Experiencing chronic pain can significantly decrease one’s quality of life. Many of us have experienced this personally or know someone close to us who has been debilitated by pain issues.
A fair assumption to make is that most people want to get to the ORIGIN of their problem and not just mask it. Many approaches focus on symptom management, which can be helpful (no one likes to be hurting!). But to truly heal an issue, it seems to makes sense to consider a whole body approach. What’s going physically, emotionally and spiritually?
When talking about pain issues, there are many holistic approaches that consider a whole body perspective to determine what may be contributing to a pain issue. Chiropractic, functional medicine, acupuncture and Craniosacral Therapy (CST) are some of them. I have used and continue to use all of these in my own wellness plan.
But I want to talk more about CST.....
With CST, we look at the entire person, which means we consider what is going on from their feet to their head no matter what their symptom is. The origin of pain could be due to any number of experiences or accumulation of experiences one has gone through in life. For example, causes of chronic TMJ pain could be anything from childhood anxiety that perpetuates into adulthood and causes them to clench their teeth together hard, or their bite could be a little off from a previous dental procedure, or they could have a low back issue that ultimately transfers back up into their head and throws their TMJ balance off.
There is also almost always an emotional component to chronic pain issues as well, which can be addressed if it seems to be a priority to the healing process.
CST isn’t the easiest treatment to explain. Also, no session is the same because your body is always changing and will have different needs for healing on different days. Here is a more formal description from the Upledger Institution (with who I do my CST training).
What is CranioSacral Therapy?
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. It was pioneered and developed by Osteopathic Physician John E. Upledger after years of clinical testing and research at Michigan State University where he served as professor of biomechanics.
Using a soft touch which is generally no greater than 5 grams – about the weight of a nickel – practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it's effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.
How does CranioSacral Therapy Work?
Few structures have as much influence over the body's ability to function properly as the brain and spinal cord that make up the central nervous system. And, the central nervous system is heavily influenced by the craniosacral system – the membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord.
Every day your body endures stresses and strains that it must work to compensate for. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort the craniosacral system. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord resulting in restrictions. This can create a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with.
Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of touch. With a light touch, the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.
By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body's ability to self-correct, CranioSacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.
What conditions does CranioSacral Therapy address?