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As defined by the Upledger Institute, craniosacral therapy (or CST for short) is “a gentle treatment approach that works with the natural self-correcting mechanism of the body and the craniosacral system (the membranes and fluids that surround the brain and spinal cord) to detect and release restrictions in mobility and enhance function. The rhythmic movement of the craniosacral system can be palpated and used to determine the core issues so that treatment can focus on the cause rather than the symptoms.”
The craniosacral rhythm is the sequenced movement of cerebrospinal fluid throughout the brain and spinal cord that can be felt as a pattern of widening and narrowing of the spaces between the bones of the skull and, therefore, movement of the bones themselves. This pattern can also be felt in the extremities, or arms and legs of the body, as a rotating inward and outward of the limb. By monitoring these movements and their patterns, the therapist is able to detect where a restriction lies and then treat it accordingly. In this same way, the therapist also manipulates the fascial system as it attaches to these bones further releasing restrictions that extend beyond the osseous (or bony) boundary.
So who can benefit from CST? The list of conditions is quite lengthy, but here are some basic diagnoses that these techniques have proven to be effective in treating headaches and migraines, vertigo (dizziness), TMJ (jaw) dysfunction, speech and swallowing dysfunction, whiplash, ADD, autism, low back pain, falls, scoliosis (curvature of the spine), tinnitus (ringing in the ears), sinusitis, head trauma/injury, eye motor dysfunction, edema (swelling) and stress.
What is a craniosacral treatment session like? The techniques used by therapists are very gentle, using only five grams of pressure (the weight of a nickel) to manipulate the bones and soft tissue in the craniosacral system. CST can be included into your regular treatment sessions as individual techniques or make up an entire therapy session to decrease your pain, increase your mobility, and effectively treat your condition.