“Thank you for your gentleness. One of the parts of my healing is to be able to show up just however I am with you, scared, out of touch, whatever, and be the patient. I never have to feel ashamed about how I am feeling with you, correct my language, etc. I can just be however I am. I need that. And, in being able to be that and be accepted, I continue to heal. Thank you for your loving touch and our wonderful connection. I truly appreciate and love you, and who you are in this world-a wonderful blessing!” — K.N.



Craniosacral therapy addresses the craniosacral system, which specifically includes the fascia and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, as well as the bones of the skull, face and mouth (cranium) and lower spine (sacrum). The inherent movement of the cerebrospinal fluid within the craniosacral system is called the craniosacral rhythm. This rhythm is subtle, but with practice is easily palpable. Basically, the head expands and narrows, while the body also expands/rotates outward and narrows/rotates inward. A balanced rhythm throughout the body is beneficial (equal expansion and narrowing, equal rotation) and promotes optimal function of the nervous system. An imbalance indicates a block to this rhythm, often caused by fascial restrictions.

Fascia is a connective tissue that surrounds every nerve, organ, blood vessel, muscle, bone and even each cell. Healthy fascia is highly elastic and fluid. Fascia is also very pain sensitive. The filmy tissue under the skin of poultry is an example of fascia. With injury, inflammation and trauma (emotional and physical), fascia shortens and solidifies. This fascial restriction limits movement, function and comfort immediately or perhaps not noticeably until years later. Repressed and suppressed emotions, even a negative self-image, restrict fascia as effectively as a physical injury.

Because the fascia in the body is basically one large, continuous three-dimensional sheath, a restriction in one area can “pull” to another area causing pain, symptoms and limitation at a distant location. Think of wearing a body suit. If someone pulls your suit at the ankle, you will feel it up your leg to your hip and low back. Besides low back pain, a fall on the tailbone could eventually lead to migraines, changes in vision, dizziness, and TMJ dysfunction. An abdominal surgical scar (this is a fascial restriction) can affect the back, intestines, neck, shoulders, or possibly even the heart.

Fascia is living tissue and always responds to treatment. The older the restriction, the more therapy required. I rarely say to a client, “It’s an old injury. You have to live with it.” Fascia responds to a slow and maintained stretch. It is similar to stretching cold taffy. First the tissue warms and softens, and then begins to unwind as fluidity is restored. Fascia does not stretch like an elastic because its fibers are arranged in various directions. The fascia may move left, clockwise, then up and to the right before it releases. As the layers of fascia release, pain and other symptoms resolve.

How does the craniosacral therapist know which direction to move the fascia in order to release a restriction? The answer varies according to the therapist’s experience, presence and philosophy. I don’t move the fascia. It moves me. With sensitive hands and an open heart, I follow the movement that wants to happen. I feel this movement as a magnetic force guiding me. I believe this movement is directed by the infinite intelligence of life within my client. Remember that grade school exercise with the magnet and the metal filings? The energy of this life force is the magnet and my hands are the filings. This intelligence always moves towards health and wholeness. It knows what needs to happen in each session.

I may be treating a client with several problem areas. Where should I begin? Is it a particular cranial bone causing the headache? Or is it the result of a back injury? Maybe it’s related to unresolved grief. I don’t have to know. I let go of any agenda or intention and allow my hands to be invited onto the body. I am guided to a place and a level of connection. In situations of acute trauma or with a sensitive client, I am often only guided to subtle levels of connection. I then follow the movement and stay present to whatever happens. I may intuitively guide my client in visualization or dialogue, but often sessions are quiet.

A craniosacral therapy treatment is performed with the client fully clothed (shoes off), usually lying down. Loose, comfortable clothing is best. Ideally, the atmosphere is quiet and peaceful. The therapist is centered. Her touch is light and gentle. The client is invited to relax and receive. Sessions can last five minutes or up to two hours.

Craniosacral therapy relieves headaches, migraines, back and neck pain, TMJ dysfunction, chronic fatigue and symptoms of stress. It enhances the immune system, improves posture, balances trauma from birth and eases emotional distress. Central nervous system disorders and orthopedic problems improve as well. Some people have regular appointments as part of a wellness plan. Clients have also reported feeling deeply peaceful, finding an answer to a difficult question, releasing old resentments, finding forgiveness and/or feeling at one with the Divine. Craniosacral therapy has the potential to facilitate profound change in your life and health because Life’s intelligence is infinite. Ultimately, I am not doing the healing. Life is.

  All Rights Reserved © 2006 Linda Marshall