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Craniosacral Therapy: Releasing Emotions and Pain

Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a gentle hands on therapy technique that helps to release tensions deep within the body to relieve pain, dysfunction, and stored emotion from our cells. Everyday we encounter stress and strains in our body through activity, poor posture, inflammation, emotional trauma and stress. Our body tries to compensate in numerous ways. This often causes our body tissues to tighten, which can distort the craniosacral system (our brain, spine and cerebral spinal fluid that runs through it) and result in restrictions to health performance. The tightening of our body tissues affects our bones and muscles, organs, nerves, blood and lymph flow, by pulling on the fascia that surrounds them, creating blockages and misalignments.

Fascia is the connective tissue surrounding our whole body. Think of the clear coating around the meat of chicken. This is the fascia. When we get tightness or limited functioning in one area of our fascia, it pulls on the whole sheet, like a wrinkle, creating blockages throughout the body. This also contributes to misalignment in the skeletal system by pulling the muscles in one direction or another, which creates a ripple effect throughout the entire body, and ultimately pain and dysfunction. Craniosacral therapy (CST) works by using a gentle touch to allow the body, with its own inner wisdom to correct itself of dysfunction, to undo the ripples to help the muscles, fascia and bones come into correct alignment and function.

We all know that when we have an accident or fall, or have some kind of misalignment, we feel physical pain. However, chronic physical pain can also be caused by stored emotions. These can be emotions from everyday stress, emotional abuse, or emotions one was feeling during an accident or event, such as the fear in a car crash. Over time if our emotions are ignored or are not fully released, they get stored in the cellular memory of our body and can end up showing up as pain. In yoga, when stretching the hips, they often warn of emotions or tears that may come up for no reason. This is from releasing somatic emotional memory. Neck, back, jaw and hip pain often have emotional components to it, as do chronic headaches or organ dysfunction. Negative emotions run through our bodies causing tightness. Positive emotions run through our body causing lightness. When our bodies are continually tight or lacking energy, there is usually an underlying emotional component such as stress, frustration, difficulty letting go, sadness or anger.

CST works to relieve emotions from the body as well as physical pain through somatic emotional release. This is a therapeutic process that helps rid the mind and body of residual past trauma associated with negative experiences. Joint research efforts by Dr. John Upledger (the founder of CST) and biophysicist Dr. Zvi Karni led to the discovery that the body often retains (rather than dissipates) physical forces, and often the accompanying emotional energy, triggered by physiological, psychological, emotional or spiritual trauma.

As the body heals, it can isolate or wall off this energy into what is called an “energy cyst”. Although the body can initially adapt to the presence of energy cysts, eventually the body weakens or tires of this accommodation and can develop symptoms of pain, dysfunction or emotional stress. So lets say, for example, you were injured in an accident and had a fall or blow to your head and/or shoulder. Or you got emotionally hurt from hearing something or from an argument. The energy from the impact or situation can get lodged in your body. So while you went through therapy and maybe surgery, you are still left with continual pain. This could be from the energy of the impact, or energy cyst, that did not get released. And because we are dealing with fascia, which connects everything in the body through one sheet, a blow to the knee could ripple its way up to cause shoulder pain. CST works to relieve the wrinkles throughout the body and relieve the energy trapped in the cells for better emotions and decreased pain.

Stress works the same way. Often times stress comes from our nervous system being on high alert. This leads to parts of our brain being on high alert, causing our cranial nerves to be on high alert, which then impacts jaw clenching, tight neck muscles, shallow breathing and possibly digestive issues – all from cranial nerves sending the wrong message. CST works on these neural components, allowing the body to feel a new story of ease and rewire to calm so the organs and muscles can let go of dysfunction and begin to function with proper health again. CST helps alleviate pain from the body, the mind, and the spirit, therefore helping to restore balance to mind-body-spirit and helping to create a new story of health.

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