Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a holistic therapy that involves the manipulation of the skull bones (the Cranium) and the Sacrum to relieve pain and a variety of other conditions like chronic pain, emotional trauma, physical disability, pediatric trauma, and emotional stress and numerous ailments, including cancer. It is a gentle healing modality that uses a very light touch to impact the body's physical, neurological, and energetic structures.
CST is a hands-on, gentle method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system. Cranio-sacral Therapy treats the whole person. It does not focus on symptoms, although it is often the symptoms that bring us to treatment initially. This Therapy stems from osteopathy, an approach that emphasises the musculoskeletal system's role in health and disease.
What is the craniosacral system?
The craniosacral system constitutes the three layers of membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord (meninges), including the cerebral spinal fluid. The tissues extend through the bones to the skull, face and mouth (the Cranium) and then down to the tailbone (the Sacrum). This system protects the brain and the spinal cord as a shock absorber and facilitates the electrochemical conduction of nerve signals.
Cranio-Sacral treatment happens in a quiet and peaceful environment with the patient lying down, fully clothed. Treatment involves a gentle touch of the practitioner's hands on the Cranium, the Sacrum, the feet, the trunk, or other body parts as appropriate. The treatment creates mainly a profound relaxation which may affect the whole person physically, mentally and emotionally, often accompanied by a feeling of lightness and ease.
The gentle approach of CST is entirely non-invasive. The subtle interaction of the two systems – brought together by this light contact – stimulates and enhances self-healing mechanisms within the body to respond, release and open up to a more balanced healthy state.
The therapist notes what he or she perceives at chosen places on the body and in the craniosacral system (the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord), as well as the client's attitude and intentions. The goal of craniosacral Therapy is to help eliminate restrictions in this system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.
CST treats the following conditions
Cranial osteopathy treats a wide range of problems in both children and adults, including:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Migraine headaches
- Disturbed sleep cycles
- Neck pain
- Sinus infections
- TMJ syndrome
- Ménière's disease
- Ear problems
Furthermore, CST treats children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) who have experienced birth or head trauma.
The American Cancer Society notes that cranial osteopathy therapy can help patients feel more relaxed by helping to relieve stress and tension, despite not having been shown scientifically to be a treatment for cancer,
Benefits of CST
Cranial sacral Therapy seeks to restore the natural position of the bones. It can decrease stress from chronic injuries and relieve migraine headaches, neck and back pain, temporomandibular joint disorder (the inflammation of the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull) and more.
Approximately 28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. Often, migraines are triggered or exacerbated by stress and poor sleep. However, researchers found that participants who received bodywork like Cranial Sacral Therapy had better quality sleep and fewer migraines than participants who did not. Effects even lasted up to three weeks after Therapy ended.
Cranio-Sacral Therapy treats people rather than conditions. It is primarily concerned with establishing a healthy, balanced underlying state which enables the body's healing mechanisms to operate at an optimum level and, therefore, to restore health.
Cranio-Sacral Therapy works on many levels and influences many different structures within the body. CST influences the musculoskeletal system, the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the immune system, the organs, the connective tissues, the fluids and the energy systems of the body.
The whole person – Cranio-Sacral Integration is not merely treating the body. It recognises that body, mind and feelings are absolutely and inextricably intertwined. It engages with every aspect of our being – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. So its effects are profound and widespread and can be effective under various circumstances and conditions. Cranio-Sacral Integration is not treating conditions; it is treating people; it is treating the whole person and everything about the person at a fundamental and profound level. Doing so can enable the body to address whatever symptoms, conditions or disturbances that particular individual may be experiencing.
Wide Application – Consequently, the applications of Cranio-Sacral Therapy are extensive – from simple aches and pains to the most complex chronic or persistent issues. It can also be valuable in helping to resolve intransigent and persistent conditions that have not responded to other forms of treatment.
It has a significant part to play in addressing the far-reaching and potentially life-determining consequences of severe trauma and shock – whether due to severe car accidents, mugging, rape, sexual abuse, childhood abuse, birth, war, or any other cause – engaging with both the physical and psycho-emotional effects of trauma.
Cranio-Sacral Therapy is concerned with enhancing health, strength and vitality at the very core of our being, thereby stimulating the body's natural potential and helping the body to eradicate the root of any problem. In addition, it is concerned with integrating all the body's resources to function at their optimum level.
Who can benefit?
Cranio-Sacral Integration can be of benefit at any age – for babies, children, adults, the elderly, in pregnancy, in birth, sickness or health.
It is often helpful:
- for the many common symptoms affecting so many babies in early life
- helping babies to sleep better and to become more settled
- for more severe issues, including the widespread effects of Birth Trauma
- for the many knocks and falls that they encounter
- to aid recovery from persistent illness
- and for more severe issues
For pregnant women
- to assist in enabling a comfortable, smoother, more natural birth
- with less need for intervention
- to encourage a more comfortable pregnancy
- to create the optimum environment for the baby
- For numerous range of issues
For older people
- To maintain good health and wellbeing
- who wish to improve their underlying state of health and wellbeing
- and to create a greater sense of ease, clarity and health in their life
By complementing the body's natural healing processes, CST is a preventive health measure to bolster disease resistance and is effective for many medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.