Most people think of the skull as one solid bone encasing the brain. In actuality, it is a complex system of 21 individual bones fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle. Within the skull, the brain pulses to a continuous rhythm at a rate of 6 to 12 cycles per minute. This rhythm reverberates down the spine to the sacrum, the triangular shaped bone at the base of the spine, and it drives the movement of cerebrospinal fluid which surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. Just like your heart has a regular rhythm unique to you, so does your craniosacral system have a unique rhythm, although it is slower and more subtle. And just as your heart pumps blood to the rest of your body, your craniosacral system pumps cerebrospinal fluid between your brain and your spine.
This unique craniosacral rhythm can become imbalanced, often from a head or back injury or a whiplash injury that creates scar tissue between the bones of the skull and in the ligaments, muscles and other soft tissues surrounding the skull and spine. The craniosacral system can also be disrupted from a traumatic birth, with extensive dental work, with a bite imbalance or with a chronic pattern of teeth clenching or grinding.
An imbalanced craniosacral system can cause myriad symptoms, including jaw, neck, facial, tooth, and back pain. Other symptoms may include headaches, visual disturbances, sinus problems, and even emotional disturbances.
Craniosacral therapy begins with an assessment of the movement patterns of the bones of the skull and the sacrum. We then proceed to release the joints that are not moving optimally. This is accomplished with very gentle, focused touch on specific parts of the skull, spine, or sacrum. Patients find this touch to be extremely relaxing and centering. Because it is so gentle, it can be applied to people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Once the restrictions have been released, the cerebrospinal fluid is able to flow unimpeded, which in turn improves brain and spinal cord functioning. When the brain and spinal cord are functioning at optimal levels, the body’s ability to self-correct is enhanced. Tension throughout the body can be reduced, anxiety levels can be lowered, and general health can improve.
Many patients find that a one hour craniosacral session creates a sense of deep and profound relaxation, and greatly enhances their sense of well-being. They choose craniosacral therapy as an important part of their overall health maintenance program.