FAQs about Craniosacral Therapy

What Can I Expect From A Craniosacral Therapy Session?

A typical Craniosacral Therapy session lasts from 45 minutes to an hour, and takes place in a quiet, private setting. As a client you remain fully clothed as you recline on a massage or treatment table. The practitioner will stand or sit positioned at various points of your head, torso or feet. At times your practitioner may also support your limbs and spine while helping your body release accumulated tension.

What you experience during a CST session is highly individual. Some people say they feel deeply relaxed, while others describe feeling unwinding sensations as the body releases tension. You may even recall circumstances surrounding a past trauma or injury that caused your body stress. While it doesn’t occur in every session, this aspect of the process– called SomatoEmotional Release®– is perfectly normal, and helps the body reverse dysfunction and restore optimal levels of mobility.

Because each individual response to CST is unique, the number of sessions needed to resolve any particular condition varies widely. While one session may give you the relief you need, your situation may require more therapy before it’s completely alleviated. As your therapist, I will always be honest with you about whether you would benefit from more work, or whether you are “good to go.”

I didn’t feel much, why not?

The body tends to accept very light pressure and reacts against strong force/ pressure as a protective mechanism. CranioSacral Therapy uses very light, subtle pressure and movement in order to affect positive changes that allow the body to rebalance to a healthier, more harmonious status.  For this reason you may not “feel” very much in the way of physical contact during a session, however, profound effects may be noticed during or after a session as changes occur and the body resettles itself into a more balanced state.

Why do I feel pain in my _____ when I didn’t feel it at the beginning of the session?

As restrictions are lifted and the body rebalances, toxins are released, and improved nutrient flow occurs, nerves begin to function better. This process can sometimes manifest itself as pain– especially as toxins are released and are reprocessed. New improved positioning of bodily structures can involve stretching or contracting muscles as positions are corrected and this can produce some initial discomfort as proper alignment is established. Once the rebalancing is complete the pain should subside and the flow of nutrients and waste products occurs more freely.

What Will I Experience After A Session?

Just as each individual experiences CST sessions differently, the results can be diverse as well. You may leave in such a relaxed state that you feel like sleeping for hours. Or you may leave full of boundless energy. You may feel a decrease in pain or an increase in function immediately after the session, or the effects may develop gradually over the next few days.

Since CST helps the body resume its natural healing processes, it’s common for your improvements to continue weeks after the session. You may also experience a reorganization phase as your body releases previously held patterns and adapts to a new state of wellness.

How Does Craniosacral Therapy Work?

Few structures have as much influence over the body’s ability to function properly as the brain and spinal cord that make up the central nervous system. And few systems have as much impact on the central nervous system as the craniosacral system– the membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord. Every day your body endures stresses and strains, and your structures work to compensate for them. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort the craniosacral system, which can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord. The result is a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with.

Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of touch. Generally using about 5 grams of pressure– roughly the weight of a nickel– the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing
around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.

By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s ability to self-correct, Craniosacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.

Who Can Benefit From Craniosacral Therapy?

Because Craniosacral Therapy is so effective as a preventive health measure, almost anyone can benefit from a session. For more pressing concerns, CST has proven especially effective on puzzling cases that have not responded well to other approaches. It’s particularly helpful to those with head, neck or back injuries resulting from an accident.

The extremely light touch also makes CranioSacral Therapy a safe approach for children and infants who have experienced early stress, including birth trauma. By releasing restrictions around the central nervous system early, you may help prevent future difficulties such as learning disabilities or hyperactivity.

Are There Any Conditions That Shouldn’t Be Addressed With Craniosacral Therapy?

There are a few situations in which CST is not recommended.

  • Recent brain hemorrhage, stroke, cerebral aneurysm, or brain injury or tumor. I will need permission from your treating physician.
  • Recent spinal tap.  I will need permission from your treating physician. This should verify there is no leakage of cerebrospinal fluid. 
  • Arnold Chiari Malformation – incomplete foramen magnum. I will need permission from your treating physician.

If you have any questions about whether these situations apply to you, seek the advice of your physician before receiving a CST session.

Click here to check out the long list of symptoms that can be helped with CST. This was compiled by the Upledger Institute.ArianaMullinsBodywork2016-23Ready to schedule a session? Click here.