CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, powerful health care approach that acts through the central nervous system to assist in improving function in the whole body. The craniosacral system is the term used to describe the structures supporting the brain and spinal cord, specifically the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect these areas. Using a hands-on method of evaluation and treatment, the functioning of this physiological body system can be gently influenced and improved. As it tends to complement and stimulate the body's natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.
The rhythmic movement that Dr Upledger felt and saw in the membranes, and that Dr Sutherland had described, remains a key factor guiding what is done during a treatment. Dubbed the craniosacral rhythm, it is an indicator of the mobility of the body’s connective tissue, symmetry and vitality. Upledger-trained practitioners learn to use it in conjunction with other subtle evaluative techniques to locate and identify dysfunctions and restrictions within the craniosacral system (ie those connective tissue membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord); we also learn how to improve these. The ability to feel the rhythm (or lack of it) can also pinpoint areas of active tissue ‘issues’ anywhere in the body, and often just in the ‘testing’ process the system is able to self-correct.
When we learn to work with these techniques there is usually a natural focus around the head and vertebral column, but treatments are by no means restricted to these areas. Factors that compromise posture and function can be present throughout the whole body and, by using the craniosacral rhythm and accessing the craniosacral system, because it acts on the deepest structures and organs of the nervous system, CST techniques influence movement and coordination, pain pathways, the digestive system, the respiratory system, heart function, the endocrine system… potentially the majority of body systems.
Receiving CranioSacral Therapy tends to be very relaxing and positively pleasurable (as is giving treatments!). Ignored or hidden problems are resolved as often as those for which help was initially sought. Improvements in bite or eyesight, for example, are commonly experienced by patients presenting with spine-related issues.
Whether you are looking to receive treatment for yourself or are a healthcare practitioner looking to expand the work that you offer (or both!) you will find that CranioSacral Therapy can be of great assistance with many conditions, including (here comes the list, though it is not exhaustive!): migraine headaches, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, chronic neck and back pain, emotional difficulties, motor co-ordination difficulties, stress and tension-related problems, central nervous system disorders, temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), orthopaedic problems, chronic fatigue, neurovascular or immune disorders, scoliosis, infantile disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, learning disabilities, fibromyalgia and other connective tissue disorders. Used throughout pregnancy, CranioSacral Therapy improves comfort by helping the body adapt to the growing foetus, as well as helping to normalise hormonal balance. Treatment of newborns can quickly resolve problems arising in utero and during birth, which could cause developmental and other difficulties as the child grows, and may require more prolonged intervention if left until later.