What is it?
Cranio-Sacral Therapy is an exceptionally gentle yet extremely powerful form of treatment, increasingly recognized for the depth of its influence, the comprehensive range of its therapeutic effects, and its ability to resolve issues that are not helped by other means.
It is a profound healing process which can release the deeply held patterns of disease - both physical and psychological - which accumulate throughout life as a result of injury and illness and become held into the body tissues, leading to ill-health and dysfunction.
It is a therapy whose principal purpose is to establish a strong underlying vitality and the free flow of this inherent vitality throughout the body, thereby enabling the healing forces within to overcome disease and disturbance, and to release tensions and restrictions, so that symptoms, conditions and their underlying causes can be resolved.
It can be of benefit to most people and can help in most conditions - from minor aches and pains to severe and persistent chronic health issues.
What does it involve?
Cranio-Sacral treatment is most often carried out with the patient lying down, fully clothed, in a quiet and peaceful environment. Treatment involves a very gentle touch of the practitioner’s hands. This light contact may be taken up on the Cranium (head) the Sacrum (tail-bone) the feet, the trunk, or any other part of the body as appropriate.
Treatment is generally experienced as a profound relaxation which may pervade the whole person, physically, mentally and emotionally, often accompanied by a feeling of lightness and ease.
The gentle approach of CST is entirely non-invasive. The subtle interaction of the two systems – brought together by this light contact – stimulates and enhances self healing mechanisms within the body to respond, release and open up to a more balanced healthy state.
How does it work?
When we rest our hands very lightly on the body and tune in on a subtle level, we can feel rhythmic motion being expressed throughout the body, as if the whole body were gently breathing – not just the usual breathing of the lungs, but a more gentle, subtle, rhythmic motion.
The natural world is guided by forces and rhythms which surround us and permeate us, generating the tides in the oceans, menstrual cycles, circadian rhythms and the many other rhythms of life. This rhythmic motion which we feel in the body is a reflection of a natural force (sometimes described as the Breath of Life) which is present throughout nature and which perfuses all living things. It is an indication of our alive-ness and a reflection of our vitality. It is this natural force which determines the orderly progression of life, growth, development, health and healing and which restores and maintains balance and integration – whether in an acorn, enabling it to grow into a magnificent oak tree, or in a human being. Everything that happens to us – every injury, every illness, every tension, every trauma – influences this underlying vitality and its rhythmic motion, creating disturbances to its fluent expression – twists, turns, restrictions, resistances.
When a Cranio-Sacral Therapist tunes in on a very subtle level, he or she can engage with these inherent movements and natural forces within the body. This interaction enables the patient’s system to respond to the therapist’s gentle contact by addressing and releasing any disturbances and resistances, thereby re-establishing a more calm, settled, balanced, integrated state where the underlying vitality which maintains our health can be expressed freely, and where the body can consequently function more smoothly and fluently.
Penetrating to the deepest levels:
The Cranio-Sacral system and its motion are subtle. In order to engage with them, the Cranio-Sacral therapist needs to use an extremely light touch – barely a touch at all, simply being there with their calm quiet presence. Cranio-Sacral Integration is therefore a very gentle therapy. It is through this unimposing gentleness that the body is able to relax and open up (secure in the knowledge that it is not being threatened) enabling the Cranio-Sacral process to penetrate to the deepest levels of our being. Cranio-Sacral Integration is therefore a very profound therapy, reaching levels which are not generally accessed by other more physical or more invasive means (which might induce the body’s protective mechanisms) and is therefore able to connect with and enhance the underlying health deep within, accessing the root causes of severe and profoundly debilitating disease - as well as relieving less severe conditions.
What are the benefits of CST?
Cranio-Sacral Therapy treats people rather than conditions. It is primarily concerned with establishing a healthy, balanced underlying state which enables the body's own healing mechanisms to operate at optimum level, and therefore to restore health.
Cranio-Sacral Therapy works on many different levels and influences many different structures within the body. It influences the musculo-skeletal system, the nervous system, the cardio-vascular system, the immune system, the organs, the connective tissues, the fluids and the energy systems of the body.
The whole person:
Cranio-Sacral Integration is not merely treating the body. It recognises that body, mind and feelings are absolutely and inextricably intertwined. It therefore engages with every aspect of our being – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. So its effects are profound and widespread and can be effective over a very wide range of circumstances and conditions. Cranio-Sacral Integration is not treating conditions; it is treating people; it is treating the whole person and everything about the person at a fundamental and profound level. In doing so it can enable the body to address whatever symptoms, conditions or disturbances that particular individual may be experiencing.
Consequently, the applications of Cranio-Sacral Therapy are very wide – from simple aches and pains to the most complex chronic or persistent issues.
It can also be valuable in helping to resolve intransigent and persistent conditions that have not responded to other forms of treatment.
It has a significant part to play in addressing the far-reaching and potentially life-determining consequences of severe trauma and shock - whether due to severe car accidents, mugging, rape, sexual abuse, childhood abuse, birth, war, or any other cause – engaging with both the physical and psycho-emotional effects of trauma.
Cranio-Sacral Therapy is concerned with enhancing health, strength and vitality at the very core of our being, thereby stimulating the body’s own natural potential, helping the body to eradicate the root of any problem. It is concerned with integrating all the body’s resources to function at their optimum level.
Who can benefit?
Cranio-Sacral Integration can be of benefit at any age – for babies, children, adults, the elderly, in pregnancy, in birth, in sickness or in health.
It has often been found to be helpful:
- for the many common symptoms affecting so many babies in early life
- helping babies to sleep better and to become more settled
- for more serious issues, including the widespread effects of Birth Trauma
- for the many knocks and falls which they encounter
- to aid recovery from persistent illness
- and for more serious issues
- to assist in enabling an easier, smoother, more natural birth
- with less need for intervention
- to encourage a more comfortable pregnancy
- to create the optimum environment for the baby
- for a comprehensive range of issues
in the ELDERLY
- helping to maintain health and wellbeing
- who wishes to improve their underlying state of health and wellbeing
- and to create a greater sense of ease clarity and health in their life
Cranio-Sacral Therapy responds to each individual according to his or her needs, making a comprehensive assessment of the individual’s overall state and responding accordingly.
Babies and Children:
Cranio-Sacral Therapy is particularly relevant for babies and children for several reasons:
It is so gentle and non-invasive. Babies can be treated while asleep, or feeding, or cradled in their mother’s arms, and there is no need to disturb them by undressing them.
Cranio-Sacral Therapy is especially helpful for settling babies suffering from poor sleep and restlessness.
Cranio-Sacral Therapy is uniquely effective in dealing with the effects of Birth Trauma (both the compressive forces exerted on the skull, and also the shock effects of a traumatic birth) with its many possible consequences.
Establishing healthy patterns at an early age, through the gentle process of Cranio-Sacral Integration, sets patterns for the whole future of the individual, both in their health and in their skills and abilities, as well as helping your child to enjoy a happier healthier childhood and to grow up making optimum use of his or her potential.
Ideally, we recommend that every baby be checked Cranio-Sacrally around two weeks after birth, in order to smooth out any restrictions or asymmetries arising from the birth process, and to reduce any tendency for the development of more serious conditions that may not yet be apparent at that early age. In the absence of a Cranio-Sacral check up at birth, we recommend treatment as early as possible. This helps to ensure a more complete resolution of any issues, with fewer treatments needed. It also enables the child’s early experience of life to be as positive and as comfortable as possible, thereby creating positive patterns for the future.
Once any fundamental issues have been resolved, we recommend regular check ups – every three months for babies, every six months for children – in order to resolve the effects of any falls, injuries and illnesses which are an inevitable part of childhood – and so ensure optimum health and wellbeing.
For further information about treatment, see the page Clinic.