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What is Craniosacral Therapy?
Craniosacral therapy is a subtle and profound healing form which assists the body's natural capacity for self-repair.
In a typical Craniosacral session, you will usually lie (or sometimes sit) fully-clothed on a treatment couch. The therapist will make contact by placing their hands lightly on your body and tuning in to what is happening by ‘listening’ with their hands. Contact is made carefully so that you will feel at ease with what is happening.
The first thing you will probably notice is a sense of deep relaxation, which will generally last throughout the session. With subsequent treatments this release of tension often extends into everyday life. The work can address physical aches and pains, acute and chronic disease, emotional or psychological disturbances, or simply help to develop well-being, health and vitality.
Craniosacral therapy is so gentle that it is suitable for babies, children, and the elderly, as well as adults and people in fragile or acutely painful conditions. Treatment can aid almost any condition, raising vitality and improving the body's capacity for self-repair.
Sometimes the benefits are not immediately noticeable but become obvious on returning to a familiar environment. The work can involve resolution of past events and is often profoundly relaxing, deeply moving and exhilarating.
Craniosacral therapy developed from the work of an American osteopath, Dr William Sutherland in the early 1900s. He discovered intrinsic movements of the bones in the head and his further research revealed different rhythms in the body. As a result of detailed clinical observation it has become clear that these movements, which can be measured with delicate scientific instruments, are a direct expression of health and offer a way of working with the physical as well as the more subtle aspects of life.
Further observation showed that these movements are also inextricably linked with mental and emotional health. Restriction of movement corresponds to a reduction of the natural capacity to self-heal. Using the hands to feel these movements allows craniosacral therapists to facilitate change in areas of restriction.
The following are just a few examples of the many conditions which might benefit from Craniosacral treatment:
- Headache, Migraine.
- Asthma, Sinusitis, Bronchitis, Cystitis.
- Frozen Shoulder, Arthritis, Sciatica, Chronic Sprained Ankle, Joint Disorders, Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
- Digestive Problems, Menstrual Disorders, Period Pains.
- Back Pain, Neck Pain, Persistent pain anywhere in the body.
- Tension, Anxiety, Stress, Insomnia, Visual Disturbances.
- Problems during and after Pregnancy, Depression, Post Operative Effects, Adhesions.
- Baby Care, Colic, Pyloric Stenosis, Feeding Difficulties.
- Ear Infections, Glue Ear, Tonsillitis, ENT Problems.
- Birth Trauma - with its profound physical and psycho-emotional consequences.
- Compression of the skull due to a difficult birth, with its many after effects.
- Learning Difficulties, Dyslexia, Squint, Lazy Eye.
- Hyperactivity, Autism, Epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy.
- Behavioural Disorders, Tantrums, Obsessional Behaviour, Poor coordination.
- Dental and Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) Problems.
- Shock and Trauma – from traumatic incidents, accidents, or conditionings.
- Head Injuries, and their subtle influence on personality and mental state.
- Meningitis and its chronic consequences.
- Post Viral Syndrome, ME, Glandular Fever, Fatigue, Lack of Energy.
- The after effects of any chronic illness or debilitating disease.
Frequently asked questions
What are the benefits of Craniosacral therapy?
Craniosacral Therapy has a very high success rate. Most practitioners find that around 85% of clients are happy with the results of the work. Benefits can come in a variety of ways:
- Increased sense of relaxation
- Improvement of the symptoms you came to see the practitioner about. Quite simply, you get better
- Improvement of other symptoms. For example, someone coming for treatment for a bad back can find that, as well as their back pain easing, the migraines they have had for years have got better too
- Change in behaviour patterns, leading to an improvement in relationships with friends, family, colleagues, etc
- Greater capacity to manage life in general
- Better management of specific disease symptoms
- Reduced stress
- Improvement of psychological issues
- Reduction of effects of past trauma
- Improved sense of well-being
What does it actually feel like?
Most people find cranial sessions pleasant and relaxing. People often talk of feeling as if they have "had their batteries charged". Sometimes people feel tingling or numbing sensations or they may experience momentary pain related to past events. When this settles the net result is one of feeling better. People often feel as if things are reorganising inside them or as if a weight has been lifted from their shoulders.
How many sessions will I need?
The number of sessions required depends entirely on the condition being treated.
Will treatments help if I have no particular symptoms?
Yes, many people find that craniosacral therapy helps them feel better and enjoy life more. Their energy levels improve and they are able to deal with everyday stress more positively. People often find it easier to fight off minor infections, and regular treatments may help prevent more serious conditions from developing in the future.
What is the interval between sessions?
Initially sessions are usually a week to a fortnight apart. However, for some conditions, initially 2-3 treatments a week will be needed for the first few weeks. With long-term treatment the frequency of sessions usually reduces.
How safe is Craniosacral Therapy?
The light touch used in Craniosacral Therapy means that it is one of the safest therapeutic forms. It is a non-directive, non-analytical, non-invasive approach - essentially the art of listening and enabling the body to heal itself.
Is it head massage?
No. Because of the name, craniosacral therapy, people often think that it concerns only the head and spine. CST is not a form of head massage although contact is made with the head in most sessions. A fuller explanation of Craniosacral work can be found at What is Craniosacral Therapy?.
The Cranio-Sacral System.
The Cranio-Sacral System is a physiological system which, together with the cardio-vascular and respiratory systems, is one of the three fundamental life-giving systems. Dr William Sutherland who first identified the Cranio-Sacral System considered it to be the most fundamental of all systems. He described it as the Primary Respiratory Mechanism, suggesting that it was more primary even than respiration. It is a system which is at the very core of our being, believed by Sutherland to be the very source of life.
The Cranio-Sacral System can be identified through its inherent rhythmic motion. Just as the cardio-vascular system is manifested in the rhythmic pulsation of the arteries, and the respiratory system is evident through the rhythmic rise and fall of respiration, so the Cranio-Sacral System has an inherent rhythmic motion which can be felt as a subtle tide-like motion gently ebbing and flowing and manifesting in all the body tissues.
I'm interested but sceptical - do I have to believe in it for it to work??
It helps to have an open mind, but the benefits of craniosacral therapy are not dependent upon faith in the treatment.
How would you sum up the effects of Craniosacral therapy?
Craniosacral therapy improves people's quality of life in general as well as helping with specific problems. It can help you recover from the results of accidents, falls and strains as well as diseases. Psychological and traumatic conditions can also be helped. Cranial work can reduce stress and improve the functioning of the immune system.
For more information on this amazing therapy go to: www.upledger.co.uk