Craniosacral therapy is a gentle manual therapy, which involves lightly touching cranial bones in order to influence the cerebrospinal fluid which flows through the brain and around the spinal cord. It was originally developed by an osteopathic physician to help release pain patterns and correct dysfunction in the soft tissues surrounding the central nervous system.
The brain and spinal cord, which comprise the central nervous system, govern the entire body, and they need proper flow of cerebrospinal fluid to function optimally. Unfortunately, many stressors and injuries can disrupt its flow, leading to suboptimal performance of the central nervous system and causing many symptoms such as headaches, concentration issues, TMJ dysfunction, and chronic misalignments of the spine, to name a few.
Craniosacral therapy is also an effective tool for healing birth injuries. During delivery, an infant’s skull is significantly compressed to allow it to travel through the mother’s pelvis. This is a normal process, and typically the bones settle back into place without issue. There are times, however, when the cranial bones incur excessive trauma and need extra help settling back into place. This especially happens if the infant is pulled too hard out of the birth canal during delivery. Infants with birth injuries that haven’t healed properly can experience an increase in nursing, colic, teething problems, torticollis, and even palsy. However, receiving CST within the first few weeks after birth can significantly help to reduce these symptoms, if not prevent them.
During a typical CST session, the patient lies down on a massage table, and the practitioner gently places their hands over various parts of the patient’s head. If the patient is an infant they are placed on their parent’s lap for this. The practitioner then uses their hands to detect the movement of the cerebrospinal fluid. If restrictions of the cranial bones are found, they gently guide them back into place, with gentle touch. Patients usually report feeling relaxed during this process and leave with a sense of ease and well-being.
Dr. Tressa Pinkleton provides craniosacral therapy at Seattle Naturopathy and Acupuncture Center. She has advanced training in CST and experience working with infants, children and adults.
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