|Posted on April 22, 2016 at 5:50 PM|
A Heads Up on Craniosacral Therapy by Diane Kingsley Weir, LMT
Our bodies have natural rhythms. Our heart rate, blood pressure and breathing is done in a rhythmic fashion. We even have a circadian rhythm that helps to regulate and coordinate our metabolic processes. Another system in the body that has a rhythm that many are not familiar with is the craniosacral system and the cranial rhythm.
The craniosacral system is made up of the skull, vertebrae, sacrum, meninges and the cerebrospinal fluid. This system is encased in a tough membrane called the dura mater membrane. The rhythmic motion created by the craniosacral system is caused by the production and reabsorption of the cerebrospinal fluid in the body. The craniosacral rhythm occurs between 6 to 12 cycles per minute.
So what is the purpose of cerebrospinal fluid? Cerebrospinal fluid or CSF:
• provides nutrients to the brain and spinal cord
• serves as a shock absorber for the brain and the spinal cord
• lubricates the cells and cleanses metabolic waste
• helps to maintain proper concentrations of electrolytes needed for proper nerve transmission
If the craniosacral system becomes out of balance, and the cerebrospinal fluid is not able to flow properly it can cause dysfunction in the central nervous system, the lymphatic system, the endocrine and even the musculoskeletal system.
In the early 20th century, an osteopathic physician by the name of William Sutherland discovered that contrary to the belief held that the sutures in the skull fuse together, they have a natural ability to move to allow for the ebb and flow of the craniosacral rhythm. Just as the bones in the skull have slight movement, they can also become restricted in movement. Craniosacral therapy can help to improve the restrictions.
Craniosacral Therapy, pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger, is a gentle and non-invasive therapeutic approach that can be used to correct the impaired function of the craniosacral system. Using a soft touch, about 5 grams of pressure which is no more than the weight of a nickel, a craniosacral practitioner is able to release restrictions in the craniosacral system which can in turn allow the system to function normally.
Some health conditions that can benefit from craniosacral therapy are:
• migraines and headaches
• chronic fatigue
• nervous system disorders
• TMJ syndrome
• Chronic neck and back pain
• Fibromyalgia and other connective tissue disorders
Due to the fact that craniosacral therapy works with the central nervous system, it can also help to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, our relaxation response. This relaxation response can in turn relax muscles, slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure. In today’s world it is not uncommon for people to be stuck in a stressed out state in which our sympathetic or fight-or-flight response is activated. In the fight or flight response, adrenalin and cortisol are released, digestion slows and the heart rate speeds up. All of these reactions are meant to give the body a burst of energy to either fight or run away in the face of danger. When the danger has passed, our bodies are supposed to be able to return to a natural state of function by the relaxation response. The problem with this today is that many of us are stuck in the flight or fight response and our bodies are not able to relax properly leading to health risks such as high blood pressure.
Craniosacral therapy works to relax the body into the parasympathetic state which can naturally increase energy, decrease fatigue, lower stress hormone levels, reduce anxiety and improve immune system function.
When asked about craniosacral therapy, Joe Petroski of Pain Eliminated, Inc. replied, “ Craniosacral works is a wonderful technique that benefits whole body change. It is very gentle yet has profound healing effects. Craniosacral work can release the effects of severe trauma and physical injury in the most gentle and noninvasive manner. Craniosacral work is unlike massage and is much more gentle and relaxing. For those that cannot tolerate typical massage, cranialsacral work affords the opportunity of deep healing without discomfort. I have trusted Diane with my most feeble clients and everyone I have recommended to her calls me back with the warmest and happiest thank you!”