Have you heard this term tossed around in the world of massage, healthcare, and healing modalities? Are you wondering what this massage technique is all about and whether it might be for you? Well, here’s some info to get you started on deciding whether Cranial-Sacral Therapy is right for your healthcare plan!
Exerpt from the Upledger Institute.
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger following extensive scientific studies from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics.
CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system – comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.
Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams, or about the weight of a nickel, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.
By complementing the body’s natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, including:
- Migraine Headaches
- Chronic Neck and Back Pain
- Motor-Coordination Impairments
- Central Nervous System Disorders
- Orthopedic Problems
- Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Infantile Disorders
- Learning Disabilities
- Chronic Fatigue
- Emotional Difficulties
- Stress and Tension-Related Problems
- Fibromyalgia and other Connective-Tissue Disorders
- Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
- Neurovascular or Immune Disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Post-Surgical Dysfunction
Benefits of Cranial-Sacral Therapy (from MassageEnvy website)
Cranial sacral therapy (also known as craniosacral therapy) is a gentle, noninvasive form of bodywork that addresses the bones of the head, spinal column and sacrum. The goal is to release compression in those areas which alleviates stress and pain.
Cranial sacral therapy seeks to restore the natural position of the bones and can decrease stress from chronic injuries as well as provide relief from migraine headaches, neck and back pain, temporomandibular joint disorder (the inflammation of the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull) and more.
According to the National Headache Foundation, approximately 28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. Often, migraines are triggered or exacerbated by stress and poor sleep. In a study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, researchers found that participants who received bodywork like Cranial Sacral Therapy had better quality sleep and fewer migraines than participants who didn’t. Effects even lasted up to three weeks after therapy ended.
Another way to address pain in the head is through scalp massage, which can be extremely relaxing. “Many people don’t realize we have muscles on our scalp,” says Melissa Wheeler, a massage therapist and the teacher training coordinator for the National Holistic Institute in Emeryville, California. “Those muscles are responsible for making our facial expressions, and there can be a lot of tension there, especially when staring at a computer all day or when we are under a lot of stress.” Not only that, but the scalp tends to get ignored on a daily basis. “It’s tension we’re not usually aware of,” Wheeler says. “Many people feel that tension melt away when their head is massaged.”