Introduction to Craniosacral Therapy
Craniosacral therapy is an exceptionally gentle yet powerful form of treatment. It is increasingly becoming recognised for the depth of its influence, the comprehensive and broad range of its therapeutic effects and its ability to resolve issues that are not helped by other means.
Craniosacral treatment is a profound healing process which can release deeply held patterns of pain and disease which accumulate throughout life as a result of injury and illness. Unless addressed, these can become held in the body tissues, leading to ill-health, pain and dysfunction.
Craniosacral work has traditionally focused on the 22 bones that make up the human head, the vertebra and sacrum, the brain and central nervous system, the cerebrospinal fluid and complex system of membranes inside the cranium and spinal column. Craniosacral therapists often focus upon optimizing the position, free movement and fluid dynamics of these parts of the craniosacral system and bringing the patient's system into a deep and therapeutic state of stillness where deep-held tensions and patterns of ill-health may be released and resolved.
The guiding principle of treatment is to establish a strong underlying vitality and free flow of mobility in vital structures of the body, by working with an awareness of the natural cycles and rhythms of health that move through every one of us. Treatment thus essentially takes place on multiple levels. At one level, it integrates and supports the inherent vitality, enabling the body's natural capacity for healing and self-repair to overcome disease and disturbance. At another level, the practitioner works to gently identify and address tensions, structural imbalance and restriction in the patient's system, allowing symptoms, conditions and their underlying causes to be resolved.
It is this synthesis of two symbiotic approaches to health and healing that gives Cranial work its significance and the broadness of its therapeutic scope. It does not merely identify and address what is 'out of balance' in the body. Its fundamental approach is centred on identifying with and honouring what is 'in balance', working with the natural self-regulating forces of health in the body that are always available, whilst also being able to identify and encourage the release and resolution of specific areas that are, for whatever reason, be it trauma, illness, injury, or general stress, unable to find resolution by themselves. Describing the work of Dr Still, whose osteopathic system of treatment gave birth to Craniosacral Therapy, an anonymous author wrote that that, 'Nature heals', but practically none [in western medicine] before Dr Still had ever learned to work with Nature and never against her in the healing art.' (Lewis, 2012)
With its gentle yet powerful mode of application, cranial work can be of benefit to most people, including very young babies and those in a fragile state and can help in most conditions, from minor aches and pains to more severe and persistent chronic health issues.