CranioSacral Therapy is a practice of deep listening and subtle but profound attention to the natural rhythms of the cranio-sacral system.
This bodywork practice has a structural basis as well as a spiritual aspect to it. A craniosacral therapist pays attention to all pathways in order to gather information. There is no separation between body, mind and spirit: the human body always presents as one body/mind/spirit.
From a structural perspective, the "cranio-sacral" system is an anatomical system made up of the brain, a system of membranes inside the skull (cranium), all 22 cranial bones, the spine and the sacrum. Cerebrospinal fluid infuses, surrounds and protects all these component parts. Just as we are able to sense the rhythm of our breathing and the pulse of our heart rate, a craniosacral therapist is capable of sensing the quiet but palpable movement of the cerebrospinal fluid as it creates an expansion and contraction in the body, identified as another "pulse."
CranioSacral Therapy has its roots in traditional osteopathy. When sensing the movement of the cranial system, early osteopaths used language such as primary respiration, breath and stillness to describe the cranial rhythms. Genesis names "the breath of life," that gives us life. In Chinese medicine this is called "chi." Whether we name it Breath, Spirit or Chi we understand in some way that we are animated by a life force.
Craniosacral therapists pay exquisite attention to subtle, nearly imperceptible movements, to breath and to stillness. The rhythm of the pulse parallels the changes in the autonomic nervous system: when movements are more rapid, the nervous system is in a state of heightened awareness, called the sympathetic nervous system. When the pulse slows, accompanied by slower and deeper breathing, the body is in the parasympathetic state.
Beginning a session of spiritual direction with some simple craniosacral holds is especially helpful. It can help center and ground the seeker, bringing heart and mind together and away from the noise of the daily world, into an openness to the Sacred.
As a separate practice directed to specific health concerns, craniosacral therapy relieves migraine headaches; tinnitus (ringing ears); TMJ and other jaw pain; chronic sinus congestion; low back and hip pain; as well as shoulder and arm pain. It is a hands-on, gentle, non-invasive therapy that is often received while the client is clothed, thus is an effective treatment for people who are uncomfortable with typical bodywork modalities.