I wanted to write a little more about CranioSacral Therapy (CST) – like a short lesson in school!
How does CranioSacral Therapy work?
CranioSacral Therapy works by helping the body’s natural healing mechanisms (that inner health I wrote about last time) dissipate the negative effects of stress on the central nervous system. This is accomplished by utilizing a physiological body system called the craniosacral system, which maintains the environment in which the central nervous system functions.
The craniosacral system consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, extending from the cranium (head) down to the tailbone area (or sacrum). The role of this system in the development and performance of the brain and spinal cord is so vital that an imbalance or dysfunction in it can cause sensory, motor and/or neurological disabilities. For example, if the bite is out of balance, the whole head is out of balance, and often the whole body.
How can something so gentle be so powerful?
The craniosacral system has a rhythm that can be felt throughout the body, just like the pulse. I use a very light touch to monitor this rhythm from head to feet to pinpoint the source of an obstruction or stress. I can then encourage the natural movement of the fluid and soft tissues to help the body self-correct. This simple action is often all it takes to remove a restriction! Sometimes, like peeling layers of an onion, once some restrictions have released and balanced, others may show themselves and need attention.
What dis-ease can CranioSacral Therapy help?
Because of its influence on the functioning of the central nervous system, CranioSacral Therapy can benefit the body in a number of ways — from bolstering overall health and resistance to disease to alleviating a wide range of specific medical conditions.
Because of my own experience with jaw problems – which caused severe pain and restricted mobility in my shoulders and right arm, and constant lower backaches as my sacrum would get jammed – I tend to draw a lot of clients with jaw issues. I treated an infant today whom I saw the first time at about 3 months old. At that time, he could not get a good latch on his mother’s breast to nurse successfully, and was constantly fussy. That one treatment allowed him to nurse wonderfully well (he’s quite a healthy, chubby boy now!) and return to being a happy baby.
I often see people who are suffering chronic symptoms that haven’t been aided by other approaches. As I wrote in the blog about fibromyalgia, I believe there are many disorders that can be attributed to very poor development of the jaw. And along with too narrow, too far back (retrusive) jaws there can often be depression. There is a combination of compressed cranial bones and sacrum that is referred to as the triad of compression-depression. And sometimes anger.
Another area of great effectiveness is with stress-related dysfunctions. Insomnia, fatigue, headaches, poor digestion, anxiety and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction are a few examples. I think TMJ is exacerbated by stress, and also can itself cause stress!
One final note for today: I find myself encouraging most people I work with to drink more water. A book that came out some years ago, “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water” by F. Batmanghelidi, has an excellent prescription: In normal daily life, drink half your body’s weight in ounces of water! If you’re exercising hard, you’ll need more. So a 120 lb. woman would need a minimum of 60 oz. of water; a 200 lb. man will need 100 oz. Sodas, fruit juice, teas or coffee don’t count – pure water! And if you’re in an area that adds toxic fluoride to the drinking water, make an effort to find filters that remove the fluoride too.