Modalities for Relaxation & Peak Performance
What is CranioSacral Therapy?
CranioSacral therapy is a therapeutic technique that helps re-establish the proper flow of cerebral spinal fluid throughout the Dural Tube. The Dural Tube is a tadpole like structure that surrounds our brain and extends though the center of the spinal column all the way down to our tail bone. Cerebral Spinal Fluid fills the Dural Tube, cushions our brain and spinal column, like a shock absorber, brings nourishment to our nerves, and transports waste material to be recycled. When a restriction or blockage occurs in the Dural Tube, the flow of nourishment is impaired and can affect the optimal performance of nerves and the organs they innervate. CranioSacral Therapy attempts to resolve restrictions and provide optimal flow of nourishment throughout the Dural Tube. It is much like watering a garden. When one area of the garden is not watered, plants struggle and whither compared to the rest of the well watered garden. CST is used to identify the location of disturbances, and then we attempt to resolve or fix these impairments so that your “body’s entire garden can get water” and optimal health is promoted.
How can it help me?
In general, everyone has some restrictions that exist. We may acquire blockages to unrestricted CSF flow through surgery, daily living, the birth process, impacts to our body, stress, etc., without ever noticing it during the actual event. CST can help restore improve nutrient circulation and aid in the removal of waste products and toxins as the cerebral spinal fluid moves unencumbered throughout the Dural Tube. Once the membrane restrictions are alleviated, improvements in overall well-being result.
How many sessions will I need for my problem?
The number of sessions for any problem is affected by how long a person has had the issue, their age, and present health. Many times significant progress is made in the initial sessions but as a rule so the body does not revert back into a stuck dysfunction state I recommend 10 sessions more or less.
For most people a typical therapy plan would look like the following;
10 Step Protocol: (No more than 2 times/week)
6 sessions 2/week for 3 weeks
3 sessions 1/week for 3 weeks
1 session 1/month for 1 month… to 4 months
10 – 14 sessions total over 3-6 months
Normally released fascia will not return because it was broken up at the sources. A restriction will not automatically reform based on pure tissue memory behavior but if the client keeps doing what caused it, then more restrictions will be reformed. So a client may have to come in more often because a fixed problem gets re-damaged. Such is the case with athletes. You may enter a maintenance mode which will require less frequent but continuous visits to clear out new and repetitive injuries.
I didn't feel much, why not?
The body tends to accept very weak forces and polarize against strong forces as a protection mechanism. CranioSacral Therapy uses very light subtle forces in order to affect positive changes that allow the body to rebalance to a healthier homeodynamic status. For this reason you may not “feel” very much in the way of physical contact during a session, however, profound affects may be perceived during or after as session as changes occur and the body rebalances itself.
How come I feel pain in my _____ when I didn't feel it at the beginning of the session?
As restrictions are lifted and the body rebalances toxins are released, and improved nutrient flow occurs, nerves can function better. This process sometimes manifests itself as pain especially as toxins are released and are reprocessed. New improved positioning of bodily structures can involve stretching or contracting muscles as positions are corrected and this can produce some initial discomfort as proper alignment is established. Once the rebalancing is complete the pain should subside and the flow of nutrients and waste products occurs more freely. As Energetic Cysts are removed a person may even repeat motions involved in their original traumatic injury. Traumatic injuries are stored in the brain as physical event; once these are released a sort of physical unwinding may occur. Once the trauma action is released it no longer is held by the body and improved well being occurs.
Explain the clinical application and indications for using CranioSacral Therapy.
The clinical indications for the various applications of craniosacral therapy are, arranged by application:
Frontal Lift is used to release the sutures of the frontal bone and the anterior/posterior Falx Cerebri and Falx Cerebelli. Indications for this procedure include; headaches/migraines, sinus problems, CP, Frontal accidents (falls, mva), decreased smell or taste.
Parietal Lift is used to release the temporal-parietal suture and the superior/inferior aspect of the Falx Cerebri and Falx Cerebelli. Indications for this procedure include headaches/migraines, Transient Ischemia Attacks (mini strokes), general motor problems, general sensory problems, and/or forceps/suction delivery problems.
Sphenoid Compression/Decompression; mobilizes the horizontal membrane system so it may affect vision by affecting nerves related to vision; lazy eye, etc. Other indications are for headaches, endocrine dysfunctions, depression, macular degeneration, glaucoma, neck/low back aches, scoliosis, TMJD, Autism, and Seizures.
Temporal Ear Pull is used to release the lateral aspect of the Tentorium Cerebelli. Indications for this procedure include; Headache/Migraines, Learning Difficulties Dyslexia – Letters – right temporal bone Dyscalilia – Numbers – Left Temporal Bone, Hearing impairments, Tinnitus, Balance Disorder, Dizziness, Ear Infections, TMJ, Seizure disorders, jugular foramen, eye motor problems, Neuralgia; Bells Palsy, Trigeminal Nerve issues.
TMJ Compression/Decompression is used to release the soft tissue aspects of the TMJ that can affect the extracranial aspects of posture/biomechanical imbalance, and facial restrictions. It also affects intercranially by affecting temporal bone alignments.
OCB Release mobilizes the dural tube from the cranium. Pain spasms after a car wreck, heart arrhythmia, stress related issues (parasympathetic control issues) Contraindications; recent (unhealed) fractures of C1, C2, and Children under 8 years old. Cautions are RA and Downs syndrome.
Rock and Glide; post disk surgery (create Dural Sleeve restrictions which can create radiating pain symptoms)
Still Points; release accumulated stress, hyper-autonomic problems; high blood pressure, peptic ulcers, etc, reduce sympathetic tone. Contraindications – acute stroke, cerebral aneurysm, or any conditions in which fluid pressure changes within the skull could be detrimental.
There are only a few CST contraindications to the more directly contacting CST techniques; Acute CVA (stroke), Recent open cavity head wound, hemorrhage, Epidural leaks (wait 24 hours after epidurals), unhealed fractures to the vertebrae, and brain stem herination,
CranioSacral Therapy Palpation has three components; pressure, sense and location. Palpation pressure in massage and other therapeutic techniques can vary greatly in the amount of force uses depending on the technique, but certainly in many modalities palpation pressure exceeds 5 grams of force. Craniosacral Therapy uses very light palpation and therapeutic forces that are generally 5 grams or less.
Compare this weak force to that used in Trigger point therapy. Trigger Point pressure is increased until discomfort is set up about 5/10 scale and held until it feels like the pressure has been reduced and the pain level drops to about 2/10. Then even more pressure is added until the muscle finally releases due to ischemic compression starving it of blood supply. This procedure creates a strongly visible depression below normal skin levels, deeply deforming the skin as a result of very high point source pressure. This pressure is extremely heavy compared to say the maximum CST pressure of 5 grams of force which is about the weight of a nickel coin resting atop a finger which does not depress the surface of the skin at all, or if so every so slightly, and certainly not inch(es) deep as is the case with Trigger Point therapy.
Many times with Craniosacral Therapy we are sensing for foreign energetic disturbances that have been set up within the body as walled off isolated dysfunctional states that become “energetic cysts”. As we actively palpate a client during craniosacral therapy, we are blending with their energetic fields and many times, as with arching, are above the body entirely so only our energy fields contact each other so the palpation is indirectly performed in a non-physical contact manner, or 0 grams of force is applied. If and when we use direct palpation we actually are barely touching the client in order to limit our “touch” to 5 grams or less of pressure.
To understand the concept of blending energy fields, consider the fact that the energy emitted at our palms has generally been measured at around 11 picoamps. This means we are an energy source just as our client is an energetic source and both of us have electromagnetic energy fields that intermingle as they project outward from our bodies. This is something we can sense. When we work with clients our energetic fields interact both on a spiritual, electrical and magnetic level, so that you are able to sense where there are energetic imbalances. These imbalances can be beneficially affected by correctly blending our fields and are sometimes augmented by applications of slight forces to help improvement/alignment of structures that may be slightly askew and affecting the optimal flow of nutrients and energy.
Our thoughts and actions also affect these fields. For this reason we need to be well grounded and serve as a vehicle to allow universal energy to pass through use so that we may pass energy to the client without depleting or negatively impacting our own energy. It is possible to take, or give, energy from a client. When we palpate, whether we actually touch the client or not, we are receiving and sending vast amount of energetic information and the body will respond to this stimuli.
Weak forces tend to be adopted and used by the body whereas overly strong forces tend to be rejected as the body’s cells begin to polarize against too much energy as a protection mechanism. For this reason CST corrective action protocols use very low forces over a sustained period of time to help facilitate the body’s movement though corrective rebalancing as the body/mind connection adapts. During the palpation process we are sensing subtle information; movements, energy flow, heat, field strength, tissue tone, etc and this requires an extremely light touch or no direct touch at all, just the ability to “feel” or “sense” the energy flow as we use our “intention” to blend with the client and focus on positive results.
During a Craniosacral Therapy session we rest our hands on a client, blend with the client and let the craniosacral rhythm come to us, feeling the affects of the flexion and extension phases as we lighten our touch until the bare minimum pressure is reached where you can still sense the craniosacral rhythm. Eventually practitioners are able to sense the craniosacral rhythm of a person without even touching them directly (inches away from direct bodily contact). CST is more like Reiki in this regard, not touching the body directly to sense issues but rather blending with energetic fields.
The craniosacral pulse can be palpated or felt throughout the body. It has two phases; flexion and extension. Flexion is a filling phase and extension is a contraction/emptying phase. Relative to the cranium; flexion is perceived as a widening or expansion of the skull whereas the extension phase is felt as a narrowing of the skull. Other paired bones such as the right and left leg, rotate externally with expansion and rotate internally during the filling or flexion phase of the craniosacral rhythm. Single bones tend to show flexion movement toward the feet while the expansion phase moves single bones toward the head.
Palpation is used to determine the type and extent of restriction the Dural Membrane and fascial diaphragms are experiencing at a certain location. An osseous restriction is firm and immovable. This is the type of restriction you find at the sutures whereas a membranous restriction has an elastic quality, like a rubber band that stretches with traction but tends to want to snap back into position. With sufficient low pressure traction the elastic restriction eventually ends and there is no tendency for the membrane to snap back. It feels as if the structure is free floating. Once there is no elastic recoil, the tissue memory is gone. This represents a viscous change and signals the end of the therapeutic process and the corrective action is completed. As the Dural Tube is tractioned, restrictive locations can be identified relative to spinal location and held under traction until they release. The location of the restriction may indicate what innervated organs or tissues could be adversely impacted by this restriction limiting the flow of nutrients to all areas of the associated vertebrae.
Many times we use our sense of energetic disturbance to locate either restrictions in the Dural Tube and/or energetic cysts. Once a restriction or energetic cyst is located, we apply therapeutic techniques to resolve the issue. The location of these disruptions may occur anywhere in the body and CST palpation techniques aid us in the finding the center of the disturbance so it may be treated.
The 10 STEP CST PROTOCOL:
1. STILL POINT (3 types, CV-4 is best) Note- It is OK to do only 1 Still point as a therapy session.
CV-4 Still Point Induction: crossed palms, thenar pads under Occipital Protuberance, keep off mastoid
Still Point Induction through the legs/feet:
Still Point Induction through sacrum:
Hand centered under posterior sacrum (between legs), elbow on table, traction superiorly
2. DIAPHRAM RELEASE
Pelvic Diaphragm Release: “Thumbs up Rule” (pg 33)
Transverse: on superior aspect of pubic bone / Under L5-S1+Sacrum, finger pads on spinal processes
Respiratory Diaphragm Release:
Ribs/Xiphoid Process / Transverse under T12/L1 so spine lies in & along start of fingers & border of palm
Thoracic Inlet Release:
Thumb and index finger on opposite sides of clavicle / Posterior Hand – Palm of hand cupping C7/T1
Hyoid release: Use 1-2 grams only! (Pg 51)
Thumb & Index finger on Hyoid / Index finger on Occiput & cupping finger Pads on Cervical Vertebrae
PLATFORM: Pinkies out of the way; Transverse fingertips posterior to ATLAS, fingers toward orbits of the eyes, Finger pads on Occiput, finger tips on soft squishy muscle, drop to bone feel
O/A GAP: Stabilize C1 with 1st 2 fingers, index finger and middle finger on either side of Occiput Traction Occiput Superiorly with 5 gms, using fingers 4 and 5 to viscous compliance
CONDYLAR SPREAD: 4 finger pads of both hands are interacting with the Occiput, Lateral Spread
DURAL TUBE TRACTION: 1-3 grams Hands Cradle Occiput, Thumbs below ears. Superior traction
3. SACRAL TECHNIQUE
Transverse finger pad tips against L3, L4, L5 Vertebra. Hand2 is parallel to spine and cups sacrum
Traction Sacrum Inferiorly to Release Bony Structure
Medial Compression of ASIS: to release SI Joint (illac Gap)
Create Illac Gap: Medially squeeze both ASISs using your elbow and cupped hand using 5 grams Force
Dural Tube Traction:
Remove Hand2 from ASIS, rest elbow of hand cupping sacrum on table and traction inferiorly
Traction inferiorly DURAL Tube until viscous release, Note restrictions, viscous release
4. DURAL TUBE ROCK & GLIDE
Dural Tube Rock:
Hand1 transversely cups heavy part of Sacrum. Hand2 transversely cups heavy part of Occiput
Dural Tube Glide:
Hand1 transversely cups heavy part of Sacrum, Hand2 transversely cups heavy part of Occiput
5 gram sliding nudge of sacrum toward feet at end of motion, 0 gram nudge at Occiput
5 gram sliding nudge of Occiput superiorly at end of motion, 0 gram nudge at Sacrum
5. FRONTAL LIFT
Whole finger contact with Frontal Bone, Thumbs side by side and off cranium
Fingers transverse to eyebrow line; Finger2@Fp (3rd eye). Finger3 (middle)@eyebrow center
F4 (Ring Finger) move along eyebrow line until it drops (the lateral ridge of Frontal Bone)
Use whole finger contact, lift (5 gms force) anteriorly (toward ceiling) to viscous compliance
6. PARIETAL LIFT
Thumbs together and atop each other but lifted off skull. 4 finger pads on lateral ridge above Parietal/ Temporal Suture, clench teeth; if you feel the temporal muscles, too low, move upward.
MEDIAL COMPRESSION: 5 gms Force medially Wait 10 seconds (for fluid exchange)
SUPERIOR LIFT: Membrane restriction release – like rubber bands, to Viscous Compliance
7. SPHENOID COMPRESSION/DECOMPRESSION
Thumbs on soft fleshy part of temple, palms over ears,
fingers around Occiput (like 3rd Vault) and usually the fingers tips of both hands touch Occiput
Apply 5 gms Force Posteriorly with thumbs @ sphenoid until elevator hits floor” hard end feel.
Apply 5 gms force Superiorly (toward ceiling) with thumbs @ sphenoid to viscous compliance
8. TEMPORAL (Ear Pull) RELEASE
Hands on back of head, Thumbs inferior to tips Mastoid bone Fingers on top of each other under cranium
WOBBLE – to release suture.
Create barrier to one side’s expansion, make “windshield wiper” effect during extreme narrowing
FINGER IN EAR (FIE) – rotation and free up suture “Oreo Cookie”
Middle finger in ear, Ringer finger at Mastoid, Index at Zygomatic Arch (Cheek Bone/TMJ)
Create barrier to one side’s rotation, bring out of synch (unscrew Oreo Cookie)
Grasp cartilage at ear meatus and pull at a 45° Angle (tent pole lines) to viscous compliance
9. TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ)
Use hands palpate to angle of jaw ¾ inch anterior top notch, hook middle fingers into antigonal notch, leave other fingers resting on mandible. Fingers 3 and 4 contacting entire Ramus of mandible from condylar head to the angle.
Lift Superiorly using 5 gms Force (toward ceiling) to firm end feel “elevator hits ceiling”
Slide fingers up ½ inch. Finger pads are on Ramus of Mandible, blend with the mandible
Push inferiorly 5 gms toward feet to viscous compliance. Then add 10° Anterior Lift for 3 to 5 seconds
10. STILLPOINT Same as Step 1.
CV-4 Still Point Induction:
Place thenar pads under Occipital Protuberance, keep off mastoid sutures.
ASSES SQAR/ Create Barrier / Unsynch for 3-5 cycles/ Allow Resync./ Reassess SQAR
ADDITIONAL THERAPY NOTES:
· It is OK to do only 1 Still Point as a therapy session.
· Add Cranial Pumping and/or Direction of Energy anywhere in CST 10 Step Protocol
CRANIAL PUMPING - Improves production and circulation of CSF
First Vault Hold: (Spock Hold)
Both hands cupping lateral sides of skull, thumbs touching at crown (Cz) Occiput and fingers spread out on the lateral aspect of the cranium making conforming light contact. (Middle finger over ear).
Enhance Flexion and Extension phases by addition of 5 grams at end of each cycle Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Second Vault Hold: (Vulcan Mind Meld “ Live Long and Prosper”)
Vulcan spread Palms on forehead at eyebrow line, thumb and 5th finger at greater wings of sphenoid
Posterior Hand – Parallel to body, palm cupping Occiput with thumb below ear
Enhance Flexion and Extension phases by addition of 5 grams at end of each cycle. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Third Vault Hold: (Sphenoid Hold)
Both hands cupping occiput with thumbs above ears at greater wings of the sphenoid
Enhance Flexion and Extension phases by addition of 5 grams at end of each cycle. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
DIRECTION OF ENERGY:
Be a conduit, Keep yourself grounded, Don’t take on their stuff and don’t give up all of yours
Put hands on, if “V spread”, over a suture, straddle the “V’d” fingers of 1 hand on either side of the suture and point toward the V with the other hand ‘s finger, “intention” the flow of energy
Offer Energy from the universe or offer the inner physician whatever it need to heal
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