A long history of chronic headaches, almost daily, and chronic jaw pain led me to my first experience with Craniosacral therapy, as a client. Because Craniosacral therapy was so different than the deep tissue massage therapy that I was accustomed to I was hesitant to try it.
The fact that Craniosacral therapy is done with such a light touch made it hard for me to grasp how it could be the right choice for me. I noticed that having massage therapy and chiropractic therapy did help a lot, but the pain always seemed to return. After Eventually deciding to try a treatment, I was truly amazed to experience such a significant reduction in pain after only a few treatments!
This experience marked the beginning of my journey into this amazing technique. In 2009 I became certified with level one and two with the Upledger Institute, in 2017 became certified in intermediate and advanced under Robert Harris through the Cranial Therapy Center in Toronto, & in 2019 became certified in Visceral manipulation & level 3.
Craniosacral therapy is an especially effective treatment for:
- low, mid, upper back and neck pain
- headaches and migraines
- jaw pain and TMJ dysfunction
- ears and sinus dysfunctions
- chronic pain
- spinal misalignment
- chronic fluid retention
- many many more
Note: The minimum treatment time for the craniosacral is one hour,
for Children please seek out a pediatric craniosacral therapist
How was Craniosacral therapy developed?Please Click Here to Read More!
The Therapy was developed by Osteopathic physician John Upledger, former professor of bio-mechanics at the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Michigan State University. He later formed the Upledger institute through which over 100 000 therapists have now been trained worldwide.
So what exactly is Craniosacral therapy?
Simply put, Craniosacral therapy helps to mobilize and release restrictions and adhesions in our tissues, primarily fascia, surrounding the central nervous system deep inside the body. With the release of these tissues our alignment can be restored. We tend to think of the bodies soft tissue as static, however this is not the case. In its healthiest state, our soft tissue should be in constant movement along with our Cranial rhythm. Trauma, postural holding patterns, stress and repetitive strain are a few examples of ways our bodies fascia can become “stuck” and adhesions can form. This process results in misalignments in our spine and cranial bones, and distortions in our posture. Your Craniosacral therapist can release these adhesions and mobilize these structures by working on the tissues directly, as well as by gently manipulating the bones within our spine and skull. The ultimate intention of Craniosacral Therapy is to release these adhesions and improve our alignment. Our Craniosacral system has a direct impact on our central nervous system, the “motherboard” for the entire body and ALL of its systems. When this system is compromised the performance of nearly every other system in the body can be compromised as well, including even digestion!
What is our craniosacral system and cranial rhythm?
The Craniosacral system is the system which lies in the core of our bodies, consisting of our brain, cranial (skull) bones, spinal cord, vertebral bones, pituitary gland, nerves, and cerebral spinal fluid. Cerebral spinal fluid is constantly produced and reabsorbed within the system resulting in a correlating movement of the cranial and vertebral bones. This continuous motion is referred to as our cranial rhythm or pulse. practitioners are trained to feel this motion and can, therefore, use this rhythm as a tool when detecting fascial restrictions in the soft tissues. Once the tissue is released, the rhythm returns, allowing mobility and alignment to be restored.
So… what can I expect in a Craniosacral treatment?
Craniosacral therapy is done with a very light touch and is actually done over the clothes, therefore loose clothing is recommended. Despite the name “Craniosacral therapy”, the treatment can be used anywhere in the body, depending on where it’s needed and where tissues are restricted. Because the therapy triggers elimination, drinking water throughout the day both before and after the treatment is recommended to prevent dehydration.
During your treatment, your therapist will seek out fascial restrictions in the body and work to release them, either directly or with gentle manipulations to the vertebral bones and/or cranial bones.
Most clients report a deep sense of relaxation during and after the treatment. On occasion, the client may experience some stiffness for up to 48 hours post-treatment as the body reorganizes itself.
*** In a rare 5% of cases, the treatment can induce symptomatic tissue memory during or up to 48 hours post-treatment. This means that the client may experience physical or emotional symptoms related to prior trauma as a form of release. This should resolve within 48 hours post-treatment.***
Why is the treatment done with such a light touch? What about “no pain no gain”?
The theory that massage therapy must be very deep and hurt in order to release tissue is the number one myth regarding massage therapy. Using a deep pressure triggers the body’s defense system. This causes the tissues to tighten and can lead to trauma and inflammation in the tissue, particularly with regards to the small membranes surrounding the cranial bones. Craniosacral therapists target the deeper tissues within the core directly without having to push their way through superficial musculature.
In my own experience as a client, I have found that the soft tissue releases and shifts within my body during a Craniosacral treatment (using a light touch) are actually deeper and longer lasting than the releases I have experienced during a deep tissue massage.