craniosacral massageTo complement the article “How CranioSacral Therapy May Contribute to Brain Health” in the September 2014 issue of MASSAGE Magazine. Summary: The author discusses the specific effects of CranioSacral Therapy on brain-related problems, including chronic pain; neurodegenerative disorders; issues related to inflammation; spinal column or nerve problems; and eye conditions.

A primary focus of CranioSacral Therapy is to gently lessen the body’s connective tissue strain and decrease meningeal stress. CranioSacral Therapy is based partly on the theory that certain light-touch manual techniques can help relieve cell stress and improve health by enhancing the form and balance of the connective tissue matrix, in particular connective tissue layers surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Enhanced brain form enables brain cells to work at their optimal level, which may improve molecular production, movement, use and clearance throughout the brain, leading to enhanced brain function and improved brain health. Because an emphasis of CranioSacral Therapy is on facilitating correction of the whole-body connective tissue matrix, it can be used for a wide range of conditions, including:

1. Chronic pain.

Lessening tissue stress that may be causing pain signals can help address the site of injury or strain. Reducing spinal cord and sensory ganglia adverse strain related to compromised tissue can aid recovery from pain, because sensory ganglia and spinal cord stress can maintain pain perception even when the cause has improved.

2. Neurodegenerative disorders.

Decreasing the brain’s connective tissue container strain can improve brain form. This seems to boost cerebrospinal fluid movement, which may optimize brain cleansing of harmful substances. Harmful buildup of substances, such as toxins related to chemical exposure, in the brain may contribute in part to diseases of neurodegeneration such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

3. Brain issues related to inflammation.

Some theories pose that brain inflammation may be part of the cause of autism spectrum disorders, attention issues, hyperactivity, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, sleep disorders, headache, migraine and post-concussion syndrome. Correction may be enhanced by addressing the following: reducing brain inflammation by lessening brain stress that exists in response to connective tissue strain; optimizing drainage of interstitial fluid and enhancing the flow of cerebrospinal fluid throughout the brain; and helping the brain flush itself of irritating or disorganizing substances, which may help the brain calm and organize most efficiently.

4. Spinal column or nerve problems.

Some of these problems include scoliosis, herniated disc, nerve root entrapment, spondylolisthesis and sciatica. Correcting connective tissue restrictive patterns of the musculoskeletal system in order to lessen adverse strain of bony structures or nerve sheaths may lessen structural imbalance or distortion that may cause issues. Improving the patterning of the connective tissue layers encasing the spinal cord and nerve roots in order to decrease adverse neurological stress related to the area of difficulty can help correct bone- or nerve-related conditions.

5. Autonomic nervous system disorders.

High blood pressure, dizziness, lightheadedness and constipation are some of the issues related to autonomic nervous system distress. Lessening soft tissue strain in order to decrease disturbing neurological signaling within autonomic pathways can help enhance autonomic signaling. Decreasing brain and spinal cord irritation in areas related to regulating autonomic nervous system function can improve autonomic integration and signaling. 

6. Eye problems.

Conditions such as astigmatism, blurry vision, double vision, dry eyes or strabismus may be aided by lessening stress of connective tissue layers encasing the eyes, covering the optic nerves, enveloping the eye motor nerves or disturbing vision processing areas.

Tad Wanveer, L.M.B.T., C.S.T.-D. (www.carycentercst.com), is a diplomate certified in CranioSacral Therapy; a certified Upledger CranioSacral Therapy instructor; originator of a new class, CranioSacral Therapy Touching the Brain 1; creator of an animated DVD set, In Motion; and author of the soon-to-be-published book, Brain Stars: Glia Illuminating CranioSacral Therapy.

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