THE CRANIOSACRAL SYSTEM

The body has a very interesting and very subtle system, unrecognized by science until fairly recently, known as the craniosacral system.  The craniosacral (CS) system consists of the membranes that form the meninges of the brain and their related structures, the spinal cord (down to the sacrum), the bones of the skull (to which those membranes attach), the cerebrospinal fluid and the structures that produce, contain and resorb the cerebrospinal fluid.  All of these structures are connected to all of our internal organs and to our skin through Fascia - a thin sheath of fibrous tissue that envelopes all organs in our bodies.  The sheath moves with the CS rhythm and feels as the body rocking gently in unison.  

 

There will be a rocking motion of the sacrum and a widening and narrowing of the head during the CS pulse.  The clinician will correct the rhythm with gentle, subtle movements of the skull, the sacrum and other areas where fascia is restricted. 

 

WHAT CS IS USED FOR

 

Because the CS system is connected to the rest of the body through its connection with the fascia, restriction can affect many other body systems including the nervous system, musculoskeletal system, vascular system, endocrine system, etc.  Because of these relationships, CS therapy is used to treat many different conditions.  In our clinical setting, we have found CS to be helpful for headaches, sinus problems, anxiety, stress in general, endocrine problems, muscular fatigue or stress, depression, TMJ and other problems.

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger following extensive scientific studies from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics.

CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system - comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.

Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams, or about the weight of a nickel, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.

By complementing the body's natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, including:

  • Migraine Headaches

  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain

  • Motor-Coordination Impairments

  • Colic

  • Autism

  • Central Nervous System Disorders

  • Orthopedic Problems

  • Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries

  • Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia

  • Spinal Cord Injuries

  • Scoliosis

  • Infantile Disorders

  • Learning Disabilities

  • Chronic Fatigue

  • Emotional Difficulties

  • Stress and Tension-Related Problems

  • Fibromyalgia and other Connective-Tissue Disorders

  • Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)

  • Neurovascular or Immune Disorders

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Post-Surgical Dysfunction

SomatoEmotional Release (SER) is a therapeutic process that uses and expands on the principles of CranioSacral Therapy to help rid the mind and body of the residual effects of trauma. SER1 offers applications designed to enhance results using CST and other complementary therapies.

  • Assess and mobilize the Avenue of Expression working through more than 10 different body components, including the thoracic inlet, hard palate and hyoglossal tissues.

  • Locate and release Energy Cysts.

  • Release suppressed emotions that may be inhibiting complete structural releases.

  • Refine listening and comprehension skills.

  • Improve palpation and whole-body evaluation skills.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

 

Your clinician will have you lie on a table on your back.  You may wish to be covered with a sheet or blanket, even though you will remain fully clothed. The relaxing nature of the treatment may make you feel a little colder or warmer than usual.  The clinician will then palpate (i.e. examine the CS rhythm by touch) by placing her/his hands on your head, then your sacrum and possibly other areas, such as your ankles.  You may be asked to shift your body slightly from time to time, but there is no other way that you need to be involved except to relax and enjoy the treatment.  An attempt will be made to keep the room quiet and darkened to enhance the relaxing atmosphere.  The clinician will use a very gentle, light touch and may move your head periodically as she/he applies their hands to the different bones of the skull.  Light pressure will be applied to release any restrictions discovered.

 

The clinician will also use their hands on your abdomen and chest to release restrictions of the fascia at these points. They may also return to the sacrum for gentle release of restrictions there.  More advanced clinicians may feel the CS rhythm in the body fascia by lightly holding your feet, your knees or your shoulders or by very lightly stretching your neck upwards.  For bones that are more easily accessed through the mouth, the clinician uses a gloved finger to gently move them.  This technique will be explained to you in detail before it is done.  There are no surprises and there should be no discomfort.  Communicate any discomfort at once, should you experience it, so that the clinician may adjust the pressure or location of their hands.

 

You may feel yourself drifting off into a very relaxed state or even into a sound sleep.  This is normal and you should allow yourself this level of relaxation. Occasionally, individuals have emotive experiences with CS treatment, which is all part of the process of releasing restrictions. The entire treatment can take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes, depending on how extensive it needs to be.  Your clinician can explain to you afterwards what restrictions they encountered and what releases were attempted/obtained, if you wish to know.  You may feel a little lightheaded, or “spacey”, following the treatment, but you will, most likely, feel very relaxed. It is a good idea to sit in the waiting area before going on to your next activity, ensuring that you are fully alert before driving. 

Possible Contraindications:

  • Recent brain hemorrhage/aneurysm or stroke. 

  • Recent spinal tap or puncture in the Craniosacral system.

  • Arnold Chiari Malformation. 

  • Recent fracture of skull bones, vertebral column or ribs. 

  • Open cavity head wound or closed head injury

  • Acute Meningitis

  • Heart attack in acute phase

  • Infection where cause is unknown

  • Brain Tumor

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