. Also called cranial osteopathy in its beginnings, it was first developed by an American osteopathic physician almost one hundred years ago. Dr. Sutherland’s founding theory was based on an understanding of a continuous subtle movement of cranial bones and cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). During the seventies, the research work of Dr. John Upledger, D.O. furthered a hydraulic model of the craniosacral system and its craniosacral rhythm (CSR). The CSR is palpable throughout the whole body. He also coined the current term ‘CranioSacral Therapy’ and helped move CST into its present popularity by making training available to health care providers.
The Craniosacral Rhythm (CSR) keeps the environment of the brain and spinal cord fresh with continuous tidal like fluid volume changes averaging 6 to 12 times per minute. The pressure fluctuations cause hydraulic motion in this environment and slight muscle tone changes throughout the body.
The movement of the CSR prevents the brain and nervous system from feeling too congested or unduly pressurized. It is necessary because the membranes (meninges) that surround the brain also fold inward to divide and support the brain. There is an upright fold along the centerline of the head and the horizontal fold at the level of the eyes. These folds are on-going source of inward elastic force. The CSR helps provide expansive relief and a prevention of congestion to this elastic central nervous system environment.
Any loss of mobility, anywhere in the body, can be a source of pain or dysfunction. It can lead to misalignments, irritating pressures or congestion. It can affect individual nerves, the spinal cord, organs, bones, muscles, the brain or one’s whole being.
The gentle hands of craniosacral therapy do not arouse pain or defense when working. This enables an accurate sensing of the distortions and the nature of the elastic compromises present. The rhythm gives an on-going indicator of restrictions and the releases being achieved. The hands always work gently, providing two opposite qualities/options to a restricted area. Either slack is offered or a gentle lengthening is requested. The response of the nervous system is being listened to for guidance, because a stillness of the CSR will occur when the correct slack is provided and an aggravation is evident if a lengthening load is too great.
During CSR Stillpoints there is a deep releasing relaxation that overcomes the whole body. While in a ‘stillpoint’, there is a hovering of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) dynamics. There is no rhythmical build in the fluid pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid and the brain and spinal cord are spared arousals. During a stillpoint there is a sustained quiet provided and the nervous system gets a chance to become settled, to recalibrate and ‘redo it’s blueprint’. In those deeply quiet times, one is able to release various physical, mental and emotional restrictions, both old and new. At the end of a stillpoint there is also an enhancing integrating dynamic occurring when the CSF pressure builds again. The increase in fluid pressure creates a micro-arousal in the central nervous system and one feels themselves return from the deeply relaxed, drifty state. Accompanied usually with a deep breath in, there is a true sense of an arrival back into ourselves; an awakening into our midline, our axis of consciousness, refreshed and re-newed.
Craniosacral hands will also offer gentle accurate lengthening to a restricted area. By using gradual light loads, below any tissue reaction or guarding, the therapist’s hands are able to offer a dynamic accuracy of lengthening to the changing nature of the restriction during it’s release process. The hands sustain a continuous involvement with the changing elastic restriction until a viscous like release is witnessed. Gaining deep viscous releases in a restricted region can provide dramatic and lasting results.
Gentle, accurate and effective, Craniosacral therapy often achieves rapid results. Working without arousing pain, defence or inflammation, it is safe and ideal for newborns and the elderly and it can be a treatment of choice for many neurological and post-surgical/injury rehabs.