Craniosacral Therapy is an alternative healing therapy where the healing of the body and mind is generated by the body itself. CranioSacral therapy is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of the physiological body system called the craniosacral system. Most people know about the body’s two main rhythms; the cardiac rhythm (heartbeat) and the respiratory rhythm (breathing). Yet there is a lesser known but equally important third rhythm known as the craniosacral rhythm. This rhythm is caused by the increase and decrease in the volume of cerebrospinal fluid within and around the craniosacral system. This subtle rhythm ranges from six to ten cycles per minute, and is for the most part unaffected by the heart and respiratory rhythms. Cranio refers to the cranium, or head, and sacral refers to the base of the spine and tailbone. The craniosacral system is comprised of the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system); the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord; and the bones of the spine and skull that houses these membranes.
More than 100 years ago, William Sutherland, an osteopathic physician, recognized a connection between the rhythmic movement of the fluid and membranes around the brain and spinal cord with health and well-being.
Today, craniosacral therapy is used to relieve a wide range of physical and psychological problems, including headaches, chronic pain, scoliosis, learning disabilities, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, TMJ, anxiety and depression. Restrictions that result from injury, inflexibility of the joints of the spine and cranium, or from dysfunctions in other parts of the body, can all cause abnormal motion in the craniosacral system. The abnormal motion leads to stresses in the cranial mechanism which can contribute to dysfunction and poor health, especially in the brain and spinal cord. The purpose of craniosacral therapy is to restore and enhance the proper functioning of this important system.
The craniosacral therapist may use one of two approaches: biomechanical or biodynamic. Each approach produces changes to the body and mind, yet they are different from one another.
The biomechanical approach, craniosacral therapy (CST), adds the methods of another osteopathic doctor, Dr. John Upledger, correcting imbalances in the client’s system using gentle hand pressure. The craniosacral therapist is trained to feel the motion of the craniosacral system to determine any restriction or dysfunction in the craniosacral system. Using a soft touch, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.
The biodynamic approach, biodynamic craniosacral therapy, involves two slower, distinct fluid rhythms throughout the body. Sutherland recognized that patients became ill when the rhythmic movement of life was out of balance and discovered that by helping his patients to reestablish their own balanced rhythm, the regenerative powers of the life force were able to heal and keep them healthy. Healing comes from within the client, rather than from the practitioner.
To find a practitioner in your area, check the Biodynamic and Upledger websites below:
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