Craniosacral therapy is an energetic healing modality that encourages the body’s natural healing process through the use of a gentle touch and very light pressure. The craniosacral system includes your brain, spinal cord, nerves, the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding them. When the craniosacral system is supported through this gentle form of bodywork, the body’s natural healing power is recharged, and patients experience a wide range of health benefits. This type of therapy is grounded in energy, so manipulation of tissue and bone is not necessary. Let me explain further how the metaphysical properties of energy and the quantum field define this work, and how they are relevant to you and your healing journey.
Everything around you and in you is composed of energy, whether it’s inorganic or organic matter. The quantum field theory explains the behavior of subatomic particles and how they interact in relation to force fields. These particles coalesce to make atoms, and atoms coalesce to make matter, and matter coalesces to make complex structures such as your body. Throughout the universe, energy manifests in different forms due to different organizational or destructive forces. You are solid matter composed of fluid, tissue, and bone, which are each contiguous energetic states that are progressively denser by nature. So, fluid is less dense and more free-flowing than tissue; while the bone is the densest form of energy in your body. Even your thoughts are energy, yet they are considered to be the most ethereal of physical form.
With everything in the world being energy, every experience you have is energetic in a sense and it imprints energy on your biological system. Science has shown that these imprints on your system start before you are even conceived through the means of epigenetics. Your parents’ DNA is impacted by the experiences they go through, and the experiences their ancestors carried. The DNA segments actually get turned on or off because of events that transpose in and around their environment. Wild as it may seem, these experiences, or forces, mold how you come into form. Once you are alive and developing in your mother’s belly, you begin to experience conditional forces, which are impacts on your body such as knocks, falls, toxins, life events, birth, trauma, thought patterns, and emotional states of being to name a few. With all of these energetic imprints in mind, think of yourself as a ball that consists of layers upon layers of energy imprints. These imprints are an amalgamation of positive and negative inputs into your system, and they are the very things that organize your anatomy.
Now, here is where trauma enters the picture. Trauma does not have to be a car accident, nor is it the event itself. Rather, trauma is your body’s internal response to the event when the nervous system becomes overwhelmed and exits the normal range of function. One person can experience the same event but respond internally to the experience in different ways depending on how resilient their autonomic nervous system is and how “resourced” they are. We will come back to the term resourced, but for now, let me speak more on what the autonomic system is and how it plays a role in craniosacral therapy. The autonomic nervous system, let’s call it the ANS for simplicity, is arguably the most important anatomical system in the body, but also the least understood in allopathic medical settings, due to its relative subtlety. The ANS operates in the background and its anatomical components are not as tangible as the organ systems treated in allopathic medical settings. The ANS is an intricate roadmap of neural pathways that control all functions in the body.
Restrictions/imbalances (or poor “roadways”) cause the breakdown in the autonomic functions in the body. The ANS finds alternative routes to work around restrictions even if the alternative pathways are a detriment to the health of the whole body. Anytime your autonomic nervous system becomes overwhelmed, trauma occurs and creates an “imprint”. Whether it’s a breakage in a nerve pathway or a force of energy that gets stuck in the tissue field of your body, this imprint alters your state of overall health and wellbeing. Ultimately, trauma imprints are pockets of energy that never got assimilated or integrated into your body’s system. They are like rocks in a river blocking the natural path of the water. Your body has to make energetic accommodations for these blocks by sacrificing normal form and function. The more blocks in your system can make for a rocky road–no pun intended!
Now, in steps the craniosacral therapist. This person should ideally be trained in anatomy, trauma resolution, and autonomic nervous system regulation. If they understand pre and perinatal dynamics, even better for you, because they will have the capacity to recognize your lifetime layers of trauma, remembered and forgotten, of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual impact that shaped you in utero and beyond. With this knowledge on board and their own healing journey well underway, they can lay hands on you and interact with the Inner Intelligence of your body and support your body in dissipating these charged rocks of energy that are deteriorating the integrity of your form and function. The therapy allows these blocks of energy to discharge so that your body can then reorganize and realign inherent structures back to a cohesive whole.
A craniosacral therapist taps into your energy field by tracking the motions of your cerebral spinal fluid and making contact with the fascia. This fluid is produced in the ventricles inside your skull and is a type of blood filtrate that contains no salts. It’s encased in the meninges membranes that surround your skull, spine, and sacrum and makes a partial hydraulic pump. The ventricles fill and empty over and over, much like we breathe when our chest expands during inhalation and deflates during exhalation. Our breathing creates pressure that assists our heart in pumping blood through our veins. These rhythmic actions of the ventricles create a tidal flow of cerebral spinal fluid that can be felt through palpation. Since the craniosacral system is at the core of everything, all systems inside the body are impacted by it.
Science just officially recognized fascia as a new organ in the body over the summer of 2018. Fascia is just below the surface of the skin and encases all tissue and organs. This organ is the craniosacral system’s messenger because it is a crystalline, collagen matrix that acts as an electrical conductor or highway where all signals from this system can be transported to every single cell in the body despite distance and proximity, and at the speed of light. When a craniosacral therapist palpates your body, their hands immediately tap into the fascia or this interstitium of collagen and fluid. The touch induces biochemical and electrical pathways in the fascia to build new neural pathways thereby connecting the therapist to the patient’s bioelectric/biomagnetic field and now becoming an active player with their ANS.
Treatment is done in a quiet setting, usually, while you lie supine on a table and the therapist helps bring your awareness to the ANS by tuning everything else out. By entering a state of calm, relaxation, the body can present restrictions in its field and the therapist can in turn recognize this presentation and remain grounded, well-regulated, and in an open frame of mind so that healing can occur in a slow-paced environment. Recognition of the restriction on the therapist’s part is key to the healing process. At this point in the client’s resourced state, a mysterious unfolding begins as the quantum field disassembles the stored energy caused by trauma. Often you can sense the release of this energy as heat, buzzing, pulling, or twisting. People describe the sensation of floating or being suspended in a pool of water during treatment. Slow, gentle pacing is crucial to enabling the ANS the capacity to digest and integrate the energy that is released from a trauma imprint. If the unfolding becomes too intense and you begin to feel overwhelmed, you should communicate what you are sensing so that the therapist can slow the process down to a more manageable pace. Admittedly, the whole process is somewhat mysterious.
In summation, now that you have a glimpse into physics, the ANS, and the craniosacral system, I can say craniosacral therapy focuses on the mechanisms involved in the body’s response to stress. The ANS is the playing field for 90% of all medical problems. So, this therapy is a means to teach you how to self-regulate your ANS in the presence of stress. This education and the treatment itself provide you with resources to equip your body with the means to handle stress in a more balanced way. If you can self-regulate your ANS in the presence of stress, problems do not become fixated or imprinted on the system and thus, you can live a more healthy, resilient life.