Craniosacral Therapy: Bridging the gap between your psyche and body
When a manual therapist starts “listening” to the Craniosacral rhythm of the body, a person will often drop into a state of deep relaxation as their Parasympathetic Nervous system kicks into gear. This is the branch of our Nervous System that is responsible for shifting our bodies from “fight, flight or freeze mode” to “rest and digest mode.” Our breathing rate regulates, deepens, and slows down, initially the heart rate does the same. People often report a sense of deep relaxation, similar to a state achieved right before sleep or during meditation. One can hear and is aware of noises in the room, and of the therapists' hands lightly touching their clothed body; but there is no real conscious engagement, no attachment to what is happening on the outside. You are beginning an inward journey, and an invitation to visit your rich inner reality is sent out. Sometimes that can be a calm place, one with very little audio or visual stimulation, and sometimes it can be rich and vivid like a prolific dream. Experiences are as diverse as the snowflakes that fall from the sky. Welcome to the bridge that unites our bodies tissue with our psyche.
Craniosacral therapy can be a lot of things. It can be a way to help you bring an awareness to your own physical body, it can help you receive healing touch that is gentle and non invasive, it can help unravel lines and patterns of tension that are held in the deep connective tissues and organs of the body, and it can also help you connect with your inner wisdom and spirit self. Let’s jump outside of the box for the next few minutes. I’m going to ask you to suspend the allopathic framework of health and healing if that is the one you typically identify with. Let’s discuss healing from the place of the physical, the emotional, AND the spiritual.
In all indigenous cultures, the Shaman or healer approaches physical, emotional, community, and environmental imbalance from the framework that the spiritual is playing some role in what is going on. This approach has been devalued in our current culture, as it cannot (yet) be measured and quantified with our existing scientific tools. Many of us ignore or downplay our immense sensitivities and capacities as humans beings in this human experience. We are sensitive to stimuli, but we consciously or unconsciously choose to ignore a lot of it. We are now at a point in history where many of us no longer believe we are even capable of complete connection with our environment.
In my work doing Craniosacral therapy, I invite my clients to suspend the belief of their limitations. Let’s forget for a bit that you may feel like a separate entity from what surrounds you. Instead, let’s be playful, let’s see where your “imagination” can take you. You might learn a thing or two, or at the very least have a pleasant hour or more.
Our tissue holds an incredible amount of data. There is just no way to have a consistent constant conscious awareness of what our bodies have stored. We would not be functional in today's terms if we were consciously processing all of this information. But it’s there. On a cellular level exists an imprint of how you’ve interpreted every single experience you’ve ever had. And possibly the experiences of your ancestors and the experiences of previous lives. What comes up for each individual is so unique and diverse, so much so that I can no longer work in the box that this body and this life is all that each client knows. There is more that I cannot explain than there is that I can, so as a therapist I’ve chosen not too, and just be open to whatever comes up. Dropping the framework with which I was taught to interpret existence has done me the enormous favour of gifting me incredible joy, unity, connection, and beauty.
The practice of play is a place that is full of potential and freedom. We see it in children all the time. Their playtime does not live within stiff parameters. There is fluidity. If something is not working or doesn’t fit, you change it! Suddenly you just acquire that tool you needed to slay the dragon. You acquired it because you allowed it to materialize. Working on the table in Craniosacral therapy is very similar. Our psyche developed at a time before our learned interpretation of our world. Our psyche is pre-logical and preverbal. It often speaks in imagery. And when we put the bridge in place, by tuning into our craniosacral rhythm and intentionally dropping the analysis, the psyche and the tissue have a direct route to each other.
So this is play time. Drop the adulting for a bit and RE-connect with the inner child. Reconnect with that piece of yourself that at one time felt free and comfortable to let the imagination run wild. There is a saying in this type of work, “analysis is paralysis,” and it’s true. This experience is no place for the mind. Rise above it. Don’t worry; you will come back.
There is a learning curve when it comes to remembering how to play again. But that’s ok! There is no rush. The journey is a fun and frustrating place that doesn’t seem to be everyone’s cup of tea, but for many, it can be a direct link to your inner wisdom. We carry more answers than we think.
Following the images, asking them questions, switching into the roles of each figure that pops up, every piece of these pictures are different pieces of you. They represent your beautiful diversity, and exploring them helps to understand parts of ourselves that we currently feel we don’t understand. Access to the deep motivating factors behind our behaviours, our fears, our hate, our addictions, cravings, worries, and patterns. You have access to it all. It is already yours.
Your body wants you to know, the key is taking the time to listen. It is not an easygoing lover. The body wants proper attention, and to be treated with respect. The memories that are stored in your tissues cells, in the energetic space within you, it can tell you a story. And this is what we do on the table. We cross that bridge into a reality where linear time does not exist, where the separateness of you and the other is not the same as in our daily conscious existence. And when we allow ourselves to tap in, there is a lot that can be released, unwound, and resolved. There is a more comfortable body waiting for you, a more relaxed state of being. Are you up for the adventure?
By: Erica Sainsbury, RMT, Craniosacral Therapy, Energy Healing