CranioSacral Therapy (CST)
What is CranioSacral Therapy?
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on therapy that can help to relief pain, discomfort, and to improve health. It supports your healing by putting your body in a deep state of relaxation, releasing tension deep within your body.
How does CranioSacral Therapy Work?
Every day our body endures stresses and strains which may take various forms – mental, physical or emotional stress. Because all of our body has a natural ability to self-correct, our structures then work to compensate for these stresses and strains which often causes body tissues to tighten and affect our CranioSacral system – the membranes and fluid that surround, nourish and protect our brain and spinal cord. Just think of the time when you twisted an ankle and how when you hobble to work or school, you’re leaning more on the other leg.
This compensation could then affect our central nervous system as tension in the body system builds up. This affects the natural, healthy performance of our central nervous system which also affects every other systems it interacts with.
Thankfully, these restrictions can be detected and corrected using gentle methods of touch. In CST, I’ll use my hands to evaluate the CranioSacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord.
Gentle-touch techniques (of no more than 5 grams, roughly the weight of a nickel) are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the CranioSacral system.
CST helps to balance the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s natural ability to self-correct, which can then alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.
How does CST downregulate different than other forms of therapy?
CST uses gentle touch which doesn’t add a lot of input into the body compared to more active forms of bodywork (such as massage). The latter can be overly stimulating for some people who may already be depleted or in a highly sensitive state.
Other times there may be restrictions in the body that will make a body unable to downregulate and the skilled touch of the CST practitioner can locate and work with those restrictions. Some common pattern areas include the Occipital Cranial Base, the hard palate, and the thoracic spine.
The combination of general nervous system downregulating effects of the environment and the nature of the therapy with the tissue release acumen of the practitioner creates a unique therapy that is beneficial to a wide range of conditions.
What can I expect from a CranioSacral Therapy session?
A typical CST session lasts from 45 minutes to an hour, and takes place in a quiet, private setting. As a client you remain fully clothed as you relax on a comfortable, padded treatment table. I will stand or sit positioned at various points of your head, torso or feet. At times I may also support your limbs and spine while helping your body release accumulated tension.
What you experience during a CST session is highly individual. Some clients say they feel deeply relaxed, while others described feeling unwinding sensations as the body releases tension. You may even recall circumstances surrounding a past trauma or injury that caused your body stress. While it doesn’t occur in every session, this aspect of the process – called SomatoEmotional Release (SER) – is perfectly normal, and helps the body reverse dysfunction and restore optimal levels of mobility.
Because each individual response to CST is unique, the number of sessions needed to resolve any particular condition varies widely. While one session may give you the relief you need, your situation may require more therapy before it’s completely alleviated.
What will I experience after a session?
Just as each individual experiences CST sessions differently, the results can be diverse as well. You may leave in such a relaxed state that you feel like sleeping for hours. Or you may leave full of boundless energy. You may feel a decrease in pain or an increase in function immediately after the session, or the effects may develop gradually over the next few days.
Since CST helps the body resume its natural healing processes, it’s common for your improvements to continue weeks after the session. You may also experience a reorganization phase as your body releases previously held patterns and adapts to a new state of wellness.
Who can benefit from CranioSacral Therapy?
Because CST is so effective as a preventive health measure, almost anyone can benefit from a session. For more pressing concerns, CST has proven especially effective on puzzling cases that have not responded well to other approaches. It’s particularly helpful to those with head, neck or back injuries resulting from an accident.
Are there any conditions that shouldn’t be addressed with CranioSacral Therapy?
There are few situations in which CST is not recommended. They include any condition in which slight variations in intracranial pressure would cause instability, such as acute aneurysm, recent skull fracture, and cerebral hemorrhage or other severe bleeding disorder.
If you have any questions about whether these situations apply to you, seek the advice of your physician before receiving a CST session.
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