Cranio Sacral Therapy
Cranio Sacral 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 Cranio Sacral 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 cranio sacral 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 cranio sacral 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 cranio sacral 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 cranio sacral system. By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s ability to self-correct, Cranio Sacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment. 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 cranio sacral system. By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s ability to self-correct, Cranio Sacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.
Cranio Sacral Therapy and Safety according with The Biodynamic Cranio Sacral Therapy Association of North America (BCTA/NA)
WHAT IS BIODYNAMIC CRANIO SACRAL THERAPY?
Biodynamic Cranio Sacral Therapy is a gentle yet profound non-invasive, hands-on treatment for the whole body. Performed in a chair or on a massage table, the client is fully clothed and the touch is generally light and still. The treatment is focused on supporting the health of the whole being, especially the nervous system. This is the system that dictates all of the body's functioning, constantly sending and receiving information.
Biodynamic Cranio Sacral Therapists understand how an optimally functioning healthy nervous system performs. We are trained for years to use acute perception skills to perceive subtle physiological changes. We also are aware of the energetic map that underlies one's basic health and symptomology. We believe that health is never lost no matter what the ailment. We use our ability to identify the parts of the nervous system that are not functioning optimally and our awareness of the "always available health" in the body to assist the system in bringing itself back into balance. This supports greater ease and helps the body decrease symptoms.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM BIODYNAMIC CRANIO SACRAL THERAPY?
Because of the gentle non-invasive nature of Biodynamic Cranio Sacral Therapy (BCST), there are few contraindications for treatment. Everyone can benefit and it can even be enjoyed by those too young, old, frail or ill for other more manual therapies. The improvement after a session may be more dramatic with some clients than with others. Because BCST builds health in the brain and nervous system, it is effective in assisting the prevention of chronic conditions, including the problems of aging, stiffness, dryness, memory loss, inflammation and immune imbalances.
In Addition, BCST can be useful in addressing injuries, including those to the bones and tissues. BCST is also an effective modality for exploring and resolving issues that occurred long ago including birth trauma. Birth trauma commonly affects one throughout life until it is addressed.
And how many of us have not had a head or tailbone injury from sports, falls, trauma or auto accidents? Even recovery from minor surgeries, including dental work, which can create strains and anesthesia residues, can be supported by BCST. The beauty of the Biodynamic approach is that it strengthens our whole system and creates a safe environment, so that the body can gain new perspectives about unresolved issues, and the Biodynamic Cranio sacral practitioner can facilitate a resolution.
Our inner health is capable, when skillfully supported, of presenting the strains one at a time, in an order of priorities initiated by the body, in a way that does not overwhelm the system but makes it increasingly stronger. We do not need to remember or relive our traumas in order to benefit from their resolution.
IS BIODYNAMIC CRANIO SACRAL THERAPY SAFE FOR CHILDREN?
Children respond well to BCST because it is gentle, non-invasive, andeffective in ways they can intuitively recognize. Even small children quickly get used to the work as they develop trust in their practitioner. Pre-verbal children may actually direct the practitioner's hands to areas of discomfort. Children easily show the dynamics of their experience through movement and sounds.
Much subtle work can be done by the practitioner during "playtime" in which the child is observed and assisted in completing unresolved challenges. Parents are often astounded at the way a crabby, hyperactive, or miserable child will fall into deep relaxation or sleep during treatment. Whatever can be resolved during infancy or childhood, often in only a few sessions, can potentially prevent decades of medical and psychological treatment later on. In addition, resolution of misaligned forces makes us less accident-prone, because we are not "off-balance".
IS BIODYNAMIC CRANIO SACRAL THERAPY SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?
BCST is not only safe but recommended during pregnancy, as it calms the nervous system of both mother and child. It strengthens emotional bonding which has the potential of being short-circuited due to pre-natal and birth stresses and trauma.
Also, although the growing prenate is highly conscious, s/he does not know the difference between mother's thoughts and feelings and its own, so when Mom's system is soothed and balanced during pregnancy, the baby benefits as well. This therapy has been found to help with fertility issues as well.
ARE THERE MANIPULATIONS INVOLVED?
Biodynamic Cranio Sacral Therapy is distinguished by its minimal reliance on manipulations of any kind. If the various Cranio sacral methods could be characterized and compared based on this criterion, the Biodynamic style would be placed at the non-manipulative or yin end of the spectrum.
In the Biodynamic approach, the healing process comes from within the client, not from the outside by the practitioner, and the hand contacts are based on listening and following/reflecting the client's process rather than pushing or manipulating the client towards a theoretical ideal state.
HOW DOES BIODYNAMIC CRANIO SACRAL THERAPY WORK?
Biodynamic Cranio Sacral Therapy begins after a level of safety is created for the client. This is achieved in the communication between client and practitioner who together negotiate the space and contact between therm. Once contact is established, the practitioner listens deeply to the fluctuations of the cerebrospinal fluid within the cranio sacral system.
The fluctuation of the cerebrospinal fluid creates a variety of tides within the system. As the practitioner "from a place of stillness" listens to these internal tides, the client's system begins to access its own inner resources. Perhaps a little like finding keys to previously locked doors. The cerebrospinal fluid "as it bathes and protects the brain and spinal cord" carries an intelligence and potency (life force), which becomes mixed with other bodily fluids via the dural membranes.
A Biodynamic Cranio sacral therapist learns to listen deeply to the system, tapping into its inherent intelligence, while focusing on the system remembering its original blueprint of health. The therapist encourages the client's system to access its resources, offering new choices and possibilities for the system at every level. Training, then, includes deep perceptual and centering skills as well as extensive study of the anatomy, physiology, and inherent motion of the cranio sacral system.
WHAT KIND OF SYMPTOMS RESPOND BEST TO BIODYNAMIC CRANIO SACRAL THERAPY?
Anecdotal evidence shows BCST may be helpful in addressing such situations as impingement of cranial nerves or spinal nerves, left-right imbalances, head injuries, confusion, feelings of compression or pressure, anxiety, depression, circulatory disorders, organ dysfunctions, learning difficulties, neuro-endocrine problems, TMJ and dental problems, and trauma of all kinds " birth, falls, accidents and other injuries, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, PTSD, loss/grief, surgery, anesthesia, among others.
BCST is also excellent as a preventive therapy because it can facilitate the resolution of imbalances within a patient/client's system that can later lead to illness or injury.