CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a light-touch manual approach that enhances the body’s natural healing capabilities. It has been shown to be effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and loss of function. CST is useful as both a primary treatment method and combined with other traditional or complementary techniques. CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle approach that works to alleviate a range of sensory, motor or neurological disorders.
How CST Works
The CranioSacral Therapy practitioner works with the patient to help the body’s self-correcting mechanisms. Generally using about five grams of pressure (or about the weight of a nickel) the practitioner evaluates the body’s craniosacral system which plays a vital role of maintaining the environment in which the central nervous system functions. It consists of the membranes and fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord as well as the attached bones – including the skull, face and mouth, which make up the cranium, and the tailbone area, or sacrum. Since the brain and spinal cord are contained within the central nervous system, it is easy to see that the craniosacral system has powerful influence over a wide variety of bodily functions.
The CranioSacral Therapy practitioner essentially helps the body release restrictions – which it has been unable to overcome on its own – that inhibit the body’s normal, self-correcting tendencies. Rather than deciding how these changes should be made, the therapist follows cues from the body on how to proceed. When the therapist follows this gentle approach, the method is extremely safe and effective.
Benefits of CranioSacral Therapy
CST has been shown to alleviate a wide range of conditions, including traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, migraine headaches, chronic fatigue, motor-coordination impairments, chronic neck and back pain, scoliosis, central nervous system disorders, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), stress and tension-related problems, and orthopedic problems. While the focus of CST is to uncover the source of the problem, symptom relief also is achieved. The length of time and number of sessions needed is extremely variable and depends, among other factors, on the complex layers of injury and trauma that may mask the original cause of the problem as well as the body’s defense mechanisms. Due to its gentleness and effectiveness, many people include CST as a component in their personal wellness programs. They report having more energy, sleeping better and being sick less often.
Visceral Manipulation...What is it?
Visceral Manipulation involves the release of tension in the ligaments of the organs in the body. It is a gentle, but relatively deep tissue therapy with the entire emphasis on making sure that the organs move and glide freely. Frequently the cause of the lack of motion in the organs is due to severe trauma to the body (i.e. car accidents, falls, etc.).
Believe it or not, this therapy has actually been around for a number of centuries, originally developed in China and Tibet . But recently this therapy has undergone a considerable amount of research and review by a French osteopath, Dr. Jean-Pierre Barral . He currently trains practitioners in Visceral Manipulation and was featured in Time magazine as one of the next wave of alternative medicines’ new innovators.
What can I expect?
The Visceral Manipulation sessions can last anywhere from 20 – 45 minutes. We do a lot of “listening” with the hands initially. Then we will either have you sit up or lie down and use our hands to locate the ligaments of an organ that is literally restricted in motion. At this point we will then gently encourage those ligaments to release their tension and return the organ to a more balanced position.
What are the reported benefits?
Visceral manipulation is extremely relaxing. Apparently when working with the organs, the body releases a fair amount of serotonin, a feel-good/relaxing neurotransmitter.
According to Barral , "In a single day, your internal organs move 30,000 times. Your liver alone travels 600 meters." It is thought that any restrictions in this natural motion, could over time create pain and inflammation within the body.
Barral has anecdotal evidence that Visceral helps with a variety of problems, from chronic back and joint pain to indigestion, infection, incontinence, migraines and even impotence and sterility.