Cranial Sacral Therapy (CST)

February 8, 2017

Cranial Sacral Therapy also known as craniopathy or cranial osteopathy is a holistic therapy that involves the manipulation of the skull bones (the cranium) and the sacrum to relieve pain and a variety of other conditions like chronic pain, emotional trauma, physical disability, pediatric trauma, and emotional stress and numerous ailments , including cancer. It is a gentle healing modality that uses very light touch to impact physical, neurological, and energetic structures in the body.

CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system. Cranio-sacral therapy treats the whole person. It does not focus on symptoms although it is often the symptoms that bring us for treatment initially. This therapy stems from osteopathy, which is an approach that emphasizes the role of the musculoskeletal system in health and disease.

What is Craniosacral System?

The three layer of membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord (meninges) including the cerebral spinal fluid constitute the craniosacral system. The tissues extend through the bones to the skull, face and mouth (the cranium) and then down to the tailbone (the sacrum). This system protects the brain and the spinal cord as a shock absorber, and also serves to facilitate the electro-chemical conduction of nerves signal.

CST Process

Cranio-Sacral treatment is most often carried out with the patient lying down, fully clothed, in a quiet and peaceful environment. Treatment involves a very gentle touch of the practitioner’s hands. This light contact may be taken up on the Cranium, the Sacrum, the feet, the trunk, or any other part of the body as appropriate. Treatment is generally experienced as a profound relaxation which may pervade the whole person, physically, mentally and emotionally, often accompanied by a feeling of lightness and ease.

The gentle approach of CST is entirely non-invasive. The subtle interaction of the two systems – brought together by this light contact – stimulates and enhances self healing mechanisms within the body to respond, release and open up to a more balanced healthy state.

The practitioner notes what he or she perceives at selected points on the body and in the craniosacral system (the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord), as well as the client’s attitude and intentions. The goal of craniosacral therapy is to help get rid of restrictions in this system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.

CST is used for following conditions

Cranial osteopathy is used for a wide range of problems in both children and adults including –

  • Constipation
  • Iirritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Seizures
  • Scoliosis
  • Migraine headaches
  • Disturbed sleep cycles
  • Asthma
  • Neck pain
  • Sinus infections
  • TMJ syndrome
  • Ménière’s disease
  • Ear problems

And for children with – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), who have experienced birth trauma or head trauma.

The American Cancer Society notes that while cranial osteopathy therapy has not been shown scientifically to be a treatment for cancer, it can help patients feel more relaxed by helping to relieve stress and tension.

Benefits of CST

Cranial sacral therapy seeks to restore the natural position of the bones and can decrease  stress from chronic injuries as well as provide relief from migraine headaches, neck and back pain, temporomandibular joint disorder (the inflammation of the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull) and more.

Approximately 28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. Often, migraines are triggered or exacerbated by stress and poor sleep. Researchers found that participants who received bodywork like Cranial Sacral Therapy had better quality sleep and fewer migraines than participants who didn’t. Effects even lasted up to three weeks after therapy ended.

Cranio-Sacral Therapy treats people rather than conditions. It is primarily concerned with establishing a healthy, balanced underlying state which enables the body’s own healing mechanisms to operate at optimum level, and therefore to restore health.

Cranio-Sacral Therapy works on many different levels and influences many different structures within the body. It influences the musculo-skeletal system, the nervous system, the cardio-vascular system, the immune system, the organs, the connective tissues, the fluids and the energy systems of the body.

The whole person – Cranio-Sacral Integration is not merely treating the body. It recognises that body, mind and feelings are absolutely and inextricably intertwined. It therefore engages with every aspect of our being – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. So its effects are profound and widespread and can be effective over a very wide range of circumstances and conditions. Cranio-Sacral Integration is not treating conditions; it is treating people; it is treating the whole person and everything about the person at a fundamental and profound level. In doing so it can enable the body to address whatever symptoms, conditions or disturbances that particular individual may be experiencing.

Wide Application – Consequently, the applications of Cranio-Sacral Therapy are very wide – from simple aches and pains to the most complex chronic or persistent issues. It can also be valuable in helping to resolve intransigent and persistent conditions that have not responded to other forms of treatment.

It has a significant part to play in addressing the far-reaching and potentially life-determining consequences of severe trauma and shock – whether due to severe car accidents, mugging, rape, sexual abuse, childhood abuse, birth, war, or any other cause – engaging with both the physical and psycho-emotional effects of trauma.

Cranio-Sacral Therapy is concerned with enhancing health, strength and vitality at the very core of our being, thereby stimulating the body’s own natural potential, helping the body to eradicate the root of any problem. It is concerned with integrating all the body’s resources to function at their optimum level.

Who can benefit?

Cranio-Sacral Integration can be of benefit at any age – for babies, children, adults, the elderly, in pregnancy, in birth, in sickness or in health.

It has often been found to be helpful –

For Babies –

  • for the many common symptoms affecting so many babies in early life
  • helping babies to sleep better and to become more settled
  • for more serious issues, including the widespread effects of Birth Trauma

For children –

  • for the many knocks and falls which they encounter
  • to aid recovery from persistent illness
  • and for more serious issues

For Pregnant Women –

  • to assist in enabling an easier, smoother, more natural birth
  • with less need for intervention
  • to encourage a more comfortable pregnancy
  • to create the optimum environment for the baby

For Adults –

  • For numerous range of issues

For Old people –

  • To maintain good health and wellbeing

For Everyone –

  • who wishes to improve their underlying state of health and wellbeing
  • and to create a greater sense of ease clarity and health in their life

By complementing the body’s natural healing processes, CST is 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.