What is Craniosacral Therapy?
CranioSacral Therapy is an exceptionally gentle yet extremely powerful form of treatment, increasingly recognized for the depth of its influence, and the comprehensive range of its therapeutic effects. The main characteristic of CranioSacral Therapy is the correction of micro-movements of the cranial bones through micro-manipulation. With that manipulation the therapist can influence other structures, all the organs and systems of the body. CranioSacral Therapy primarily facilitates processes that enhance the body’s innate abilities for natural healing. The main goal is to improve the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Improving fluid motion and exchange specifically enhances the functions of the brain; spinal cord; autonomic control systems; visual, auditory, olfactory and gustatory sensory systems; motor and motor co-ordination systems; endocrine system; and the immune system. Less directly, it seems to affect all other body systems; therefore, it is exceptionally useful for most chronic conditions and as a preventive measure.
The anatomical basis of CranioSacral Therapy
The medical basis of CranioSacral Therapy is a recently discovered physiological system, the craniosacral system that can be found in all living being with brain and spinal cord, and it begins functioning in the womb and continues its function until death. The name “craniosacral” is derived from the system’s associated bones. Included are those of the cranium (skull, face and mouth) and of the spinal column which extends down to the sacrum, the triangular bone between the hips. The system meets the criteria of classification as semi-closed and hydraulic. It contained within a tough waterproof membrane, called Dura Mater, which surrounds and protects the brain and the spinal cord. In the head this dural membrane attaches to all the cranial bones; in the spine attaches to the 2nd and 3rd bones of the neck, the sacrum and coccyx (tailbone). An important function of craniosacral system is the production, circulation and reabsorption of cerebrospinal fluid (liquor) that maintains the physiological environment in which the brain and nervous system develop, live and function. All the nerves in the body originate somewhere along the pathway of the dural membrane system. Restrictions - occurring from physical or emotional events - along this pathway may impede the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid, thereby causing pain at some point in the body. All the bones attached to the dural membrane move constantly as the cerebrospinal fluid is pumped in and our; each bone has its own course of movement. When a particular bone moves off course or does not move at all, that indicates that there is a restriction in the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid. An imbalance in this system can adversely affect the development of the brain and spinal cord, which can result in sensory, motor and neurological dysfunction. The craniosacral system works in conjunction with other body systems such as the cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, endocrine and nervous system. There is no part of the body that is not affected by the functioning of the craniosacral system.
The craniosacral rhythm
The craniosacral system, like the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, has its own palpable rhythm, called the craniosacral rhythm or craniosacral pulse. The normal craniosacral rate is 6-12 cycles per minute, which remains unaffected by emotions, exercise and so on. The motion of the cranial bones is transferred to and taken up by the peripheral bones of the body, the connective tissue and all the organs. Hence, the motion becomes a whole body motion. The motion of the cerebrospinal fluid creates a pulse that called the craniosacral rhythm. A trained craniosacral therapist can palpate this rhythm to evaluate the movement of the cerebrospinal fluid throughout the body as well as to detect any variances or possible restrictions in the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid. When a restriction has been found, the therapist will assist the natural movement of the fluid and related soft tissue to help the body self-correct, to develop spinal flexibility and to improve general health and well-being.
CranioSacral Therapy is completely different from standard massage and structural forms of chiropractic and osteopathic adjustments. The movements, used during the session, are extremely subtle, sensitive and gentle; they are not at all sharp, hard or quick. The therapist follows the body’s natural waves and rhythms to effect a change in the body.
CranioSacral Therapy is a subtle and profound healing form, which encourages the body’s natural mechanisms to improve the functioning of the brain and spinal cord, dissipate the negative effects of stress, and enhances general health and resistance to disease.