Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cranial Sacral Therapy

Hello friends,

I hope this week is treating you fine.  I am still nursing the knee and doing a lot of knitting. I'm making up a big stash of dishcloths and washcloths so I can use up my knitting cotton and make a bit of room.  It's all part of my big decluttering project which I thought I pretty much finished. But in this first month of the new year as I've been doing a lot of sitting and trying to re-arrange just a few things brought from mom's place, I realize there is still more to do as far as decluttering is concerned.  I've identified a lot more things that can "go" and I think I've found a few more workable storage solutions to get rid of clutter in the living room and kitchen.  But more about that later.

For now I have a question. I want to know if any of you have experience with cranial sacral therapy (CST)?

I've actually done some research on it and began taking a couple of treatments with some local students of this therapy. I did see that there is some controversy over CST as regards it's efficacy and whether there is a scientific basis for its teachings. Those that debunk CST also say that it doesn't help with all the symptoms (listed below) but that it does help with lower back pain and knee pain. I am willing to try it because  I have knee pain and it might help with that but also, despite what I've read, I believe in the body's ability to heal itself if assisted (proper nutrition, exercise, supplements and complementary therapies, like acupuncture).  Where I draw the line is with regards to therapies that have a greater "spiritual" element to them like reiki. Though I am sure it helps some people, I do not wish to try it myself.  So whenever I want to undertake a new to me therapy, I try to investigate it first.

I did find some help on line about CST on line but found it very hard to understand what the therapist actually does. I know some Registered Massage Therapists and Chiropractors also practise CST so I thought it sounds a little more mainstream.  Osteopaths also seem to practise it but I've never been to an osteopath before and frankly I have no idea what they do though I've since researched them also.  There seems to be a lot of people on line who are demonstrating CST but are also into "spiritual practises" and energy based therapies.  I'm not comfortable with this and my discomfort might have led me to say "no" to trying the therapy.  But I went ahead with a session before Christmas based on my preliminary research of local therapists who trained at the Upledger Institute.  The website for the institute describes CST as follows:

CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system - comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.

Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams, or about the weight of a nickel, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.

By complementing the body's natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, including:

  • Migraine Headaches
  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain
  • Motor-Coordination Impairments
  • Colic
  • Autism
  • Central Nervous System Disorders
  • Orthopedic Problems
  • Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Scoliosis
  • Infantile Disorders
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Emotional Difficulties
  • Stress and Tension-Related Problems
  • Fibromyalgia and other Connective-Tissue Disorders
  • Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
  • Neurovascular or Immune Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Post-Surgical Dysfunction
  • (Source: Upledger Institute International) 
So far my experience has been positive. I initially went for the therapy to help with fatigue and generalized body pain as well as knee pain, but after Christmas I missed two appointments due to the considerable pain I was, and am experiencing in my knees.  I managed to re-start therapy again earlier this week.  I hope to go more often but it is difficult to get a consistent therapy.  The clinics only run once a week, and sometimes less.  The benefit of the student clinic is it is much cheaper than seeing a osteopath or a CST therapist which can be very expensive if you need longer term therapy.

The most positive benefit I've discovered so far is the deep relaxation that comes from the therapy. I think it is when we are able to relax the body deeply on a regular basis that the body can help to heal itself.  I find it difficult to relax on a regular basis and really let the body rest and the CST sessions helps me with that.

Students are providing the CST treatments to me and some have more skill than others.  Even at this stage it is easy to tell which students will be good practitioners and which ones will only be so-so.

Now that I've experienced what the CST is,  I'm thinking about seeing an osteopath who also practises CST and other techniques.  Someone who can actually help with the knee pain as well as other body pain because I don't want to take pain killers.  In fact, I haven't even told my family physician about my problems and it's clear I cannot continue to function with a severely restricted lifestyle over the longer term.  At least that is not the way I want to live and I'm hoping there is yet a way to get some long term relief.  I've been doing some research and found a few recommended  practitioners that I can easily get to on transit.  I am trying to make sure that whoever I see has had some good testimonials and recommendations for treating pain similar to what I'm experiencing though I realize not everyone responds in the same way to the same treatments.

By the way, as I was researching on line about the different therapies, I came across some very interesting  information about what seems like a miracle cure for people who experience debilitating pain. It is something called perispinal etanercept. Like all things that sound too good to be true (see youtube videos for testimonials), it probably is too good to be true. Anyway, something for me to file away and do more research about another day.

This is already a long post with no nice pictures to break it up. Since it is still cloudy and gray here, I'm sending you this song ("You Are the Sunshine of My Life, by Stevie Wonder).

 I'd be interested in your thoughts and experiences if any with cranial sacral therapy or osteopathy.


Coral Wild said...

Hi Penny
I'm afraid I cannot help yet with CST & Osteopathy as I haven't had the need yet.

But I will be following the feedback you get with interest as I have a slowly developing problem with rheumatoid arthritis and I can envisage that I will be looking for treatments in the future that will enable me to avoid taking painkillers and anti inflammatories.

Good luck with your treatments and I hope you can get your knee sorted out soon!

Denise said...

Sounds interesting.

Dorothy said...

So sorry to hear you're still battling. Knitting is great therapy, though.
I've been using kineseiology for my migraines. It's helping and I'm glad I've persisted. Trying new things is always good if it brings improvement. I hope you see better relief in the days to come.
Dotti :)

BECKY said...

Sounds very interesting. I haven't heard of it, but I'm open-minded to all types of therapy and/or cures. I'll be anxious to read your posts on this!

Diane said...

Interesting post, I am sorry about your knee but would be interested to know how you get on with therapy. It may well help N. Have a good weekend, Diane said...

Yes,I have had that done,it is kind of a massage.It does work.I have done this on myself where I can reach,I push hard on the area where I have pain,then gently massage in circles away from the center of pain.It`s been many years since I`ve had it done.I could use more sessions!
Thank-you for visiting my blog.Your writing of the little girl who died,there is so much going on in the world we don`t always know about,I will pray for the family & also you.phyllis

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