What is Craniosacral Therapy?

Manipulation free, drug free, gentle but powerful
 

What is Craniosacral Therapy?

Craniosacral Therapy is a soft tissue treatment that works to release trauma & contraction patterns in the body - often the cause of pain. The practitioner uses very light contact to work with the craniosacral system - the inherent tissue movements of the body. Places of contact are often the feet, head and sacrum (tailbone), but the therapist will work where it is most appropriate to address your issue. A typical treatment is usually around 40 minutes.

What is the Craniosacral System?

Every muscle, ligament, bone, organ & tissue has an innate movement within the body which is an expression of its health. These are physical movements that are small but can be felt through contact when appropriately trained. When pain or illness is present these movements are often inhibited or even restricted. By working with these movements through direct contact the therapist can mobilise restricted areas, promote release of trauma & restore motion again. The result is relief of tension and pain and increased movement & flexibility.

What is Trauma?

Trauma is created when an experience is overwhelming to us, mentally or physically. Common experiences that may generate trauma are accidents, injuries, sickness, emotional events, abuse, surgery and birth. When an event is overwhelming the fight, flight or freeze response is triggered but not released. This is an important response designed to protect us, however it's only designed for short bursts.

Fight or flight tenses muscles & tissue, constricts blood vessels, shuts down digestion & elevates the nervous system.  Freeze tends to shut most things down. These responses are great when dealing with a bear - choice between fighting, running away or playing dead. But when this response remains in our bodies - even in part - our natural functions and processes stop running smoothly. Over time trauma can contribute to many symptoms such as tension, migraines, fatigue, chronic pain, digestive problems, back & neck pain, fogginess, anxiety and many more. This is why Craniosacral helps with such a wide range of symptoms.

Why is Craniosacral different to other manual treatments?

Whole Body

Craniosacral therapists work with the whole body at once. This allows larger patterns than just the local pain site to be addressed.

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Trauma release

Craniosacral excels at trauma release. Trauma may be behind longer term symptoms.

No Manipulation

Craniosacral is very gentle with no manipulation. If you are sensitive or in pain you are in safe hands.

What can I expect from a session?

An initial appointment involves:

  • Discussion on the reasons for the visit and & some medical history
  • Client sitting or lying fully clothed on a treatment table
  • Practitioner working with light contact on relevant areas of the body promoting restriction & contraction patterns in the tissue to release
  • Clients often report a number of sensations, such as tingling, heat and small internal movements as the body adjusts

How many sessions will I need?

This is a very common question. However the time it takes for change depends on the individual. People differ in how quickly they are able to release trauma, and what is going on internally to cause symptoms.  Even if the symptoms of two people are very similar, the cause behind the imbalance could be very different.  However, we will provide feedback after each session giving the client a sense of what the body is dealing with and advise a provisional course of treatment so you have a choice on how to continue your treatment plan.

 

Can I have Craniosacral treatments whilst receiving other therapies?

Absolutely. Craniosacral therapy will not interfere with other therapies or medication. Continue to have other treatments as you feel necessary. The only thing to be aware of is how much your body can handle, and for this reason we recommend spacing treatments out over the week.

What can Craniosacral help with?

Craniosacral Therapy does not address diagnosed conditions - this is for the medial profession. However some of the symptoms that have responded in past clients are:

  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Back pain
  • Breathing issues
  • Central Nervous System Issues
  • Dental trauma
  • Digestive problems
  • Facial pain
  • Fatigue
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Headaches & migraines
  • Insomnia and sleep issues
  • Jaw pain
  • Muscular pain
  • Neck pain
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Recent injuries
  • Sciatic nerve issues
  • Whiplash
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Back pain
  • Breathing issues
  • Central Nervous System Issues
  • Dental trauma
  • Digestive problems
  • Facial pain
  • Fatigue
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Headaches & migraines
  • Insomnia and sleep issues
  • Jaw pain
  • Muscular pain
  • Neck pain
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Recent injuries
  • Sciatic nerve issues
  • Whiplash

How Craniosacral Therapy Was Discovered

An osteopath by the name of William Garner Sutherland was looking at the shape of a temporal bone of the cranium when a thought struck him that the edges were beveled like the gills of a fish, and were designed for some kind of respiratory motion. At that time, it was commonly taught (and often still is) that the cranial bones were fused in the adult and did not allow movement. He then set out to investigate this, and did a number of experiments to try to prove they didn’t move. He tried to restrict the movement of his own cranial bones by designing a helmet to place on his head, and soon noticed a various responses, from headaches and disorientation to digestive upsets. Sutherland realized that, not only did they move, but they also had some important affects on physiological function.

Sutherland spent the next 50 years of his life exploring this motion and its significance. He used his keen knowledge of anatomy and finely tuned tactile senses. He soon discovered that all living tissue exhibited an involuntary “breathing” motion that was important for healing and health of the body. He discovered that the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes the central nervous system has a rhythmic fluctuation to it. He termed this “primary respiration”. His perception and skill at palpation improved over time, and he soon began to notice the qualities of primary respiration, calling them “fluid drive” and “potency”.

He realised that people with a compromised primary respiration had health issues, while people with a strong primary respiration had good health.

Another term he coined to describe the healing power and intelligence of this rhythm is the “breath of life”. These concepts were passed on through a number of osteopaths over the years. One such osteopath, Dr John Upledger, was responsible for increasing awareness of this therapy in the 1970’s and for teaching non osteopaths the skill. Several models of craniosacral therapy have been derived from osteopathy over the years, leading to the various types: cranial osteopaths, craniosacral therapists & biodynamic craniosacral therapists.

There are subtle differences between the types, however at Auckland Craniosacral Therapy we believe “biodynamic craniosacral therapy” to be the most cutting edge and give the best results. The word Biodynamic promotes three key concepts in Craniosacral work, distinguishing it from conventional Craniosacral Therapy: 

  • Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy allows the body to make its own changes. (no practitioner interfering with subtle pressure) This allows the body to adjust at its own pace
  • Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy always endeavours to keep the whole body in mind (not just focus on individual parts) This promotes more thorough & effective changes
  • Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy aims to focus on the forces that promote health in the body (not just on the problem areas) This stimulates overall health