Peter Zealley - Craniosacral TherapistHelping you to heal in body and mind
AN INTRODUCTION TO CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY
HISTORY OF CST
Craniosacral therapy and its close relative, cranial osteopathy, are based in the original teachings of Dr Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917), the founder of osteopathy and later Dr William Garner Sutherland (1873-1954), the founder of cranial osteopathy and a pupil of Dr Still. Both of these men were American, medical doctors and osteopaths.
Dr Sutherland, an anatomist, had the insight that the joints between the skull bones (the sutures) are designed for movement. From this, he inferred that the skull must constantly, yet subtly, pulse; expand and contract. This pulsing actually allows for the known rhythmic movement of the brain and the circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Dr Sutherland had discovered ‘craniosacral motion’; also called ‘primary respiration’, or, ‘The Breath of Life’. Craniosacral motion is exhibited by all living body tissues: bones, joints, muscles, fasciae, organs and fluids and in its totality is called the ‘craniosacral system’. Craniosacral therapists work with this craniosacral system to assess and to treat their clients.
It was later, in the 1970’s, that John Upledger, an American surgeon and osteopath, first coined the term ‘craniosacral therapy’. Dr Upledger, through his teaching and writings brought craniosacral therapy into the public domain. He founded the ‘Upledger Institute’, and began training different types of healthcare professionals and interested members of the public in craniosacral therapy.
Craniosacral therapy has evolved into 2 basic (yet overlapping) models, biomechanic and biodynamic. The biomechanical model understands craniosacral motion as largely a structural phenomenon based on the inherent movement of bones, tissues and fluids. The biodynamic model understands the body as primarily a fluid system and the rhythmic movements and tides of the craniosacral system as the manifestation of wider, formative energy field forces and phenomenon intrinsic to all life and the to the human form.
CST IN PRACTICE
Craniosacral therapy is a hands-on therapy based in presence, stillness and the skilled use of touch. With training and experience a craniosacral therapist develops their sense of touch to the degree that he/she can perceive patterns of injury, stress, trauma and grief held within the human body. Such patterns are the unresolved body memories of past events, such as falls, sports injuries, car accidents, surgery, mental and emotional stress, abuse, abandonment, loss, and birth. Body memory patterns may, for example, be felt by the therapist as tension, tightness, compression, stiffness, contraction, pulling, twisting, nerve or brain activation, thought or emotional holding, upset, anxiety, sadness, fatigue, lifelessness, withdrawal, or absence. Any such adverse alteration, or disturbance, in the body, will interfere with the craniosacral system and, sooner or later, impact the expression of health resulting in physical symptoms and movement and/or behavioural problems. If left untreated symptoms may progress to causing a physical or mental health condition, and/or a problem relating to Life.
By being present to unresolved patterns using their safe and gentle listening touch, the craniosacral therapist is reminding the client’s body/mind what it is holding (usually subconsciously). This often naturally catalyses the processing, release and integration of what has happened and aids the transition into healing and recovery. As the body and mind become freer of the limitations imposed by the events and conditioning of the past, the client may then experience an improvement in their condition, becoming physically looser and balanced, more open and confident, peaceful, and more able to engage in life with whatever is happening now.
WHAT CST MAY HELP WITH
Craniosacral therapy is an increasingly popular therapy amongst the general public and has a broad field of application. It is not a cure all, but it does help a great many adults, children and babies.
Adults are frequently helped with the effects of recent and long-standing physical injuries, such as those caused by falls, car accidents and sports. Also treated are people with head injury, concussion, head pain, back or joint pain, disc protrusions, neurological symptoms, post-surgical complications, emotional and mental stress, the effects of recent and past trauma and loss and the residual effects of their birth process (yes, even with mature adults).
Children may be helped with the effects of physical injuries, stress, anxiety, overwhelm, poor concentration, sleep issues, withdrawal and behavioural and learning disorders. Frequently childhood conditions are connected with the long term complications of the untreated effects of their birth.
Craniosacral therapy is well known for helping babies overcome issues resulting directly from their pre-natal, birth and/or postnatal period. Such issues include excessive crying, screaming, poor sleep, unsettledness, attachment issues, poor socialisation, slow development, feeding issues, colic and sometimes reflux.