Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a bodywork technique that concentrates on the craniosacral & fascial systems in the body. CST is a gentle, non-forceful, non-invasive, and hands-on physical medicine treatment. The differences between CST & other physical medicine therapies are:
- Compared to Chiropractic, there is never any physical force to move bones or body structures with CST.
- Compared to Massage, CST only uses very light touch or physical pressure that is usually done with patients fully clothed.
- Compared to Physical Therapy, CST does not exercise or focus on muscles or other body structures.
- Compared to Reiki, CST involves physical touch and works directly on the craniosacral & fascial systems.
The Craniosacral and Fascial Systems
The Craniosacral system is composed of 2 parts: a sheath-like membrane running throughout your spinal column, into the skull, that attaches to the sacrum & coccyx, and the cerebrospinal fluid within this membrane. This system envelopes, protects & nourishes your brain and spinal system, helping to supply hormones, neurotransmitters and immune cells.
The Fascial system is a network of connective tissue linking all parts of the body. It is a vast network with multiple layers. It surrounds your internal organs as well as your skeletal muscles, bones, and nerve fibers and connects to the craniosacral system. The fascia is really a single, unique system that physically connects every part of the body. Like in a spider’s web, the smallest change in one spot of the fascial network will be felt throughout the rest of the system. This in turn, has affects on all parts of the body, even down to the cellular level.
The Cranial Rhythm
The cranial rhythm is like the heartbeat of the Craniosacral system and moves throughout the body via the Fascial system. The cranial rhythm is created by circulating and reabsorbing cerebrospinal fluid. Because the Fascial system carries the cranial rhythm throughout the body, the rhythm can be monitored by light touch from almost any part of the body. When there is dysfunction in the body, this becomes evident through the cranial rhythm.
Dysfunction in the System
Many things can cause dysfunction in the craniosacral and fascial systems. Injuries, stress, strains, sprains, fevers, chemicals, hormones, and chronic dehydration are a few things that can affect these systems. For example, when fascia thickens because of an injury, it loses its flexibility, which can cause pain or affect normal body function. This in turn, can affect the cerebrospinal fluid and flow of the cranial rhythm, resulting in pressure building up and more dysfunction following.
During a CST session, balance, symmetry and movement is monitored through the cranial rhythm. Places that are imbalanced, unsymmetrical, or lack movement are focused on with light touch. By following the cranial rhythm it is possible to assist the body’s natural ability to clear these blockages and return to homeostasis.
The body is wise and complex, right down to its very cells. By removing restrictions, CST supports the body’s vital energy necessary to fully recover on its own from injuries or dysfunctions.