Cranial-Sacral Therapy is a holistic healing approach using sensitive hands-on-bodywork to enhance the body's natural healing capabilities based in the Cranio-Sacral system. The Cranio-Sacral system extends from the bones of the skull and face (cranium) to the tailbone (sacrum). It consists of membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Like the cardiovascular system, the Cranio-Sacral system has an inherent rhythm or wave that can be felt throughout the body. The quality, amplitude, and symmetry of the rhythm reflect the level of health and fluidity in the Cranio-Sacral system. CST is an assessment tool as well as a treatment. __ The Cranio-Sacral system maintains the environment in which the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) functions. The central nervous system controls or influences our key bodily functions. The role of the Cranio-Sacral system in the development and performance of the brain and spinal cord is so fundamental that an imbalance or dysfunction in it can cause sensory, motor, or neurological disabilities. _
Many babies are born with a "cone-shaped head" or bruising because of the compressive forces of gestation. Within a few days after birth, the bones are supposed to migrate to their normal position. The action of sucking at the breast or bottle assists this migration. But sometimes the bones need gentle help from the hands of a skilled practitioner to move back where they should be.__ When the bones in the head are not in the right place, cranio-sacral motion will be disturbed. Symptoms range from nervousness, difficulty feeding, vomiting, excessive crying, spasticity and sleeplessness-all of which many people consider "normal" infant behavior.
Cranio-Sacral motion helps to circulate cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF circulates around the brain and spinal cord, protecting and nourishing them. Imbalances in cranial motion will decrease the CSF flow, diminishing both its protection and its nourishing functions. The 12 cranial nerves exit the cranial bones through holes called foramen. The nerves deliver sight, hearing, balance, smell, digestion, taste, swallowing, and the function of the tongue and neck muscles. Even the slightest distortion in a cranial bone can irritate the nerves (or worse) and affect optimal nerve conductivity.
The twisting of the neck and spine as baby is born can alter the flexibility of the spinal segments. The nerves are vulnerable to stretching, twisting, and pinching motions. Nerve irritation can make baby uncomfortable and fussy. If left untreated, it can alter spinal growth patterns. Viola Fryman states, "Musculoskeletal strains on the newborn during delivery can cause problems throughout life. Recognizing and treating these dysfunctions in the immediate post-partum period is one of the most important phases of preventive medicine."
Raymond Castellino, D.C., co-founder of Birthing Evolution-Birthing Awareness (BEBA), estimated that 85-95% of the population experience some degree of prenatal and birth trauma. CST can reduce a wide variety of difficulties, many of which might not become apparent until a child is older.
The optimal result of CST is a central nervous system free of restrictions and a body that is able to achieve its greatest level of performance._ John E. Upledger, DO, OMM, developer of Cranio-Sacral Therapy states, "I am thoroughly convinced that one of the best things we can do for our children is to have them begin life with smoothly functioning craniosacral systems." This can all be accomplished in a very short time within the first few days of life.
CST is recommended therapy for infants and children because it uses extremely light touch. Because of the pliancy of their young system, babies usually respond to treatment quickly, often in one to six sessions. Some of the bones of the cranium begin to fuse together within the first year of life; the earlier the treatment, the more rapid the outcomes.
A child rests fully clothed on a massage table or in the therapist's or parent's lap. The session may take place at the child's home, even when the child is sleeping. The therapist monitors the craniosacral rhythm with his hands to detect potential restrictions and imbalances. He conducts other gentle assessments and corrects the sources of pain and dysfunction using gentle guiding and mobilizing techniques. Seldom does the pressure exceed five grams (the weight of a nickel). During a session the therapist adapts his technique to the needs and attention span of the child.
If you are wondering if your baby could benefit from Cranio-Sacral Therapy, here are a few observations to make of your baby:
Did Mom have a prolonged labor? Caesarian Section? Were forceps or vacuum suction used to assist baby's entry into the world? Is baby excessively crying? Does she have colic? Does baby's head appear asymmetrical? Cone-shaped? Are there flat spots or ridges? Does one eye socket appear wider than the other? Does baby prefer to consistently turn his head to one side? Does the baby seem under or overly engaged with his environment? Does she seem reluctant to look straight ahead when flat her back? Can he turn his head equally to both sides? When baby is flat on his back is he shaped like a crescent moon? Does one foot turn out or in? How is she feeding? Does her face appear scrunched or tense? Does her tongue look very pointy when it is extended?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions- I look forward to the opportunity of supporting and facilitating ease and comfort for you and your child.