CranioSacral Therapy for Adults
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a hands-on therapy, where the touch is gentle, non-invasive and usually subtle. But do not be fooled! It is also a powerful therapy that affects the central nervous system to assist in improving function in the whole body.
We are aiming to treat the craniosacral system. This is the term Dr Upledger originally coined to describe the structures that produce and enable a rhythm he observed while assisting in a spinal surgery. (He was trying to hold a structure called the dural tube still while a colleague operated, but he couldn’t as it was moving all by itself!)
He eventually called this rhythm the craniosacral rhythm and saw it as being created within the craniosacral system: structures that enable this are the meningeal membranes that surround and support the brain and spinal cord, the bones of the head to which they attach and the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds and protects the brain
Why the light touch?
In CranioSacral Therapy we utilise light forces/palpation, this is for a couple of reasons. One is so we are able to receive information from the clients tissues. This ensures that the treatment is specific to your unique needs. The second is that when we use firmer pressures it can cause the soft tissues/structures of the body to “guard”, which then activates pain reflexes and the body goes into “defend” mode. So firmer pressures tell us more about the “defence” mode, than the underlying problems.
We all essentially live inside of a fascial (or “glad wrap”) sleeve. We can travel from the tip of the big toe to the top of the head without ever leaving fascia. It surrounds and connects ALL structures of the body. Ideally the fascia and structures are well aligned. This allows for normal movement and body processes. When fascia becomes tight or restricted, it can start to create strain patterns throughout the body. Kind of like a sleeve or a sock that isn’t quite on squarely!
Because fascia surrounds everything (including the brain and spinal cord) any kinks can cause a disruption to normal movement and function.
Your CranioSacral Therapist will use a series of evaluation tools to understand exactly where the origin of the dysfunction lies. Because of the fascial connections and the bodies extraordinary capacity for compensation, the original dysfunction may or may not be where you are experiencing your symptoms.
The techniques used will vary depending on what the unique needs of your system are. They may be techniques to relieve “bony” or joint compression, soft tissue techniques or sometimes techniques aimed at moving the fluids. But as we said above, always gently!
How can CranioSacral Therapy help?
People find CranioSacral Therapy effective for a wide range of problems associated with discomfort, pain and dysfunction. CranioSacral Therapy first and firmest looks at how well your nervous system is functioning. Because your nervous system drives everything else, we see people for a wide range of issues related to all of the bodies’ systems (hormonal dysfunction, digestive issues, musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction, stress related issues). Interestingly, this approach also appears to complement and stimulate the body’s natural healing processes, so CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure to help people thrive in their lives!
- Headache and migraine
- Chronic back and neck pain
- General musculoskeletal pain
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
- Post-dental work
- Visual disturbance
- Central Nervous System disorders
- Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Neurovascular and Immune disorders
- Hormonal dysfunction/imbalance
- Stress and tension related problems
- Emotional trauma
SomatoEmotional Release (Body-Mind Medicine)
Over the years Dr Upledger spent working with people, he noticed (as have many other practitioners of course) that some physical symptoms would not fully release and heal until an emotional component was taken care of too. This may be the case in chronic illness as well as in less obvious, sub-clinical patterns, such as poor immunity, lack of energy, lack of confidence or anxiety, for example. In considering how best to assist this link between physical tissue and emotional and mental aspects, he began to draw on a few different strands of mind and body work that could be linked into the work he was doing physically, listening to and following the body’s tissue releases.
The process gradually developed into what he called SomatoEmotional Release® (SER®)
A new approach to Body-Mind health
Historically, healthcare has had a treatment model that separates issues of the mind and body. You go somewhere to work on the issues related to your physical body, you go somewhere else to attend to your mental and emotional wellbeing.
SomatoEmotional Release® provides us with a framework and set of skills for working with the body tissues (‘somata’) at the same time as working with the emotions. This is important as body and mind are interrlated and as we work with both simultaneously we are able to work towards a ‘release’ or ‘integration’ of any retained trauma.
This can occur in a myriad of ways and is frequently gentle and creative, as we listen to and learn from both mind and body. SER® facilitates personal growth, helps us move from illness, unresolved issues and lack of potential, towards wellness, peace and fulfilment. We begin to be able to move forward and thrive in our lives!
How does this happen in a session?
During a session your CranioSacral Therapist may at some point ask about how you are feeling, what you are sensing, what is happening in your body in that moment. Sometimes this can be quite a new concept, but it is actually just activating the powerful tool that is your imagination! People quickly get the hang of it and often describe things such as images, memories or anything else that they may be aware of in that moment. There are a few key signs that suggest to us there may be an emotional component linked to the place we are at in the moment, and by following this we have clues as to how to keep this process on track and ensure it is helpful.
Why SomatoEmotional Release®?
We know that a radical change in physical health, whether for the better or the worse, is invariably accompanied by profound mental/emotional change. We also know from studies of behaviour and body language that the reverse is equally true – a major change in mental perspective is always accompanied by a change in body activity, posture and movement. SomatoEmotional Release® and the tools of CST combine all aspects of human nature – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – into one approach that can facilitate tremendous change and growth in a person’s life.
- Muscle Energy Technique
- Strain-Counterstrain Technique
- Visceral Manipulation
- Dry Needling
- Manipulative Physiotherapy
- Pilates and Yoga
- Rehabilitation Exercise Prescription
- Meditation/Mindfulness Training