Dissolving the Grips of Addiction With CranioSacral Therapy
The craniosacral therapy modality of bodywork has its origins in Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. William Garner Sutherland graduated from The American School of Osteopathy in 1900 and became fascinated by the mobility he discovered in the skull’s 22 bones. It was taught that these bones fused after birth in medical school, but he found this not to be true. The craniosacral system is comprised of the skull, brain, spinal cord, sacrum, and the membranes, tissues, and fluid that hold it together. The cerebrospinal fluid has been described as one of the most potent and vibrant elements in the body. It is constantly cushioning, nourishing, and removing toxins from the central nervous system.
When this system is stagnant, our brain and body do not function optimally. The flow of cerebrospinal fluid can be affected by physical and/or emotional stress and trauma to the body. Our body contracts down to a deep cellular level when faced with anything that our being perceives as unsafe. Stress to our system can be from accidentally banging one’s head on something or being on the other end of harsh words. When we are not given the support or lack the tools to process and heal, our body’s cells hold this emotion and physical pain, compensating and waiting until there is a safe space to resolve it.
In addiction and substance abuse, most of the time, alcohol and drugs are used to suppress unwanted physical and emotional. This pain is buried down into the central nervous system, masked but still present. A skilled craniosacral therapy professional has been trained to sense where the craniosacral system needs support and contact to process and let go of what is holding a client back from experiencing inner peace and calm. It is the therapist’s duty to create a safe, neutral, and comfortable sanctuary where the client can feel safe and nurtured without judgment. The client can verbally share as much or as little as they feel comfortable with as they sit or lie prone (face up on their back) on a massage table, remaining fully clothed.
When the client is ready, the therapist begins with a light hold, usually at the feet, spine, or head. The craniosacral therapy professional checks in with the client making sure they feel at ease while the nervous system is listened to in a very still way. Without an agenda, stress and trauma in the body can begin to unwind by contacting this system. Clients often feel like they are floating on a cloud or sinking deep into the table. They might feel a cooling sensation or warmth; sometimes, one can get a sense of their cerebrospinal fluid, moving in a wavelike motion up and down their spine or in their head. It is not unusual for clients to report a relaxing state and sensations that they have difficulty describing.
Tears might arise, and the client can verbally process or be with what comes up in silence. Pain can also arise as the discomfort that has been masked is acknowledged to release then. The craniosacral therapy system possesses innate wisdom and intelligence that knows how to heal the body. Sometimes, it requires a therapist’s support to guide and create a safe place for this to occur. The body, mind, and spirit will only begin to process what it is ready for. This is one of the most beautiful reasons craniosacral therapy can be so effective in treating trauma. It is a gentle and non-invasive approach that can go deep to the roots where true healing arises.