What is Craniosacral Therapy?

Written by Georgia Webber, CST practitioner

Craniosacral Therapy (CST, also called cranial osteopathy) is a gentle form of touch therapy that prioritizes supporting and enhancing resources in the body, at the body’s own pace.  

CST works with the rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and the resulting subtle motions of the cranial bones, fascia, soft tissues in the body. The central nervous system (that the CSF flows through) endures all of the body stresses. When this system is stressed, tensions build and create restrictions that affect every part of the body. Releasing those tensions enables all the body’s systems to work more fluidly and effectively, including the immune response, vagal tone, and the body’s structural alignment. Through increased sensitivity in the hands, the practitioner locates restriction, tension, and stillness in the rhythm, and then provides light pressure or movement - only as much as the body invites, without resistance - to restore the full range and ease of motion to the restricted areas.

CST is also a helpful practice for reconnecting mind and body, bringing relaxation, awareness, and a sense of wholeness to the client. It is not uncommon for clients of CST to feel more calm and aware of themselves overall, and to discover and release areas of the body that may be holding on to built up emotional tensions, in addition to physical injuries and traumas.

Craniosacral Therapy is not intended as primary healthcare but to work alongside the relationship you have with your doctor. For advice about whether Craniosacral Therapy is right for you, please speak to your practitioner.

Who should get CST?

People may come for Craniosacral Therapy because they have acute physical problems like headaches or bad backs, or long-standing problems both physical and emotional. Others come for ongoing support in their busy lives and for help to meet life’s challenges.

In our busy, stimulating, screen-filled lives, we rarely find the time to truly listen to our own bodies, to ask what they need on an intuitive level. Often, we find it difficult or impossible to relax, or wake up each morning feeling that despite 8 hours of sleep, we haven’t truly rested. The first effects of CST in most clients is a profound sense of relaxation and restfulness. Once this restful state has been achieved, the parasympathetic nervous system (the “rest and digest” function) is in control, and the practitioner uses their hands to encourage release while in this calm state.

CST is so gentle that it has  a wide range of applications, and supports the healing process in many conditions. CST is beneficial for conditions such as:

  • birth traumas and other perinatal challenges

  • infant latching and feeding difficulties

  • recurrent ear infections

  • facial asymmetries and eye motor problems

  • learning disabilities, A.D.D., A.D.H.D

  • gross and fine motor problems

  • developmental delays, autism

  • headaches

  • tinnitus, hearing loss and vertigo

  • TMJ syndrome

  • stress disorders and insomnia

  • muscle and joint pain or injury

  • many neurological conditions and pain syndromes

Because it is so gentle and non-invasive, Craniosacral Therapy is suitable for everyone from newborns to the elderly. Mothers and babies often come for problems associated with difficult or traumatic births. Letting go of tension and fear held in the body enables both to settle into calmness.

 

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Georgia Webber

I like to say I was raised on Craniosacral Therapy. I grew up with my mother and both of my best friend’s parents practicing Cranio, and I received a great deal of their care throughout my life - but I never guessed that my own journey would lead me right back where I started.

It was my third health crisis that finally woke me up to the messages my body was sending. I was writing and drawing a series of comics about my chronic voice pain when my hands gave out. I was suffering every day from stomach pain that had arrived when I was ten, and never left. I thought I was coping, but I was exhausted, lonely, depressed, and so anxious I was vibrating inside my skin. I had a folder full of diagnoses from various professionals who treated me badly and whose treatments just never seemed to work. I felt trapped in my pain, succumbed to it as a constant in my life. But without my hands, I was forced to stop and reevaluate: how could I listen to my body better?

Being of many passions and curiosities, I went in every direction at once. Herbalism, Somatic Experiencing, Meditation, Nonviolent Communication, Craniosacral Therapy - I continue to study all of them today, because there is no one way to listen to myself or anyone else.

I completed Advanced Craniosacral Therapy (CST) with Robert Harris of The Cranial Therapy Centre in Toronto in January 2016. In June, I embarked on a new, 2-year training in another form of the work: Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST). My professional work remains with my original training, but I also offer free half hour sessions of BCST, as a part of my learning process.

For more information on Craniosacral Therapy and Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, please visit my website: www.georgiawebber.com.

As I complete my courses and trainings, I will update my list of services. For now, my two areas of professional work are Craniosacral Therapy and Full Spectrum Doula support.

In my various pursuits of learning and healing, a few things remain constant:

  • curiosity is key
  • listen first
  • it is impossible to prevent all pain - but the sooner you respond to pain, the less you suffer; the less you suffer, the faster you heal.

In life, and in my Craniosacral work, I practice trauma-informed care, radical validation,  anti-oppression and anti-racism, deep listening, and participatory healthcare. What do all those words mean? They mean that I let you tell me who you are. Your body always leads the way.

Above all, I am here to support you, to trust you, and to facilitate the healing you are already trying to do. Everyone needs safe space to let go. My work is to provide what is needed.

I identify as a cisgendered queer woman, preferring “she/her” pronouns. I invite all my clients to identify their true selves as they feel safe to, with no obligation to disclose assigned identities. This absolutely includes my doula care. I welcome all birthing bodies, families of all shapes and sizes, and all backgrounds -- on my clients’ terms.

I have struggled over the years with the inaccessibility of holistic healthcare, and I have also received great generosity on the part of my healthcare practitioners.  To provide my clients options for both accessibility and generosity, I offer my Craniosacral and Postpartum Doula services at two rates.

Craniosacral Therapy

If you are able to do so, paying the full rate of $75/hour will subsidize another client’s need to pay the reduced rate of $40/hour**. In this way, your care for yourself is also care for another.

Full Spectrum Doula Support

Birth Package: $950. Includes 2 prenatal visits, a birth plan, one month of on-call support, and one postpartum visit.

Postpartum care: If you are able to do so, paying the full rate of $30/hour will subsidize those accessing the reduced rate of $18/hour**. Package buying also reduces the hourly rate, and there is a minimum 3-hour requirement for engaging my services.

**If you require the reduced rate or another arrangement to access my services, please get in touch to discuss what is best for you.

Georgia peut aussi vous servir en français, selon votre confort.

 

 

What is a craniosacral session like?

our practitioner will take a written case history, listening with care to the reasons for your visit. This part of the session is important, both for gathering information and to establish a good connection and understanding with your practitioner. The session typically lasts an hour.

You remain clothed and will usually lie face up or on your side, or you may be seated. With your permission, the practitioner makes light contact with your head, the base of your spine, and other areas, encouraging your body to relax and begin to make the changes it needs.  

The practitioner first senses the body's rhythms, specifically the rhythm of craniosacral fluid increasing and decreasing in the area between the brain and skull and all the way down the spine. Through increased sensitivity in the hands, the practitioner locates areas of restriction, tension, and stillness in the rhythm, and then provides light pressure or movement - only as much as the body invites without resistance - to restore the full range of motion to the restricted area.

In Craniosacral Therapy, the body directs the practitioner, not the other way around.