What is CranioSacral Therapy?
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I've found a great video that clearly and concicely describes cranio much better than I have in the past (plus you get to see some of what's involved in a session).
There isn't an easy way to describe a CranioSacral session – everyone can have different experiences, and they're all valid. Overall, a deep, calm relaxation is typical; beyond that there may be a perception of lights or colors, warmth under the therapist's hands, a tingling or pulsing – either under the hands or at remote locations, a twitch or itch somewhere, or there may not be any immediate perception by the client. A person who is really "in tune" to their body's rhythms and functions may have a greater sensation of the effects during the session.
CranioSacral Therapy is a very gentle process that allows the body's own healing apparatus to return to its optimal health. A CranioSacral session isn't like a typical massage where the therapist brings results by rubbing, kneading or pressure. In CranioSacral Therapy (also known as CST), the therapist uses a very light touch to sense the rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid at various locations on the body, then uses the same light pressure to ease areas of constriction and allow the fluid to flow more freely. As the fluid is allowed to move without restriction throughout the body, it brings relaxation, greater balance of body and mind, and restoration of well-being. There are very few restrictions to who can receive CST; the very young, very old, clients with hypertension or other conditions that may be contraindicated for regular massage can all have CST performed. There are also very few negative side-effects to CranioSacral Therapy – a possible short-term headache or a discomfort in an area of a particularly stubborn restriction. If there are any side-effects they will usually dissipate within a few hours.
For the greatest effects of CranioSacral Therapy, it's best to have at least 2-3 sessions. The restrictions didn't just crop up in your body in an hour, and removing them isn't going to take an hour, either. The primary session is like a "preliminary" check of the body - testing the restrictions, seeing how readily the body responds to the therapist's touch, and overall balancing and freeing some of the "levers" that are used in other sessions. You will probably notice gradual changes after/between sessions - or if you're very sensitive to your body - during the session. Much like a doctor wouldn't send you to a physical therapist for just one visit, you shouldn't expect dramatic changes from just one Cranio visit.
Do I have to get undressed to have a CarnioSacral Therapy session?
No. During a CranioSacral session you remain fully-clothed, either lying on your back or reclining. It is recommended that you wear loose, comfortable clothing like shorts or sweatpants rather than jeans.
How long does a CST session last?
It depends... Typically sessions are between 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes. How the therapist perceives the effectiveness of the session and how the client's body responds dictates the pace.
How many sessions will I need to help fix my _______ ?
It depends... Since Cranio doesn't "push" the body into healing, but rather facilitates the body's own healing the pace is dependent on the body's desire or ability to heal. Some issues may be more "stuck" into the body and take more work to release, sometimes healing can be like peeling an onion: as one layer of issues eases, another presents itself.
It's recommended to have at least three sessions to see effects on a particular issue. There is no maximum, but if things don't seem to be having a desired effect then maybe different approach or referral is needed.
What can CST help with?
The list of problem areas that CST can aid is huge. Because CranioSacral enhances the body's own natural healing and normalization there isn't a narrow range of issues that can be helped by it. A short list would be: Tempo-mandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ), ADD/ADHD, Fibromyalgia, Headaches, Arthritis, PTSD, head and spinal cord injuries, and motor-coordination impairment. More information about CraniSacral can be found at the Upledger Institute website.