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Craniosacral Therapy and SomatoEmotional Release

Craniosacral Therapy

CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of the craniosacral system. The craniosacral system includes the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. This fluid has a rhythm or pulse, much like the blood or the breath. This rhythm is about 6-12 cycles per minute in a healthy person.

Craniosacral systemBy using a gentle touch of generally no more than five grams of pressure (about the weight of a nickel), Suzanne feels the rhythmic flow of the craniosacral fluid, and, through the fascial connections, she can also feel the condition of membranes and structures deep in the body. Using very slight pressure and the action of the craniosacral fluid itself, she can release the restrictions in bones and fascia that contain the fluid. These restrictions may be the result of either physical or emotional trauma such as an accident or daily stress. Not only do the restrictions lead to pain of many kinds because they decrease the flow of all vital fluids and inhibit nerve transmission, but they also create blockages called "energy cysts" that continue to cause pain long after a physical injury is healed. Thus, releasing the blockages can have a positive effect on the energy systems.

The cranial rhythm can be felt at the three levels of the tissues, of the fluids and the energy body and of the the matrix or organizing level of the human body. Each of these levels is called a tide. When a therapist is present to the three tides during a craniosacral therapy session, she holds a space for the body to heal itself. Once the craniosacral rhythms are balanced, the body can achieve an equilibrium that facilitates healing at multiple levels.

The CST technique is gentle and non-invasive. Even children, the elderly, and those suffering from fibromyalgia can receive it. The client is fully clothed and usually lies supine on the massage table. Additionally, CST can be combined with other modalities such as full-body massage or Reiki. A treatment lasts from 60-90 minutes.

By complementing the body's natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure because of its ability to bolster resistance to disease. It is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, including:

While receiving a session of CST, you might experience sensations of heat being released or of energy moving. Additionally, when tissues release long held tension patterns, there is often a noticeable “unlocking” or “unwinding” sensation, and there may be an emotional release. Often people will make new mind/body connections that help bring about a shift in areas of their lives where they previously felt stuck. In fact, CST has been compared to a caring friend who listens to the body's rhythms and messages and responds in such a way as to allow the conscious body to articulate and resolve its challenges.

Overall, the general feeling of a CST session for most people is one of deep rest and relaxation. Although the pressure is extremely light, CST is considered to be a deep tissue therapy because of its action on the fascia and deep structures like bones and organs. Thus, the feeling at the end of the session is much like having had a full-body massage where tissue was manipulated at much deeper levels.

SomatoEmotional Release

SomatoEmotional Release expands the principles of Craniosacral Therapy and is effective in dissipating energy cysts and repressed emotions that keep traumatic energy trapped so that the body doesn't heal completely. Suppressed emotions and traumas are a key factor in the development of muscular tension, high blood pressure, heart disease, immune weakness and disease.

cranial vault 4 hold
Photo of Occiptal Bridge by Ryan Holme of www.massagenerd.com

Dr. Upledger and colleague Dr. Zvi Karni used equipment that measured the electrical output of the patient's body while he/she was treated with CST. They discovered that sometimes if the body was moved into a different position, the craniosacral rhythm would stop and the pain would also stop. Often the patient expressed strong emotion while in this therapeutic position, sometimes vividly remembering the original injury. When the craniosacral rhythm began again, the pain did not return, and the emotion that was attached to the event was gone.

This research led to the development of SomatoEmotional Release (Somato= body and Emotional= feelings). Real healing begins when energy cysts are released, so that vital body energy is freed up. SomatoEmotional Release has been described as a way for clients to reconnect with their own inner wisdom and healing ability. The therapist facilitates this healing in a safe, caring environment, using gentle techniques to release physical tensions. Mind/body techniques like therapeutic imagery and dialogue, energy modalities, and breathing techniques are also used to facilitate the expression and release of suppressed emotion and trauma during SomatoEmotional Release.

Suzanne's Qualifications

IAHP logoSuzanne took her first class in Craniosacral Therapy while still in school at the Whole You School of Bodywork and Massage. She so loved the work that she immediately enrolled in Craniosacral Therapy I with the Upledger Institute and finished that class even before she had her massage license. She followed with two more classes from Upledger, Craniosacral Therapy II and SomatoEmotional Release I. She is now on the staff of the Upledger Institute as a teaching assistant and assists in CST I and CST II classes. She is enrolled in more classes at Upledger and has taken classes in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, a branch of CST as taught by Franklyn Sills.Suzanne plans to continue her training in this fascinating healing modality. She is a member of the International Assocation of Healthcare Practitioners. You can visit her page on that site by clicking here.

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CST was pioneered by Dr. William Sutherland and further developed by Dr. John E. Upledger, an osteopathic physician who conducted extensive scientific studies from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics.

How an energy cyst is formed:

energy cyst fall 1When the person falls, kinetic energy enters the body on impact.

energy cyst 2As the person tenses, the jarring of the fall creates additional kinetic patterns that travel through the body. These are exaggerated if strong emotion is felt by the person as he/she is falling.

energy cyst 3The kinetic energy traveling in the body creates an energetic signature along its path until it exits the body. If the physical and emotional force of the impact is greater than the body's ability to dissipate it, the signature remains in the body.

energy cyst 4The body begins to enclose the energetic signature of the injury so that the body can continue to function and heal from the physical injury. Long after the physical healing has occurred, the energy cyst can cause problems.

The energy cyst resides in the body and obstructs the efficient conduction of electricity (nerve impulses). It acts as an irritant that impedes optimal functioning.

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