What is CranioSacral Therapy?
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle therapeutic method of assessing and balancing the body's craniosacral system. This system is composed of the membranes and fluids which surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.
A light, but focused, touch (approximately the weight of a nickel) is used to remove blockages, called restrictions, in the craniosacral system. Areas of restriction lead to decreased nerve transmission and circulation, then to symptoms of discomfort and pain. The craniosacral and nervous systems are connected to the rest of the body through connective tissue called fascia. These connections allow CranioSacral Therapy to effect distant areas and organ systems of the body, especially impacting the nervous, musculoskeletal, endocrine, and vascular systems.
Because such a light touch is used, CST is appropriate for all ages, from infants to elders, and for most conditions. Children often respond quickly and welcome CranioSacral work since it is so non-invasive. In practice, we have seen children who cannot yet speak, guide the therapist's hands to the exact areas that need attention. It is recommended that clients with a history of aneurysm or cerebral hemorrhage consult their physicians.
A CranioSacral Therapy session is performed with the client lying on a massage table, removing only shoes, belt, and jewelry. Clients may find themselves attaining a state of deep relaxation, some even fall asleep during treatment. At other times clients find themselves more talkative, perhaps experiencing emotional release from the stresses of life or even healing from distant memories. Each session is unique as the body resolves the issues it needs to, with the trained therapist's assistance. The client may feel the improvement immediately, or more subtly over several days. Because CST facilitates the body's own healing mechanisms, progress initiated in a session may continue for days or weeks afterward.
"As you know, my body has been under attack from cancer for almost six years. Last year it metastasized in my spine and I received radiation treatment to stop the growth/spread of the cancer. I had increased pain and less mobility. Then, this past March, I was told that the area in my lower spine that had been radiated had again become active with cancer. After having Micro Plastic surgery, I had much less mobility and more pain. In April, you began treating me and I'm enjoying less pain and greater mobility, along with increased strength. Thank you and God bless you!"--Merle
Photo by Michelle Irwin
Dr. William Sutherland, an osteopathic physician, laid the framework for Cranial Osteopathy, in the early 1900's, spending nearly twenty years exploring the theory that the bones of the skull were structured to allow for subtle movement, contrary to the teachings of his day. His life work led to the discovery that the skull's sutures are made of a special type of fibrous joint found only in the skull. He found fluids, bones, and tissues at the body's core which initiated and responded to an involuntary rhythmic motion.
Another osteopathic physician, Dr. John Upledger, continued Dr. Sutherland's work beginning in the 1970's. He examined the theories of subtle movements of the skull and a palpable cranial rhythm while a researcher and professor at Michigan State University. He was given a team of researchers and scientists to aid in exploring this phenomenon. The research empirically confirmed these theories and helped clarify the mechanisms in the body making them possible. These scientific validations, along with the practical results he witnessed, led him to develop what he called CranioSacral Therapy. The Upledger Institute in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, was founded in 1985, to bring this method to the public and to provide ongong research in light touch therapies.
Most CranioSacral practitioners today are chiropractors; physical, occupational, or massage therapists; osteopathic or medical doctors; or dentists. Training is sometimes available to lay people as well and can be very beneficial in improving quality of life for family and friends.
Dawn is a certified CranioSacral Therapy Diplomat, trained by Dr. Nancy Soliven, DC, MD of Integrative Bodywork Institute. Dr. Soliven worked as a team leader with the Upledger Brain and Spinal Cord Center and has taught CST internationally for many years. Integrative Bodywork Institute uses a synthesis of traditional therapies and intuitive assessment to discover and treat the causes of dis-ease by working with the craniosacral, fascial, and energetic systems. Please see Frequently Asked Questions for descriptions of CranioSacral Therapy and other modalities offered at Soteria Wellness, LLC.
"The CranioSacral Therapy that Dawn provided me has relieved all the upper back and neck pain I had experienced for several years. For as long as I can remember, I have had upper back pain that included headaches and with just two, one hour sessions with Dawn, I now have very little if any pain throughout my upper back and neck. I felt relief immediately and the pain was nearly gone within hours of my first session. The most amazing thing I found with the therapy is that with just two sessions, I have felt the relief I have been looking for in my upper back for several years."--Lindsey
What conditions may be helped with CranioSacral Therapy?
- Improving general health and wellness
- Reducing stress and tension
- Acute and chronic pain from many origins
- Fibromyalgia and other connective tissue disorders
- Orthopedic problems and injuries
- Migraines and other headaches
- Traumatic injury
- Depression and anxiety
- Chronic sinus problems
- Sleep challenges
- Birth trauma
- Infant feeding problems
"After seeing two chiropractors over the course of a year about the very intense, shooting, sharp pain in my lower back, I was informed my vertebrae (L5-S1) was pinching a group of nerves and I would always be in some pain for the rest of my life. I was unwilling to accept the diagnosis and after some research I found out about Dawn's gift of listening to what my body needed. After two very relaxing CranioSacral Therapy sessions with Dawn, the shooting pain in my lower back has been gone. Since then, Dawn has used a combination of CST, massage therapy, and polarity for a systemic approach to undo my body's twists and misalignments, a result of my body compensating for my lower back pain. Today, I look forward to living the life I imagined...pain free."--Michelle
"My daughter was diagnosed with Down Syndrome a few days after her Birth-day. She experienced a 48 hour labor. One of the challenges she faced right away was a struggle to latch on and maintain a good latch for breastfeeding. She also struggled to breathe well while sleeping and eating. She spent a week in the NICU, undergoing many tests and treatment--stressful on her little body. We saw Dawn for CranioSacral Therapy to help bring balance back to her body, including her head, due to all she had experienced. I also hoped it might help with her latch and breathing. Within a few minutes, we saw visible changes in her head, face, and jaw. The shape of her palate changed enormously, and there was less tension in her jaw. Her sinuses began to open up. We have been back several times, and continue to see marked improvements in her overall health and posture. She is now nursing without any challenges, and is able to breathe (and sleep) much better (and quieter!) This has changed her life, and ours, forever."--Sarah