What is CranioSacral Therapy?
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. CST was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger after years of clinical testing and research at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and professor of biomechanics.
Using a very light touch, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system. CST techniques can be used throughout the body to help release restrictions wherever they may be. In this way, CST and Myofascial Release have an overlap in technique. CranioSacral Therapy can also be used as a preventive health measure because it bolsters the body’s resistance to disease.
What Conditions Can CST Help?
CranioSacral Therapy is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, including:
- Migraine Headaches
- Chronic Neck and Back Pain
- Motor-Coordination Impairments
- Central Nervous System Disorders
- Orthopedic Problems
- Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Infantile Disorders
- Learning Disabilities
- Chronic Fatigue
- Emotional Difficulties
- Stress and Tension-Related Problems
- Fibromyalgia and other Connective-Tissue Disorders
- Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
- Neurovascular or Immune Disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Post-Surgical Dysfunction
(source: Upledger Institute)
How Does CST Work?
The central nervous system (CNS), comprised of the brain and spinal cord, has a tremendous influence over the body’s ability to function properly. In turn, the craniosacral system, i.e. the membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord, has a significant influence on the CNS.
Every day your body endures stresses and strains that it must compensate for. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort the craniosacral system. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord, resulting in restrictions. This can create a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system and potentially every other system it interacts with.
Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of touch. With a light touch, the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.
By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s ability to self-correct, CranioSacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.
(source: Upledger Institute)