Craniosacral Therapy: The Road Less Traveled

Craniosacral Therapy

We do whatever we can for our children.  To make our children’s lives better we will research, investigate and seek out any and all tools that will help us in that endeavor. As a therapist, I have been trained in many techniques and approaches but none have given me tools as powerful as craniosacral therapy. Craniosacral therapy is a treatment that can help children and adults in ways no other approaches can.

Even though it has proven to be highly effective, most people have never heard of craniosacral therapy. The treatment is a gentle, hands-on approach that allows the therapist to assess the integrity and function of the muscles, membranes and fascia, which is the connective tissue that surrounds our muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves.

Typically, the flow of the cerebrospinal fluids should move throughout the body with ease. If there is a restriction, the flow is detoured, stopped or reduced. Picture a log falling into a river. At first the water moves around it and if the log is removed the normal flow returns. If the log is not removed, the flow of the river changes and the structures it flows over change too. In time, the detoured water changes the surrounding landscape.

In the human body an initial insult, such as the use of forceps at birth, getting stuck in the birth canal, a head injury, or a fall, causes a restriction, sort of a “wrinkle” in the body’s fascia. For most of us, our bodies hurt for a while then heal.  When an injury doesn’t heal on its own, the body begins to make allowances for it. The accommodations begin in the fascia: just minor tension and pulling as we move. If the restriction remains the muscles are affected, so maybe our posture turns a little to the right, or we shift our weight to the inside of the soles of our feet. As time goes on, the muscles start affecting the bone, causing heel spurs or hip pops. The “landscape” has changed.

Craniosacral therapy stops the changing of the landscape and restores function and balance to the body. It begins with an assessment of the craniosacral system, based on the symmetry, quality, amplitude and rate of the cerebrospinal fluid.

These four characteristics are assessed throughout the body at various locations such as the pelvis, ribs, clavicles, hyoid, cranial base and sacrum. Once the body is assessed then treatment can begin.

Treatment is surprisingly gentle. Only five grams of pressure (about the weight of a nickel) on the affected areas can cause the fascia to release the restrictions. Treatment restores normal function to the body. It aids in providing synchrony of movement in a variety of ways.

Magda

Written on 2011/02/03 by:

Magda

Magda Girao is the assistant director of occupational therapy at the Kaufman Children’s Center for Speech, Language, Sensory-Motor & Social Connections, Inc. in West Bloomfield. She has over 17 years of pediatric experience, and is trained in craniosacral therapy, oral-motor therapy, Handwriting Without Tears®, Therapeutic Listening®, and many other types of therapy. She has worked in schools, clinics, hospitals, community, and home settings, with children from early intervention through high school. Magda’s goal is to create new possibilities for children to excel, and to empower parents to enhance the abilities of their children.
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  • Claudia Ekonomo

    Hi, I have a 4 month old son who has been recently diagnosed with nystagmus and strabismus as well as positional paliocephaly. Could Craniosacral therapy help him with any or perhaps all of this conditions?
     
    Thank you

  • http://www.kidspeech.com Magda Girao

    Hi Claudia. I have seen extremely good success with all of the conditions you mentioned. With a four-month-old, treatment will probably be short because progress is fast. If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to give me a call at 248-737-3430. Good luck!

  • Claudia Anderson

    Do you know of a practicitioner in Calgary Alberta Canada who does cranioscral thereapy for a child who was hit in hockey and need this therapy?

  • http://www.craniosacralcare.com Gloria Flores HHP, CST-D

    Thank you Magda for your informative article on the benefits of Pediatric Craniosacral Therapy. You provided great illustrations to help parents understand how the birth process can potentially cause problems that Craniosacral Therapy can help. At Glendale Craniosacral Therapy, my private practice in Glendale, California I have observed numerous cases of colic, sleep problems, flattened heads, torticollis and digestive problems solved with Pediatric Craniosacral Therapy.

  • Becky

    Hello Magda-

    I have a 7 year old son with Down Syndrome.  Have you seen trisomy 21 patients benefit from your therapy?  Also, I’m in California- can you tell me what the best way to find a therapist would be?

    Thanks so much.

  • http://www.kidspeech.com Magda Girao

    Hi Becky. Children with Down Syndrome do benefit from cranio sacral, especially with mouth work. CS mouth work aids the vomer and maxilla to improve the room need for the tongue to remain within the labial borders. If the sublingual muscles are also addressed, a child can then start using such tongue patterns as elevation and lateralization.

  • http://www.kidspeech.com Magda Girao

    Check out the Upledger Institute website at http://www.upledger.com/ to find a local therapist. Click on “find a practioner” and put in your city/zip code. Look for people who have at least taken CSP1.  Good luck! There are some great people out there.

  • Roberta

    First, I started looking on the internet for piano lessons for Spec Needs folks. I came across
    your site here and thought I shouldn’t leave here without at least mentioning what the need is.
    Tony is 31 years old with TBI from the age of 11 1/2 when hit by a car.
    He is semi-independant through an agency we work with. He has grand-mal seizures about every 3 or 4 months. He’s on Kepra for those but I believe that sometimes it’s a lot of emotional pressure that triggers these.
    If you have any suggestions for me, even in the area of a piano teacher, please inform me. If you don’t for this particular area, just let me know and that’s ok. I’ll keep searching.
    Thank you,
    Roberta

  • Stacie

    Hi Magda-  My sons go to Kaufman (Blake and Trent) and I was looking up info on cranioscral therapy and found this site w/ you on it.  I have lots of questions that you can probably answer. 

    1)  Should we go see a special doctor to get their heads check out to see why they have this dip and the sutures didnt heal correctly? What type of specialist do I need to see?  Neurologists?   

    2) Is there anything we can do at home to help correct this problem? 

    3) Is this a genetic thing?  I wonder why both my sons have this type of head.  Is there anything I could of done to prevent this or I can do to prevent it from getting worse.  Trent (1 1/2 yrs) head just started going this way and was not like this from birth.  Do you know why this could happen? 

    4) Will the dip in the head go away when the craniosacral thereapy is performed correctly and is completed? 

    Thanks- I am sure I have way more questions but this is a great start.  Thank you.

    Stacie

  • Stacie
  • http://www.lamiawellness.com Krissy Mays

    Hi Magna,
    We met at a CranioSacral (CST-II ) class in November, I’m the one from Texas. I happened to find this site while searching ( as usual ) for information on ways to market CST, so I thought I would say “Howdy” from Texas!
     
    Krissy Mays

  • Melanie

    Hello – I have just found your site & wonder if you could advise me, my son aged 16 has dyspraxia, we have done all the therapies & whilst they have helped – I am always looking for other avenues. Would CST help him at all? I live in South Africa, & am not sure if anyone does it here.
    Many thanks
    Melanie

  • http://www.kidspeech.com Magda Girao

    Hi Melanie
    Craniosacral therapy does help with dyslexia. Work done at the cranio base, parietals, temporal and sphenoid regions will assist with the brain interpreting incoming information appropriately. There are trained practitioners in South Africa. Please go to Upledger.com and look for “find a practioner.” Put in South Africa and it will bring up trained practitioners.
    I would recommend working with someone who is certified.
    Good Luck. Magda

  • http://sheilamccabe.org Sheila McCabe

    Magda,
    I am a CranioSacral therapist in the philadelphia area.  Just came accross this blog and love it.  Thank you for posting.  Liking you on Facebook. 

  • laura

    How would you respond to this review of the practice:
    Adverse Events Associated With Pediatric Spinal Manipulation: A Systematic Review
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/e275.full.html

  • http://tinyurl.com/7ogcu7q Mjmiller

    Hi,

    I found this modality to be rather interesting.  I had a massage therapist give me a craniosacral therapy session that included somato-emotional release.

    The part that worked the best was the emotional release.  I had no idea that emotions could really get stuck in the body.  There was a lot of grief and sadness stuck.  I think there was one session where I cried a lot; however, I felt very peaceful afterwards.

    The best part of the session was that the practitioner really loved his practice and working with people.  He always told you exactly what he was going to do next so that there was no concern.  I could relax the entire session and be at ease.  It’s a gift to work with someone who loves what the do.

    I have had practitioners work on me who were also very good; however, they didn’t have the same passion for the work they did. 

    I think when a practitioner loves what they do, that adds another healing element to the session.

  • http://imjustthatway.com Dani G

    What a great, informative post. I’ve been a huge fan of cranio sacral therapy since I began using it on Little Bird about a year and a half ago. What a difference it’s made on her gut issues.

    As I was reading this, I thought, “wow! What w fabulous explanation of cranio sacral.” Then I saw who wrote it. Magda is truly the very best, most talented therapist there is!!