Is your chronic neck pain cramping your style? Tired of getting relief for a day or two and then being right back where you started? If so, craniosacral therapy (CST) is likely the answer for you. According to recent research published in The Clinical Journal of Pain, 8 weekly treatments of craniosacral significantly reduced neck pain. The benefits remained even three months after the treatment was over. As a health practitioner, these kinds of long-term results are what I want for everyone who comes to see me.
What is Craniosacral Therapy?
CST is a gentle, manual therapy that releases restrictions in your head, spine, sacrum, and fascia. It is an evidence-based, physical therapy that osteopaths, craniosacral therapists, and chiropractors use.
How Does it Work?
Fascia is a web of tissue that connects all the parts of your body. It wraps around each of your bones, muscles, internal organs, nerves, and blood vessels and links them to each other. So, this web is designed to allow for smooth, gliding movement between all of these body structures. However, injury, inflammation, and scar tissue, among other things, cause the fascia to become stuck together. So this creates a ripple effect, where other parts of this web get pulled out of alignment. Then you have pain in multiple places. For example, you might start out with a shoulder injury, and end up with neck pain as well.
What Happens During a Craniosacral Treatment?
The effects of a craniosacral treatment, are that your bones and fascia are slowly and subtly shifted. The treatment helps your body to untwist and release areas of tension. Because this tension is what’s causing pain, stress, and dysfunction in your muscles, joints, and internal organs. Also, this technique enhances the flow of the fluid that bathes your brain and spine. This then optimizes the function of your central nervous system. In addition to pain reduction, people almost always report that they feel a greater sense of well-being and deep relaxation afterward.
Is Craniosacral Safe?
Absolutely. This treatment is gentle enough that it can even be used for newborns with colic or birth trauma.
What Conditions Can Craniosacral Help?
The following conditions respond very favorably to CST:
- Neck pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Post-surgical dysfunction
- Post-concussion syndrome
- Scar tissue
- Back pain
- Depression and anxiety
- Chronic headaches
- Coordination problems
Who Offers Craniosacral?
This treatment is offered by:
- Joy Walraven, Acupuncturist/Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner/Craniosacral Therapist
- Peggy Jamali (Osteopathic Manual Practitioner)
- Dr. Darlene Buan-Basit (Chiropractor).
By Joy Walraven, Acupuncturist, TCMP, Craniosacral therapist
Reviewed & updated by Dr. Pamela Frank, Dec. 31, 2019
Craniosacral Therapy Research:
Clin J Pain. 2016 May;32(5):441-9. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000290.
Craniosacral Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Sham-controlled Trial.
Haller H, Lauche R, Cramer H, Rampp T, Saha FJ, Ostermann T, Dobos G.
The CST treatment group received weekly CST for 8 weeks. This study found that CST was both effective and safe in reducing neck pain intensity. Also, that it may improve functional disability and the quality of life up to 3 months after intervention.
Med Acupunct. 2017 Aug 1;29(4):239-248. doi: 10.1089/acu.2017.1222.
CranioSacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulation: A New Treatment Intervention for Concussion Recovery.
Wetzler G, Roland M, Fryer-Dietz S, Dettmann-Ahern D.
Ten sessions of specific CST/VM/NM therapy resulted in statistically greater improvements in pain intensity, ROM, memory, cognition, and sleep in concussed patients.