Craniosacral Therapy is a very gentle method of manipulation which is osteopathic in origin. It works with the cerebral-spinal system and the fascial (or connective tissue) system of the body. Manipulation consists of a feather-like touch which is oriented to assess balance, freedom of movement and proper function in these systems and to remind the body of what is possible.
So what exactly IS the craniosacral system? Basically, one theory is that the purpose of craniosacral mechanism is to be a hydrostalic pump, which through its rhythmic motion, maintains the appropriate level of pressure in the cerebrospinal fluid. This movement within the cranium moves the cranial membranes and bones, and because the Mater Dura (the inelastic casing of the spine) does not stretch, this movement is translated throughout the length of the spine and the sacrum; due to the attachment of the connective tissue to the spinal system, this rhythmic motion is consequently communicated throughout the whole body. Thus, if something happens to the integrity of the cranium, the resulting impact to the cranial rhythm can be felt anywhere in the body and visa versa; if an injury were to happen to the foot for example, one would feel the movement restricted in the cranial bones as well.
It was not until I studied this method that I truly had an appreciation of just how incredibly wise and miraculous the tissue of our bodymind system is. We have the most incredible ability to mend and incorporate our “injuries” (and pivotal experiences such as birth) into a functioning system; what is truly amazing, however, is how, with the gentlest of interventions, the body is able to see how it has been compromised, to melt away many of those adaptive patterns and to rebalance its system. This method is able to facilitate healing that addresses core issues not just the symptoms created (or in the case of children, the symptoms which may later result.)
The reason that this method is so important for children is because the bones of a baby’s head are very soft and maleable. As a result, the passage of the birth canal leaves its imprint, as do all the big and little bumps our children undergo. By the time a child is seven years old their heads have pretty well hardened into their shape; unfortunately, if they have not received any cranial work, this shape includes the adaptations they have made. With cranial work, many of these impressions can be smoothed away allowing more optimal movement and functioning. Clearly, due to the role of the cerebralspinal system, this impacts the viability of all the different systems of the body.
Perhaps it might be helpful to add here that I have studied three different approaches to Craniosacral therapy: Upledger’s approach, Functional Indirect’s approach and that of Integrative Manual Therapy. IMT sees the opening and balancing of the body as a beginning, understanding that treating the energetics of the underlying causative factors contributing to compression and dis-ease is profoundly helpful in maintaining the balance and freedom that craniosacral facilitates.
When one trains in this method, one learns to be able to feel, assess and treat these patterns of movement. Because the body only needs the gentlest of directed touches to heal itself, its important to choose a practitioner very carefully. I would be very happy to teach you about it and its significance, and to answer any questions you may have.