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Cranio-sacral Therapy is an exceptionally gentle yet extremely powerful form of treatment that can be helpful to most people and in most conditions - from minor aches stress symptoms and pains to severe and persistent chronic health care problems
Cranio-sacral Therapy is a deeply profound healing process which can influence the deeply held patterns of both physical and psychological disease - which accumulate throughout life as a result of injury, illness or trauma and become held in the body tissues, leading to ill-health and dysfunction.
It has the potential to transform these patterns of restriction and resistance in our lives at a very fundamental level, thereby eliminating disease and restoring health.
Cranio-sacral Therapy involves a very gentle touch of the practitioner’s hands, both for diagnosis and for treatment. This light contact may be on the cranium, the sacrum or any other part of the body as appropriate, in what has been described as a “butterfly touch” sensation.
Through this light touch the practitioner is able to pick up subtle patterns of e/motions within the body - rhythms, pulls, and pulsations - emanating from deeply rooted core structures of the body. These movements are a reflection of Cranio-Sacral motion which is expressed in all tissues throughout the body. Every condition affecting a person influences this movement, creating asymmetries or restrictions to Cranio-Sacral motion. The Cranio-Sacral Therapist can therefore diagnose every condition through the corresponding patterns of resistance within the Cranio-sacral system.
By responding appropriately to these patterns - in other words by gently allowing the subtle movements deep within the body to unwind themselves - the Craniosacral Therapist can enable and facilitate the release of Cranio-sacral restrictions. Realignment of these profound regulatory patterns in turn enables the release of dis(ease) conditions throughout the body and mind.
What can it treat?
Cranio-sacral Therapy is primarily concerned with creating and maintaining a healthy, balanced state of mind and body on all levels. This underlying state of well-being thus enables the body's own healing mechanisms to operate at optimum level, and therefore enables the body to eliminate disease and restore health.
Cranio-sacral Therapy works on different levels and influence many different structures within the body. It influences the muscular-skeletal system, the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the immune system, the main internal organs, the connective tissues, the fluids and the energy systems of the body. It therefore has a widespread and profound effect on conditions affecting all of these systems and general health care.
As the therapy treats the whole person it can influence all conditions affecting the whole person, or any part of the person aiding their physical and mental well-being. Cranio-Sacral Therapy therefore has a very wide range of applications.
It is suitable for all ages - from newborn babies to the elderly - including all ages and stages in between. It is particularly valuable in babies and children as it has been established that the establishment of healthy patterns at an early age sets patterns for the whole future of that individual, both in their mental and physical health abilities. It is also particularly renowned for its profound influence on the effects of Birth Trauma - the effects of which may range from learning difficulties, hyperactivity and ear-infections to epilepsy and cerebral palsy.
How does it work?
The therapy is based on observations that, for the healing process to develop spontaneously, it is often enough to really listen through palpation. To do this the therapist puts preconceptions to one side. Cranial therapists are also trained to make a variety of interventions if appropriate.
By focusing on the body’s internal rhythms and allowing restrictions to change, therapists help the client to learn, on both a conscious and subconscious personal level, how to recognise and release areas that may be causing illness or hindering recovery.
The therapist will always also be aware of the anatomical structure of the person he or she is working with and use that to guide the treatment. Therapists recognise a number of different rhythms or ‘tides’; the slower tides are thought to be more related to deeper levels of healing.
What does it involve?
Clients usually lie, or sometimes sit, fully clothed on a comfortable treatment couch. The therapist uses his or her hands to ‘listen with the hands’ to the body’s subtle rhythms and then engages the tissues of the client's system. The hands may be still for quite long periods of time.
It feels different for everyone – you may feel heat or cold, tingling sensations, gentle pulsing or sense of deep relaxation. Sometimes people have a clear sense of significant physical or psychological reorganisation.
Traumatic memories or episodes can be released via low-level emotional releases. Sometimes the therapist may ask questions about what the client is feeling to assist the process. The number of sessions required depends on the reason for treatment, varying from one or two sessions, to regular treatments over a long period of time in difficult conditions. This therapy does not involve manipulation or massage.
What is it good for?
A wide variety of disorders can benefit from : from back pain, headaches and migraines to stress-related and emotional problems, including difficult conditions such as autism. It is particularly suited to the treatment of babies and young children. CST is effective in treating problems arising from a difficult birth.
Who can benefit?
Anyone can benefit, but because it is so gentle, craniosacral therapy is suitable for children and elderly people, as well as those with acutely painful conditions that are difficult to treat with other hands-on therapies. It is also often appropriate when other therapies may be contraindicated, for example, during pregnancy or after an operation.
What are the side effects and when should it be avoided?
There are no side effects as such but therapists would exercise caution when working with women in the early stages of pregnancy or people who have recently suffered a stroke (although it can also be very helpful for treating people in both these groups).
Cranio-Sacral Therapy with Babies & Children One of cranio-sacral therapy's most appreciated qualities is its capacity to rapidly resolve problems babies have; these include colic, sucking difficulties, sleep problems and behavioural issues. These are often due to the compression the baby undergoes during birth. Parents are frequently relieved and amazed by the seemingly miraculous improvements resulting from cranial work, often in just one or two sessions.
As a result of the contractions and passage through the pelvis and the birth canal, babies get very compressed during birth and this can displace things in their bodies. The relatively soft bones of the head move during birth but don't always return to an optimal position, leading to a variety of difficult conditions which, however, respond easily to craniosacral treatment.
Caesarean births and those involving forceps or suction are more likely to lead to symptoms. These are often immediately obvious but sometimes don’t develop until later on. Craniosacral therapy can be beneficial to all babies including those from problem-free births even when there are no apparent symptoms.
Babies can't speak but that doesn't mean you can't communicate with them. Parents often understand a baby's non-verbal communication. The therapist's appreciation of what things are like for babies and interacting with them using craniosacral therapy plays a big part in making the treatment effective. CST is effective for a wide range of conditions in children and adolescents as well. Sometimes parents bring their child for a ‘tune-up’ to help them feel better overall and to focus on any minor issues. Childhood and adolescent conditions which have responded well to craniosacral therapy include: Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD), autism, teeth and jaw mis-alignment, adolescent withdrawal, fears and phobias, bed-wetting and asthma.
Depression, migraine, sinusitis, spinal and pelvic pain and some psychological conditions are among the issues that can sometimes be traced back to what happened at birth. As well as helping current symptoms, treatment of young children can be helpful in preventing issues arising later in life. Health problems in adults which are linked to their birth or very early experience can be resolved retrospectively. All craniosacral therapists work with symptoms related to birth and some have developed this into a speciality.