Interview with Gary Strauss, Developer of CranioSacral Unwinding

To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “CranioSacral Therapy for Fibromyalgia,” by Carol McLellan, C.M.T., CST-D, in the February 2011 issue. Article summary: Using gentle touch and the craniosacral rhythm, the therapist trained in Craniosacral Therapy can help re-establish normal accommodation motion in all of the areas associated with the symptoms and possible causes of fibromyalgia.

This is an interview with Gary Strauss, who has been working in the energetic healing arts for 30 years. He teaches his form of cranial-sacral bodywork, Integrated CranioSacral Unwinding, worldwide. He is the founder of Life Energy Institute, also know as Polarity Healing Arts, which has trained thousands of massage therapists in California, Arizona, New York, Switzerland and Japan.

Dawn-Mari, of the Life Energy Institute, asked Strauss about the benefits of CranioSacral Unwinding and how it can help massage therapists and their practices.

Q: What is Integrated CranioSacral Unwinding?

A: It starts with the study of the anatomy and physiology of the cranium, spine, sacrum and connective-tissue system with the study and application of techniques to enhance how these systems function.

The concepts of working with the cranial-sacral system stem from osteopathy, a form of medicine that seeks to create cure by physically working with the body. This suggests that when the cranial-sacral system is functioning well, there is health.

A pure view goes back to the work of William Garner Sutherland and utilizes his body of cranial work. He had specific hand-holds on the bones of the cranium and the connective tissue system. I believe Integrated CranioSacral Unwinding is working with the whole system, and the center focal point being the cranial-sacral system itself.

Often, massage therapists have a much more muscular orientation. Integrated CranioSacral Unwinding will add a connective tissue orientation and promote the unwinding of the connective tissue. When the connective tissue is unwound, the body can release stored stress and tension.

The way I see it, we are designed to digest our life each day. When we don’t and life is too hard, tension or the undigested experiences can get stuck in our body and we tighten. As we get tighter, the connective tissue gets harder and loses elasticity. In unwinding, the tension starts to back out of the system and releases. That is an unwinding quality. The practitioner learns how to support the system to release tensions.

Q: How does Integrated CranioSacral Unwinding work?

A: Particularly, there is a viewpoint in Integrated CranioSacral Unwinding that there is an inherent unifying intelligence within the system itself that is deeply meaningful. The job of the practitioner is to help that intelligence by organizing energy, and that helps to maintain integrity where people have lost it.

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