Frequently Asked Questions
Most people who are unfamiliar with Craniosacral Therapy have lots of questions at first. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions so you can understand if Craniosacral Therapy is right for you or your child.
What is Craniosacral Therapy?
Craniosacral Therapy has its origins in the field of Osteopathy. Around since the late 1800’s, osteopathy is a philosophy that connects the structure with the function of the body, and believes in the body’s capacity for self-healing when the structure and function are aligned. When the body’s structure is disrupted through birth issues, illness, injury, surgery or other forms of trauma, healing and return to normal function are often hampered by restrictions, which form in the body. Osteopathy, and Craniosacral Therapy are two related fields, which use a form of manual therapy to relieve the body of restriction, thus restoring health.
What is the goal of Craniosacral Therapy?
The goal of Craniosacral Therapy is to assess the entire body, and head, locating and releasing patterns of restriction using very gentle manual therapy. In the process, the person receiving Craniosacral therapy begins to discover the amazing wisdom of their own body and its constant movement towards wellness. The Craniosacral therapist’s knowledge and presence and energy become the catalyst that encourages and invites a person’s journey to wellness.
Who can do Craniosacral Therapy?
Craniosacral Therapy is done by specially trained professionals such as naturopaths, massage therapists, physical and occupational therapists, nurses, or counselors.
What happens in a Craniosacral session?
In a Craniosacral session, the client is treated, fully clothed, usually lying on their back on a treatment table. An adult session lasts about an hour to an hour and a half. The therapist will place their hands very lightly on the client’s body and head and “listen” to the rhythms of the Craniosacral motion, “looking” for patterns of restriction of normal motion of the fascia.
Fascia is the connective tissue that ties everything together in the body: bones, joints, muscles, organs and cells. Restrictions can form due to a sudden injury or trauma, or can take years to form due to stress, overuse syndromes, or postural abnormalities. Restrictions alter normal movement, producing pain and alterations in the structure and function of the body.
After identifying the pattern of restriction, the therapist uses specific holds, joining their energy with the energy of the client to enable the client’s body to release the restriction. This allows the bones, joints and tissues of the body to move more normally, improving such things as circulation, digestion, and range of motion.
When the therapist comes to the client, they bring their knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the body, their sharp awareness of how the body’s fascia should move, and their technical skill of where they need to be and how they need to support the body in its process of release. And more importantly, they bring their own energy, and intuition, which adds to the intuition and energy of the client’s body.
What happens when a release occurs?
With a release come various changes. The client may feel a sudden softening where the work is going on, or a sudden warming, a radiating heat, or a desire to take a deep relaxing breath as the whole body relaxes with the release. Perhaps there is some twitching, or jumping of newly released muscle tissue. Sometimes the GI system will gurgle as the body shifts into the parasympathetic mode, which allows for relaxation and digestion. At other times, a bounding pulse may be felt in the area being worked on, as the circulation to the previously restricted area is opened up. Or perhaps a rush of emotion arises, or a long forgotten memory of the initial injury.
How do clients feel after a session?
After a session, the client may feel quite different, may feel changes where the work was done, or may not be too sure if anything changed at all. This is normal. While some patients will have relief of pain in the first session, others may not, or the initial relief may be short-lived. With the changes in the structure of the fascia, there may even be soreness for a day or two.
How many sessions will I need?
It is usually recommended that a client consider having several treatments initially, as the body will often return to the old pattern/posture it has known, perhaps to a lesser degree. Several treatments can make enough of a difference that the client can judge if CST is working for them or not. Sessions are usually done a week or two apart. After that, many clients find that they like to return periodically for a tune-up, saying that after about a month to six weeks, they find themselves wanting to come back for another session. There is no set pattern. The course of therapy varies widely on the needs of each individual.
Do you combine Craniosacral Therapy with Naturopathic Medicine?
I routinely combine Craniosacral therapy with homeopathy and other naturopathic modalities to help people achieve better health. I believe the physical medicine is a necessary part in removing obstacles to health, and that supplementation and other remedies are extremely helpful in maintaining the internal balance of the body.
Who can benefit from Craniosacral Therapy?
CST is helpful in a variety of situations: acute or chronic pain, headache, backache, nerve compression, muscular and tendon issues due to overuse syndromes, balance issues related to vertigo and tinnitus. It is also helpful for relief of anxiety and chronic stress, as well as issues related to a history of trauma.
Babies can benefit from CST for birth issues, such as a complicated birth, certain birth deformities due to intra-uterine position or plagiocephaly from positioning after birth. Babies with colic or sleep problems often respond very nicely to CST. Children of all ages respond well if they have fallen, especially with a bump to their head. CST can be useful with some children’s issues with coordination of their eyes.
Children with certain developmental conditions, such as learning difficulties, sensory integration, swallow reflex deficits, and other neurological deficits can be greatly helped by Craniosacral therapy.