Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a subtle, profound body work that balances and harmonizes all levels of a human being. It is an alternative manual treatment that has its origins in osteopathy.
Craniosacral therapy describes the functional unit between “cranium” (skull) and “sacrum”. These are connected to each other via the spine. The skull and the spine are lined on the inside with membranes, which are formed from the brain and spinal cord skins. It contains the cerebrospinal fluid, which flows around the brain and spinal cord and is in a permanent rhythmic pulsation. It serves as a shock absorber for the protection of our nervous system.
The craniosacral system “CSS” maintains close relationships with the nervous, vascular and lymphatic systems, as well as the hormonal, respiratory, muscular and skeletal systems. That is, disease or dysfunction may affect the rhythmic harmony and flow of the craniosacral rhythm, but also disorders within can inevitably have serious and often damaging effects on all bodily systems.
What happens during a craniosacral therapy session?
During the treatment, which lasts about one hour, the patient lies relaxed on the massage table. The craniosacral therapist usually senses different parts of the body with gentle pressure of 2 – 20 grams, evaluates the system and thus receives information about the harmony, uniformity and quality of movement in the craniosacral rhythm. Using gentle techniques, the therapist resolves those obstacles in the system.
The goal of craniosacral therapy is the integration of body, soul and spirit and the support and determination of balance and activation of self-healing through self-correction. Furthermore it stimulates the blood circulation and relaxes the nervous system.
The best results are achieved if the initial treatments are carried out in regular intervals.
Which symptoms or disorders can it help with
The craniosacral system is closely related to all other systems in the body, and balancing or harmonising the craniosacral rhythm can always affect the whole body. For this reason, the following list is a small selection of possible applications:
- Chronic and acute pain conditions
- Spinal and joint disorders
- Disc problems
- Shock, emotional and physical traumas
- Rheumatic diseases
- Hearing and vision disorders / tinnitus
- Mental disorders
- Depression / Burnout
- Sleep disorders
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Headaches and Migraines
History of Craniosacral Therapy
When we look at the history of craniosacral therapy there are three people that need to be honoured and mentioned in order to understand the evolution of this powerful therapy.
Founder of Osteopathy
Osteopathy was founded by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still and his basic principles of osteopathy are still today the basis for understanding the work of osteopathy and craniosacral therapy.
- The body is seen as an interconnected unit
- The body has the ability to regulate itself
- Structures and functions of the tissues are in mutual relation
In 1892 he founded the American School of Osteopathy to transmit his vast knowledge. One of his most important guiding principles to his students was: “Find it, fix it and leave it alone.”
Founder of Craniosacral Osteopathy
One of his students was William Garner Sutherland who was fascinated by the anatomy of the skull with all its bones and sutures. His profound research found that pressure applied to different parts of the skull leads to certain emotional states and physical symptoms.
If not making progress with his work he would remain in a state of silence to find further impulses and answers to advance his work. His motto to his students was “Dig on” to emphasise that motivation, persistence and patience are needed when working with craniosacral osteopathy.
Founder of techniques of Craniosacral Therapy
The techniques we see today during craniosacral therapy are mostly to honour Dr. John E. Upledger. During an operation on the dura mater he experienced the craniosacral rhythm and henceforth began a serious study of the writings of Sutherland. He also produced scientific tests using laser to show the movements of the meninges of the skull.
During the years he accomplished his work by the development of the somato-emotional-release. It is a technique that helps the patient to break through and to release traumas under protected conditions.
His publications and teachings made the craniosacral therapy worldwide known and his school is the leading school for training craniosacral therapists.
If you are interested in booking a craniosacral therapy session with me in Paris you can read more about my practice here :