Posted on Dec 5, 2018

Cranial Sacral Therapy: Healing for body, mind and spirit

In the past decade, as many of you will be aware, the menu of body work modalities available locally has expanded greatly; Swedish Massage-the old standard, Thai Yoga Massage, Shiatsu, Osteopathy, Reiki, and Cranial Sacral Therapy (CST) – to mention only a few. We are fortunate to have so many choices and skilled professionals who can address a wide variety of conditions. Deciding which modality is right for you, can be challenging. To assist your inquiry I offer you the Coles’ notes on CST with a footnote on Somatic Emotional Release (SER). To learn more I talked with Jill Higgins, Registered Physiotherapist at Harmony Health Centre in Bridgewater. Jill has been using CST for the past 10 years. Listening to Jill describe her experience with clients was enough for me to book an appointment and check it out for myself, but now I am getting ahead of myself.

Jill described CST as a gentle, non-invasive therapy using only the practitioner’s two hands on a fully clothed client who is lying face up on a massage table. In fact the practitioner uses much more than ‘just their two hands’. If you have ever made bread, you know there are critical points to add ingredients, to stop and to move on to the next stage of the process. In crude terms this is what it is like with CST. Through training, and keen sensitivity to the rhythmic movement of the cerebral spinal fluid of the central nervous system, release and healing can take place on many levels.

Throughout a regular CST the client may actually feel very little. Back to the bread analogy; it is difficult to see the process of bread rising. However, magical – ok, chemical, changes are happening in the dough just as subtle changes can happen in the fluid rhythms of the body as deep tension is released and balance is restored. The client may experience heat or chills or sometimes symptoms of an injury may be reproduced. Attuning to the client’s body, mind and spirit is where Somatic Emotional Release (SER) enters the picture. Soma translates as body. So, in SER we are talking about emotions, sadness or anger for example, that were possibly trapped in the body’s tissues and form an area of tension or blockage. Expressing these emotions at the time of an incident/accident could have been too much for the client’s body, and/or heart-mind, to bear. Months, or even years later the client is ready to let go and SER can occur as part of a CS treatment.

Infants to the elderly with conditions such as concussions, TMJ and spinal issues, to mention only a few, can benefit from CST. Research has indicated the effectiveness of CST in treating Autism as well as patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. See: In Jill’s experience CST can greatly lessen the course of treatments needed. At the end of the day we are complex human beings in complex bodies. Genetics and live experiences are unique to each one of us. CST can be used to treat nagging conditions as well as proactively. If it feels like time for a tune up, give it a try and please let me know your experience.

Grace McKnight is a Registered Counselling Therapist-Candidate and part of the Integrated Health Team of professionals working at Harmony Health Centre in Bridgewater.