20-26 March National Complementary Therapy Week: Craniosacral Therapy
Craniosacral therapy is a gentle but profound way of working with the body using light touch. Its roots are in osteopathy, but it is a way of reading the whole body (not just the head as commonly thought) by applying a light touch over various parts of the body.
Craniosacral Therapy works by supporting your body’s innate ability to balance, restore and heal itself, as well as helping to reduce stress and by strengthening your underlying energy and resilience by balancing your nervous system. I felt this is exactly what I needed after a stressful five or so years and having had a recent diagnosis of mild depression, anxiety and Complex PTSD, so I came to see Kate Stuart for some treatment!
During my first session, Kate took a written case history, listening with care to the reasons for my visit. After this, Kate invited me to lie on the treatment bed, fully clothed, facing upwards. Kate first of all made contact with my feet and my shins, and then continued to make light contact with my sacrum, base of my spine, and areas on my head and neck as well as my shoulder blade. As the session continued, I felt a warm sense of relaxation and letting go. After the session, Kate reported her findings and I found it extraordinary she was able to ‘read’ my body through light touch and release tensions in various areas that needed release.
Kate suggested that my system was very ‘sympathetic dominant’ (fight/flight) and felt very contained and contracted which is what happens when we are in sympathetic mode. Kate gave the analogy of a runner being at the starting blocks waiting for the gun to go off - but it never does, meaning that my system is constantly on high alert. Kate also said my system also felt guarded and I was in ‘protection mode,’ which given my trauma history she felt was not surprising. Kate said she felt a lot of holding in my jaw, neck and upper back/shoulders were tight which are also classic stress responses. It also took Kate a while to fully ground my system and get me back into parasympathetic mode. Kate is also Reiki trained so at certain points I felt a surge of warmth (energy). Kate said of this ‘I can’t help it, it just comes out when someone needs it.’
Kate explained to me that after a session there is usually a short period of adjustment as part of the healing process (she jokingly said it is no ‘spa’ treatment). I definitely felt this and it manifested itself in a slight ‘spike’ in my anxiety, but it moved away well in time for the next session and only really lasted for a 24-48 hours. Kate reassured me that was a sign of the treatment working and my body shifting away from guarded, tight and adrenally charged to a more harmonious state. I have been having Craniosacral Therapy for a few weeks and I have noticed a shift in my body, mind and spirit after the sessions and I come away feeling more grounded, optimistic and balanced. Kate said I would feel more ‘happy,’ and I do! My general sense of wellbeing has changed and I feel I have more resilience to handle stressful situations.
Because it is so gentle and non-invasive, CST is suitable for everyone - from newborn babies to the elderly. Women often opt for treatments during pregnancy and it can be beneficial for mothers and their babies with problems associated with difficult or traumatic births. Letting go of tension and fear held in the body enables both mother and baby to settle into calmness and mothers often report a more settled baby who is easier to feed.
Kate also specialises in anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, long-COVID and emotional regulation, as well as behavioural disorders such as ADHD & ADD. She runs special clinics for children during the school holidays.