Updated: Jan 28
'You have the energy of the sun in you, but you keep knotting it up at the base of your spine' - Rumi.
As a Sports Massage Therapist I'm always interested in other modalities that will prove beneficial for my clients. The latest addition to my tool kit is CranioSacral Therapy. So what is CranioSacral Therapy (CST)? Is a touch that is so gentle you'll barely notice it.
CST is a complete treatment that can be used in isolation or combined with other techniques such as EMMETT Technique or Trigger Point Therapy. Which makes it an excellent addition in my clinic!
CST was introduced and developed by a Osteopath called Dr John Upledger following extensive scientific studies throughout 1975 - 1983 at Michigan State University.
The cransiosacral system is a relatively recent discovery of the physiological system. It comprises of membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds and protects the spinal cord and brain. These membranes extend from the bones of the skull, face and mouth (which make up the cranium) and down the spine to the sacrum or tailbone area.
So in more simple terms; the brain sits and is protected by the cranium and the spinal cord is protected by the spine! The brain and spinal cord bobs and floats within the cerebrospinal fluid, pretty amazing huh!
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves and is in fact an extension of our brain and our 24 vertebra are there to protect it and the spinal cord ends in a fan of nerves. The spinal nerves and brain are enclosed in a protective sheath called the dura mater. At the base of the spinal cord there is pool of cerebrospinal fluid and the fan of nerves, called cauda equina, float within this pool of cerebrospinal fluid.
Cerebrospinal fluid is a clear and colourless body of fluid similar in composition to blood plasma and seawater! Cerebrospinal fluid is made in the brain, it bathes and protects the brain and then travels down the spine by surrounding the spinal cord and it allows the spine and sacrum to move with ease.
The cerebrospinal fluid then travels back up through the spine and is reabsorbed by the brain every 6-9 cycles per min. The fluid nourishes the nerves and tissues and cleanses the craniosacral system of any cellular toxins. Pretty clever stuff!
A recent medical publication by PubMed describes CST "Craniosacral therapy (CST) is an alternative treatment approach, aiming to release restrictions around the spinal cord and brain and subsequently restore body function".
A number of clinical randomised controlled trials have been undertaken to monitor the benefits of CST on chronic pain, this includes neck and back pain, migraine, headache, fibromyalgia, epicondylitis, and pelvic girdle pain. The benefits of CST have been summarised and 'suggests significant and robust effects of CST on pain and function lasting up to six months'. More can be read about the trial here.
CranioSacral Therapy can ease a number of issues; this includes the bones that make up the craniosacral system - cranium, face, spine and sacrum. Any imbalances in any one of these areas can create symptoms of sciatica, headaches, TMJ/TMD, hip pain, neck and shoulder pain. CranioSacral Therapy has been found to positively influence the central nervous system. It is beneficial for many auto-immune conditions including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, more can be read here. CST 'down' regulates a agitated nervous system thus easing the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia
CranioSacral Therapy is gentle and hands-on method that works directly with the central nervous system, to relieve tension, pain and enhance the bodies own healing system. Using a light touch on the key areas of the craniosacral system can help reduce pain, calm the nervous system, speed up recovery from injury or surgery, enhance your immune system, increase of wellbeing and health.
There are many methods to reduce chronic or persistent pain; these include breathing techniques, exercise/strength building, myofascial release, craniosacral therapy, deep tissue massage, stress management, osteopathic manipulation, trigger point therapy, EMMETT Technique and relaxation techniques. If any of these are of interest to you please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss or you can book an appointment at Complete Balance.