CranioSacral Therapy

What is CranioSacral Therapy?

CranioSacral Therapy is a highly effective and gentle form of therapy designed to affect and enhance the functioning of the CranioSacral System. The system is composed of the bones, membranes and fluid that surround and envelop and nourish the brain and spinal cord.

The central nervous system, composed of the brain and spinal cord, controls and directs all of our body processes. Inside the vertebral column, the brain and spinal cord are surrounded by membranes of connective tissue. These membranes contain the cerebrospinal fluid, which bathes and protects and nourishes the tissues of the brain and spinal cord, just as blood nourishes the other cells and tissues of our bodies. In addition, these membranes also form a sleeve around each spinal nerve as it leaves the protection of the vertebral column. Injuries, disease, stress or trauma anywhere in the body can cause restrictions in the free movement of these membranes. These restrictions can impede the flow of nutrients to the cells or actually put pressure on the exiting nerves, causing pain or dysfunction or both.

The membranes which surround the brain and spinal cord are made up entirely of connective tissue which is, fiber for fiber, stronger than steel. Like all connective tissue, these membranes are highly movable and flexible until force is applied to them. Part of their job is to protect and contain this vulnerable area, so they have a natural response of contraction to meet any outside force. Because of this, CranioSacral Therapy utilizes a very small force, usually less than an ounce, to avoid engaging the resistance of the tissue. By working with the body rather than against it, CranioSacral Therapy is capable of affecting profound changes without pain or discomfort.

All parts of the CranioSacral System move in a rhythmic, pulsing motion due to the ebb and flow of the cerebrospinal fluid within the membranes. This motion is called the Cranial Rhythmic Impulse, and it can be felt anywhere on the body. Problems within the CranioSacral System can be detected by monitoring the qualities of this rhythm and determining the locations of restricted motion.

CranioSacral Therapy treats restrictions of the CranioSacral System by gently manipulating and freeing the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Of course, these membranes cannot be directly reached from outside the body. However, since they have attachments to the insides of the bones of the head {cranium} and the inside of the tailbone {sacrum}, the therapist can use these bones as “handles” to affect the membranes themselves: hence the name CranioSacral Therapy.

As membrane restrictions are released and the body begins to return to optimal functioning, many possible sensations may occur. The release may be felt as heat, pulsing, relaxation, or in many other ways. Because memories of trauma and injury are often stored in the connective tissue of the body, sometimes the release is accompanied by emotion or old memories related to the original cause of the restriction. When this happens, the patient and therapist work together to allow the expression of these patterns of tissue memory, often dramatically reducing the level of pain or dysfunction in the area involved.

Because of the central role the CranioSacral System plays in the functioning of the entire body, any restriction of it’s normal motion can have far-reaching and varied effects. Possible symptoms can include:

  • Headaches
  • Neck or back pain
  • Chronic pain anywhere in the body
  • Dizziness
  • Seizure Disorders
  • Low energy
  • Poor immune system functioning
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Vision problems
  • Sleep disorders
  • Numbness
  • Heat or cold sensitivity
  • Temporal mandibular joint pain [TMJ]
  • Depression
  • General nervous tension
  • Poor digestion or elimination

In children, restrictions within the CranioSacral System can be due to the birthing process, and symptoms can include learning disabilities such as dyslexia, hyperactivity and reading problems.

If you have any questions about CranioSacral Therapy and how it may be helpful in treating your condition, please feel free to schedule a free consultation. Your questions are always welcome.