Craniosacral Therapy Craniosacral Therapy is based on the theory that cerebrospinal fluid ebbs and flows within the membrane around the brain and spinal cord, increasing or decreasing pressure on the cranium in the process. For some individuals, whether through illness or injury, the cranio-sacral rhythmic flow may be disrupted or impeded, resulting in chronic pain, discomfort or ailments such as recurring ear and sinus infections. Through this gentle therapy, our doctors apply very light movements to the skull to mobilize the cranio-sacral rhythmic flow of fluid. By doing so, they can help increase relaxation and improve circulation in order to promote positive healing effects throughout your body.
What is CranioSacral Therapy?
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. It was pioneered and developed by Osteopathic Physician John E. Upledger after years of clinical testing and research at Michigan State University where he served as professor of biomechanics.
Using a soft touch which is generally no greater than 5 grams – about the weight of a nickel – practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it''s effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.
How does CranioSacral Therapy Work?
Few structures have as much influence over the body’s ability to function properly as the brain and spinal cord that make up the central nervous system. And, the central nervous system is heavily influenced by the craniosacral system – the membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord.
Every day your body endures stresses and strains that it must work to compensate for. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort the craniosacral system. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord resulting in restrictions. This can create a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with.
Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of touch. With a light touch, the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.
By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s ability to self-correct, CranioSacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.
What conditions does CranioSacral Therapy address?
-Migraines and Headaches
-Chronic Neck and Back Pain
-Stress and Tension-Related Disorders
-Infant and Childhood Disorders
-Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
-Central Nervous System Disorders
-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
-And Many Other Conditions
The Breath of Life
The Breath of Life produces a series of subtle rhythms that may be palpated in the body and which make up an integrated physiological system. At least three subtle rhythms have been identified in this "primary respiratory system", each having a different rate and producing rhythms within rhythms. These three "tides" are referred to as:
the cranial rhythmic impulse; a more superficial rhythm expressed at an average rate of 8-12 cycles per minute, the mid-tide; a tidal rhythm that carries ordering forces into the body expressed at a slower rate of approximately 2.5 cycles per minute and the long tide; a deep and slow rhythmic impulse expressed about once every 100 seconds. The long tide is considered to be the first stirring of life and motion as the Breath of Life emerges from a deeper ground of stillness at the center of our being.
Is there any condition for which CST shouldn't be used?
There are certain situations where application of CST would not be recommended. These include conditions where a variation and/or slight increase in intracranial pressure would cause instability. Acute aneurysm, cerebral hemorrhage or other preexisting severe bleeding disorders are examples of conditions that could be affected by small intracranial pressure changes.
How many CranioSacral Therapy sessions will I need?
Response to CST varies from individual to individual and condition to condition. Your response is uniquely your own and can''t be compared to anyone else''s — even those cases that may appear to be similar to your own. The number of sessions needed varies widely — from just one up to three or more a week over the course of several weeks.
Essential ordering principle
In our approach of craniosacral work the subtle rhythms produced by the Breath of Life are regarded as expressions of health that carry an essential ordering principle for both body and mind. The doctors realize the important role played by the fluids in the body (particularly cerebrospinal fluid) in helping to disseminate these ordering forces throughout the body.
The essential ordering principle carried in the rhythms of the Breath of Life acts as a blueprint for health which is present from the time of our early embryological development and is the fundamental factor that maintains balance in our form and function. Thus, the ability of cells and tissues to express their primary respiratory motion is a critical factor in determining our state of health - when these rhythms are expressed in fullness and balance, health and well-being naturally follow.
During the course of our lives our bodies become patterned, shaped and conditioned according to how we¹re able to deal with any stresses or traumas. If stresses or traumas are overwhelming, they become locked in the body as sites of inertia - until such a time as we are able to access resources that allow them to be processed and released. These sites of inertia effect the natural rhythmical movements of the Breath of Life and so hinder the ability of our essential blueprint for health to manifest at a cellular level.
Common causes of inertia are physical injuries, emotional and psychological stresses, birth trauma and toxicity. Due to an accumulation of these stresses, tissues can become imprinted with the memory of unresolved experiences and so act like video tape which may keep replaying whenever stimulated.
A gentle facilitation
The emphasis in Craniosacral Therapy is to help resolve the trapped forces that underlie and govern patterns of disease and fragmentation in both body and mind. This involves the practitioner "listening through the hands" to the body's subtle rhythms and any patterns of inertia or congestion. Through the development of subtle palpatory skills the practitioner can read the story of the body, identify places where issues are held and then follow the natural priorities for healing as directed by the patient¹s own physiology.
The intention of treatment is to facilitate the expression of the Breath of Life and so enhance the body's own self-healing and self-regulating capabilities. This is done in a non-invasive way as the practitioner subtly and gently encourages the conditions that allow for the reemergence of primary respiratory motion. Furthermore, the practitioner's deep and clear quality of presence can become a reflective mirror for the patient and an invaluable cue for their potential for change.
A holistic approach
Craniosacral Therapy takes a whole-person approach to healing and the inter-connections of mind, body and spirit are deeply acknowledged. It is an effective form of treatment for a wide range of illnesses helping to create the optimal conditions for health, encouraging vitality and facilitating a sense of well-being. It is suitable for people of all ages including babies, children and the elderly, and can be effective in acute or chronic cases.
"Worms will not eat living wood where the vital sap is flowing; rust will not hinder the opening of a gate when the hinges are used each day.
Movement gives health and life.
Stagnation brings disease and death."
- proverb in traditional Chinese Medicine
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