Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a gentle, noninvasive method of evaluating and enhancing the function of a physiological body arrangement called the craniosacral system. Developed by John E. Upledger, DO, OMM, this manual therapy enhances the body’s natural healing processes and has proven effective in treating a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction. The roots of this therapy are in cranial osteopathy, developed by Dr. William G. Sutherland.
It’s no secret that proper nutrition, exercise, and living a low-stress lifestyle are among the keys to good health and longevity. If we pay close attention to these three cornerstones of our health, our body will reward us with vitality and well-being. Amazingly, even when our body gets a little out of balance—a sore tennis elbow, an irritating cold, or an achy neck from a tense business meeting—we are each equipped with a high-performing immune system miraculously designed to heal our body and protect us from disease.
Craniosacral touch is a light contact modality that invites the body to self-correct through skilled touch, conscious presence, deep stillness, and a working knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and embryological development. This modality is known by a variety of names, such as craniosacral therapy, Visionary Craniosacral Work, biodynamic craniosacral therapy, craniosacral biodynamics, and dynamic stillness. The spectrum of approaches to craniosacral touch extends from direct manipulation, as in inducing a stillpoint, to a non-action presence that holds neutral.
The spectrum of disease, trauma, and dysfunction that can affect the physiological development and health of the youngest client populations is widespread, and seems to be increasing every day. So how do we as bodyworkers step in to affect meaningful change in the face of such prevalent challenges as learning disabilities, autism, seizure disorder, digestive problems, colic, allergies, birth trauma, and other severe pediatric disorders?
In the previous two articles (Part 1 and Part 2), we examined the anatomy of the low back and the various types of injuries that can occur in this area, with a particular focus on low-back ligament tears. We discussed how and why these injuries occur, how they affect the body, and how they can be accurately assessed through orthopedic testing and palpation.
The beautiful, 18-month-old child named Emma stood in front of me. Her piercing blue eyes held mine in an unblinking stare as she took my hands and placed them on her head. She was telling me to treat her.
Following her wishes, I gently cradled the sides of her head, felt the movement of the bones, and followed their lead. As her cranial bones reorganized themselves, Emma stood and held my gaze. When her skull balanced, she took a deep breath, grinned, and stepped over and hugged her mom, Kristen, who was sitting on the floor with me.
Although individuals with disabilities can greatly benefit from various bodywork modalities, they generally do not avail themselves of these therapies for a variety of reasons. Relying largely on the advice of conventional health care providers who are often skittish about referring for bodywork, those with disabilities often don’t know their “alternative” options. In addition, because many bodywork professionals are unfamiliar with the unique issues associated with disability, there is apprehension when dealing with this population.