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  • Rachel Esbjornson

What is CranioSacral Therapy?

As many of you are aware, I have been receiving training in CranioSacral Therapy through the Upledger Institute. I was first introduced to CranioSacral therapy while I was at Arizona School for Integrative Studies pursuing training in massage. My classroom experiences of this subtle yet powerful bodywork modality quickly piqued my interest and I knew I wanted to learn more. CranioSacral therapy is a newer bodywork modality so some people are not familiar with it. However, more and more massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, and people in various other health professions are receiving training in CranioSacral Therapy. Perhaps some of you are wondering what this modality is and how it is similar and different from a typical massage.  CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle, light touch bodywork modality that releases tensions in the central nervous system so that every other system in the body can relax, self-correct, and free itself from pain and discomfort. The CranioSacral system is comprised of the membrane and cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. Restrictions in the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid effect the body's ability to resolve stress. This can lead to dis-ease or pain in other parts of the body. CranioSacral techniques help restore and re-balance the craniosacral system, release connective tissue restrictions, and calm the central nervous system. Both massage and CranioSacral Therapy work to release tissue restrictions, but the approach and techniques are different. During massage sessions the therapist uses more pressure to manipulate the connective tissue/fascia, whereas CranioSacral therapy techniques use a much lighter touch that still engage the tissues. 


CranioSacral therapy can take place as its own session or in conjunction with massage. I've been doing more sessions where I start with an hour or an hour and a half of massage and end with either a half hour or hour of CranioSacral therapy. Even though CranioSacral therapy uses a lighter touch, it often addresses deeper layers within the body making it a wonderful compliment to massage. How a CranioSacral therapy session unfolds is unique to each individual and each session.


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