“As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” Dr. William Sutherland
by Tomi Knutson, CMT
Craniosacral therapy is a healing modality that grew out of Osteopathy, the ancient art of bone-setting and it has a long history of development through the life and work of AT Still and WG Sutherland. It is a gentle hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the function of the craniosacral system. This physiological system helps protect and assist the delicate tissues of our central nervous system and is comprised of the bones of the head, spine, face and mouth as well as the fascia and more delicate membranes and fluids contained within. Like the heart, the craniosacral system has a regular rhythm, only slower and more subtle. Just as the heart pumps needed blood to the rest of the body, the craniosacral system pumps important fluid–cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)–between the brain and spinal area. By listening into the craniosacral rhythm, the CS Therapist is able to assist the body in releasing restrictions in the craniosacral system which in turn help the heart, mind and spirit to access it’s own innate wisdom and heal itself.
During the birthing process the infant undergoes a complex physiological transition, as does the mother. This natural process is often interrupted. As a result, the infant can come into the world with birth-related trauma and an unfinished story. By tuning into the infants craniosacral system, and listening to the birth story the Craniosacral Therapist helps the infant and parent(s) complete their birth process and story together. As mom and baby are intimately linked, the resolution of this story helps baby feel more at ease within itself, more bonded to its parents and more ready to handle the big world out there. In tandem, for mom (and partner), completing this process results in increased levels of bonding and attachment, deeper fulfillment and therefore more confidence in their role as parents.
Common reasons parents seek Craniosacral Therapy:
- Well-being of infant
- A suggestion made by a friend, Bodyworker, Doctor or Lactation Consultant
- The infant is “fussy,” “grunty,” or seems unhappy
- One or both parents are anxious or worried all the time
- Sleeping concerns for baby or parents
- Breastfeeding challenges, including tongue tie or tight jaw
- The infant’s breathing is labored and/or not consistent
- Digestive issues; including Colic, Reflux, Constipation
- A difficult birth; due to long labor or pushing stage, Cesarean Delivery, or use of instruments
- Infant has a tendency to turn its head to one side, or Torticolli
- Infant’s head is misshapen, and/or has bumps or ridges, etc.
Craniosacral Therapy helps older kids with:
- TMJ Syndrome
- Puberty: handling hormone changes and big emotions
- Emotional distress
- Parent/child conflicts
- Loss of family member or pet
- Adoption and/or blended families
Craniosacral Session: The session begins after a thorough consultation and typically lasts an hour. It is preferable both parents attend each session. It is expected the infant will need to nurse during the session and the practitioner will make necessary accommodations available. The number of sessions recommended depends on the needs and responsiveness of the infant. Infants and children can experience a deep state of calm and well-being and may fall asleep on the table. Parents often report that their child appears relaxed and peaceful for days after the session, with a cumulative effect over a number of sessions.