Craniosacral Therapy Opened My Eyes
Early in my massage career, Craniosacral therapy opened my eyes. It helped unlock stuck bodies so I could do more efficient bodywork. I incorporated it into every move. Blending and melding with my clients’ central nervous systems felt like an alternate universe at first, but once I got the hang of it, it was simple. I believe empathy in the world would thrive if everyone learned it.
As a bodyworker, I’ve done hands-on work on all sorts of mammals. If it has a central nervous system, you can work on it. I work on adults, children, babies, infants in utero, animals, even an elephant once. Babies and animals are fun because their response is immediate. Animals have watched me work on their people, then “demanded” some work, and when their work is done, they “thanked” me.
The crossover symptoms addressed between Craniosacral therapy and HPN High Performance Neurofeedback immediately stood out to me when I was exploring HPN. Traumatic brain injury, PTSD, autism and sensory processing spectrum, anxiety, fibromyalgia, learning disorders, emotional difficulties … the list was familiar.
Except HPN is a little black box with wires that does the work in seconds instead of my hands and concentration and intuition and neutrality and loving kindness and grounding and patience and direction of energy and hours and many treatments and bending and holding and therapeutic pulses and negotiating permission and therapeutic dialog and facilitation of somatoemotional release, etc. Craniosacral therapy is my favorite style of bodywork. Rooted in Osteopathy, its purpose is to remove impediments to the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and yet it encompasses everything. For all its subtlety and how deep it can go physically, mentally, and emotionally, it is a highly effective bodywork technique.
I was immediately intrigued with HPN Neurofeedback when I saw the results. I thought of the years I’ve spent muscling people into healing states, and here is this system that can regulate brainwaves. You don’t have to believe in it, talk smart, or be a healer for it to work. It’s an EEG interface that can regulate brainwave patterns. Regulated brainwaves can mean a relaxed, strengthened brain. It is a simple to operate system that the FDA requires a clinical license to obtain.
Out of curiosity, I wanted to palpate people’s craniums after HPN sessions once their brainwaves were optimized. Would nervous systems respond differently? Would my experience as a therapist be different? I had an idea to combine therapies – Stephen Larson talks about combining therapies in his books on neurofeedback – but I hadn’t seen documentation of the combination of Craniosacral therapy and HPN Neurofeedback.
What I didn’t expect was how much differently people’s nervous systems would respond. It seems HPN unlocks central nervous systems similarly to how Craniosacral unlocks bodies – and now the HPN provides me with a key to more efficient Craniosacral therapy.
Most clients get on the table after HPN and bliss out. The simplicity of lying down with experienced hands on one’s head is a meditation of its own after neurofeedback, while I perform bodywork. This is pleasant in itself as opposed to jumping right back into the action of life directly after neurofeedback.
But if there is stuck emotional trauma as in the case of PTSD, or guarded injuries as in the case of TBI, sometimes things unravel. Sometimes things need to come out in order for them to heal. Both HPN and Craniosacral therapy can facilitate this, and the combination can be powerful – areas that were previously physically or emotionally stuck can open up in the form of somatoemotional release. People tend to move through it rapidly, and the nervous system becomes stronger afterwards, and things settle down.
As a Craniosacral therapist, there is a negotiation between myself and the client – mostly silent and manual, some dialog. HPN speaks brainwave, the language of the brain. Before I offered HPN, I did more negotiation. HPN now does more of the negotiation by balancing stuck brainwaves and calming fight-or-flight before the client gets on the table.
Now, to my touch, a nervous system after HPN feels more open. I felt countless heads without HPN – concussion, depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, injury, chronic illness, disability, etc. The difference is palpable. It feels like locked fascia is eager to unwind, trauma wants out, and pent up pain is ready to unravel. Fidgety kids settle more easily. With newly optimized brainwaves, people seem to enjoy giving permission for more productive Craniosacral therapy. This gives the client the opportunity to move through it.