Craniosacral Q&A

What is Craniosacral Therapy (CST)?

Craniosacral Therapy started in the osteopathic community in the early 1900’s as a way to feel restrictions in the cranial bones and fascia. By freeing the cranial bones and fascia, the therapist is able to assist the body in regaining normal function in the nervous, lymph, hormonal, myofascial, and gastrointestinal system. CST is a whole person therapy focusing on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It is founded on the belief that the body knows exactly how to heal. The role of the therapist is to help you heal yourself and facilitate the healing process. The primary goal in a CST session is to not only treat your condition, but maximize your health overall.

What is involved in a Craniosacral Therapy Session?

CST is a gentle non-evasive hands-on therapy that follows the subtle movements of your fascia or connective tissues. The therapist will lightly place (less than a nickel weight of pressure) their hands on areas of restriction that facilitates the body to gently release fixations. During the session the person is fully clothed and the therapist evaluates restriction in movement from different parts of the body. A session usually lasts one hour but that can vary depending on the condition.

What do people usually experience with Craniosacral Therapy?

Most people feel very relaxed and some even fall asleep. Many can feel the movement inside their bodies and describe it like they are floating on water. Tingling and heat are also commonly felt as fixations are released. Because CST is so relaxing, most people can tap into their subconscious and identify blocks to healing and belief patterns that are preventing total health. This dialog represents the most powerful and deep healing that can take place. Many unresolved issues can be resolved with this therapy.

What is the fascia that Craniosacral therapists follow?

The connective tissue of the body is derived from the third layer of cells in the embryo and evolves into the entire system of muscles, connective tissue, and bones. Fascia forms a transparent network of casings and transparent sheets around virtually every functional unit of the body. Each muscle is surrounded by fascia that allows each muscle to slide across one another with uninhibited movement. A recent paper by Oshman summarizing research on fascia acutally extends this network through smaller and smaller fibers down the the individual cell – “Taken as a whole system, the connective tissues resembles a 3-D body stocking or a union suit with a place for everything in it.” By following fascial movement one can facilitate lasting change on a cellular and even gene level. (Keelman, Stanley. Emotional Anatomy.)

What are fixations or adhesions and how do they get there?

Many different processes create fixations or adhesions in the fascia. Trauma, accidents, injuries are all major events that can not only damage bones but also muscles, nerves, and facial tissue. Scar tissue tends to be shorter and less flexible than original fascia so surgery or other trauma also alter the balance of the fascial network. Fevers, chemicals, and hormones can also alter the collagen substance causing the muscle to become glued together and unable to slide across each other in order to work independently. In children the birthing process due to the enormous pressure involved in birth causes fixations in the fascial tissue.

Are there any condition Craniosacral Therapy should not be used?

There are certain situations where applications 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 pre-existing severe bleeding disorders are examples of conditions that could be affected by small intracranial pressure changes.

Since CST puts your body in charge of healing there are no harmfull effects from it.  A well-trained therapist will always follow your body and work with you to heal on many different levels. Some particular hand positions have contraindications if you have increased intra-cranial pressure from a major head injury or if there is a malformation genetically; however, these are rare and your therapist will be aware of all of these things.

Is Craniosacral Therapy scientific and effective?

Yes, Craniosacral Therapy has more research behind it than any other hands on therapy. CST started in the 1900’s in osteopathic medicine (DO) with doctors working the head (cranium) and the tailbone (sacrum). Since then it has evolved to treat the entire body. Many controlled studies as well as retrospective studies have proved the effectiveness of CST.

What is Craniosacral Therapy especially good at treating?

The goal is to maximize your health and quality of life, (not just treat your symptoms). However, some of the most common conditions we help clients overcome include:

  • Headaches and Migraines
  • TMJ Syndrome
  • Fatigue/Chronic Fatigue
  • Anxiety/Depression/Hyperactivity & other mood challenges
  • Gastrointestinal problems like Ulcers, Irritable bowel, Crohn’s, Diarrhea, Constipation, and Esophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Fibromyalgia/Musculoskeletal complaints, Injuries, Scoliosis, Sciatica, Disk Herniation, Chronic Low Back Pain
  • Arthritis/Gout/other Rheumatic diseases
  • Allergies/Chronic infections/Immune system disorders/Autoimmune disease
  • Central Nervous System Disorders/Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Common pediatric conditions like Infections/Allergies/Otitis (ear infections)/Autism/Colic
  • Post Surgical Recovery
  • PMS/Endometriosis/Menopause, or other hormonal imbalances

Do I need to stop doing other therapies if I do Craniosacral Therapy?

NO. Many other therapies such as chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, and homeopathy are complementary to CST and will facilitate your body in regaining health. The goals of treatment are to bring your body into optimal health so that you won’t need to have any treatments other than maintenance. Talk with your health care practitioner about guiding you to the therapies that will work best for you.

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