Craniosacral therapy is a gentle massage technique that works to release restrictions around the spinal cord which directly affects the functioning of the autonomic nervous system (consisting of sympathetic and parasympathetic systems). As we put our body through day to day life, our tissue is recording and storing all of our experiences. If we do a single action every day for years on end, our body will adapt a posture to match that repetitive activity. In the same way our body will often mimic how we feel or approach life. If we are shy or unhappy, our posture tends to curl inward. If we are confident, we tend to stand up straighter and face the world with more openness.
"All events in life are perceived by the body through the sensory network of nerves going into the brain. These events include trauma of any nature; injury, physical or emotional trauma, or could be chemical or biological in nature. Everything the body experiences, is recorded in the tissue and may cause restrictions. These may then manifest as disease, dysfunction or poor healing, as the body’s own healing and self-corrective techniques are overwhelmed and therefore less efficient.", Irish Association of Craniosacral Therapists.
Craniosacral therapy is a technique that uses subtle touch around the head and sacrum to gently release these restrictions. Each craniosacral hold (think cradling your skull or placing fingertips along your brow line) works to gently manipulate the sutures that hold our skull together and the position of the sacrum. By paying attention and listening to the body on the table, massage therapists can work to unwind neural tension and restrictions along the covering (dura) of the spinal cord.
What does a craniosacral session consist of? They are usually an hour in length, sometimes longer, and each therapist chooses the sequence they feel is best suited to their client. Most start with the feet, gently holding the heels as the client lays on their back, and gently manipulates the sacrum by turning the feet in and out. Then they may move on to the sacrum, gently holding the sacrum and then connecting it to the base of the skull. From there the therapist will do a series of holds on the head and face. These will all vary in length depending on where the restrictions are felt.
Most clients comment on feeling like they slipped into a meditative state or a trance or that they felt like they were somewhere between awake and asleep. Clients also say they feel a little tired after each session as the body integrates and processes the work that has been done. This lethargy after a session can also lead to emotional release for some clients which is perfectly normal and just part of your body's healing process. Don't forget that your nervous system is the literal core of your body and the control center of all other body functions. Restrictions within this system usually take time to fully release and therefore clients tend to feel the most progress from their craniosacral therapy when they book sessions consistently.
Craniosacral therapy can beneficial to anyone, but it is particularly helpful for clients suffering from head trauma, headaches/migraines, are not able to receive deep bodywork, or clients who have anxiety or depression. This form of therapy is nurturing and soothing to your nervous system, it ultimately allows your body to heal itself on the deepest level, the neurological level.
Book a session with me to experience the benefits of craniosacral for yourself. If you just want a taste, I often incorporate craniosacral into my personalized and prenatal/postpartum sessions when necessary.