“The thing that I remember about those first appointments was how I felt heard. This was not because of any verbal reassurance or a sympathetic ear (although I’m sure that helped), but because I had never been touched like that before. My therapist put his hands on my head, hardly making contact, and waited there in silence. I had never experienced such a light and yet penetrating touch, or been in such close and yet spacious contact with another person. Within that contact it was if the whole of me was being held: mind, body and heart.
Furthermore, this was not just a passive process, as I could sense a powerful reorganization taking place inside me. There was a clear and dynamic communication going on between the practitioner’s hands and my body. His hand contacts had a precision and appropriateness, as if some primal part of me was being acknowledged. Slowly I began to notice that there was something else apart from my own confusion and the tightness my poor body had been carrying. I began to be aware of a depth of presence and healing, and started to let go.” – Wisdom in the Body, Michael Kern
1. What is Craniosacral Therapy?
Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle yet profound method for enhancing the function of the nervous system and returning balance and mobility to the whole body. This safe and supportive process allows for the release of deep-seated trauma held within our body and supports in reconnecting with and expressing who we are at the deepest level.
Various systems of our body function involuntarily and have their own pattern of motion and rhythm. For example, the heart (cardiovascular system) and lungs (respiratory system). There is another system which also has an involuntary rhythm of motion and is equally important called the craniosacral system. Cranio refers to the cranium or skull, and sacral refers to the bones at the base of the spine that sit between our pelvis.
The craniosacral system is comprised of the skull, spinal column and sacrum and everything that is housed within these boney structures. This includes the brain and spinal cord, the cerebrospinal fluid, and the membranes (meninges) that surround these structures.
Cranial Sacral practitioners are trained to sense and monitor these very subtle wave-like involuntary rhythms that come from the craniosacral system. Using very gentle contacts, especially on the skull, spine and sacrum (tailbone), facilitates a response from the body's self-correcting (homeostatic) mechanism and allows for the release of blocks or holding patterns that may be present throughout the body. These blocks can be due to trauma or illness that may have occurred in the past, and did not release from the cellular memory of the body.
If these blocks or restrictions to normal movement of the craniosacral system go left uncorrected, they will cause a malfunction of the central nervous system, interference of normal energy flow throughout the body, and a lack of full expression of the essential self. This work supports the normal functioning of the nervous system and ultimately helps to return optimal health to the whole body. 2. What are the benefits of a session?
Craniosacral therapy is beneficial for people of all ages, from newborn babies to the elderly. From those who are experiencing acute painful conditions due to a recent injury, to those experiencing chronic problems, to those who feel fine and want to experience greater health and vitality. This work is especially beneficial, and dramatic improvement is often seen, with those who have experienced any type of trauma, whether physical or emotional, recent or old. Craniosacral therapy allows for the release of the emotional, physical and mental components of a trauma.
This can include trauma experienced from:
Accidents Surgeries Slips and falls Sports Physical abuse Sexual abuse Verbal abuse Birth process
Some of the benefits include the elimination or reduction of:
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (Jaw joint pain, clicking and popping) Headaches and Migraines Back, Neck and Facial pain Grinding of teeth Sinus problems Chronic pain Visual and Auditory disturbances Hormonal disturbances Other nervous system disorders
3. How can I expect to feel during and after the session?
The experience of a craniosacral session is normally relaxing and comfortable. During the session, you'll begin to develop a greater self-awareness of your body and emotions. You may become aware of the subtle wavelike motions that are a reflection of the involuntary motion of our craniosacral system and of our basic watery origin. You also will become aware of the physical holding patterns that may exist and of the emotional feelings buried deep within. At times, memories may arise, some that make sense and some that have no context for immediate understanding. Quite often, a greater sense of calmness, clarity and well being is experienced during and after a craniosacral session.
Craniosacral therapy helps to release old trauma held deep in the mind and body. Release occurs both during and after a craniosacral session, often occurring for 24-48 hours or longer afterward. There may be changes in sleep, dreams, and how you feel physically and emotionally. It is normal to sometimes feel worse before feeling better. There may be a generalized feeling of openness, joy, euphoria, etc., or there may be feelings of confusion, contraction, sadness, and vulnerability. Feelings can shift rapidly. All this is part of rebalancing until a new equilibrium can be established.
4. What occurs during a typical session and how long does it last?
After you lie down on a comfortable massage table, we will begin by making one or two gentle contacts, following the subtle involuntary rhythms coming from your craniosacral system. This will continue throughout the session. Dialogue may be used to facilitate a greater awareness of what is taking place in your body. Over time you'll begin to let go and release areas of resistance held within your body caused by trauma or illness.
Session length can vary, although a typical session lasts from 50-60 minutes.
5. How many sessions will I need?
A typical series encompasses 6 sessions although each person will have different needs depending of their problem. In most cases, it does take more than one or two sessions to notice significant changes. After the initial series, we will mutually evaluate whether it is prudent to continue.
The length of care depends on your goals. Do you want to:
Relieve acute symptoms
Release the effects of physical and emotional trauma trapped within your body and restore balance and mobility
Improve your overall well-being on an ongoing basis
6. How safe is Craniosacral Therapy?
Since the force being used is very minimal and because the intention of the work is only to listen and follow the body's own rhythms and allow it to self-correct rather than to manipulate or fix something, it is considered a very safe healing modality. Although mental and emotional processes do arise at times from a session, our intention is not to process the client. It is certainly helpful to work in conjunction with psychotherapy practitioners at times.
7. What about Craniosacral for babies and children?
Moms bring their infants and babies to craniosacral practitioners for many reasons, including:
Consequences of vacuum or forceps extraction and C-section