CranioSacral Therapy derives from osteopathic medicine, whose basic tenets include the recognition that the body is a self-healing unit in which structure and function mirror one another. Living things MOVE, and everything in bodies is supposed to move: joints, organs, tissues, fluids, even emotions. In order for things to move, there must be adequate space. Via gentle palpation, the CranioSacral Therapist finds restrictions in the body's capacity to move freely, helping to restore free movement -- which in turn helps to restore well-being.
The CranioSacral System is a pulsatory systenm, with a rhythm in adults of typically 6-12 cycles per minute. This contrasts with the average cardiovascular pulse of 72 beats per minute, or the 12-20 breaths per minute of the respiratory system. The CranioSacral System is the home of our central nervous system, the brain and the spinal cord. Much of "who we think we are" and how we relate to the world turns on the health of our central nervous system. Thus, the well-being of the CranioSacral System has a direct bearing on the health of our body, our physiology, our anatomy.
But another way to look at the CranioSacral System is that it is in fact the deepest layer of fascia, or connective tissue, in the body. All fascia is connected, one piece! Pulls, tensions, dysfunctions in fascia anywhere can translate through this fascial web and impinge upon the system's normal and delicate pulsations. The bathing and cleansing of the brain and spinal cord is accomplished by the rhythmic pulsations of cerebrospinal fluid, which is filtered out from the blood by the choroid plexuses in the brain's ventricles. This cerebrospinal fluid returns to the venous system through the jugular vein, after another filtering process, this time by the arachnoid granulation bodies in the arachnoid, or middle, layer of the meninges.
Most laypersons are relatively ignorant of the role of fascia in the body. Perhaps in school they learned that fascia, or connective tissue, supports the body. It does that, and it also does much more. Fascia is the immediate environmentof every body structure. It surrounds each nerve, blood vessel, bone, organ. Fascia itself is innervated and vascularized. It weaves through each muscle. John Barnes P.T., well known founder of Myofascial Release work, says that there is no such thing as a "muscle." It is in fact a muscle/fascia unit.
On the physical level, muscles first are made up of fibrils. Each fibril is wrapped in fascia. The fibrils are bundled together into fibers, and each muscle fiber is wrapped in fascia. The muscle fibers in turn are bundled into the muscle itself, which is wrapped in fascia, usually at its ends becoming the tendon which leads to the bone. However, the tendon doesn't really attach to bone itself but rather to the fascia surrounding the bone, the periosteum. Fascia is therefore all one piece, like a loofah, with pockets in it where everything else fits. The fascia around the heart is the pericardium. Around the lungs it is the pleura. And it's all one piece!
In the 1970's there was a movie called The Fantastic Voyage in which a team of doctors was miniaturized, in a miniaturized submarine, then injected into the venous system of a patient in order to go to and repair a problem deep within. In a similar but very real fashion, one can travel through the fascial system of the body by palpation. For example, you can start under the skin on a toe and feel your way through both hard and soft tissue, sensing changes in tissue quality like thickening, pulls, adherences. Such fascial changes limit the body's ability to MOVE and reveal reveal fascial adaptations to strain. A CranioSacral Therapist can FEEL all the way up into the brain and back down to the toe. Doing so is a learned skill, of course, requiring much study, experience, training, and even imagination -- but it is part of the work of an advanced CranioSacral Therapist.
Because fascia translates tensions throughout the tissue, the source of a so-called problem may in fact be rather distant from it in the body. We tighten up in response to trauma, whether physical or emotional. We may "armor" ourselves in response to past traumas. While this armoring is appropriate at the time, if it's retained indefinitely, that armor can impede future growth, integration, and freedom. A skilled CranioSacral Therapist works in conjunction with the client's Inner Wisdom to facilitate healing on all levels. We address the body's CranioSacral System as a functional core of their organism and extend our openness to the whole person through the process of SomatoEmotional Release. We human beings tend to store trauma which is too much to handle at the time as "issues in our tissues." Skilled CranioSacral Therapy works with the body's Inner Wisdom to let go of impedances to optimum function, at mental, physical, emotional, spiritual levels. The less "stuff" we have in the way, the healthier and happier we tend to become.