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What is CranioSacral Therapy?

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a light touch, hands on therapy. This very gentle therapy focuses on bringing the body back in balance, by working with the craniosacral system.

The Craniosacral system is a relatively newly acknowledged system, along the lines of the cardiovascular or digestive system. This system is comprised of a tough membrane called the Dura Mater that lines and compartmentalises the skull and also lines the spinal column, and the more delicate membranes called the arachnoid membrane and the Pia Mater. The craniosacral system also helps and protects the nervous system, involving the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. It also works with the connective tissue called fascia, which are continuous soft tissue layers throughout the whole body. Fascia envelopes every organ, muscle and bone and can affect and transmit tension throughout the whole body.

The Craniosacral system includes the body parts, such as the skull bones, the bones of the face and mouth and the vertebrae of the spine.

The fluid that bathes this system is called cerebral spinal fluid. This is what is responsible for maintaining the physiological environment in which the brain and nervous system develop and function.

The system it affects extends like a roadmap from the skull all the way down the spine to the sacrum (tailbone).

Typically, the production and reabsorption of cerebral spinal fluid acts like a continuous rhythmical pump and generally, homeostatic mechanisms in the body allow and compensate for self-correction, and self-balance.

When the body is unable to compensate for these pressure changes, dys-function may occur, especially within the central nervous system. The Craniosacral system is also closely related to and influences the musculoskeletal system, the vascular system ,the lymphatic system, the endocrine system (relating to hormones), and the respiratory system.

Everything within our body is designed to work together, and flow harmoniously. Normally this all happens without us being aware of such functions as heartbeat, muscle contractions with movement , breathing , digestion and so on. We become aware when something doesn’t feel right, like the back pain, the tummy ache, the sore elbow. The list is potentially endless!

The tension pattern has two ends. For example, even demonstrating the effect of “pull” using a shirt you are wearing, it is possible to see clearly how it doesn’t sit right when an area is pulled in one direction. This is similar to the effect a restriction may have in the body, with say, the fascia (connective tissue throughout the body ), where one problem may transmit effect somewhere else in the body. Both Craniosacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulation are able to work very efficiently here to restore harmony within the body.

Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle way of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of every system in the body in a holistic way, aimed at assisting the client to employ their own healing capacities. Structure and function are interrelated, as one area of the body may be compromised, so another area may be affected. CST aims to bring back balance to form and function.

CST involves gentle manipulations as the therapist “listens” to the quality of the craniosacral rhythm. The pressure used is extremely light and may be applied anywhere on the body. The very essence of the gentle technique allows it to be applied to all ages from infants through to children and adults of all ages.

All that happens throughout life is stored in the body. Sometimes old or chronic injuries may manifest as a problem years after they happened .Stress, dysfunction or disease may appear as a result of the body adapting to unresolved restrictions. Trauma, both of an emotional and physical nature, stored in the body, may be gently released with appropriate Craniosacral Therapy. This is often related to as somato emotional release (SER).

CST has its roots in the nineteenth century, originating from osteopathy, further developed in the 1930's and then really advanced by Dr John Upledger in recent years.

Dr John Upledger has taken, developed and taught many of the original techniques and the Upledger Institute has to date trained thousands of therapists in this wonderful therapy.

There are now many schools that are recognised to teach CranioSacral Therapy.

I have trained and qualified with the Upledger School.
Craniosacral Therapy….subtle techniques to facilitate profound change.

CranioSacral Therapy………what sort of things may it be helpful for?
The list here is quite extensive but here is an overview of conditions which may be treated:

  • acute and chronic pain.
  • trauma related injury, such as whiplash, sports injuries, a painful fall.
  • chronic neck and back pain
  • head, neck, shoulder pain
  • digestive disorders
  • pelvic problems
  • women’s and men’s health issues
  • hormonal imbalances
  • neurological issues, such as stroke (when stable), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s
  • Infertility
  • bladder and bowel problems
  • post-surgical pain
  • sinus infections
  • ear infections
  • chest and respiratory problems
  • Immune weakness issues, e.g. chronic fatigue, M.E.
  • stress related issues
  • headaches
  • jaw disorders
  • teeth grinding
  • TMJ dysfunction
  • babies and children...a little more information to follow…

  • CranioSacral Therapy…Pregnancy, Babies and Children

    Pregnancy. a huge and wonderful challenge for both mother, and father! and baby.

    Nature has an amazing way of creating space and optimum environment within the mother to nurture the developing baby before the birth. Pregnancy itself can also provide its own challenges for both mother and baby, and often a healthy pregnancy leads to a safe birth for both

    During pregnancy, many women suffer with aches and pains as the foetus grows, all normal when you consider the huge changes happening as this little one grows. Craniosacral therapy may certainly help throughout pregnancy and preparation for birth. Worth considering that this treatment is not just for babies!

    Conditions such as rib pain, lower back pain, pubis symphesis pain, sciatica, and general discomfort may all be helped with craniosacral therapy.

    Sometimes nature gets a little overwhelmed, and some births may not be so straightforward. Complications during labour and the safety of both mother and baby, may necessitate intervention and help. Such assistance of forceps or ventouse (suction) may not be ideal but happen when necessary. Emergency caesarean section, again when necessary all for the good and health of both mother and child.

    These traumas can affect both mum and baby. Craniosacral therapy is a wonderful and gentle way to rebalance and alleviate restrictions in the system of the new born infant and the physical and emotional wellbeing of the mother, dads too…!

    Conditions that may be suitable for craniosacral therapy for the new born baby:

    Misshapen head, plagiocephaly, brachycephaly, or as a result of birth intervention
  • Torticollis (neck )
  • Feeding and latching on difficulties.
  • Sucking reflex
  • Colic
  • cranio-8-2
  • Unsettled, fretful
  • Constipation
  • Poor sleep
  • Difficult birth
  • Teething
  • Excessive wind

  • Craniosacral Therapy is also beneficial for the developing child:

    Ear infections
  • Allergies
  • Sinus infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Speech difficulties
  • Learning difficulties
  • Coordination problems
  • Digestion
  • Teething.
  • Autistic spectrum conditions
  • Behavioural problems.
  • Sleep problems.
  • The list again is very long. The human form is very well equipped to take this subtle help and use it in its own unique way to the best advantage.

    Craniosacral Therapy, Visceral Manipulation, Lymph Drainage, Neural Manipulation (relating to nerves and pain), Massage and Reflexology are all tools to help facilitate healing. They encourage and support each other. I often incorporate many of these “tools” in every session.

    I am registered with the Irish Association of Craniosacral Therapists, and also qualified to work with ladies during pregnancy, new-borns and children under 16.

    Health is Wealth… It’s in our Hands to make a Difference.