"How do I best describe what happens within a Craniosacral Therapy Session" ~ Becky

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

Flexion / Extension of Skull

June 21. 2019

If you have read any of the information posted on our page that describes what a Craniosacral Therapy session can help treat, it is a pretty good sized list.  What I have come to understand after bearing witness to the thousands of human experience of true healing is that the process is very unique, distinct, palpable, mind blowing and miraculous.  Those are some heavy words to describe body work, but I don't see it as just the physical form but rather as a whole body awareness that has been dialed up with intention, focused energy and essentially a witness to help the body and mind overcome the barrier of being "human".  

99% of my patients have been referred by someone who can't tell them exactly what Craniosacral does, or how to describe what their experience was like during a treatment BUT they do tell people that it was like afterwards.  "My symptoms disappeared and the pain was gone without having to do more than lay on a table and "she puts her hands on you".   

That doesn't give the general population much information to go off of. 

Let's try this...

Craniosacral Therapy is like magic in many ways because it challenges the left side of our brain - our contemplative, science driven left brain. We feel pain because we missed the warning signals.  I challenge you to conceptualize that trauma, life, dreams, memories, emotional health, birth, conversations - spoken and by-standard, social media; all of these experiences are retained in some capacity within not only our mind, but within the tissues of the body.  How long we hold on to pain? when it has become a story we've identify with and makes us relate-able to the experiences other people are going through. These painful experiences have left an energy signature, trapped in the tissue until it is ready to be resolved. Its like putting that experience in an energetic container - putting up a physical and energetic barrier and buried until we are ready to fully resolve the issue and ready to let go of the pain AND the story. 

Over time it, the thing we have buried becomes chronic pain, a disease or symptoms of a dysfunction within the body organs or tissues.  I don't have the answers to why our body stores it up, but it does; I have placed hands on people and have just waited for the tissues to change, that simple act is enough to facilitate the process. It is a fascinating experience that takes patience, and I do nothing but hold space for you while your body lets go.

So what actually happens in a treatment now that your mind is filling up with questions and you're thinking about your own pain? Like with all body work, paperwork is filled out, you have been introduced to me and I take you into the treatment room.  I will scan your chart but not give it too much attention because I don't want to be influenced by what you think you know; My role is to be neutral and allow you the patient, have a place and someone to be neutral for you; without expectations or direct a specific outcome.  It is often better to come in and be fresh to let the body tell me where to start.  Next you climb up onto my sweet air filled mattress on the massage table and get comfy, and we will takes a breath together.  I will start at your feet and take a "read" of how your CSF fluid is moving as your body moves through Flexion and Extension. What this means is that your Cerebral Spinal Fluid has a variable pressure that is palpable throughout the body, this fluid rates decrease in areas that are dysfunctional. I'm feeling for Symmetry from left to right, Quality of movement, Amplitude, and lastly Rate- depending on adult, child or infant; this rate is measured, recorded and referenced and is baseline for future.

This is significant to me because it gives me a picture of how or where there may be dysfunction; is it above or below a certain point and I work my way up "listening stations" legs, pelvis, lowest ribs, clavicles, and the base of the skull to feel how it relates to the flexion and extension below and go from there.  Pain "hot spots" are often sites of trauma- physical, emotional or symptom of something else.  It is often not the spot you think it is and so I will never go where you tell me to. (Unless it comes from your inner wisdom). 9 out of 10 times pain will not present where you "feel it".  When I land in a location of issue, the tissue feels like I've hit a speed bump, or intuition tells me to stay here and wait for tissue release.  What you on the table might feel: heat, a little pulse where my hands are, movement in the tissue, cold or heat travelling into limbs, you might feel a little clammy or sweaty, breath may quicken or slow down; some people will have colors flow behind their eyes, have memories, or have an emotion rise up from no where. This is what a tissue release MIGHT be like for you because we are in the fascial tissue which is connected to everything including your nerve tissues.  The networking is not linear but like a fabric mesh that travels like a helix.  The treatment directly impacts your central nervous system and calms down while the body absorbs the information in the tissue as it releases.  

The Cranium releases come next- the hyoid bone, under your jaw which holds so much tension from trauma, occipital base will be released and I evaluate how the cranial bones are moving like I did in the torso.  Cranial bones move in more than one direction- the impact of this is significant because of the way bones get "stuck" against another bone or membrane can be what creates headaches, sinus issues, eye tracking disorders, TMJ Dysfunction, fuzziness, dizziness, etc. The cranium gets "stuck" in one plane of motion and has a hard time moving into the others is called a leison pattern where "symptoms" are signs of distress that has been missed. For babies and little kids I see jaw deviations and stuck tongue beds which lead to speech delay; I have babies who have had a difficult delivery who have been compressed or have not had a correct first compression of their skull and are stuck in flexion which creates colic, torticollis, sucking disorders, issues nursing etc.  later we see this translate into speech delays, learning disorders, personality disorders, anxiety, depression, headaches, pain etc. Using less than 5 grams of weight (a quarter) in my hands, I place them around the skull or in the mouth and assess flexion and extension, follow and wait until the bones move with greater ease, the rhythms adjust and attune to a more normal pattern. In is as few as one treatment, the nervous system self adjusts through the dura which translates globally to the tissues of the body.  Almost always when the cranium has released I will see the feet move into flexion, and extension from my seat at your head with greater ease and symmetry. After this has all transpired, I will give a still point, the one and only time I will adjust and stop your craniosacral rhythm in flexion or extension in your head and wait for it to turn back on; a still point leaves the body better than when we started and is hitting a reset button to your CSF production and absorption- it calms the entire system from the inside out and then lastly I'll check your feet one last time to re-evaluate your flexion and extension.

After a treatment you often need a few extra minutes to "ground" before you come off the table; It often feels like savasana in yoga which means "corpse pose";  the perfect analogy for leaving it all in room and taking nothing with you when you go. Some leave energy drunk, calm, present and feel lighter somehow; most people don't have a clue what that means or why how long it will last - which is about 24 hours give or take; CST continues to work deep within for a day or two. Pediatric parents report their little one's had the BEST sleep ever, which is also true for adults, by activating this deep system of the body you find another level of calm.


So I hope that gives you a little light on what really happens.  I hold space for people who have "tried everything"  and just allow the body to do what it needs to do within the confines of time.  For just a second, I want you to try to think about someone in your life that allows you to be 100% present with you, who does not carry expectation for you to be a certain way or reward them by having a specific outcome...it might be a VERY small list.  But what if you could be in a space of neutrality and let go; let go of control, ego, let your body unwind from past experiences, pain and anything you are carrying that is weighing you down and doesn't serve you, ultimate freedom to just be.  I can tell you again, that this is a sacred place to be, it is an honor to witness in the room when this happens and just being present with someone as their body surrenders. I get to witness miracles every day and this role is never work to me, but a privilege.

With much light and gratitude,


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