Is Craniosacral Therapy like Reiki?

People often ask me whether craniosacral therapy is energy work. Craniosacral therapy uses light touch to make subtle movements in the craniosacral system, which is membranes and connective tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. We connect using intention. When you need to pick up your car keys, your mind, extremely rapidly, sets an intention to move your hand. That intention initiates a series of events that cause our movement to pick up the keys. When I place my hands on your cranium, it is my intention to connect with the skin first then connect deeper and deeper through the layers until we reach cranial membranes and the dura mater, which surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
I work extremely intuitively and my hands and the area where my hands are working, often become warm. Dr. Upledger’s teachings include energy techniques and I do often send energy into an area of the body where I am working. I wanted to take this opportunity to answer the question in greater detail, by describing the energetic mechanism I personally work with.
I use the chakra system, from Ayurvedic medicine, which aligns inexplicably with our endocrine system, to evaluate areas of imbalance. I also use my hands to connect energetically with the two extraordinary meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Du (governing vessel) and Ren meridians (conception vessel).
I personally experience the breath moving energy up and down through the chakra system. While on the table, our breath changes as we release tension. While working, my breath changes as I work energetically. I often take deep breaths while working which helps me to stay relaxed while moving energy through my hands and your body.
To summarize, craniosacral therapy, as I practice it, is a combination of energetic and mechanical bodywork.


Craniosacral Therapy for All Ages, especially newborns

Dr. Upledger’s CranioSacral Therapy was rooted in the cranial osteopathy of Dr. Sutherland. Dr. Sutherland taught of lesions within the craniosacral system itself. Using the cranial bones like handles, we palpate the movement of the craniosacral rhythm. The rhythm moves through a normal physiological pattern of flexion and extension. When the bones do not move in that normal physiological pattern, when there is an irregularity in the pattern, we identify a “lesion” within that bone. We then release the soft tissue that is layered underneath or around the cranial bones to restore the bone to normal physiological movement.

Dr. Upledger’s later developments included fascial diaphragm releases. These diaphragms, like the respiratory diaphragm, are areas where soft tissue, held together by connective tissue, runs horizontally across the body. Releasing restrictions in these diaphragms release the connecting fascia throughout the muscles and around the spine and spinal cord, allowing the cerebrospinal fluid to move more easily from the occipital bone at the base of our cranium down to our sacrum at the bottom of our spine.

During a vaginal birth, the baby’s head is normally molded into an oblong shape to pass through the mother’s pelvis. I commonly find, in normal, healthy adults, craniosacral lesions with deep and complex restrictions layered around them. These old restrictions could have been released shortly after they occurred. Birth, even Cesarean birth, is one of our first traumatic experiences. Craniosacral theray can be given to every baby, soon after birth, to facilitate their body’s dramatic transition from liquid to air. I recommend continued craniosacral therapy throughout the child’s life, especially after a trauma. That could be a fall or accident, an illness, a surgery, an emotional trauma, like seperation or divorce, or any difficult transition.

Craniosacral therapy creates an opportunity for self-healing; for restoration and harmony. It is beneficial for alleviating pain but is more powerful when used as a tool for wellness and prevention.