Craniosacral Therapy (CST) was developed and pioneered by Osteopathic Physician Dr. John E. Upledger. A basic tenet of Dr. Upledger’s approach is that there is wisdom in the body that knows just what is needed to heal, and given the proper resources and support the body will correct itself with very little intervention. So rather than trying to ‘fix’ a client the therapist becomes a facilitator and a witness gently supporting the body’s knowing.
CST is a very gentle hands-on method of releasing pain and restriction within the body. It focuses on improving the structure of the body in particular the central nervous system, so that the body as a whole can work at its highest level.
We can think of the body as an interrelated and interwoven biological fabric called fascia. Fascia is the body’s connective tissue. It is a head to toe, inside to out, all-encompassing system of fibrous connective tissue found throughout the body. Your fascia provides a framework that helps support and protect individual muscle groups, organs, and the entire body as a unit. If any part of the fascia is twisted, pulled or imbalanced, it will affect the entire body in some way.
The central nervous system is surrounded by the craniosacral system which houses the brain and spinal cord which in turn are surrounded and protected by cerebrospinal fluid and their fascial membranes – the meninges.
Everything we feel, think, remember or do is processed through the body’s fascial structures. When these structures are overly strained then the body’s ability to do its work efficiently and fully is often compromised. This can lead to ill health.
The focus of CST is to use light gentle methods to help the body lessen structural strain so that our biological network can work at peak levels. This helps improve our ability to heal and to function fully at our optimal level.
Somato Emotional Release
Somato Emotional Release (SER) is a therapeutic process that uses and expands upon the principles of CST to facilitate and support the body to release the residual effects of emotional and physical trauma. It is now well accepted that memory of a trauma is not just in an area of the brain but is also stored in body tissue. This is called tissue memory. During a craniosacral therapy session as tissue is unwinding tissue memory may be triggered and the emotion associated with the situation is released.
SER can perhaps be considered to be the core of craniosacral therapy as it encompasses both the physiological and emotional component of the client’s experience, providing the client with a therapeutic space in which they are supported and facilitated to work through their process. Physical symptoms may not fully release and heal until an emotional component is taken care of too. This may be the case in chronic illness as well as in less obvious sub-clinical patterns such as poor immunity, lack of energy, lack of confidence or anxiety. The therapist may engage the client in therapeutic imagery and dialogue to help rid the body of the residual effects of past injuries and negative experiences. This very often opens the gateway for profound change and evolvement for the client.
SER facilitates personal growth, helps us move from illness, unresolved issues and lack of potential, towards health and fulfilment, and is an ingenious tool for sorting out our lives and redesigning our futures.
By supporting, facilitating and complementing the body’s self-corrective processes CST is used as a preventative health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease. Because it is so gentle, CST is suitable for all ages from new-born to advanced old age. As it involves no manipulation, it is often appropriate when other therapies may be unsafe, such as for people in fragile or acutely painful conditions, during pregnancy, after an operation, accident, fall or injury.
The benefits of CST have been reported for a wide range of medical problems some of which include:
- Migraines and Headaches
- Chronic Neck and Back Pain
- Central Nervous System disorders
- Anxiety & Depression
- Stress & Tension Related Problems
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Immune disorders
- Menstrual Issues
- Asthma/Chest Infections
- Bell’s Palsy
- Sinus Problems
- Movement Disorders
- Head Trauma
- Dental Work
- Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
- Low Mood/Energy
….And Many Others
Typical positive post-CST treatment effects include the client feeling more relaxed, calmer, clearer, confident, engaged, with an enhanced self-awareness and body-mind connection. Effects usually become more evident over time with multiple treatment sessions as the body continues to re-balances itself.