WHAT IS CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY?
A gentle, noninvasive approach to whole-body health. Generally using about 5 grams of pressure (roughly the weight of a nickel), a skilled practitioner evaluates the CranioSacral system by testing for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid. Simple manual techniques are then used to release restrictions in fasciae, membranes and any other tissues that influence the CranioSacral system.
Every day your body goes through stress and over a period of time the body absorbs the tension which causes the soft tissue to tighten up and become restricted and this affects the body’s nervous system. CST directly impacts the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and sacrum) where imbalances may cause sensory, motor, neurological, and emotional/behavioral complications.
WHAT IS A BODY FLAREUP?
Many times patients are progressing along, and they have a flare up. It could be what is called a healing crisis-things many times get worse before they get better. This phase has part to do with the mind-body connection or the mind body communication. During this phase, the mind and the body are trying to learn how to have a communication with each other again. We have been taught to ignore our insights, intuition, or inner guide. When we do start to re-connect, it's not always a smooth or easy transition.
The following is an example from Cathy Covell, PT that gave me a better understanding to help guide my clients through their pain process.
Here's the mind's prospective:
"So, here I am progressing along nicely with my therapy sessions and my body is finally starting to open up. I can feel the shifts; I am starting to feel good! The body is finally starting to let me do the things that I want to do! Then I do something that I think is very insignificant- like walk 5 more minutes, or do a few extra household chores - and WHAM! My crazy body has a full blown flare up. I even feel some symptoms that I haven't felt in months. I begin to question if this therapy is working or making my symptoms worse."
Now, let's look at this same situation from our body's perspective:
"Here I am finally starting to get some release from the restrictions that have been crushing me. Then, that crazy mind decided to push me more than normal, and I get scared. I am finally starting to make some progress and that darn mind is trying to force me to do something that feels bad again. I tried to be nice and just kept on pushing. Well, I have learned over time that the only way to get the mind to stop is with a full blown sensory overload. In other words I'm sending out the full alarm, or the full pain signal. And since the mind didn't listen to the warning ache, I'm even going to send the alarm to areas that I haven't had to for awhile. Because I know that the only way the mind will stop forcing me is if I really send out the pain signal. I am tired of being forced, I am ready to heal!"
Most people have learned to shut down the communication between our mind and body. Often times we choose to not show our emotions, to push through pain, to discount our intuition, etc. After a period of time, the only form of communication that can get our attention anymore is pain. And we've gotten so good at tuning that out that the pain has to spread and become more intense to get our attention. This is why we may have a hard time connecting with pain and other sensations in the body.
It is a good reminder to stay connected and really listen to your body. Emotions may come to the surface- feelings of anger, betrayal guilt, etc. during or after your session which is completely normal. Often times when you are experiencing emotional pain or body pain take some time to self treat and listen to what the body is needing.
As the communication improves, trust is established and the body won't need to hit the full alarms. The key is feeling sensations fully - without judgment. Once you are connected to the feelings and sensations they will become your best friend and will guide you to another layer and another. This may mean doing self treatment, journaling, or feeling an emotion that has been ignored.
Remember when you are experiencing pain or discomfort slow down and practice mindfulness. Be mindful of your feelings and listen to what your body is telling you. The end results are life changing.