Optimizing the Craniosacral System improves circulation of both blood and CSF to the brain & spinal cord, pituitary & pineal glands, and the cranial nerve systems (among other things - such as: autonomic control systems; visual, auditory, olfactory and gustatory sensory systems; motor and motor coordination systems; endocrine system; and the immune system. Pretty important stuff!)
What is Craniosacral Therapy?
CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of the craniosacral system (the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord) during which specialists gently release tensions held deep in your body and bring your central nervous system back into balance.
With a special focus on the cranial area, the vertebra, and the sacrum, delicate movements improve the flow of cerebrospinal fluid within the body, restoring physical health. Manual therapy treatments will typically include highly focused palpation, soft tissue or joint mobilizations and gentle manual traction - while clients remain fully clothed, and no lubricants are used. Requiring extensive theory and practical training, these treatments are performed only by licensed medical professionals, after gathering comprehensive health history information and preliminary examination. Treatment and assessment often occur simultaneously.
How Does Craniosacral Therapy Work?
CST treatment sets the stage for the body to most efficiently use its own power to heal. The craniosacral rhythm, also known as the primary respiratory mechanism, is the palpable flexion and extension in response to the reciprocal tension membrane and fluctuations of the Cerebrospinal Fluid throughout the body. This essential substance, also called CSF, maintains equilibrium as it circulates within a semi-closed hydraulic system, flowing between the cells of the brain and spinal cord, and filling the spaces between cells. Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams, or about the weight of a nickel, practitioners support the craniosacral system in improving the functioning of the central nervous system by complementing the body's natural healing processes.
What Conditions are Safely Addressed by Craniosacral Therapy?
| Ear Aches and Tinnitus
| Migraines and Headaches
| Chronic Neck and Back Pain
| Stress and Tension-Related Disorders
| Motor-Coordination Impairments
| Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
| Chronic Fatigue | Fibromyalgia
| TMJ Syndrome | Scoliosis
| Central Nervous System Disorders
| ADD/ADHD | Autism Spectrum Disorder
| Orthopedic Problems | And More
How Many Sessions Will I Need?
As each body reacts differently to manual therapy, treatment lengths vary based on your need or preference. Many clients achieve complete or significant reduction of symptoms in as few as 1-2 sessions. A longer regimen could be recommended for more complex situations.
Are There Any Side Effects?
The most frequently reported side effect of craniosacral therapy intense relaxation during and after sessions. As this modality works quite specifically with the central nervous system, it is common to temporarily experience: mild discomfort; changes in breathing; colors/lights flashing behind the eyes; tingling; warming/cooling sensations; air bubbles; numbness; etc. Less often, clients have reported dizziness; nausea; lightheadedness; diarrhea/constipation; hypersensitivity; emotional release; fatigue These symptoms are generally mild and brief - if they persist, consult with your healthcare provider and discontinue treatment until your body rebalances.
Is Crying/An Emotional Response Normal?
Crying and other reactions such as laughter, anger, frustration, fear, as well as considerable twitching or muscle spasm, is normal during craniosacral therapy treatment. The fascial system stores information and maintains optimal communication with the brain. Because of this complex integration, release of physical restrictions can often result in expression of emotional responses, as well.
Why Does It Feel Like Nothing Is Happening?
This is also normal! The physiological effects of myofascial release are expectedly quite subtle. Somatic awareness can be improved by careful observation of the breath and other sensations as the body responds to treatment, allowing a more immersive healing experience.
How Does CST Differ From Traditional Massage?
Swedish and deep tissue massage is generally centered around rhythmic gliding strokes, vigorous friction & kneading techniques. Massage practitioners work to break down scar tissue and adhesions in the fibers of muscles, tendons, and myo-fascia.
Craniosacral Therapy practitioners use light-touch palpation to accurately identify delicate anomalies within all layers of the connective tissues, even the most superficial. Careful observation indicates where to stretch fascia, how much pressure to apply, and for how long. This innovative approach utilizes viscous flow and the piezoelectric phenomenon - a low load (gentle pressure) applied slowly will allow a viscoelastic medium (fascia) to elongate - eliminating restriction and restoring motion.
Is Craniosacral Therapy Right For Everyone?
Of course not! While generally considered safe, craniosacral therapy may not be appropriate for those with the following conditions (consult with your healthcare provider ): Recent concussion. Cerebral swelling. Structural defects in the cerebellum such as Arnold-Chiari malformation. Brain aneurysm. Traumatic brain injury. Blood clots. Any disorder that causes instability of cerebral fluid pressure, flow or build-up. Always consult with your physician or healthcare practitioner about your concerns before starting any new course of treatment.