Have you ever heard of Craniosacral Therapy? It is a form of bodywork that is gaining popularity.
Craniosacral Therapy is growing in popularity because it is gentle, effective, and becoming more widely available. The word Craniosacral refers to the skull (cranium) and tail bone (sacrum). Whereas the Craniosacral system encompasses the entire connective tissue network of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and fluid contained within the connective tissue. The Craniosacral system has a pulse of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). The spinal fluid is created and reabsorbed every few seconds. This ebb and flow of fluid creates a tangible pulse. A trained Craniosacral Therapist can feel that pulse just as easily as the common pulse that a heart beat creates.
Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a technique developed by Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). These CST treatments have been practiced for several hundred years. In the last few decades the techniques of CST have been shared with other health care professionals. CST is practiced professionally by massage therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, osteopathic doctors, naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists, and others.
The goal of CST is to create balance and alignment of the body. The balance is achieved by assisting the tissue to release areas of tightness or restriction. The philosophy of CST is opposite of many forms of bodywork which is to use force to overcome tension. Often the force, during CST, is introduced to the direction of ease, this works with the body, instead of against it. CST is similar to chiropractic care when the bones are used as levers to move soft tissue and ligaments. However CST is much more gentle than an audible chiropractic adjustment. In fact the manual pressure during CST is equal to approximately 5 grams or the weight of a nickel.
During CST the patient is typically fully clothed and lying down on a treatment table. A treatment generally lasts 30-60 minutes. The practitioner will assess the Craniosacral pulse and diagnose restrictions in the bones, soft tissue, muscles, organs and nervous system. Light pressure is applied to adjust the areas of restriction. Each adjustment may take several minutes. Patients typically find CST to be quite relaxing and often fall asleep during the treatment. After the treatment you may notice that you feel relaxed. It is common to feel a bit “spacey”, like your “brain finished a yoga class”, or notice that joints are popping as they set back into place. Once a CST treatment is completed the body continues to integrate and rebalance the tissue for several days afterward. A series of treatments typically consists of 4-6 treatments that are 1-2 weeks apart. Often patients notice improvements immediately, and occasionally improvements continue to occur for several days after the treatment.
CST can be used to treat many common health problems like headaches, migraines, sinus problems, TMJ dysfunction, digestive disorders, acute pain, chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, and more. Patients often find that CST offers relief from frustrating health problems without drugs or unwanted side effects. If CST is practiced by a licensed health care professional it may also be covered by medical insurance.
Naturopathic Physicians frequently practice CST because it aligns with many of our principles. CST is gentle and provides a framework for the first rule in medicine “Do No Harm”, and it is also holistic and allows us to “Treat The Whole Person”. When Dr. John Bastyr was asked what was his most important tool as a physician, he offered the answer . . . his hands.