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What is CranioSacral Therapy?
CranioSacral Therapy or Cranial Sacral Therapy is one of the most gentle, non-invasive forms of bodywork being practiced today. It is a subtle, yet extremely powerful form of treatment, recognized for the depth of its influence, the comprehensive range of its therapeutic effects, and its ability to resolve issues that are not helped by other treatments. It can evoke a profound healing process in the body which can release the deeply held patterns-both physical and psychological-which accumulate throughout life as a result of injury, illness and stress. These patterns can be held and remembered in the body tissues and lead to dysfunction. The CranioSacral system is of primary importance in one's self-corrective abilities. This therapy relies on the principal that our bodies have an inherent wisdom on governing our health, and that we are self-correcting, if given the right tools. CranioSacral Therapy has the potential to provide those tools. It can help to dissipate the negative effects of stress, enhance overall health and increase resistance to disease.
What is the CranioSacral System?
The CranioSacral system is expressed throughout the entire body, but there are certain structures that play a more significant part in the craniosacral process and can therefore be described as constituting the principal components of the system. These structures are the bones, fascia, membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones of the skull and face, down to the sacrum or tailbone area. Much like the pulse of the cardiovascular system, the craniosacral system has a rhythm which is translated via these muscular, nervous and fascial systems, and can be felt throughout the body. Fluency of motion in these areas is a reflection of how functional this system is. Restricted mobility is an indication of reduced health and vitality in that area. Since this vital system influences the development and performance of the central nervous system, an imbalance or restriction could potentially cause any number of sensory, motor or neurological disorders. The therapist's role therefore is to identify such restrictions in order to encourage free and fluent motion. If this system is free of restriction, it is more able to restore health and maintain optimum function, allowing the body to heal itself.
"Cranially based treatment is now one of the most successful and fastest-growing approaches to mind-body healing. Providing access to the unity of structure and function in the organism, such therapy offers a simple, direct, and non-dogmatic means for tapping the body's inherent intelligence in a fluid and spontaneous way. The craniosacral system is no less than the structural aspect of the central nervous system. Its methods originate in neural behavior and emotional energy and include their manifestations throughout the tissues and organs of the body. Both a medical system with precise anatomical criteria and a therapeutic art requiring a practitioner to feel, interpret, and move energy, modern craniosacral therapy offers a unique way to perceive and influence the structural configuration of the brain itself in its relationship to the body's architecture."
(From an Introduction to Craniosacral Therapy by Don Cohen, D.C)
Cranial Sacral Therapy is primarily concerned with creating and maintaining a healthy, balanced state on all levels-physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. This underlying state of wellbeing enables the body's own healing mechanisms to be utilized. This therapy can benefit the body and mind in many ways--from bolstering overall health and resistance to disease, to the alleviation of a wide range of specific conditions, illness, pain and dysfunction, including but not limited to:
- Migraines and headaches
- Chronic neck and back pain
- Stress and tension related ailments
- Traumatic injuries
- Depression and anxiety
- Emotional trauma/difficulties
- Pain of various sorts
- Post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD)
- Learning disabilities
- Fatigue and insomnia
- Sinus problems and allergies
- Digestive problems
- Chronic illness
- Behavioral problems
- Central nervous system disorders
- Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJD)
- Sensory disorders such as vertigo, tinnitus and various neuralgias
- And many other conditions
Sessions take place in a quiet setting with the client lying on a massage table, remaining fully clothed. The therapist makes light and subtle contact with different areas of the body, mainly the head and sacrum, to assess the health of the system. Experiences and responses to the therapy are as individual as those receiving the work, and can vary from session to session. The result for most people initially is deep relaxation, a state which fosters other changes in the body. While the focus of this work is to uncover the source of a problem, symptom relief may also be achieved. Change can occur within the session, the next day, or within weeks, depending on how the body chooses to heal. The length of time and number of sessions needed is extremely variable and depends, in part, on the complex layers of injury and trauma that may mask the original cause of the problem.
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