What is CranioSacral Therapy?
CranioSacral Therapy is an exceptionally gentle approach developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger following eight years of clinical research and testing at Michigan State University. CST focuses on the craniosacral system, which includes the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. The practitioner uses a gentle, hands-on, whole body, method to release restrictions and tension in this system, allowing the body to self-correct, which helps to balance and optimize the body's natural healing capabilities.
CST primarily affects the Central Nervous System (CNS) by enhancing its functioning to alleviate stress, improve the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, and optimize the CNS's ability to regulate various bodily functions, including pain perception, mood, and overall wellness. The session is typically a deeply relaxing and meditative experience.
What can I expect from a CST session?
A typical CST session lasts from 45 minutes to an hour, and takes place in a quiet setting while you remain fully clothed as you relax on a comfortable treatment table. The Practitioner will stand or sit at various points around your head, torso or feet and use a very light touch to listen to and palpate the ebb and flow of the CranioSacral rhythm and detect areas of tension and restriction in your CranioSacral system. Then, by using a series of very gentle holds, allow the body to release them.
At times the Practitioner may also support your limbs and spine while allowing your body to unwind and release accumulated tension. "Unwinding" refers to the body's natural ability to release stored tension during a CST session. It can manifest as physical or emotional sensations, such as muscle twitches or memories resurfacing, as the body re-balances itself.
What you experience during a CST session is highly individual. CST provides opportunities for deep reflection and a full range of sensations. It is very common to feel waves of calm as well as images or thoughts throughout the session. Some people say they feel deeply relaxed, while others describe feeling unwinding sensations as the body releases tension. You may even recall circumstances surrounding a past, trauma or injury that caused your body stress. While it doesn’t occur in every session, this aspect of the process is perfectly normal, and helps the body reverse dysfunction and restore optimal levels of mobility.
After a session, people often report feeling more relaxed, less pain or discomfort, improved mental clarity, and an overall sense of well-being. The specific benefits can vary from person to person.
What will I experience after a session?
Just as each individual experiences CST sessions differently, the results can be diverse as well. You may leave in such a relaxed state that you feel like sleeping for hours. Or you may feel re-energized. You may feel a decrease in pain or an increase in function immediately after the session, or the effects may develop gradually over the next few days.
Since CST helps the body resume its natural healing processes, it’s common for your improvements to continue weeks after the session. You may also experience a reorganization phase as your body releases previously held patterns and adapts to a new state of wellness.
The slow and gentle pace of CST provides the body the mode to actually ‘hold’ the adjustments and modifications without rapidly returning to its previous state. In addition, your body will continue to move and adjust for a couple days after your session.
Because each individual response to CST is unique, the number of sessions needed to resolve any particular condition varies widely. While one session may give you the relief you need, your situation may require more sessions before it’s completely alleviated.
What conditions can CST help with?
The benefits of CranioSacral Therapy for the mind, body, and spirit are rooted in its ability to promote relaxation, release tension, and enhance overall well-being. There is a wide range of conditions that can be improved with CST, including:
Emotional Stress and Trauma
Depression and Anxiety
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Vertigo and Dizziness
Trauma Recovery (ie: whiplash)
Reducing the Effects of Stress on the CNS
General Well-being and Relaxation
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Post Dental Procedures
"Tiffany, once again, you worked your magic, and I feel better than I have for a while. Clearer and more energetic See you next month!"
"Cranial work has the potential to work on multiple levels, including the musculoskeletal level where you feel aches and pains, the emotional level where you feel good or bad, and the spiritual level where you are dancing between your body and soul. It's the awareness you bring that determines the benefits of CranioSacral Therapy for you."
- Merrill Page