Everything you’ll ever need to know is within you; the secrets of the universe are imprinted on the cells of your body.
Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle and yet incredibly deep and powerful form of bodywork that works with the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. Craniosacral Therapy can be of benefit with a wide range of health issues, including:
- structural issues of pain and tension
- head injuries
- balancing the autonomic nervous system to release stress and anxiety
- recovery from trauma and emotional issues
- personal and spiritual growth
During a session I gently hold areas of your body and listen through my hands as your body tells its story. The body speaks through its rhythms, micro-movements and through patterns held from past experiences. I facilitate the release of held patterns and a return to fuller functioning. Many people experience profound relaxation and touch places deep inside themselves that they have not connected with before. Healing can take place on the physical, emotional or mental or spiritual levels.
Craniosacral Therapy is also highly effective with babies and children.
Benefits of Craniosacral Therapy
Working with the craniosacral rhythm tends to help regulate different systems within our body. That is why it has such a wide variety of applications:
- Physical – addressing issues of structural imbalance, physical pain, chronic tension, injuries to bones, connective tissue, muscles or organs, recovery from surgery, head injuries
- Emotional – helping to regulate and settle intense emotional states during life transitions, as well as chronic emotional patterns
- Autonomic Nervous System – helping the nervous system discharge fight or flight energy and come into more balance – applicable to working with stress or trauma
- Personal growth and spiritual connection
Craniosacral Therapy has its roots in Osteopathy. In 1899 William G. Sutherland, DO, discovered that the bones of the skull have the ability to move and through that discovery realized that there is are subtle rhythms in the body that create internal movement all the time.
Currently there are several styles of Craniosacral Therapy that have developed during the last 40 years or so. The style that I practice is called Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, which is closest to what Dr. Sutherland practiced toward the end of his life and career, after developing the work over several decades.
More about how Craniosacral Therapy works
The Craniosacral System
The Craniosacral System includes the central nervous system ( the brain and spinal chord) and the membranes, fluids ( cerebrospinal fluid) and bones ( bones of the head and spine down to the sacrum) that surround the central nervous system. That is the core of what I work with, but since the rest of the body is connected to that core, I really work with the entire body. Often, I will spend the majority of time holding the head or the sacrum, but I might make contact with other areas, as well.
Primal Intelligence and the tide
At the heart of the work is the awareness that our body-mind systems were created by and are also maintained by a primal, vast intelligence. That intelligence guided the way we formed as an embryo and a fetus, it guided us to learn how to crawl, to walk, to talk.. It us much vaster than our thinking mind ( a baby definitely is not being grown by thoughts!) What is that – the knowing that knows how to grow a baby and how to give birth?
Ultimately we don’t really know, since we cannot explain these things with our rational minds. But we can name that there are forces at work. Those forces have an order to them and they know where to go and what to do. Those forces also work to heal our bodies.
One expression of those forces and the great intelligence that operates through us is that gentle rhythm, also called the “tide”. The tide exists in everybody and can be felt by an experienced practitioner. It feels like a slight expansion and contraction that happens all over the body, like a full-body breath that is different than the air-breath– the bones move with it, as well as the tissues and the fluids and the energetic body. It has been measured scientifically that even bones of the skull move with it.
Tuning into the tide and working with it can have wide ranging health benefits. It is a very deep and primal expression of our life-force, some of the deepest levels of organization in our body. It helps our body/mind to regulate toward balance and well-being.
Imprints from life experiences
As we encounter experiences during our life we usually collect “imprints” – layers of wounding and protection. The imprinting occurs through many circumstances, i. e. injuries, trauma (physical and emotional), surgeries, our own birth experience and any reactions to pain and challenges during our life time.
During Craniosacral Therapy I hold the recognition of the tide as I contact the layers of imprinting, so that the intelligence and knowing that the tide carries can inform the layers of imprinting. As the layers of imprinting come into contact with the primal intelligence that the tide carries, there will often be profound shifts in the physical, as well as emotional and energetic bodies. As a result there can be deep re-organization in ourselves, resulting in reduction of pain and limiting patterns and a return to greater health and well-being.
Another main principle in Craniosacral Therapy is to help the body find more space on the inside. More space will allow for more of the natural movement of the structure responding to the craniosacral rhythm. More space might be needed, for example :
- between the bones of the baby’s head after birth
- between the bones of an adult’s head, because of compression from their own birth or a head injury
- between compressed vertebrae in the spine
- within an injured joint anywhere in the body
- within an injured or inflamed part of the body
- within an organ that is inflamed or overloaded
Accessing deeper states
One of the great gifts of Craniosacral Therapy is that often clients will access layers of depth in their own being that they are not in touch with in their daily lives. I often compare the states we might experience in a session to the layers of the ocean:
- On the surface we encounter the waves that are being moved by the wind.
- When we sink further down in the ocean, the movement of the water gets much smoother and more coherent. We don’t feel the influence of the wind as much.
- The further we sink down the slower and smoother and more coherent the movement of the water gets . We are not even aware any more of the activity on the surface. We might feel underwater streams that are flowing coherently in a certain direction.
For most of us, our daily consciousness is like the surface of the water– lots of activity, our nervous system is responding to all the things we encounter in our lives.
During our session together we start to orient toward slowing down and sinking to the next layer of experience underneath the surface. Sometimes that is experienced as an incredibly deep quieting in the body, the nervous system and the mind, a profoundly deep state of rest and recharging. The deeper we sink, the more we can get in contact with the sense of the tide, which expresses more in those deeper, slower layers of our experience. And the more we can help the whole body-mind to resonate with the healing intelligence of the tide and often there is deep healing and re-organization that takes place.
Application of Trauma Resolution Therapy
Sometimes, when we start to orient toward sinking below the surface, my client might experience more what lives in that surface layer which prevents them from sinking down. Often that is activation in the nervous system, meaning the nervous system is in a fight or flight state and therefore cannot easily settle down. That is quite a common scenario. Then, we get to work with that activation and help it to discharge, which is greatly helped by the body-oriented trauma resolution, so that ultimately settling down becomes possible again. So we work wherever and however each person needs to work.
What a Craniosacral session looks like
If we focus on Craniosacral Therapy without including Massage you will remain fully clothed and will be lying on the massage table during the session. I will hold areas of your body, which might be the head or your sacrum at the bottom of your spine, but could also include other areas, such as your feet, shoulders or abdomen. I will be listening to subtle, internal movements in your body with my hands. Sometimes I will add Trauma Resolution work to the session when needed. My intention is to provide a safe and supportive space in which healing is possible.
I can also integrate Craniosacral Therapy with Massage Therapy, in which case you would undress to your level of comfort as for a regular massage and I work through the sheet.