Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, non-invasive, light touch modality that aims to promote healthy functioning of the central nervous system.

Gentle pressure, about the weight of a nickel, is used to mobilize the bones of the head and sacrum, allowing the therapist to restore blood flow, release connective tissue, and take pressure off of nerves. It stimulates the parasympathetic "rest and digest" part of your nervous system, which is where the body's natural healing ability occurs. 

Too often in our culture we are always on the go and looking forward to the next thing, never taking a moment to shift down and allow ourselves time to simply be. This pattern of constant movement keeps our sympathetic "fight or flight" response in action, regardless of what we are doing or what our bodies need. 

In addition to possible improvements with the problems listed below, there have also been clinical studies on the benefits of craniosacral therapy in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease, autism, and post-traumatic stress disorder. If you consider the huge job the central nervous system has, the benefits of helping it are not only numerous but can be profound.

Our body has an amazing ability to heal- often we ignore this, even though cuts, bruises, and broken bones tell us otherwise! 

In addition to possible improvements with the problems listed below, there have also been clinical studies on the benefits of craniosacral therapy in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease, autism, and post-traumatic stress disorder. If you consider the huge job the central nervous system has, the benefits of helping it are not only numerous but can be profound.

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Why craniosacral therapy?

 

Calm an overactive sympathetic nervous system, symptoms include:

  • Anxiety, inability to relax

  • Digestion issues- constipation, diarrhea, stomach aches, nausea

  • Rapid pulse/breathing, high blood pressure, low blood pressure

  • Sleep disturbances, fatigue, brain fog

  • Increased muscle tension

  • Decreased immune system or autoimmune disorders

  • Hormone imbalances

Other reasons to try this therapy: 

  • Headaches

  • Chronic pain

  • Concussion/TBI

  • Fibromyalgia/other connective tissue dysfunction

  • TMJ syndrome

  • Sensory integration difficulty

 

 

Our body has an amazing ability to heal- often we ignore this, even though cuts, bruises, and broken bones tell us otherwise! 


The science behind Craniosacral Therapy

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The anatomy of the system itself includes the bones of the skull, the membrane system that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, and the sacrum. Most of us are familiar with the skull itself. The sacrum is the triangle shaped bone in between the hips at the base of the spine- the tip of which is your tailbone. The meninges themselves encase the entire brain, help separate the individual lobes and provide space for blood and fluid exchange, bring nutrients to the neural tissue and help take away toxins and debris to keep everything healthy. These membranes not only keep the brain healthy, they also extend through the base of the skull to surround the entire spinal cord and ultimately end at the tailbone. When healthy, there is free circulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to bathe the central nervous system and keep it healthy and functioning properly.

Dysfunction within this system can occur from blows to the body (especially the head or face), repetitive movement or holding patterns, inflammation from illness or diet, and even the pressure and interventions from the birthing process. Most of us have been taught that the skull is completely immobile after our toddler years, but this is untrue. The sutures between the bones of the skull allow tiny movements to occur, and these movements are what allow free circulation of CSF to occur. This circulation has a quiet rhythm to it as the fluid pressure first increases, then decreases.

A therapist performing these techniques can free up restrictions within a suture, very similar to why a chiropractor would adjust a stuck joint. After the joint itself has been mobilized, the therapist can use the bones as levers to manipulate and stretch the membranes themselves, directly affecting the nervous tissue. For someone who is experiencing symptoms from scar tissue from a concussion, or for someone who is having physical problems due to an overactive sympathetic response, working directly with these structures can yield profound results. 

Craniosacral therapy provides one more avenue of healing, and carries almost zero risk. At the very best it can help solve chronic, debilitating problems and at the very least can provide some well needed relaxation.


What are glial cells and why work directly with them?

Through the Upledger Institute, I have been lucky enough to learn how to interface and work directly with the glial network in the body. These techniques have been the most profound approaches I have in treating concussion and trauma.

Two types of cells make up the central nervous system, neurons and glia.

Neurons form one way electrical circuits- sending, receiving, and processing information. Neurons have been traditionally thought of as what makes the brain. Glial cells do not send signals in the same electrical fashion that neurons do, but they communicate among themselves, with neurons and with the blood vessels of the brain. They are, essentially, the “other brain” which allows us to perform highly complex tasks quickly and gracefully.

Some of the things glia are responsible for include

  • providing the physical structure of the central nervous system during embryo development

  • myelinating neuron axons to help speed and timing of synaptic firing

  • providing immune response in the brain and spinal cord to protect and repair tissue

  • regulating neurotransmitters and electrolytes

  • participating in memory function

  • supplying neurons with energy

  • pruning synapses that are no longer used, enabling neuroplasticity

  • forming the blood brain barrier to filter out unwanted substances

The basis of neuropathology is glial pathology, which mean almost everything that goes wrong with the nervous system has something to do with this network. Treating it directly is essential for the healing process.