CranioSacral Therapy (CST)
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a full body approach to wellness. It originates from Osteopathy and shares several precepts. Primarily, health practitioners can facilitate healing but the body heals. For example a doctor sets a broken bone for alignment but the body heals the fracture. Additionally, function follows structure. That means tightness of the structures for example muscles, joints, or ligaments adversely effects functioning. In contrast, manual therapy that releases restrictions improves the body functioning and ability to adapt to demands.
CST gets it’s name from the CranioSacral system consisting of the skull and spinal cord, fascial membrane (the meninges) and the cerebral spinal fluid. The fascia is a system of interconnected tissue that surrounds and protects literally everything else in the body. It is the reason we sometimes have a problem area that hurts some where else; for example a stiff ankle causing knee or hip pain. The importance of the CranioSacral system is it’s direct effect on the nervous system and the master endocrine gland, the pituatary.
Both the nervous system and endocrine system effect the entire homeostasis of the body. Improving movement and functioning in these systems not only relieve pain but can have a huge impact on immune, metabolic and emotional well being. Plus, within the craniosacral system, the cerebral spinal fluid has many amazing qualities. For one, it has a rhythm as it removes waste and brings new nutrients. This rhythm can be felt throughout the body as an expansion and contraction. It also becomes quiet, almost still when the body is experiencing a release or significant shift.
As a CranioSacral Therapist, I learn to ‘listen’ with my hands to the CranioSacral rhythm. Since I know where the movement is generated if some place in the body is not moving I can find the restrictions anywhere and at any depth of the body. Making CranioSacral therapy unique in precisely pinpointing the source of symptoms even when complex. Then availing the body’s ability to heal use gentle unwinding of the fascia to softened the restriction. All the while, following the wisdom of the body by encouraging the still points of the CranioSacral rhythm.
Because of the gentleness of the technique there are very few contraindications. It can work well alone or combined with other treatments. Clients feel relaxed and revitalized often immediately after a session but the full benefit of the treatment sometimes takes days while the body integrates the deeper tissue softening. The conditions that are benefited by CST include migraines, headaches, chronic neck or back pain, chronic joint pain, IBS, TMJ dysfunction, Colic in infants or latching problems and fibromyalgia related conditions. It’s is helpful with anxiety or stress conditions as well.