How Does It Work?
Craniosacral Therapy has its origins in the work of Dr William Sutherland, an osteopath in the early 1900s. He made a revolutionary discovery through close observation of the body; that the bones of the cranium (head) moved as if by their own volition in a breath-like motion, and that this movement was intrinsically connected to the health of the client. In fact we now know that all bone, tissue and fluid in the body moves to this inner ‘tide’, indeed the entire body is expressing coherent rhythmic wave-like fluctuations as one holistic organism. This can be clearly palpated by the Craniosacral Therapist by making light contact with the body.
It is now understood that this inner tide or breath, called primary respiration, is the expression of intrinsic health within the body and throughout the wider energy system of the individual.
An ordering principle called primary respiration manifests as a vital life force, or biodynamic potency, in the human body. This potency manifests in the fluids of the body and orders and integrates all cellular and tissue function from the moment of conception until death.1
In this context we can say that health is always present, and cannot be lost. Health “is constantly at work maintaining the best possible balance and homeostasis even in the most desperate circumstances.”1 Unfortunately we do also encounter difficulty and disease throughout life, and if this cannot be fully processed and resolved at the time, it is stored and held within the body. As an holistic entity the whole human system then has to compensate for these conditional forces in order to maintain balance as best as possible. What often results is a complex web of interrelating compensations, experienced in a variety of ways with seemingly unconnected symptoms.
It is the role of the Craniosacral Therapist to facilitate the unravelling and resolution of the compensatory patterns and the original cause of ill health. This is achieved through deeply listening to the expression of primary respiration and noticing where ideal motion is restricted. By skilfully ‘being with’ the source of the restriction, i.e. facilitating states of equilibrium and stillness within the inertial area, the client’s embodied potency (life force) is supported in such a way that it can transform and release the old conditional forces as a natural, integrated, expression of health.
This allows the client’s system to come back into greater balance and ease, organised around a free -flowing central axis, instead of around compensatory patterning. This central axis is known in CST as the ‘midline’; the centre line of the body found within the central nervous system (the spinal column and brain). This is where Craniosacral Therapy got its name from – the Cranium (head) and Sacrum (large bone at the bottom of the spine) form the two poles of the core axis of the human body-mind system. Ideally the cerebral spinal fluid within the central nervous system is free to express primary respiration in an unimpeded tide-like motion which then radiates throughout the body.