Craniosacral Therapy (CST) complements traditional physiotherapy for many chronic, traumatic and neurological ailments which can be difficult to treat with traditional clinical practice. CST is an inside-out approach which can unblock the vital membranes and fluid flowing throughout your central nervous system.
Craniosacral therapy has its origins in the Middle Ages when bone setters used their knowledge of the subtle movements of the body to reset fractures and dislocations and treat headaches. Later John Upledger, an osteopathic physician, developed research that had begun years earlier by Dr. William Sutherland, an American osteopathic physician, on the movement of the cranium and the pelvis. Upledger gave it the name craniosacral therapy.
Craniosacral therapy is a holistic method that uses light touch to balance out the craniosacral system in the body. The craniosacral system is made up of bones, nerves, fluids and connective tissues of the cranium and the spinal area. Craniosacral therapy has been found to be beneficial to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder, headaches, chronic ear infections, pain and general health. It is also recommended for autism, arthritis, back pain, menstrual cramps and a host of other disorders.
The craniosacral system is made up of the cranium (skull), spine and sacrum which are covered with connective tissue called the dura mater. According to Sutherland, the cerebral spinal fluid rises and falls within the compartment of the dura mater. He called this movement the primary respiratory impulse, known today as the craniosacral rhythm (CSR) or the cranial wave. By lightly touching the base of the skull or the sacrum, a physiotherapist can feel this rhythm and look for any disturbance in the rate and quality of its flow. The physiotherapist then uses very light touch to balance the flow of the CSR. Once the cerebrospinal fluid begins to move freely, the body's natural healing mechanism comes into play.
During a session, the patient lays fully clothed on a massage table while the physiotherapist assesses the flow of the CSR. Craniosacral therapy employs several techniques:
- 'Energy cyst release', which is releasing of foreign or disruptive energies from the body. By skilful manipulation the physiotherapist can feel these cysts and dislodge them.
- Direction of energy. Passing energy from one of the physiotherapist's hands into the patient and out to the other hand.
- Positions of release. This involves following the patient's body into the positions in which the injury occurred and holding it there. When the CSR stops, the physiotherapist knows the trauma has been resolved.
- Somatoemotional release. This is used to release the mind and body of the residual effects of trauma that are "locked in the tissues".
A session may last 30-90 minutes. Some people may experience mild discomfort, but this is only temporary. As with all procedures, some precautions are necessary. Craniosacral therapy is not recommended with recent skull fracture, intracranial hemorrhage or aneurysm, systemic infections, or herniation of the brain stem. Contact us to discuss the suitability of this treatment for you.
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