Craniosacral Therapy

Releasing, Rebalancing and Reorganizing the Body on a Core Level

By Kathleen Christ, LMT, NCMBTAquatic Therapist

A brief summary: The craniosacral system is a semi-closed hydraulic system that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord. It is the metabolic machine responsible for the inflow of nutrients and the outflow of waste products. The cerebrospinal fluid is a clear, watery fluid containing glucose, proteins, urea, salts and some lymphocytes. Approximately 100-150 ml. of this fluid circulates throughout the central nervous system.

Illnesses, injuries, traumas (emotional or physical), and even the birthing process, can all negatively impact the craniosacral system. Since craniosacral is so subtle and deep, it is easy to miss this component in the scanning and assessment process. Having a therapist well-trained and practiced in craniosacral therapy (CST) can open doorways and avenues toward healing which are unimaginable, gentle and extremely effective. Emphasis is first placed on quieting the sympathetic nervous system and allowing a safe space for the full activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. As the whole body deepens into a more relaxed and meditative state, the tissues of muscles, fascia and even osseous or bone release, and the fluids of the body will again flow and swirl and come alive.

As with many therapies of this nature, a series of appointments, usually a week to a month apart, is recommended. The body requires sufficient time to reintegrate, rebalance and reorganize based on the release that transpired during the previous session. Much deep internal work will happen during the session, and then through restful sleep and a newfound inner peacefulness, the body will reset itself.

The practitioner’s role is to help facilitate-- through a sequential series of steps-- the full activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and through that, profound releases. Common signs of tissue release are: lengthening or spreading, softening, heat, sigh-sign, increased fluid flow, increased energy flow, rapid eye movement, yawning, laughter, therapeutic pulse or an emotional release. Symptoms that may respond and be released are: lumber/hip pain, pre/post surgical procedures, gross motor imbalances, lordosis, SI joint pain, lower, mid and upper back pain, congestion, and stress/strain relating to colon, liver, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, stomach, kidneys, bladder, uterus, ovaries, neck pain, headaches, heart/lung pulmonary imbalance, breathing difficulties, thyroid imbalance, TMJ dysfunction, whiplash injury, coordination problems, swallowing problems, lack of expression, speech problems, hormonal imbalance, memory problems, hyperactivity ADHD and autism.

As an aquatic therapist, I have taken this incredible work into the warm waters of my pool, and since energy moves 100 times more powerfully in the human body in the water than on land, the CST has become more gentle, more effective, and more stable than ever before. Incorporating Watsu, Yoga and other physical therapy exercises during and after the CST has greatly added to the harmony, coordination and full integration of this amazing work.

If you would like to learn more, please call the St. Louis Aquatic Healing Center at 314-432-5228.