Dr. Amber Brooks
CranioSacral Therapy: It’s Role in Recovery & Childhood Development
This subject is one near and dear to me as I have been using Craniosacral Therapy (CST) for many years now and I have seen how life changing it can truly be for families. When parents go searching for information I am not sure they get a true understanding of what this is and I would like to take some time to share with you the basics.
Craniosacral Therapy (CST) was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John Upledger following extensive scientific studies from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics. CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system—comprised of the cranial bones, cerebrospinal fluid and the membranes. The membranes surround the brain and spinal cord like a wetsuit and the cranial bones sit on top. The system works together to pump CSF throughout the system.
CST is a very calm and relaxing therapy, children can read, listen to music, watch TV or play with their toys during a session. The practitioner will feel for the CST rhythm by placing their hands on the cranial bones using a soft touch generally no greater than five grams, or about the weight of a nickel, restrictions are released in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system. The CST rhythm is the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pumping from the head down through the spine. The CSF is produced within the brain itself and contracts at a normal rate of 6 to 12 cycles per minute, creating the rhythm.proper pumping of the CSF is important for our body, its functions include:
Removing waste and toxins from cerebral metabolism
Protecting the brain & spinal cord
Supplying nutrients to the nervous system.
A person properly trained in the technique with a background in treating children should perform CST; there is a very high level of finesse that comes with working on children. The treatment is aimed at the membranes and helping improve flow and exchange of fluids, it is not necessarily about realigning the cranial bones although in cases such as plagiocephaly can help tremendously.
How does this therapy help children?
Removes waste and toxins from cerebral metabolism- many children today are having trouble detoxifying and this aids in that process.
Supplying nutrients to the nervous system
Releases tension in the body
Balances the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)
The nervous system imbalance is the key to why this helps so many children. The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) has branches, the sympathetic (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic (resting) both of which affect our bodies greatly. Most parents will describe their child’s behavior as “ramped up” or “they cannot seem to relax” and this is why. The sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive and CST helps balance it out thereby decreasing that “overdrive” feeling.
Symptoms a child may experience with ANS dysfunction include:
Constipation and/or diarrhea
Difficulty potty training
Poor social skills
Sensory processing problems
Read more in part 2 where I go over FAQ’s and more details about how this therapy can help your child.
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