Cranial Therapy Cranial Therapy is a gentle non-invasive technique that uses the gentlest series of holds and stimulations on the client’s head that help release blockages and restrictions held deep within the body and/or induce stillpoint. Stillpoint temporarily stops your cranio-sacral rhythm, which allows your system to ‘reset’ itself.
Research According to the research of The Cranial Therapy Centre in Canada, when your body enters a stillpoint, your "autonomic nervous system switches polarity from adrenal, or stress drive, into relaxed function, allowing the body to sink deeper and deeper into parasympathetic dominance. In this state, the body is guided into self-healing mode, encouraging better digestion, assimilation, elimination, detoxification, and immune function. Stillpoints reduce muscle tonus*, pain, headaches, stress headaches, hyperactivity, insomnia, and ADD/HD. Stress-related illnesses are helped and degenerative diseases are slowed in their progress… In essence, the stillpoint becomes an autonomic nervous system balancer enabling appropriate responses to stress including needed repair and relaxation."
*Muscle Tonus — The state of activity or tension of a muscle beyond that related to its physical properties, that is, its active resistance to stretch.
Cranial Therapy was developed from osteopathy which is a science that recognizes the interaction of all parts of the body in creating the whole functioning unit. By monitoring and balancing the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which surrounds the brain and spinal cord; regulating the pulsating of the cranial rhythm impulse (CRI) and enhancing respiratory function, the many and varied conditions created in the nervous system and the body as a whole can be brought back into balance.
Anatomy The cranium is the bony bubble that surrounds and protects our brain. It is made up of 14 different bones and the keystone is called the "sphenoid." This wedge-shaped bone is located deep in the base of the skull. Because the sphenoid articulates with most of the other bones of the cranium, working with the sphenoid directly influences the cranial rhythm and motion of all the bones of the skull.
Where the cranial bones meet is called a suture. Some sutures interdigitate, like lacing your fingers; other sutures have sliding plates or simply butt up against each other. Contrary to popular belief, the sutures are not completely fused, but actually have the ability to allow very slight movement, about a tenth of a millimeter. Sutures operate similarly to the way vertebral discs work in the spine. They allow for compression and tension release.
There are many theories to why the cranial bones move. Some believe that the motion has to do with rhythmic excretion of the cerebrospinal fluid, which changes the pressure in the cranium causing the bones to move. Others believe the motion comes from an inherent movement in the brain itself, and still others feel that it is related to rhythmic contraction of the muscles connected to the cranium. No matter what theory is correct, the most important part is that the cranium does move.
How Does It Work? Inside your cranium there is a membrane called the dura mater that adheres to the bone. Beneath the dura mater, before the next layer of membrane, is cerebrospinal fluid. Similarly, in the spine, there is the bone of the vertebra, a layer of membrane within the vertebra and then cerebrospinal fluid before the next layer of membrane. In both places, the cranium and the spine, there is a total of three layers of membrane between bone and the brain or spinal cord.
Irregularities in the regular flow of the cerebrospinal fluid that lubricates these membranes can cause difficulties for parts of the body related to the area where the problem resides. The practitioner examines the body of a client for indications of problems. This process involves a very light touch and testing the range of motion of the limbs. Then the practitioner will use the weight of the client's head and very gentle pressure to improve the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid.
When the practitioner touches the bone, even with the recommended 5 grams of pressure (about the weight of a quarter), a new influence is set upon the bone. This small amount of pressure is called a fulcrum. There are four possible outcomes of a fulcrum — release, unwinding, stillpoint andno change.
Release When a barrier dissolves and the bone is able to resume its natural movement pattern. Unwinding A change in the facial tensions that induce spontaneous movement in the client's body.
Stillpoint When the cranial rhythm momentarily comes to a stop. During the stillpoint the body reorganizes, and afterwards the cranial rhythm is usually stronger and more balanced
No Change When there are no restrictions to release. The light finger pressure combined with the therapist’s sensitivity to the cranial rhythm is what facilitates a release. Many of the cranial techniques apply this light compression, which loosens the sensitive reciprocal tension membrane, allowing it to unwind.
What To Expect Cranial Therapy is done in a softly lit room with the client lying fully clothed on a gently warmed massage table. Soothing aroma and music therapies are taking place simultaneously in the background. Outwardly, the treatment can seem very passive and uneventful. Many of the movements are imperceptible to the client on a conscious level. People vary in their sensitivity to their body and its sensations. Some people experience emotions, memories, physical sensations, insights into patterns or problems in their lives. Other people feel like they’ve gone to sleep. Regardless of what the conscious mind thinks, this work taps into the nervous system and subconscious levels which can have profound impacts.
Who Benefits from Cranial Therapy? Cranial Therapy is a gentle, non-invasive approach that respects the individual’s process of change, generally following their pace rather than leading or pushing for results. Because of this, it is quite safe even for infants and the elderly. It is contraindicated, however, in certain conditions such as aneurysm, intracranial hemorrhage, skull fracture, and other conditions where altering intracranial fluid pressure is not advisable. Benefits Include You might come to HolEssence with headaches, chronic or recurring back and neck pain, after a major event — physical or emotional, during pregnancy or after childbirth, subsequent to a recent operation or illness, or simply because you feel ‘out of whack’. Using Cranial Therapy, we work together to bring your body through changes offering support to the nervous system, thus freeing up more energy for everyday life and the strains therein.
Complementary Modalities While Cranial Therapy had its origins in the medical model; many practitioners discovered that it could be easily incorporated with Eastern theories involving chakras and energy healing. The work requires sensitivity and respect for the body’s wisdom. While certain conditions or disease create similar patterns, each person is unique in how their body needs to be treated. It is like solving a 3-dimensional puzzle which requires you to do things in a very specific order. It’s just like that with humans — no two puzzles are ever the same.