What is Craniosacral Therapy?:
Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a subtle and profound healing form, which assists the body’s natural capacity for self-repair.
Although CST takes its roots in Osteopathy which is a structural, mechanical therapy, it belongs to the rising field of Energetic Medicine and is also inspired from Taoism.
Imagine a jellyfish expanding and contracting as it moves through the water. A similar, but far more subtle pulsation exists in human beings. This was discovered at the turn of the century by an American Osteopath: W. G. Sutherland, who was intrigued that the bones of the skull were bevelled “like the gills of a fish” in a manner which was designed to accommodate movement.
Using a very light touch Craniosacral Therapists are trained to detect disturbances in the body rhythms and resolve them. This is not done through direct manipulation, but by stimulating it in such a way that encourages a return to normal functioning. Although the practitioner’s touch is light, it is not superficial. It is interacting with the body rhythms in a focused way, hence facilitating a return to healthy functioning.
For your first session, the practitioner will discuss with you and take notes in order to draw an accurate picture of your health.
You will then lie on your back fully-clothed on a treatment couch.
The therapist will make contact by placing their hands lightly on your body and tuning in to what is happening, ‘listening’ with their hands. Contact is made carefully so that you will feel at ease with what is happening.
The first thing you will probably notice is a sense of deep relaxation, which will generally last throughout the session. With subsequent treatments this release of tension often extends into everyday life.
CST can provide some help with physical aches and pains, acute and chronic disease, emotional or psychological disturbances, or simply help to develop well-being, health and vitality.
Non-exhaustive list of conditions seen in practice:
-Chronic visceral complaints (digestive, PMS, respiratory, cardiovascular)
-Stress, immune, insomnia, chronic fatigue
-Sinusitis, migraines, jaw problems, depression
-Whiplash injury, neck, back aches, sciatica, reintegration after accidents
-Pregnancy, post pregnancy, Birth trauma
However, craniosacral therapy does not pretend to replace mainstream medicine. The evidence of its benefits is still anecdotal and presently a lack of large double-blind, placebo-controlled trials prevents CST practitioners from claiming any specific benefits.
Patients with a condition should always been seen by their GP or consultant and CST remains so far an adjunct tool
Is it safe?
CST is so gentle that it is suitable for babies, children, and the elderly, as well as adults and people in fragile or acutely painful conditions.
Treatment can aid almost any condition, raising vitality and improving the body’s capacity for self-repair.
It is especially useful for babies as it helps them realign after all the compressions they experienced at birth: head moulding, chest tightness, pelvic twist, etc…
(Birth is a very important moment with a lot of forces at play on a baby’s head and body).
CST teachings are similar to cranial osteopathy teachings, the main difference is that cranial osteopathy is exclusively practised by osteopaths.
Cranial Osteopathy is becoming increasingly more established, with Master university degrees in the cranial field and well established centres such as the Foundation for Paediatric Osteopathy. This centre treats a vast amount of children in its private clinic and in neo-natal unit sections in some Hospitals.
In the future, thanks to growing academic teaching, CST technique will become more and more recognized.
Future research will hopefully lead to a set of well designed trials with positive outcomes for CST.
CranioSacral Therapy Association in UK
The foundation for paediatric osteopathy
(cranial osteopaths only)
Osteopathy : Art of Practice
website with thorough technical explanation