What is Craniosacral Work?
What is it? How does it work?
Craniosacral Work or Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a type of bodywork that can create dynamic improvements in your life. It helps to release tensions held deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction, improving whole-body health and performance.
Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is educated, precise, nonintrusive touch that supports your body’s innate ability to heal.
..the tissues of your craniosacral system are connected to all of your connective tissue; CST treats your whole body.Robyn Scherr CST (Living In The Body)
The craniosacral system consists of the bones, soft tissues and fluid that surround and nurture your brain and spinal cord. It is part of your central nervous system, the main system that influences your health and well-being. Working on the craniosacral system can therefore directly impact health and wellness at a superficial ‘symptom-based’ level but also at a much deeper level.
Everyday our body absorbs and endures stresses and strains. The body (and more specifically the nervous system) can only process so much of this built tension before the tissues begin to tighten or change.
It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.Lou Holtz
Other experiences, from physical injuries to emotional trauma, can create or add to restrictions. There may radiate out from the craniosacral system and can compromise the function of the central nervous system and the function of other areas in our body.
The light touch techniques of Craniosacral Therapy can release these tensions to allow the entire body to relax and self-correct. By freeing the central nervous system to perform at its best, CST may reduce pain and stress and enhance your health and wellbeing.
CST can help uncover the deeper cause of our symptoms. Typical conditions people seek support with may include stress and tension-related disorders, musculoskeletal pain, migraines and headaches, brain and spinal cord injuries including head trauma, as well as many other acute and chronic conditions. Parents often report that many typical newborn problems improve and they are more settled after receiving CST and older children also respond positively.
Like many alternative and complementary health and wellness approaches, CST can be used to maintain optimal health and for peak performance. The techniques work by listening to and following what it feels your body tissues need to do, whatever condition or symptom you may (or may not) be experiencing. And to simply re-establish internal balance, peace and clarity of mind could be an intention outcome for a session. Subtle changes to internal structures can have profound effects on overall wellbeing.
It’s amazing how much how little can do.Hugh Milne
What to expect from a session
A craniosacral therapy session takes place in a quiet setting. You remain fully clothed and relax on a treatment table. After tuning into the client and assessing what needs attention or focus, the practitioner applies delicate and precise contacts to specific areas to release muscles, bones and connective tissue. While many techniques are carried out on the head (cranium) and/or lower back (sacrum) contacts can be made on other parts of the body. Sometimes the places that we experience ‘symptoms’ are not where the root of the problems lie.
Sessions usually last around an hour (sometimes more or less depending). A client’s experience from a session can vary as it is a highly individual and unique process which often changes every time. Typically people report feelings of warmth, softening or pulsing in the areas being worked on and a sense of overall deep relaxation.
A practitioner works on the perspective that you, the client, are always in charge and that your body has its own ‘inner treatment plan’ – we just assist you in following it.
Who can benefit from CST
CST supports your body’s innate ability to balance, restore and heal itself, as well as helping to reduce stress and build your underlying energy. Because CST is so gentle anyone can benefit from it. Suitable for everyone from new babies to our wise elders. Women receive sessions during pregnancy to aid with the birthing process, and mothers and babies for problems associated with difficult or traumatic births. Letting go of tension and fear held in the body enables both mother and baby to settle into calmness.
Because CST is so gentle anyone can benefit from it. Suitable for everyone from new babies to our wise elders. Women receive sessions during pregnancy to aid with the birthing process, and mothers and babies for problems associated with difficult or traumatic births. Letting go of tension and fear held in the body enables both mother and baby to settle into calmness.
To listen to your body and respect how it feels is a powerful act of self-love.Sonia Choquette
An Exercise to explore your body…
‘A balanced sphenoid can correct not just a headache or temporomandibular joint problem, but also an internally rotated foot.’ Try this to explore the interconnection between body structures..
Excerpt taken from The Heart of Listening by Hugh Milne
‘Stand very peacefully. Take a few deep breaths and allow calmness to settle on you, entering alpha wave – the brain rhythm associated with wakeful relaxation. Focus your awareness on your feet. Turn your head to look to your let, and notice whether your weight distribution changes on either of your feet. Follow with a rotation of your head to the right, then come back to center and take a couple more relaxation breaths. Now rotate your jaw – only your jaw – to the left, being aware of the effect on your feet; repeat to the right side. Come back to centre and pause. Now move only your eyes to the left, noticing again how the weight distribution on your feet changes, then move your eyes to the right. Notice which direction causes the most weight transfer on to which part of which foot.
This exercise demonstrates an interconnected-ness in movement that has its roots in our ancestors 5 million years ago. For them, it was a matter of life or death that these movements were synchronous: head turning, eyes seeing, jaw prepared to bite – all with feet poised for fight or flight in the millisecond it would take to wheel their wifey bodies around if startled by a noise to the rear. The eyes and neck are deeply connected: the main evolutionary reason for the existence of the neck is to give our eyes greater scope. All but one of the muscles that move the eyes attach to the sphenoid, the central bone of the cranium. As the eyes begin to move, the sphenoid and the whole body begin to respond. As an example, we prognate (jut) our jaw when we are threatened or become aggressive, and the powerful muscle with which we do this originated from the sphenoid.
This sequential test – which begins with the movement of a larger body part and progresses through an intermediate part to a discrete but vital unit of function – shows how interconnected body, motion and emotion are, and how vital a pattern-setter the head, jaw and eyes are for the whole body. This begins to explain the profound effects craniosacral work can have when a displaced or “jammed” sphenoid is corrected and returned to normal position and mobility. A balanced sphenoid can correct not just a headache or temporomandibular joint problem, but also an internally rotated foot.’
What is Craniosacral Work?