As a CranioSacral Therapist, I meet the client where they are and treat what I find.
CranioSacral Therapy techniques are applied based on communication and synergy between the client and therapist. It’s a conversation through touch where the therapist listens to what the body is saying.
My client, Jeff (name has been changed), age 76, has a dynamic personality. I provided therapy for Jeff years ago, and he came back asking for help since he was struggling again.
He explained that he had back surgery in June 2013, including a multilevel lumbar laminectomy with decompression of the dura and spinal canal extending down to S1. The surgery addressed a severe lumbar stenosis from the Lumbar 2 to Sacral 1 with a Lumbar spondylosis and facet disease. He had been suffering severely in his bilateral lower extremities.
He had decreased sensation, numbness and weaknesses in his major muscle groups, hip flexors, quadriceps, dorsiflexors, and extensor hallucis longus. This is what led to the 2013 surgery.
Jeff’s surgeon was recommending that he undergo another surgery to alleviate a pinched nerve. The surgery would free up the nerve on his right side. This would help rebuild his right leg.
Jeff did not want to face another surgery. He felt that his condition along with invasive surgery would create complexities without resolution. This possibility compelled him to come to see me again. We started working two hours a week, twice a week for two months and then moved to two hours once a week. The treatments continued for six months.
Before treatment, there was a significant difference between his right lower extremity and his left lower extremity. His gait was off and his right foot was dragging. He complained of severe pins and needles in his right foot, right ankle and right calf.
Although the initial surgery and the physical therapy helped a lot with pain, there was an imbalance in the two lower extremities and Jeff was still suffering from low back pain. There was no history of imbalance before the surgery and Jeff was questioning whether the surgery caused it.
I emphasized with Jeff that the treatments were not about spending hours trying to strengthen his muscles, since the muscles on his right leg had withered and deteriorated. There was a distinct lack of proper nerve impulses at the lumbar plexus.
We worked with orthopedic manual therapy and focused on alignment, working with the sheath of the nerves at their roots. I applied a complementary combination of CranioSacralQigong Therapy and Neural Manipulation.
Utilizing all the manual therapy tools and skills acquired over the years enabled me to continue each session precisely and successfully. There was a great deal of improvement in Jeff’s skeletal alignment, and his muscles spontaneously started rebuilding and strengthening. Jeff was really impressed that his right calf muscles were significantly redeveloping.
Because his muscles began to rebuild and strengthen on his right side, any doubts he had about avoiding surgery quickly vanished. Because of the fact that his calf was improving, he knew that our work was moving in the proper direction.
He told me, “I think that’s why the calf is getting better, because it’s better aligned, looks healthier, can function better and there is more circulation.”
After his treatments, both feet looked nearly the same and his lower extremities’ arterial pulses were equal. The muscles were significantly improved; his joints and bones were correctly stacked up, and his balance and gait had returned. Jeff needed to continue to regain more spring in his right foot, but it was no longer dragging.
The alignment of the meridians was fundamental as it brought the whole structure in line with the central nervous system. This alignment of the physical body with the energetic body returned the entire system to synchrony. This synchrony allows the motor nerves to provide ease of movement and resets the proprioception. This is the healing process in motion.
Jeff shared how more confident he was in his gait because of
the improvement he felt and saw. Jeff’s contribution to the healing process was
his open and positive attitude, which resulted in trust.
A big part of my work is client education. I must teach the person to be aware of their own body. There are two levels of communication that bring about successful treatment, one is the language of words, and the other the language of hands-on therapy itself — the touch. Both levels of communication require deep listening.
When I speak with the client about the hands-on therapy as it is occurring, this languaging liberates the core-link intelligence to fully express itself through the craniosacral system and the midline. The nerves travel out from the midline and go all the way to the tips of the extremities. The peripheral proprioceptive information returns back into the central nervous system via the spinal cord to the brain. The body thus communicates with the brain in a perfect feed-back loop.
Teaching the client awareness of this process augments healing exponentially. As a result, the client develops a therapeutic relationship with their own body’s inherent healing. I nudge, I guide, I facilitate, I teach, but it is the person who does the healing.
Jeff said:” I’m a happy camper, and I know it can only get better because [my body] has improved and it is different. I know I don’t need surgery anymore. The confidence when I’m walking is building back up, my balance is back, my circulation is improved and the pins and needles are completely gone.”
Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO (1828 –1917) , the father of osteopathy, said: “Osteopathy is anatomy, anatomy, anatomy.”
Craniosacral Therapy is an offshoot of osteopathy in that it considers the interrelationships of the structure with the function and the understanding that the person is wired with an inherent self-corrective bioenergetics system. As practitioners, we promote and facilitate the self-corrective system and become catalysts of this process, helping people get results. We work directly with the natural forces.
Cloe Couturier, MQD, LMT, CO, CST-D, wrote this article on behalf of Upledger Institute International. John E. Upledger, DOO, OMM (1932–2012), the developer of Upledger CranioSacral Therapy, asked Couturier to join his clinic 24 years ago — and she has been practicing ever since at the Upledger Institute Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. She has held a massage therapy license for 30 years and is also trained in France as an osteopath. Practicing Craniosacral Therapy and medical qi gong techniques has been her main focus over the years.