What is Craniosacral Therapy
Craniosacral Therapy ( or CranialSacral ) is a gentle yet profound method for enhancing the function of the nervous system, reducing stress, increasing resilience and returning balance to the entire body. Quite often, a greater sense of calmness, clarity, self-awareness and presence is experienced after a craniosacral session. This safe and supportive process allows for the release of deep-seated trauma and emotions that may be held within our body.
Trauma and Craniosacral Therapy
Traumatic stress, the reaction to a life-threatening event, arouses the nervous system to the extreme and activates three survival reflexes: freeze, flight, and fight. When our nervous system is overwhelmed and our coping strategies don’t work, we feel traumatized. If the trauma is not processed or if we aren’t eventually able to fight off, or get away from, or in some way manage what is attacking us, then the unprocessed fear gets locked into our body—into our tissues. This holding of stress and trauma in our tissues can express itself in a multitude of symptoms including anxiety, pain and dissociation. In an attempt to separate ourselves from the pain and the implicit memory of the trauma, we dissociate to some degree from our body, losing our sense of self. Implicit memories are emotional and physical sensations without an explicit (mind) memory context - something happened, I’m not sure what, but I don’t feel right. The body remembers, but not the mind.
Implicit memories must be accessed through the body with gentle body-centered therapies such as biodynamic craniosacral work. This work is very effective in releasing the “issues in the tissues” because its foundation is based on presence and deep listening and the experience of a session is one of safety. Supporting the client to stay present to their physical body sensations during the session not only facilitates safety and releases implicit memories but also helps the client to reintegrate their dissociated parts. This in turn leads to a greater sense of wholeness, clarity and well being.
What are the benefits of a session?
Craniosacral therapy is beneficial for people of all ages, from newborn babies to the elderly. From those who are experiencing acute painful conditions due to a recent injury, to those experiencing chronic problems, to those who feel fine and want to experience greater health and vitality. This work is especially beneficial, and dramatic improvement is often seen, with those who have experienced any type of trauma, whether physical or emotional, recent or old. Craniosacral therapy allows for the release of the emotional, physical and mental components of a trauma.
This can include trauma experienced from:
Slips and falls
Some benefits include the elimination or reduction of:
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (Jaw joint pain, clicking and popping)
Headaches and Migraines
Back, Neck and Facial pain
Grinding of teeth
Visual and Auditory disturbances
Other nervous system disorders
How can I expect to feel during and after the session?
The experience of a craniosacral session is normally relaxing and comfortable. During the session, you'll begin to develop a greater self-awareness of your body and emotions. You may become aware of the subtle wavelike motions that are a reflection of the involuntary motion of our craniosacral system and of our basic watery origin. You also will become aware of the physical holding patterns that may exist and of the emotional feelings buried deep within. At times, memories may arise, some that make sense and some that have no context for immediate understanding. Quite often, a greater sense of calmness, clarity and well being is experienced during and after a craniosacral session.
Craniosacral therapy helps to release old trauma held deep in the mind and body. Release occurs both during and after a craniosacral session, often occurring for 24-48 hours or longer afterward. There may be changes in sleep, dreams, and how you feel physically and emotionally. It is normal to sometimes feel worse before feeling better. There may be a generalized feeling of openness, joy, euphoria, etc., or there may be feelings of confusion, contraction, sadness, and vulnerability. Feelings can shift rapidly. All this is part of rebalancing until a new equilibrium can be established.
What occurs during a typical session and how long does it last?
After you lie down on a comfortable massage table, we will begin by making one or two gentle contacts, following the subtle involuntary rhythms coming from your craniosacral system. This will continue throughout the session. Dialogue may be used to facilitate a greater awareness of what is taking place in your body. Over time you'll begin to let go and release areas of resistance held within your body caused by trauma or illness.
Session length can vary, although a typical session lasts from 50-60 minutes.
How many sessions will I need?
A typical series encompasses 6 sessions although each person will have different needs depending of their problem. In most cases, it does take more than one or two sessions to notice significant changes. After the initial series, we will mutually evaluate whether it is prudent to continue.
The length of care depends on your goals. Do you want to:
Relieve acute symptoms
Release the effects of physical and emotional trauma trapped within your body and restore balance and mobility
Improve your overall well-being on an ongoing basis
How safe is Craniosacral Therapy?
Since the force being used is very minimal and because the intention of the work is only to listen and follow the body's own rhythms and allow it to self-correct rather than to manipulate or fix something, it is considered a very safe healing modality. Although mental and emotional processes do arise at times from a session, our intention is not to process the client. It is certainly helpful to work in conjunction with psychotherapy practitioners at times.
What about Craniosacral for babies and children?
Moms bring their infants and babies to craniosacral practitioners for many reasons, including:
Consequences of vacuum or forceps extraction and C-section
Trouble with breastfeeding
Gastrointestinal pain and acid reflux
Not sleeping well
How can I learn Craniosacral Therapy?
Courses are offered through the Craniosacral Institute Australia.
For more information go to www.craniosacralschool.com