WHAT IS CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY (CST)?
All that we experience in life, everything we think, feel or do is processed through our body. If we are stressed or overwhelmed, it can have an impact on our nervous system and our body can struggle to work efficiently leading to ill health. Restrictions and imbalances in the craniosacral system can compromise the function of the central nervous system and this can affect other systems in the body.
CranioSacral (CST) is a light touch, hands on therapy that helps the body to release restrictions, tension and trauma thereby improving function which enables the body to work at it's best. CST was developed in the 1970's by Dr. John Upledger, an Osteopathic Physician in the USA.
CranioSacral Therapy gets it's name from the body's associated bones – the skull (cranium) and the sacrum which are intrinsically linked by the spine. The brain and spinal cord are surrounded and protected by the cerebrospinal fluid. Due to the increase and decrease of the volume of this fluid as it is produced and reabsorbed, a rhythm is produced, much like our heart and lungs have their own rhythm. A practitioner of CST can palpate this rhythm (or motion) of the cerebrospinal fluid by placing their hands gently on the body. This rhythm can tell them not only the quality of the person's vitality but also where there may be restrictions in the body.
CranioSacral Therapy gently assists the body in releasing deeply held tension in the fascial system. The fascia is a continuous web-like structure of connective tissue in the body which surrounds, protects and holds in place every bone, muscle, organ, ligament and tendon. All nerve, blood and lymph vessels move within the fascia. When there is stress or physical knocks to the body, the fascial tissue contracts and can hold on and store these tensions thereby causing restrictions in it's functioning.
There is an aspect of CranioSacral therapy called SomatoEmotional release. Trauma memory is not only held in an area of the brain, it is also stored in the body's tissue; there is a body mind connection. Sometimes during a session, the unwinding and releasing of the body tissue can bring to the surface trapped emotions that haven't, up to this point, had a chance to be released or processed. The practitioner can use therapeutic visualization and conversation to help support the person to release any residual emotions.
All these components of CranioSacral Therapy mean that the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of what is being experienced, e.g. illness/disease/discomfort, or perhaps where the person is in their life, can be supported in order to help facilitate growth and change. When we release restrictions which may have been holding us back in life (physically or emotionally), we experience more space and freedom within to truly Be ourselves and to fully embrace life.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A CRANIOSACRAL SESSION?
In a CranioSacral session you will lie fully clothed in a comfortable position on a treatment couch. The practitioner gently lays their hands on the surface of your body; often the feet, legs, hips, shoulders or head to 'listen' to the craniosacral rhythm sensing where there may be restrictions, strains or tension. Having established where in the body to begin work, the practitioner often puts one hand underneath the body, e.g. between the shoulder blades, and the other hand on top of the body, e.g. the collar bone area. With a gentle touch, about the weight of a small coin, the practitioner's hands begin to meld or blend with your body's tissue feeling into any restrictions in the area. You may feel subtle and gentle wave-like motions as the therapist's hands mirror back to your body what they are feeling. This is the unwinding of the fascia.
CranioSacral therapy is gentle, non-invasive and supports the body's own self healing mechanism. The body has it's own inner wisdom knowing exactly what it is that is needed in order to heal. CST is suitable for all ages; because of it's gentleness it may be effective from the newborn to the elderly.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY?
It is increasingly used as a preventative measure as it helps to strengthen resistance to disease and it enhances health and overall well being. It may be effective for a wide range of problems associated with pain, discomfort and dysfunction. Some of the issues people come with for CST include:
Many people report that they feel relaxed at a level they hadn't experienced before. Some people even fall asleep and report feeling lighter, calmer and more in tune with their body as a result of treatment.
CST is not diagnostic or a replacement for appropriate medical care, if there are concerns it is recommended that you consult your medical practitioner.
Treatment costs start from £35 per hour.
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