What is craniosacral therapy?
When you reach your edge,
Soften until you slip through the constrains and create a new rhythm,
a new route,
a new release.
Water is soft, yet powerful.
Reach your edge,
- Victoria Erickson
Craniosacral therapy is a form of manual therapy which grew out of osteopathic medicine. In the late 1800's, Andrew Taylor still, an M.D. from the midwest, founded the practice of Osteopathy which was based on "the rule of the artery" - when blood and lymphatics flow freely, the tissues can perform their physiologic functions without impedance. One of Still's students, David Palmer, went on to develop Chiropractics, centered around "the rule of the nerve", and another student, William Sutherland, developed Cranial-Osteopathy based on the observation of a unique motion of the cranial bones felt through pliable cranial sutures. Sutherland noticed that some cranial bones were beveled like the gills of a fish. This observation, coupled with the Osteopathic principal of the interdependence of form and function, led him to spend years researching the implications of restricted cranial movement.
With Sutherland's research in hand, Osteopaths and Craniosacral practitioners continued to develop the method and its principals to encompass work with more than just the cranium and spine. The practice now encompasses working with fascia, organs, meridians, nerves, and the brain, and can be used to treat infants and children as well as elderly and very frail individuals.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR APPOINTMENT
Currently there are two main branches of Craniosacral Therapy - Biomechanical and Biodynamic. The type of treatment you receive will depend on the type of training your practitioner has had. Sutherland's early methods were biomechanical - focused on the analysis of the cranial bone movement and freeing areas of restriction using varying degrees of pressure and leverage. This method focused on responding to the quickest type of fluid motion in the cranium and spine, the Cranial Rhythmic Impulse (CRI), and incorporated work with joints, fascia, and bones. In Sutherland's later years, he began to sense and work with slower rhythms in the body, and Rollin Becker, DO built upon those findings aiding in the rise of Biodynamic craniosacral therapy. These slower rhythms, referred to as "tides", can be sensed throughout the entire body and can be palpated or "listened to" with trained sensitive hands and worked with to support physical, mental, and spiritual health. Both methods utilize a concept called "still points" as one form of treatment to give the body and its inherent propensity toward health the opportunity to reorganize and/or release holding patterns, or held health. Biodynamic work tends to be a much slower and quieter practice as your practitioner orients to your system, the space around you, and the greater field of universal energies. Many practitioners use both methods and weave them into their professional licensure, including Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Naturopaths, Massage Therapists, Acupuncturists, Structural Integrators, Occupational Therapists, Lactation Consultants, and more.
As a certified craniosacral therapist and licensed massage therapist, I orient toward helping individuals gain a greater sense of resource, or ability to actively engage in life with ease. Additionally, I aim to help clients have better interoception skills, or ability to answer with clarity and honesty, "How do I feel right now?" or "How does my body feel right now?". Sometimes that looks like manually engaging in tissue work helping people manage migraines, or digestive distress, or overcome mystery pains that other modalities were not effective in treating. Other time it looks like guiding a client's awareness through their body and asking into what they are feeling or sensing, thus strengthening the body-mind connection. Most often the largest component of a session with me involves helping the central nervous system down regulate into rest and digest mode, making use of the parasympathetic nervous system's healing capacity.
Unlike swedish massage, but similar to Thai massage, Reiki, or Chiropractics, clients remain clothed during treatment. I gently palpate the differing rhythms of the body and use the information I obtain to treat areas of holding or strain. My touch tends to be light to medium in pressure and I move at the speed of the body, which is quite slow compared to the speed of the mind. I often use stillness as a therapeutic tool to guide the nervous system out of fight or flight mode and as a chance to be witness to your fluid body's ever-changing dynamic.
WHY TRY CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY?
Due to its gentle nature and use of the body's own healing intelligence, craniosacral therapy is a suitable therapeutic modality for many people and conditions. Some people find comfort in the fact that they don't have to undress or have messy oil applied to their bodies. Common reasons people choose CST are the treatment of:
WHAT YOU MIGHT EXPERIENCE DURING A TREATMENT
Every body is unique thus every experience is as well. Generally CST invokes a sense of peace and support, but a vast array of other experiences may arise. Some people feel as if they are floating off or sinking deep into the treatment table. Some people see colors, flashes of light, or shapes. Others may hear sounds, music, messages from guides, or the grumbling of their own digestive fires. Some folks fall into deep sleep right away, slowly drift into a dreamscape, or stay wide awake. People often have bodily twitches as overwhelm leaves their system, and sometimes have unexpected emotions well up. One may have profound insight into the origins of old habits, have long lost memories surface, or even feel as if nothing really happened at all. It is all ok, and the more understanding and accepting one is of the variety of responses there can be to CST, the easier it is for the mind and body to allow any of the above to occur.
WHAT YOU MIGHT EXPERIENCE AFTER A TREATMENT
What you experience after a treatment is highly variable as well. Infants and children can usually accept a lot of change and may see symptoms relieved immediately or within a day or two. Other people's systems may be so taxed that they are not ready for much change thus the progress made towards goals can be slow. Some people have strong surges of energy after the work and others may need a few days or more of increased rest. People may have the sense they are ready to tackle things they have been putting off or avoiding, or may be slightly disoriented and need time to adjust to their new sense of being. Some people have heightened emotions or irritability in the days following a treatment or may feel compelled to talk about something they've been holding in for too long. People often report having greater clarity, feeling grounded and supported, and sleeping well the night they receive work. As the body integrates the new fluid movement and fascial arrangements, a bit of a butterfly effect occurs, and the body keeps making changes as long as it has the resources to do so. When the momentum slows down, it's usually time for your next appointment.
chronic sinus problems
acute or chronic pain management
pre and post surgery support
held birth trauma