I am very often drawn into conversations about what role the client plays in their recovery process. How wonderful (debatable!) for a client if they didn’t have to take responsibility for their healing and left it completely to the therapist to wield the magic wand. Healing, however, on rare occasions favors a one-way ticket. Even in therapeutic settings a give and take melody is struck.
The Free Dictionary translates Unwinding as, ‘”to free (someone) of nervous tension or pent up energy.” That’s one of the things a craniosacral healing session can foster, most definitely.
Therapist as Catalyst
In craniosacral treatments, clients feel some amount of relief in the very first session. What makes the therapist a good enough catalyst to provoke a state of near-bliss, just when the client has given up all but hope to get well somehow?
The answer to this is the centering within the mind body of the therapist, his or her sensitive disposition, and refined palpatory skills, beside the client’s progressive attunement to it all. Sounds simplistic, but it isn’t entirely so.
More often than not, clients come to therapy carrying an overload of neuromuscular stress. Their bodies are probably not in the mood to entertain additional or even sudden intervention. That makes craniosacral healing such a huge enactment of slow-paced and gentle changes that begin to take place in the body.
It’s not unlike the unwinding of a spring in a system/s that is high strung and wound up; and the unwinding takes place in the fascia to begin with, for that’s where the stress has over time laid down.
Client as Instinctive Helper
Any kind of immediate release can be linked to the touch of the therapist. In safe, trusting, gentle, and neutral hands. Any kind of release or adjustment in the client’s body or mind can be attributed as well to their willingness to free-fall and let go. Which I mean is a prerequisite to any kind of long-term change. A willingness to handle a different perspective.
Thank heavens for mechanoreceptors embedded in the fascia. They detect gentle cranial touch as mechanical sensation that’s relaxing and that which stimulates a parasympathetic response in the ANS. Lo behold, the therapist has clinical proof that it’s working – swallowing, twitching, REM, and eventually deeper diaphragmatic breathing.
I love cranial work for the very truth that conscious mind succumbs to the no-pressure persuasion of touch. In time, if the client sticks on with commitment towards healing, s/he sees a marked change in their thinking process. They learn a thing or two about mindfulness and living in the present moment. As they begin to observe rising and subsiding phenomena in their mind and body.
CNS as Helpful Co-creator
The CNS (central nervous system) is key participant in cranial treatments. Another clinical observation as a therapist is seeing CNS commands to the musculoskeletal system to let go and relax. So, muscle tone eases up, at times joints, which are areas of compression, throw off stress via movement. Limbs register motion, also numbness and temperature changes, as reaction to old registered trauma seeking release.
Clients observe involuntary muscular movement and are quite taken aback by it. At times, I too am struck by various movements in the client’s body – tremors, jerks, vibrations, and sudden flicks.
Let’s stop here and consider what might be triggered by the client’s thought process or vivid imagination, for these involuntary reflexes to get initiated by the therapist’s touch? Could it be true that muscles get activated by thoughts? I like to think that I have success with helping my clients to unravel theirs. Are those thoughts broken, happy, anxiety provoking, sad, helpless, etc? I have noticed in this work a tendency for muscles to unwind when old forgotten stories unfold.
A Combination Key
Craniosacral therapy provides this via responses initiated by touch, in both the ANS and CNS. Both these eventually create relaxation and ease in the body and the mind. Or in other words, “…free (someone) of nervous tension or pent up energy.”
I recommend at least 8 sessions to witness an observable shift in skeleto/neuromuscular tension.
If you like change then you have to work at it and be around for sometime at least to see its manifestation.