Do you have neck or back pain? Does Deep-Tissue Massage leave you feeling like you’ve been run over?
If so, CranioSacral Therapy may be the right fit for you.
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on therapy that releases tensions and restrictions in the tissues around the central nervous system in order to relieve pain and improve overall health. Although its name relates to the cranium and sacrum of the body, the craniosacral system also consists of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, as well as the fluid that nourishes and protects these structures. Everyone has a craniosacral system that is rhythmically moving all the time. Craniosacral therapists monitor this craniosacral rhythm with their hands. When the craniosacral rhythm is compromised, this suggests there are areas of tension or dysfunction in the surrounding tissues.
How does CranioSacral Therapy work?
CST works directly with the central nervous system, and in turn, the central nervous system influences many systems of the body, including the endocrine, immune, lymphatic, vascular, and digestive systems. When disease or dysfunction occurs in one part of the body, it
can affect the body as a whole. For example, after an injury such as falling on the sacrum (tailbone), damage or scar tissue can occur in the membranes surrounding this area, which would likely present as feeling sore from the injury. However, since this membrane system is
continuous from the spinal cord to the cranium, additional issues such as neck pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction often accompany these injuries. When the damage to the membranes is addressed, the craniosacral rhythm is addressed as well, and the body is in a much better state to correct these restrictions and rebalance itself.
What does the Research say about CranioSacral Therapy
In cases of neck and back pain, CST has been shown to be a useful treatment. In a 2016 study from The Clinical Journal of Pain researched compared two groups with chronic neck pain. The group receiving CST reported significant and clinically relevant effects on pain intensity in just a few weeks, compared to the other group receiving a light-touch ‘sham treatment’ meant to mimic CST.
Another study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2016 found that patients receiving CST experienced greater improvement in pain intensity than those receiving classic massage.
So, what does a CranioSacral Therapy session look like?
Unlike massage therapy, clients remain fully clothed during CST. Extremely light touch is applied to certain areas to evaluate for tension patterns and imbalances. This light touch is essential for working with the body tissues and not against it. Many clients report craniosacral therapy treatments as a deeply relaxing and restorative experience, even though it is very subtle work. A typical treatment session lasts
anywhere from 45-90 minutes, depending on individual needs and preferences.
Craniosacral Therapy is a wonderful modality to add to other body work and holistic health services for the treatment of neck and back pain, as well as many other issues, such as headaches, migraines, TMJ dysfunction, and fibromyalgia. At Well Woman Acupuncture, we are proud to have Lauren Braaten, a CST practitioner, share our space. If you’d like to schedule a session or receive more information on how CST could help you, contact Lauren directly at 303-587- 9361 or email her at: laurenbraatenOT@gmail.com.