Today I had craniosacral therapy. Cranio refers to your noggin, and sacral refers to your sacrum, or tailbone, so this is designed to work with the central nervous system (head and spine). It’s an experience. I’ve actually had this done once before, a couple months ago. It is an alternative treatment that is supposed to help heal stress and pain, although this is disputed.
The first time I went, I didn’t feel too different afterward. Today I went and afterward felt more relaxed and very hot. I felt like I had sweated through the back of my shirt, but I wasn’t sweating; the process had just heated up my body temperature. This is supposed to be a sign that the therapy is working. In fact, the craniosacral therapist gives out a bottle of water to each of his patients and tells them to rehydrate after such a treatment.
I arrived at the therapist’s office in a quiet office building. I wore jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt (you can wear whatever, but I’d recommend long pants). The room was small and dimly lit, with relaxing music playing from iPod speakers. I took off my glasses and shoes and laid on my back on a table covered by a soft blanket. There was no blanket over me, but I was fully clothed. There was a small wedge-shaped pillow under my knees to prop them up a bit.
The craniosacral therapist gently held his hands on various pressure points for a few minutes apiece. The pressure points he used on me were mainly on my the top and back of my head, on the bottom of my chin and on the back of my neck, although he also used other points along my spine. This was because this was where he felt the most stress from my body.
The treatment did not hurt. It feels nothing like a Swedish massage; craniosacral therapy does not work your muscles. Instead, it is supposed to realign your spine and nerves. From the anecdotal evidence I’ve heard, it’s supposed to be like shock absorption. The craniosacral therapist pulls out the pain from your pressure points. From what I’ve heard the therapist I went to does several hours of yoga a day to keep him in peak physical condition to be able to do this (and other treatments) several times a day for an hour each.
I actually fell in and out of sleep near the end of the treatment. It was very relaxing. There were a few disconcerting moments though. My body spasmed several times during the treatment; I felt my legs jolt and such. I only felt pain once, and briefly. When he had his hands on the top of my head, I felt a little pain. I feel better now though.
It has now been two and a half hours since I’ve been home. I walked / jogged with my dogs and enjoyed a bowl of cereal and a little cheddar (ok, and a few cherry jelly beans!). I still feel fairly mentally alert and awake, which seemed to come from the treatment. Physically, I don’t feel much different because I don’t have chronic pain. Usually if I get neckaches it’s because I got lazy and curled up weird in my love seat for too long.
However, I know someone who goes regularly because she says it makes her neck feel a lot better (it was damaged years ago by whiplash after she was in a car that was hit by a drunk driver). I’d like for my fiance to be able to go sometime. He also suffers from chronic pain in his legs (he has been a passenger in an absurd variety of car accidents).
I hope this gives you a decent idea of what to expect with craniosacral massage therapy. Here’s to your health!