WHAT IS CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY?
CranioSacral Therapy aka Cranial Sacral Therapy (which is often misspelled) is a gentle, hands on approach to release tensions in the soft tissue that surround the central nervous system. Restrictions within this system may be inhibiting optimum health, impeding proper motion, and causing dysfunction or disease in the body.
CranioSacral Therapy concentrates on restoring the natural motion of tissue throughout the body to improve physical, mental, and emotional well being. CranioSacral Therapy originated from the osteopathic tradition but is used today as an effective method of Physical Therapy to treat pain and create mobility for individuals seeking an active lifestyle.
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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY?
CranioSacral Therapy is used for a wide range of problems in infants, children, and adults, and most patients can benefit from this type of therapy depending on his or her specific needs. Because this therapeutic approach will restore the body’s natural state of health in the brain and nervous system, it is excellent for prevention of chronic conditions including stiffness, inflammation, and immune imbalances, as well as for healing injuries—even ones that occurred long ago that may still be affecting you.
Other conditions that are especially responsive to treatment include: acute and chronic pain, repetitive or sports related injuries, headaches or migraines, spine and posture imbalances, stress and tension related disorders and TMJ/dental problems. Of course, this treatment is also excellent as a preventive therapy because it helps to resolve systemic imbalances within the body.
See our Conditions page for a more thorough list of benefits and what CranioSacral therapy is good for.
WHAT ARE CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY TECHNIQUES?
CranioSacral Therapy techniques are performed today by: Osteopaths, Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, and Bodyworkers all over the world. There are a wide-range of styles and techniques used among CranioSacral Therapists, but the common theme of someone performing this type of treatment is to enhance and balance and restore the motion of fluid movement in the body to its proper quality, amplitude, and rate.
CranioSacral Therapy is mainly performed by extremely light hands-on touch equivalent to 5 grams, or the weight of a nickel, to release abnormal tissue tensions inhibiting the central nervous system.
HOW DO CRANIOSACRAL PRACTITIONERS PROVIDE PAIN RELIEF?
It is my observation that the traditional medical model doesn’t have readily available methods of assisting the CranioSacral system back into balance, and is rarely a focus for treatment in a patient’s healthcare plan. Most doctors are not trained to understand the importance of the CranioSacral system, and do not use their hands in order to diagnose as well as treat patients. In my experience, this often leads to patients getting incorrect diagnoses and treatments, and historically many of my patients have found me after a long journey down the road of ineffective treatments of pain.
Fortunately, CranioSacral therapy provides a simple, non-invasive therapy that, in many cases, can provide relief without medication or surgery. Many imbalances and restrictions in the CranioSacral system can be corrected using this form of manual therapy.
A CranioSacral Therapist will use his or her hands to detect and release areas of the body where there is a lack of motion, or restrictions within the tissue, that may be impeding the CranioSacral system. By correcting these restrictions, or the natural flow of the CranioSacral System, our body is then able to access our innate self-corrective mechanisms around the brain and spinal cord to alleviate a wide variety of conditions. Essentially, we can then live a more active, healthy and happy life.
IS CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY OKAY FOR TREATING BABIES?
CranioSacral Therapy is commonly used in countries all over the world for babies–especially in the delivery room to ensure that there were no adverse effects or birth traumas during the miracle of childbirth. Unfortunately, in the U.S., it is not used in hospitals, recommended by physicians, and is infrequently used as a treatment method on infants.
Many people may question the need for treatment at such a young age and ask me, “why would a baby need treatment so early?” and, “what could possibly be wrong with a baby if my doctor says my baby is healthy?” Babies are exposed to so much during childbirth—even in natural childbirth a host of issues can arise—interventions such as: vacuum assist, medications and c-sections, adverse child-birthing positions, and other adverse forces on their fragile systems.
While OB-GYN has come a long way, there really are no statistics of how many babies are being born with restrictions and strain patterns during childbirth, that may manifest into a dysfunction early on or much later in life. Since CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle and non-invasive treatment, it is a powerful tool to assess the babies system early on, and as a treatment to remove any strain patterns or tensions from birth.
HOW DOES CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY WORK?
Our brain and spinal cord make up our central nervous system, which controls all the major functions of our body. The CranioSacral system has a major influence over the functioning of the central nervous system and therefore can have an effect on whether our bodies are in a state of optimum health. Keeping our bodies in a healthy state of balance on a daily basis is quite challenging considering the constant assault of stresses and strains we are exposed to in this world. The tissues in our body can tighten, contract, and distort in various ways and cause our bodies to compensate around these tensions.
CranioSacral Therapy addresses and removes compensations from your system via soft tissue and fascial mobilization, nervous system balancing, and by encouraging fluid movement and drainage to make your body function more efficiently and to restore health.
WHAT IS THE CRANIOSACRAL RHYTHM AND PRIMARY RESPIRATION?
This subtle motion of fluid fluctuations is known as Primary Respiration, in which there are two distinct phases of movement that can be palpated by trained practitioners across the globe.
Primary Respiration is a rhythm independent of our heart rate and breathing rate, although arguably just as important for maintaining homeostasis of the nervous system in our bodies. When this movement becomes imbalanced our bodies may show a range of dysfunctions and nervous system imbalances. It is therefore essential to have a proper functioning CranioSacral system to keep our nervous system, major organs, circulatory system, and musculoskeletal system balanced throughout our life.
WHAT ARE COMMON MISSPELLINGS OF CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY?
Due to the unusual name of this therapy it is often misspelled as: CranioSacral Osteopathy (ask about), Cranial Sacral Therapy, Cranial Sacrial, Cranial Sacro Therapy, Sacro Cranial Osteopathy.