What is Craniosacral Therapy and what’s it like?

What is Craniosacral Therapy and what’s it like?

Craniosacral Therapist, Cranio Kent

Hi, I’m Sarah.  My first experience of Craniosacral Therapy (CST) was when I took my my newborn baby to get help for her colic and reflux many years ago. It was amazing to watch!  I could ‘see’ the tension build up in her body and then disappear, as if like magic and I knew I needed to know more. After doing some research, I decided to change career and I started the three year training at the Craniosacral Therapy Educational Trust (CTET) in London.

At the time, I had no idea of the full potential of the therapy.  All I really knew was that it helped newborns, but my eyes were soon opened to the profound and powerful effect it often has on people of all ages.

We all hold unresolved survival energy, or trauma in our bodies. This often has a fundamental effect on our ability to function in a balanced, healthy way and can have far reaching consequences on our physical and mental health. CST was originally developed from osteopathy and therapists are trained to create a listening, neutral, supportive, nurturing, resourced space for their client. Then, using a very gentle hands on approach, they work with the inherent treatment plan of their client’s system in order to facilitate the shifting and ultimately the release of the unresolved trauma / tension held in the body. People often say that having Craniosacral Therapy is like being listened to and held like never before. 

My three year training was transformative for me, although it wasn’t always easy. To see such a powerful therapy working all around me was enthralling, but I soon discovered that I was uncomfortable accessing my own needs.  This was unfamiliar to me, I had spent most of life nursing other people and I was really scared about how ugly / scary / monstrous releasing my ‘unresolved stuff’ would be!  I mean seriously, what if I had a nervous breakdown or I couldn’t stop crying for a month!? I had buried all that stuff away for good reason!

Of course, if I wanted to practice CST authentically (which seemed the only way with a therapy built on such deep trust and safety), I had to be prepared to do the work on myself.

What I then discovered through receiving CST myself was that a qualified and experienced practitioner is practiced at helping the client access their resources and will support them through the process of trauma release, whilst ensuring that it takes place at a pace that feels okay for them. Safety, safety, safety. To allow the system to be overwhelmed would be counter productive. When the client feels safe and held by their therapist, they make great progress.  That is to say, I discovered that even my stuff wasn’t scary when released little by little, with support.

So, I graduated in 2011 and set up Cranio Kent.  I really love every day of my work and I’m proud to say that my practice is now one of the busiest and most well respected in Kent. The core of my practice is my hands on work (clinics are in East Malling village and Kings Hill), but in 2019, I was registered as a supervisor which means that I mentor and support other therapists now also. I have always been a registered member of the Craniosacral Therapy Association (CSTA) and work within their code of ethics and I also spent a number of years working as a tutor at the CTET’s teaching clinic in London. 

Whilst of course I work with physical pain a lot and I love working with babies, I find that I am drawn most to work with anxiety. 

It is my firm belief that as human beings, we all have the natural capacity to recover from overwhelming experiences.  CST encourages the system to do just that.  As your therapist, we are not the wounded and the healed, we are equals. I continue on my journey too, I may just be a little further down the road than you are.

If you’d like to understand more or have chat about whether CST is likely to help you, then please give me a call (07956 390419) / or email me sarah@craniokent.co.uk

Colic, reflux, irritability, difficulty settling / feeding?

Colic, reflux, irritability, difficulty settling / feeding?

Newborn baby

Craniosacral Therapy is often the therapy of choice for a newborn because it is so gentle and in my experience, so effective.  Babies often experience stress and trauma during the birth process, and may not be able to resolve this trauma without assistance.

Common symptoms that parents report their baby having when there first come to see me are:

  • Colic (regular inconsolable crying)
  • Reflux (pain after feeds, sometimes there are regular spit-ups and vomiting, sometimes not)
  • Allergies / intolerances
  • Irritability / baby seems angry or tense
  • Difficulty settling / getting to sleep / staying asleep (wakes in pain)
  • Baby prefers to feed on one side / prefers head laid to one side when laid on back (causing flat spot)
  • Difficulty latching / gulping / baby slurps or ‘clicks’ when feeding
  • Torticollis

In extreme cases, parents report that the baby cannot be put down, in other words, cries unless they are being held (and often even then). Parents of babies with symptoms such as those listed often worry that there is something seriously wrong with their child. They understandably keep looking for reasons and keep talking to health visitors and doctors, trying one thing after another in an often desperate attempt to resolve the situation, such changing bottles, changing formula, and often using medication.

The babies that I see often have been through all of this and still nothing has helped. I have known babies to have their formula type changed 6 or 7 times! Parents are often told by doctors that despite the struggles and distress still going on, nothing further can be done. Although some health professionals are aware of cranial treatment and how it can help babies, many are not, which is a real shame. Because, as I have already said, even when every other option has been exhausted, I usually find that a short course of cranial treatment improves or eradicates most of the symptoms above. Improvements can often be seen after just one session! So if you know any young babies struggling, please do share this blog with Mummy/Daddy!

To have a baby who struggles to feed, cries inconsolably for hours on end or cannot be put down is very distressing and worrying for everyone around, especially Mum and Dad. And all this when perhaps mum is still trying to recover from the birth herself (I will write another blog about helping mums), the parents are just starting to learn how to look after a newborn baby, they are usually very sleep deprived and perhaps there is post natal depression in the mix too.  Often the families that I see are really feeling the strain.

When a baby first comes to see me, I carry out an assessment to see if there are any tensions / restrictions held in their body (these will often be a result of birth trauma). If there is (and there nearly always is, in the babies that I see), then very carefully and gently, I help that tension to release from the system at a pace that feel okay for the baby.

Most babies appear to really enjoy their sessions, and they will be far more relaxed at the end of the session than they were at the beginning. Parents often comment at the apparent connection between the therapist and the baby.  I often have a little ‘conversation’ with the baby about what is going on during their session. If they show distress at any point, lots of support is provided from Mum/Dad and they can even be treated whilst sucking a dummy, or feeding if that helps them to be calm and allow the process of release. The baby’s progress is monitored throughout the course of sessions.

My work with babies is so rewarding; I just love it. Perhaps because one of my daughters suffered in a similar way when she was a baby, which is how I found out about this therapy all those years ago!

So, there you go, a little overview of why and when to seek help for a newborn. Oh, and another question that I get asked a lot is, whether it is ever too late for birth trauma to be released. The answer is definitely not!  So if you have a child, of whatever age and you suspect that the symptoms that they have could be a result of birth trauma, please do give me a call and I can advise you as to whether I might be able to help you (Sarah – 07956 390419).