Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a type of bodywork reputed to relieve compression in the head, neck and back. By applying gentle pressure to the bones in the skull, spine and pelvis, a certified therapist may be able to relieve pain and release physical as well as emotional stress.
David Kaminker is a licensed acupuncturist and certified holistic health practitioner offering craniosacral therapy in Ashland.
“When clients come in, we discuss any injuries, physical and/or emotional traumas that are causing stress in order to get a picture of their general health,” says Kaminker. “They may be experiencing physical symptoms, such as headaches, sciatica, anxiety, insomnia. Craniosacral therapy is also good for PTSD, back pain and TMJ. Physical injuries could be from something like a car accident, or from emotional trauma that gets stored in the body.”
At Harmony Resounds Wellness Studio in Medford, Leslie “Harmony” Seckelman treats people seeking craniosacral therapy for tension, depression, ringing in the ears and other conditions. Certified in CST since 2017, Seckelman says craniosacral therapy can assist in healing and often alleviates the symptoms.
“The applied pressure is equal to the weight of a nickel,” she says. “Therapists are trained to be perceptive through our hands. We work into the bones, membranes and fascia to heal the body. We want to go to the root of the issue and bring the body back to a more harmonious, balanced state.”
The CST process is simple and relaxing. The client lies on a massage table and as the treatment begins, will enter a dreamlike, meditative state.
“The client lies down, and I apply extremely gentle pressure to the facial bones and cranial bones,” says Kaminker. “I work down to the abdomen, the visceral organs and to the extremities, working into some connective tissue as well as the cranial and spinal nerves. The gentleness of the touch creates a sense of safety that permeates the subconscious mind. We work to harness the body’s innate intelligence and trust in its ability to heal. The gentle touch sends subtle reminders about what and how to heal. It helps the body remember how to do its job.”
Seckelman has seen CST make a nearly immediate difference. “I can see the stress in the faces of my clients when they come in, but after a one- hour session, I often see dramatic results,” she says. “It’s incredible what is possible. We don’t have to go through life in crazy states of anxiety. Depending on the issue, I encourage people to come back for a few more sessions. That way, the body and mind learn to relate to ease instead of stress.”
Seckelman says CST has the potential to affect all systems of the body, and specifically, the nervous system. She explained that John Upledger, who developed CST, has found based on clinical observations over 15 years that this therapy can assist with the following: arthritis, headaches, spinal dysfunctions, TMJ, traumatic spinal cord or brain injuries, and postoperative rehabilitation.
“It can also assist with brain dysfunctions, including autism, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, motor system issues, endocrine disorders, central nervous system issues as well as many other things,” Seckelman reports. “CST is for everyone with a body.”
Kaminker sees people of all ages from newborn on up for CST. “Babies respond very well,” he says. “Sleep issues, digestive problems, traumatic birth conditions and fussiness can all be improved with craniosacral therapy.”
Seckelman says she became interested in CST after her sister was healed of back pain that started during pregnancy.
“My sister was barely able to walk after having her third child. She was in excruciating pain. She tried chiropractic care and physical therapy but found no relief. After several months of this, she started seeing a CST therapist. After three months of once-a-week visits, her pain greatly diminished. After six months, she was functioning again, and after a year, she was able to wear high heels and go out dancing. That’s when I decided to become a CST therapist.”
Photo by Joshua Sage