About Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral therapists that are registered with the professional body – the Craniosacral Therapy Association have the letters CTA after their name. Craniosacral therapists in the UK undergo an accredited training that usually takes two years of study. We learn first how to help a person feel calm and deeply relax using mindfulness techniques, which are an intrinsic part of the work. We learn to develop our senses, particularly our sense of touch – the human hand can feel changes as small as 1 micron (1000th of a millimetre), and we start to be able to attune to the person’s body tissues. We don’t manipulate or try to change things but work with the body’s own wisdom. This wisdom of the client’s body is called the Inherent Treatment Plan.

There are two main types of craniosacral therapy – Biodynamic and Biomechanical. I made this this short animated film with Share Ideas to explain more about biodynamic CST –  Introduction to Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy

The idea in CST is that our energetic bodies go beyond our physical form – and we are in fact suspended in the tidal forces of the universe – from whence we came. In essence, craniosacral therapy is about returning to our blueprint of original health.

These diagrams by Cherionna Menzam-Sills are useful to show the ‘three bodies’ that biodynamic craniosacral therapists orient to. Its rather like tuning into different signals on a radio – they are always present – but most of the time we do not notice them. In biodynamic training we learn to attune to these energetic fields and to orient to states of stillness and calm.

Craniosacral Therapy – and working with trauma

Trauma is held in the body, which is why a body therapy like CST can be an invaluable support if there is trauma – be the case of it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. Although craniosacral therapy is perhaps best known for its seemingly miraculous treatment of babies, its clinical applications have begun to develop further into the field of mental health/wellbeing as well as physical and emotional trauma. One project of interest uses craniosacral therapy to help army veterans suffering with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is also some promising evidence that dementia sufferers are experiencing benefits from receiving craniosacral therapy. With the therapy not being reliant on talk, it can be a potentially helpful treatment for individuals who have communication difficulties or for those who become activated and stressed when talking about traumatic events/memories.  Babies may not be able to speak but they each have their story to tell if we know how to listen and hear them. The emergent fields of pre and perinatal psychology are increasing our understanding of human psycho-emotional development as well as helping us understand the language of babies – and we learn about all this in CST.

CST is an evolving discipline, and the work of neuroscientists like Stephen Porges, who discovered the social engagement system (SES), is central to our training and work as CST practitioners – the discovery of the SES, which is associated with the cranial nerves – particularly the 10th cranial nerve or vagus nerve, has enormous implications for the healing of trauma.

More recently therapists have moved away from the idea of catharsis – to an understanding that trauma is best healed through slower processes, skilful holding of the client, and orienting clients to their resources.

Origins and Development of Craniosacral Therapy – CST

CST emerged from osteopathy with its founder being William Garner Sutherland who discovered an involuntary system of ‘breathing’ in body tissues that he believed was important for the maintenance of health. Sutherland found that the central nervous system, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that bathes it, also have a rhythmic motion. He decided the motion was propelled by an inherent life force that he named ‘The Breath of Life’. Sutherland described CSF as liquid light talking about it as ‘a great river of life’. The motion he called Primary Respiratory Motion. This primary respiration is considered to be a crucial element of health by Craniosacral therapists.

Dr Sutherland developed his work during the 1920’s and began teaching in the 1930’s until his death in 1954. In the 1970s Dr John Upledger started to teach the work to people that were not osteopathically trained, and coined the term ‘craniosacral therapy’.

Please give me a call or fill in a contact form to find out more about how craniosacral therapy might be of help to you.