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Craniosacral Therapy Use and Effectiveness

Feeling out of balance?

Cranial sacral therapy is a gentle and relaxing way to restore balance and harmony to your body. This unique form of massage uses light touch to help release tension in the fascia and restore balance to the entire system. You will feel completely relaxed after your treatment, and you may even notice a difference in how you feel overall. Schedule a session today and start feeling better soon.

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) – the definition

Craniosacral therapy is a gentle technique that uses hands to feel the movement of fluids in and around the brain and spinal cord. This therapy can relieve pain and make you feel better by removing tension.

In 1970, Craniosacral Therapy (CST), was created from a form of cranial osteopathy. It is the process of manipulating the bones and tissues of your skull to help improve health issues. It helps relieves tension with a gentle and light touch to manipulate the joints in the cranium or skull, parts of the pelvis, and the spine to treat disease. CST relieves symptoms including neck pain, headaches, and other side effects from various health conditions.

Women lying down having neck massage

The focus of cranial sacral therapy is a gentle placement of hands to assist the release of the body’s connective tissue, or “fascia.”

Fascia (Latin word for “band”) is a covering found throughout the body or craniosacral system including organs, muscles, nerves, glands, blood vessels, brain, and spinal cord. This covering forms a body-wide connective network through palpation of a cranial rhythmic impulse (CRI) a fundamental clinical skill used in diagnosis and treatment methods.

CST is based on the idea that the body is interrelated at all levels. The treatment session begins with a consultation with your trained therapist to identify troubled areas. 

Craniosacral rhythm is a rhythmic impulse that is the palpable perception of entrainment, a harmonic frequency that incorporates the rhythms of multiple biological oscillators, known as a subtle two-phase movement happening throughout the body.

It examines membranes and the movement of fluids in and around the central nervous system. Promote well-being, health, and relaxation by eliminating pain and help to shift the body out of a fight or flight state.

CST is carried out by chiropractors or massage therapists. This approach promotes fluid flow within or near the nervous system to enhance a healthy body. It controls all of your physiological and mental activities. In this context, alterations can cause pain.

What happens during a session?

“There is no need for a client to tell you verbally what is wrong.”, this is according to Dr. Upledger. One of the best practices in helping heal the body is to remain open to the body’s language.

At our spa, your session will begin with a series of questions to identify your situation. We will ask you about your symptoms and any pre-existing conditions that you might have. After the quick orientation, we will ask you to lie on your back on a massage table.

You will generally remain fully clothed during the treatment, so wear comfortable clothing to your appointment. Our staff may use tissue-release methods while supporting one of your limbs. Each session may address one concern or only involves palpating only the cranial bones.

man facing down having neck massage

Our staff may begin at your head, feet, or the middle of your body. Using five grams of pressure (about the weight of a nickel), the therapist will gently hold your feet, head, or sacrum to listen to their subtle rhythms. We may gently press or reposition you to normalize the flow of the cerebrospinal fluids.

During the treatment, some people experience different sensations, these may include:

  • falling asleep
  • sensing pulsations
  • recalling memories or seeing colors
  • feeling deep relaxation
  • feeling “pins and needles” (numbing) sensation
  • having a hot or cold sensation

What does your therapist do?

We patiently wait and listen on how your body feels.

Our therapist’s hands become aware of places along the column where energy is stuck or heated. The bones of the sacrum and cranium will then be used as “handles” to manipulate the deeper layers of fluid and membranes.

Healing occurs via the corrective mechanism known as the still point, the spontaneous quiet between waves. Typically, you have one every three to four minutes, from five to sixty seconds. It is a natural pause in the rhythm. Synchronizing the wave still points is like sighs. No instrument or device is used. 

Every session, you are expected to be more sensitive, they’re like moments of deep relaxation in which you let go and return to yourself. You may feel a quieting down, sinking in, and deeper awareness. The whole idea is that the practitioner works with such gentleness and subtleness that the body itself can do the healing and necessary adjustments.

CranioSacral Therapy – the developer

Dr. John E. Upledger (1932-2012) was a doctor of osteopathy and the developer of Craniosacral therapy (CST). He was the founder and director of the Upledger Institute. He developed CranioSacral Therapy for harmonizing the system, which has become one of the leading alternative medicine procedures in the medical world.

His legacy is an open mind and heart to the validity of non-traditional medical approaches. He is the author of numerous books published in multiple languages such as Czech, Dutch, English, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Some of his works are:

  • Your Inner Physician and You: Craniosacral Therapy and Somato Emotional Release
  • CranioSacral Therapy
  • Craniosacral Therapy II: Beyond the Dura
  • Somato Emotional Release and Beyond
  • A Brain is Born
  • CranioSacral Therapy: Touchstone for Natural Healing
  • Working Wonder: Changing Lives with CranioSacral Therapy

CranialSacral Therapy – the use

human nervous system -black

How CranioSacral Therapy works with the Central Nervous System

A well-nourished central nervous system (CNS) will function optimally, having all its structures in balance and order. 

An unbalanced central nervous system, however, increases the chance of developing pain and illness.

CranioSacral Therapy helps release restrictions in movement, relieve pain, and provide lasting relief from emotional distress to improve the overall quality of life. This gentle yet profound treatment addresses the CNS affecting the rest of the body’s systems, soft tissues, and the body’s energy fields.

By freeing the central nervous system of strenuous activity you help it perform at its best. 

CranioSacral Therapyreleases stress and fatigue from deep tensions allowing the entire body to relax and self-correct. It naturally strengthens your immune system, eliminates pain and stresses, and enhances your health and overall well-being.

human brain sketch

CranioSacral Therapy Therapeutic to the Brain

The low amplitude of the CranioSacral Rhythm indicates a low level of vitality within the patient. That is, the patient’s resistance is low and hence the disease susceptibility is high. Valuable information is gained very quickly by palpating CranioSacral motion for rate, amplitude, symmetry, and quality.

Experienced therapists can palpate or detect the CranioSacral motion anywhere on a patient’s body. 

Experienced therapists can easily palpate by the hands are the bones of the skull, sacrum, and coccyx because they attach to the membranes which enclose the cerebrospinal fluid. The cerebrospinal fluid is filtered out of the blood in a dynamic feedback loop. The system then acts like any semi-closed hydraulic system with pressures building as the number of fluids increases, forcing the fluid to move up and down the spinal cord. When the fluid moves the membranes containing the fluid move, normally at a rate of six to twelve cycles per minute.

All of the other bones of the spine and pelvis are used in CranioSacral Therapy, but because of their less direct effect upon the hydraulic system, more expertise on the part of the therapist is required for their effective use.

How useful is CranioSacral Therapy?

CranioSacral Therapy help relieve pain, release restrictions in movement, and provide lasting relief from emotional distress to improve the overall quality of life. 

sticky notes - uncover the benefits

This gentle yet profound treatment addresses the central nervous system. It helps relieve a full spectrum of pain, illness, and dysfunction, including:

  • ADD/ADHD
  • Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Chronic Back Pain
  • Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Neck Pain
  • Central Nervous System Disorders
  • Concussions
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Migraines and Headaches
  • Motor-Coordination Impairments
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Orthopedic Problems
  • Stress and Tension Related Disorders
  • TMJ Syndrome
  • and many other conditions

Cranial Osteopathy or CranioSacral Therapy improves your body’s ability to take better care of you.

People do not believe that not being able to walk is the most devastating consequence of spine injury. Some even consider the loss of bowel, bladder control, and sexual function to have a greater impact on the quality of life and independence. Complementary therapies such as CST are the best approach to easily feel better and more comfortable.

Brain and Spinal Cord Injury vs. CranioSacral Therapy Work

Dr. Upledger said: “It is like a copper wire after being hit with a hammer; it won’t conduct as well”. He mentioned that initial trauma results in edema. A burst of cerebrospinal fluid results in tissue separation that heals with fibrous scarring. He strongly believes moving fluids would be beneficial in treating patients within the first month. Unfortunately, under the current standards of medical care, access to craniosacral therapy would be unlikely.

By freeing the central nervous system to perform at its best.

An injury is defined as complete or incomplete, depending upon the amount of remaining movement and sensation below the level of the injury. In one presentation, Dr. Upledger presented the story of Jackie, an incomplete quadriplegic after a 1990 car accident. He has been treated multiple times and emphatically states that they have helped me more than anyone. Jackie now walks without the full leg brace previously needed. He is a man who likes to “work hard and play hard,” and his improved trunk muscles, critical for balance, allow him to use a three-wheel motorcycle once again. He remembers distinctly when he first regained some feeling in his left hip: “The tingle felt like the sensation when you try to move a leg that has gone to sleep.”

Our spinal cord contains nerves that carry messages from your brain to all parts of the body. The level of the injury on the spinal cord determines the degree of paralysis. For example, an injury to the spine in the neck region may cause paralysis in both arms and legs, which is known as quadriplegia. In contrast, an injury further down the cord may result in paraplegia in which only the legs and lower parts of the body are affected. 

CST releases deep tensions to allow the entire body to relax and self-correct. It naturally eliminates pain and stress, strengthens your immune system, and enhances your health and well-being.

Common problems include spasticity, pressure sores, chronic pain, and muscle contractures or tightness that limit movement or range of motion. These problems are aggravated by the individual’s inability to feel the various sensory signals that most able-bodied individuals take for granted. For example, although most of us are constantly moving our bodies without thinking about it, such movement requires a conscious effort for an individual with paralysis.

CranialSacral Therapy – the effectiveness

CranialSacral Therapy is more than just a head rub

Like other bodywork work, you would need to stay relaxed in a comfortable position except that you are fully clothed during these sessions. Remember that CST is a non-invasive approach and works by observing cranial rhythmic impulses and waves through your body.

The therapist will then use gentle pressure techniques to assess the existence of possible disruptions and/or restrictions in your fascial system. Light touch and fascial release may help your muscles and organs naturally relieve stress, which improves function that makes it an effective treatment. Other patients often report feeling a sense of deep relaxation and restful sleep.

Craniosacral therapy is believed to improve the efficiency of biological processes through boosting inherent self-correction, self-regulation, and self-healing. This can correspondingly be incorporated with other methods – including stretching or massage through simultaneous palpation. The duration of the treatment ranges from 30 to 90 minutes. The well-trained therapist begins the craniosacral therapy with an application of 5 grams of touch to the skull and sacrum. Click here to know more of our Spa Massage Services.

Vast research show improvement in physical health and clinical effectiveness is accompanied by a change in mental health, and it is equally documented that the reverse is apparent. Healthcare practitioners and healthcare professionals approve of the use of this therapy with children and adults.

Side-effects and risks

You can feel mild discomfort, which is the most common side effect of CST but it is often temporary and will fade within 24 hours.

People with these cases should not consider CST, people who have:

  • a diagnosed aneurysm
  • a history of recent traumatic head injuries, which may include cranial bleeding or skull fractures
  • severe bleeding disorders

You don’t have to worry if it’s your first time, we’d make sure you enjoy your stay at our spa. While resting, you could also enjoy a massage therapy of your choice to experience more satisfying therapeutic effects.

The CranioSacral system works with the cranium, spine, and triangular bone

The brain and spinal cord are the two major components of the central nervous system (CNS) that require a carefully controlled physiological environment to develop and function efficiently and effectively. 

The craniosacral system is responsible for providing this environment.

The craniosacral system is a physiological system that meets the criteria for classification as semi-closed and hydraulic. It has a watertight boundary supplied by the external layer of the meninges. This external layer is known as the dura mater or dural membrane. The craniosacral system’s controlled fluid inflow is provided mainly by the choroid plexuses, with controlled outflow provided largely by the arachnoid granulation system. 

The fluid within the craniosacral system is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which is extracted from the blood by the choroid plexuses and returned to the blood by the arachnoid granulation system. The extraction and resorption of CSF are accomplished largely through osmotic pressures and specialized active transport mechanisms. Click here to know more.

Why is everyone skeptical to accept CranialSacral Therapy? 

Like in most complementary therapies, when it’s a relatively new concept, people tend to stay neutral about it. In general, they would want to know more about the long-term effects, its clinical practice, what’s behind its medical science, and systematic review, as well as see more randomized controlled trials and results before they give it any support.

But as what we often suggest to our clients, you won’t know how it works until you try it yourself. Plus, you don’t have to worry about a thing, you’re on your Safe Haven – we’re you’re family.

CranialSacral Therapy is a must-have experience!

Ideally, the cerebrospinal fluid should have a consistent pattern of a movement known as Dura Mater. A thick membrane made of dense irregular connective tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Once a craniosacral rhythm’s assessed and cranial rhythmic impulses are identified, the craniosacral therapists will then address any disruptions found in the circulation. 

When the membranes and fluids flow with a constant rhythm, the brain and spinal cord are lubricated with cerebrospinal fluid. The dural tube delivers nutrients to the central nervous system and circulates hormones, neurotransmitters, and immune cells. A well-nourished central nervous system with all of its structures will balance functions optimally. 

An unbalanced central nervous system increases the chance of developing pain and illness.

While conventional doctors and some practitioners are skeptical of the method, there are lots of proof that it works. Three to five sessions often show astonishing results.

Dr. Upledger states that “craniosacral work is most often a complement to other forms of treatment – not an alternative.” It is more of a preventive than a cure for serious illnesses. Its effectiveness depends on the cause of a complaint, the accessibility of the underlying cause, and what related contributing factors are present. 

Where can I find a CranialSacral Therapy Practitioner in Springville Utah?

SafeHaven - Treatment Room

When choosing a craniosacral therapist, it is important to get references, but ultimately it’s all up to you to find the right person who “feels right”.

Visit us at 385 S 400 E, Springville, UT 84663 or call (801) 853-8500 to book an appointment.

There are several online directories for trained craniosacral therapy associations in the U.S. and abroad, including the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners and the database of Registered Craniosacral Therapy Practitioners from The Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America.

Is CranialSacral Therapy covered?

Craniosacral therapy may or may not be covered under insurance. Providers typically need to be licensed in a particular specialty (for example, massage therapy, chiropractic, or physical therapy) for insurance overage.

At some point, Craniosacral therapy is reimbursed under employee flexible healthcare accounts, but it is important to contact employers or benefits offices to make sure. 

Can CranioSacral Therapy go with other alternative therapies?

Craniosacral therapy is an alternative treatment typically used by osteopaths, chiropractors, and massage therapists that goes well with alternative and complementary therapies.

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