Q. Are the craniosacral therapeutic techniques an alternative therapy?
A. No. The CST-techniques are not intended as first rank health care, but rather in consultation with a doctor or in parallel with the core treatment to provide support. If CST-preventive techniques can support the immune system and thus avoid disease, in cas of illness or medically necessary intervention one should always get a diagnosis made by a qualified medical professional.
Q. If this treatment method is so good, why isn’t it incorporated into the conventional healthcare system?
A. Change takes time. More and more recognition is coming our way, but we are flying in the face of many dogmas, not the least of which are:
- Skull bones don’t move.
- Minds can’t control bodies.
- All memory is in the brain.
- Transference of energy between patient and therapist is ridiculous.
- Nervous tissue injury is permanent.
And so on …
In view of these antiquated but firmly held beliefs, I think our level of acceptance is remarkably good.
Q. Is there an intervention of health insurance in the cost of a treatment with craniosacral therapeutic techniques?
A. For Belgium in 2016, the answer is still no. Treatment with craniosacral therapeutic techniques is relatively new. In the future the results will speak for themselves.
However, it is fair to point out that, such treatment – sized on the person and depending on his energetic patterns – not even in the future will be impossible to standardize so to achieve identical and so similar trajectories. For a standardized health insurance system it will be difficult to recognize such individualized treatment, regardless of the results.
The key question remains: how valuable is preventive health care?
Are the small and the large motor vehicle services or repairs to the car covered by the car insurance?
Q. What’s the difference between CranioSacral Therapy, Cranial Osteopathy, Chiropractic Craniopathy, Sacro-Occipital Techniques, Biodynamic CranioSacral Therapy, CranioSacral balancing, CranioSacral foot reflexology or CranioSacral reflexology ?
A. In the other approaches mentioned above, the movement of the bones is the major objective. In CranioSacral Therapy, bones are used to manipulate much more deeply into the system of membranes and fluids. Therefore the bone movement is an enabling objective in CranioSacral Therapy. In all fairness, the other forms of cranial work are beginning to use the concepts of CranioSacral Therapy and are starting to look and work more deeply now.
Another major difference is that CranioSacral Therapy uses a much lighter touch. Most often, the patient’s internal forces and energies provide what is required for therapeutic corrections of the craniosacral system. In cranial work, as practiced in the traditional osteopathic, chiropractic and other modes, the therapist more often than not, forces the ‘correction’ upon the patient. This approach allows for more mistakes by the therapist and for more trauma to result from the treatment sessions.
Q. Why do some people feel worse after a treatment?
A. There are several reasons for this post-treatment discomfort. One is that their body is re-experiencing a previous trauma or injury as it is releasing from the tissues. This can take a few days. Another is that areas of “numbness” have come back to “life” and are more sensitive. Also it often happens that the body has adapted to a malfunction. When we remove the adaptation as e get closer to the nucleus of the problem, the suppressed pain comes back to the surface.
We must also consider that pain is a perception. When hope of correction of a problem is held out before the patient, the nonconscious makes the pain worse so that we won’t stop before the whole problem is solved. There are many more individual reasons for a worsening of symptoms after a good treatment.
We cannot neglect the possibility that the therapist screwed up. This can cause a painful reaction. This sc’rew-up is usually by the application of excessive force and/or trying to make the patient’s body do what the therapist decides is right. We preach the sermon of “follow the body, don’t lead it.”
Q. What is tiissue or cell memory?
A. I don’t know exactly, but if you watch what happens during treatment and healing processes, it looks like individual tissues and probably cells have recall of experience they have gone through.
Q. How can you tell what is wrong with me by picking up my legs?
A. We use the perception of very subtle energy activities in the body to focus on the source of abnormal energy patterns. We also very gently traction the legs to see if resistance of tissues is equal or lacks symmetry. We do this kind of evalutations all over the body; you just notice it more in your legs because picking up your legs is more apparent to you than when we touch your ribs, your shoulders or your head. But we are doing essentially the same kind of evaluation on many body regions.
Q. Why does it look like the therapist isn’t moving?
A. Because we are just barely moving. What we look for in CranioSacral Therapy is extremely subtle. It takes practice, but once learned you have it forever.
Q. How can you get any treatment done using such a light touch?
A. As I said earlier, in CranioSacral Therapy we try very hard to get the patient’s body to make the correction. We, the therapists, assist the natural corrective tendency of the patient’s body. When you use more than a little force, you may recruit the patient’s bodily defense against your intrusion. When the patient’s body begins to defend itself against the therapist, the tissues of the patient’s body tighten in an attempt to preserve the status quo. When confronted with this situation, the therapist can: 1) apply more force to overcome the patient’s resistance; or 2) lighten up the touch, as we do in CranioSacral Therapy, thus allowing the patient’s tissues to relax and obtaining a therapeutic release by adding just enough to the patient’s own self-corrective mechanism to be effective.
Once again we are confronted with that difference in approach which separates CranioSacral Therapy from other cranial techniques. This difference is what makes CranioSacral Therapy so safe and so useable by non-physicians. It can be applied cookbook style and still obtain an excellent therapeutic result.
Q. I’ve had CranioSacral Therapy and I was astonished by the approach. My pain was in my shoulder and it was cured by the therapist working with my sacrum and pelvis. How can this happen?
A. There are several possiblde ways this could happen. First, the craniosacral system connects the sacrum and pelvis to the neck and head via the tube of the dura mater membrane that runs through the spinal canal. An abnormal tension on this membrane at the tail end can easily show up at the head end. In this case the abnormal membrane tension probably was just right to pull on the membrane sleeves that cover the nerve roots as they go out to the shoulder. This pull would make a perception of pain where the nerve root goes, in this case your shoulder.
Another possibility depends upon the head-to-tail continuity tissue (fascia) that ensheates all muscles, bones, organs, etc. A twist in the pelvi could easily ascend your body outside of the craniosacral system through this fascia to the fascia and/or the nerves to your shoulder.
Yet another possibility is that the sacrum is twisted and causing a twist to go up the total spine in a compensatory way. If there is a little less tolerance in the openings where nerve rooots pass out of te spinal canal between the vertebrae in your lower neck, the nerve to your shoulder could get pinched. In any of these cases, when the abnormal ituation in the sacrum and pelvis is corrected, the effect up high in the neck is removed and the pain goes away.
It takes a good therapist to find the cause at such distaces. We put a lot of time and effort into whole-body evaluation. This approach uncovers the underlying cause, even at such distaces from the pain.
Q. Why do I have a TMJ problem when there is nothing wrong with my teeth?
A. The TMJ problem, in my experience, is more often an effect or result of craniosacral system or muscle-bone-joint system dysfunction. There is a case where the TMJ problem came from the muscles of the buttocks. You are a whole person and every part of you is connected to every other part. We can’t let pain and symptom location mislead us. Find the cause. It may be well camouflaged. It may be located almost anywhere, but its discovery is part of the joy of doing this work.
Q. Does CranioSacral Therapy help those of us who are getting older, stiffer, more fragile and losing our memories?
A. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” I have treated people regularly who are well into their 80s. These people get more agile and mobile. They get more energy and show improved intellect and memory. It also hemps fight flud retention and improves resistance to colds, flu, etc.
Q. How can older folks best use CranioSacral Therapy?
A. Ideally I would like to see the elderly patient treated once a month by a competent CranioSacral Therapist. In additon, I would like to see family members trained in some very simple techniques so that they can apply limited CranioSacral Therapy to those elderly folks at least three times a week. I have succesfully taught elderly people to treat each other on occasion. This imparts a wonderful boost to the treater’s sense of self-worth.
Incidentally, our successusing specific and very easy-to-learn CranioSacral Therapy techniques for small-stroke patients has been excellent.