Cranio-Sacral Therapy

Cranio-Sacral (pronounced crane-e-o say-kral) Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tension deep in the body to relieve pain & dysfunction, change posture and improve whole-body health & performance.

[A CST session] “is like having a massage for my soul.” ~Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

CST works the connective tissue around your spine, head and throughout your whole body and helps with a wide range of symptoms including headaches, migraines, chronic neck & back pain, post-traumatic stress syndrome,  TMJ, dental discomfort, adrenal fatigue and emotional issues. During pregnancy, Cranio-Sacral calms the nervous system of both mother and child and encourages emotional bonding.

“I felt so relaxed, yet connected and energized.” Sheila B

Sessions can be done with you fully clothed and Kelly uses gentle touch that effects your body on the deepest level. Most people feel a deep sense of relaxation, a positive change in their posture and relief from pain and tension.

“By the end of our first session, I was amazed to feel an incredible easing of the muscles in my jaw and my debilitating case of TMJ. By the end of our second session, my jaw was totally healed, and I have never had a jaw problem is the 4 years since!” Jack C.

Combination sessions are available which mix massage and Cranio-Sacral therapy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is CranioSacral Therapy (CST)?

CranioSacral Therapy is a method of working the connective tissue around your spine, head and throughout your body. This gentle, focused touch works deeply in the body on your CranioSacral system, helping to release imbalance or restriction which results in a more healthful condition. Both subtle and larger movement is used to unwind the tension from your body’s tissues.

CST crosses the interface between your mind and your body, allowing your nervous system to rest and rejuvenate. With this unique kind of touch, you are able to relax into a deep state where profound healing can occur. This gentle touch is one of the primary reasons CST is such a viable health care option for people of all ages and conditions.

Many people have dramatically improved posture and decrease in pain with CranioSacral treatments. Brooke Shields used CST to free her frozen jaw. During an interview in Harpers & Queen magazine, Brooke said she had TMJ syndrome and would grind her teeth especially when under pressure. After CST, Brooke says she “feels taller. I can breathe better…I feel centered and more in control of my life in general.”

What is the CranioSacral system and CranioSacral rhythm?

The CranioSacral system consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that surround and protect your central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord). Bringing nutrients and removing toxins, the CSF circulates within your membranes causing regular subtle changes in pressure inside your head. The bones of the cranium and sacrum adjust to allow for these fluctuations of fluid pressure. At a rate of 6 to 12 cycles per minute, this movement is the CranioSacral rhythm and, like the pulse of the cardiovascular system, can be felt throughout your body. If restrictions prevent this movement, pressures on your central nervous system can result in sensory, motor and intellectual dysfunction.

Your CranioSacral therapist monitors this CranioSacral rhythm and assists the natural movement of CSF and soft tissue which helps the body self-correct.

Why is a gentle touch used in CranioSacral Therapy?

Too firm of a touch makes the body react and guard itself, defeating the process of releasing and relaxing into a proper placement and rhythm.

How did CranioSacral Therapy originate?

In the 1970’s, Dr John Upledger, an osteopathic surgeon, built upon William Sutherland’s cranial osteopathy work which is based on the importance of cranial bone mobility and the detrimental effects cranial restrictions had on the whole body. Dr. Upledger shifted the focus from the cranial bones to the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid of the body. From 1975 to 1983 he served as clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics at Michigan State University, where he supervised a research team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists. The results confirmed Sutherland’s theory, and clarified workings of the CranioSacral system and helped developed CranioSacral Therapy. Dr. Upledger opened the Upledger Institute in 1985. See www.upledger.com.
Since then, CranioSacral therapy has been widely practiced by a diverse range of healthcare practitioners, such as massage therapists, chiropractors, dentists, acupuncturists, physical therapists, naturopaths and psychotherapists.

What conditions can CranioSacral Therapy help?

Because of its influence on the central nervous system, CranioSacral Therapy can benefit the body in a number of ways — from bolstering overall health and resistance to disease to alleviating a wide range of specific medical conditions. In particular, CranioSacral Therapy may help with symptoms from:

  • Stress and Tension
  • Insomnia and Fatigue
  • Migraines and Headaches
  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain
  • Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
  • Chronic Pain from Auto Accidents, Injuries or Falls
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Dental Discomfort
  • Poor Digestion
  • Depression
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Scoliosis
  • Sciatica
  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo
What happens during a CranioSacral treatment session?

Before the hands-on portion of the session, your therapist will ask about your health history and your goals. Sometimes in the first session, some postural assessment is used to help with body awareness. In return appointments, your therapist checks on your progress.
You can remain fully clothed, just removing your shoes. Wearing loose, comfortable clothing is recommended. You lie face up on the massage table while your therapist stands or sits, positioned at various times throughout the session at your head, middle torso or feet.
At various times throughout the session, the therapist may support your limbs and spine while facilitating release of accumulated tension. During this release, you might recall circumstances or emotions surrounding a past upset, trauma or injury. Your awareness of where in your body you may be holding these traumas or injuries allows a release of tension and restores mobility. This entire process has been named SomatoEmotional Release®.
After the treatment, you and your therapist will discuss any changes that occurred during the session and will create a treatment plan together.

What might I experience during a CranioSacral session?

Experiences during a CST session vary for each person and may differ from session to session. The contact is quite gentle but works deeply into your body. You may become deeply relaxed in a meditative state or even fall asleep. You may feel heat, vibration, tingling, pulsing like a heartbeat, subtle shifts and tension releases. You may feel changes in areas of your body that your therapist is not directly touching. This is because your CranioSacral system is linked to your connective tissue throughout your body. You may experience SomatoEmotional Release® when awareness of where in your body you may be holding  traumas or injuries allows a release of tension and restores mobility.

What might I experience following a CranioSacral session?

Just as individuals experience CST sessions differently, the immediate results can be diverse as well. Some experience a relaxed state and others an increase in energy. Reduction of pain, an increase in function and better posture may occur immediately after the session, or it may develop gradually over the next few days. For some there may be a reorganization phase as the body adapts to the release of previously held patterns.

How many CranioSacral Therapy sessions will I need?

This depends on your individual needs and the goals of therapy. Generally, a higher number of sessions are needed for chronic concerns while fewer are needed for acute concerns. The longer the issue has been present, the longer it will take to subside. Some come monthly or more for routine preventative wellness treatments.

Most notice a distinct change after the first session, and subsequent sessions allow for that change to deepen and become more permanent. It is important to have at least two initial sessions within two weeks of each other. If you are not feeling relief within two treatments, your practitioner will refer you to another modality that may work better for your situation.

Do I need to have something wrong with me to schedule an appointment?

No, a common reason for a session is for wellness, personal development and integration of mind and body.

Is there any condition for which CranioSacral Therapy should not be used?

There are certain situations where application of CST would not be recommended. These include conditions where a variation and/or slight increase in intracranial pressure would cause instability. Recent skull fracture, acute aneurysm, herniation of the medulla oblongata, cerebral hemorrhage or other preexisting severe bleeding disorders are examples of conditions that could be affected by small intracranial pressure changes.

Is it okay to combine CranioSacral Therapy with other treatments?

Yes, many people see a wide range of practitioners while receiving CranioSacral Therapy. Supporting your health goals, your CranioSacral therapist can work as part of your treatment team with psychotherapists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, medical doctors, life coaches, naturopaths, Ayurvedic practitioners and other bodyworkers.

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