CranioSacral sessions are 60 minutes in length, and are performed with the client fully clothed on a comfortable table. Treatments can include both CranioSacral and Visceral mobilization techniques, as based on your needs and goals. Education in relaxing breath work or gentle yoga-based movements may also be provided for use at home, to facilitate healing.
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger following extensive scientific studies from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics. CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system – comprised of the membranes and fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.
Each person has a craniosacral rhythm, caused by the increase and decrease of cerebrospinal fluid around the central nervous system. This subtle rhythm can be felt by a practitioner trained in CST, and can be used to diagnose asymmetries or unbalanced motion. When unbalanced rhythm is found, it suggests to the practitioner that normal body functions may be disturbed, leading to various symptoms and dis-ease. The practitioner uses a soft touch, generally no greater than the weight of a nickel, to find and release restrictions in the craniosacral system, which allows for improved function of the central nervous system, and the body as a whole.
By complementing the body’s natural healing processes, CST helps the body return to balanced motion and normal function. It is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, including:
- Headache and Migraine
- Post-Concussion Syndrome
- Chronic Neck and Back Pain
- Motor-Coordination Impairments
- Central Nervous System Disorders
- Orthopedic Problems
- Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
- Chronic Fatigue
- Stress and Tension-Related Problems
- Fibromyalgia and other Connective-Tissue Disorders
- Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
- Neurovascular or Immune Disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Post-Surgical Dysfunction
(Adapted from www.upledger.com and the Craniosacral Therapy II guide)
Visceral Mobilization is a gentle manual therapy that aids your body’s ability to release restrictions and unhealthy compensations that cause pain and dysfunction. During a visceral mobilization session, the therapist feels for the altered or decreased motion within the organs (also called viscera), as well as restrictive patterns throughout the body. The treatment is a gentle compression, mobilization and elongation of the soft tissues which are restricting the movement of the organs. As the source of the problem is released, symptoms will start to decrease.
The organs in the body are constantly in motion – when you breathe, walk or stretch, your organs move. But organs do not exist alone – they are functionally related to other components of the body, including the bones, muscles, nerves, fascia, and surrounding organs. For example: when you take a breath, your lungs need to stretch and expand to hold the air you inhale. As they expand, they press down on the organs below them, including the liver, stomach and kidneys, which also have to move in order to make room for the lungs to expand. The kidneys can move up and down 1 to 4 inches with each breath you take – over the course of a day, that is more than half a mile!
Organs and tissues need to slide and glide against each other fluidly to allow for proper function. From the rhythmic beating of the heart, to the gentle wave-like contractions of the large intestine, to the filling and emptying of the bladder, optimal health relies on a harmonious relationship between the organs of the body.
Over the course of one’s life, organs can lose mobility. Physical trauma, surgery, infection, pollution, diet, posture or pregnancy can all influence the relationship of organs to each other. When an organ becomes restricted, or “stuck” to another structure, the body must compensate for that, which can create abnormal points of tension and irritation. A slight change in motion can lead to functional and structural problems throughout the body. Using the example of the lungs once again: if scar tissue develops in or around the lungs as a result of a surgery or infection, it can change the normal pattern of expansion that the lungs usually follow. As a result, rib movements may be altered, causing tension in the spine, leading to upper back or neck pain, or limited shoulder mobility. A therapist trained in visceral mobilization can help release the tension around the lungs, allowing them to return to their normal movement pattern, and taking the strain off the ribs and spine. In short, visceral mobilization re-establishes the body’s ability to adapt and restore itself to health.
Visceral Mobilization is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, including:
- Whiplash and seatbelt injuries
- Lower back pain and sciatica
- Headaches and migraines
- Digestive disorders
- Acid reflux
- Post-operative scar tissue pain
- Pelvic pain
(Adapted from “Discover Visceral Manipulation” by The Barral Institute.)
Many people experience pelvic floor dysfunction at some point in their lifetime. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that work to support the organs in the abdomen and control the bladder and bowels. If these muscles become weak or injured, for example as a result of pregnancy, childbirth, surgery or trauma, or if they simply lose strength over time, a variety of problems can arise. Some of these include:
- Incontinence (leaking of urine or stool)
- Abdominal pain
- Tailbone pain
- Pelvic pain
- Hip pain
- Organ prolapse
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Vulvar pain
- Painful intercourse
- Rectal pain
- Sacroiliac dysfunction
- Scar tissue adhesions
Struggling with any of these problems can lead to frustration, discouragement and isolation. Often, people seek care from a variety of healthcare professionals with little or no relief.
You don’t have to suffer with these problems. Working with a physical therapist who is specially trained in the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction, like Debbie Turczan, can be very effective in easing pain, restoring function and getting you back to your life. After an individualized evaluation, Debbie will design a treatment plan specifically tailored to your needs. Your program may include:
- Soft tissue mobilization, including internal and external pelvic floor muscle mobilization
- CranioSacral therapy
- Visceral mobilization
- Myofascial release
- Relaxation training
- Scar tissue/adhesion release
- Muscle energy techniques
- Neural tension release
- Joint mobilization
- Postural re-education
- Core stabilization training
- Strength training
- Home exercise instruction
Therapeutic Yoga sessions are 60-75 minutes in length. Sessions are conducted in a private room, usually on yoga mats on the floor, though poses can be modified to include the use of a chair or treatment table as needed. During a session, the client is gently positioned in 4 to 5 restorative yoga postures, each maintained for up to 10 minutes, with the support of blankets and bolsters to allow maximal relaxation. Gentle hands-on techniques may be applied during each pose to enhance the release of tension and stress.
Therapeutic Yoga is an effective practice for those recovering from, or living with, injury or illness. Therapeutic Yoga blends restorative yoga (supported postures), gentle yoga, breath work, hands-on healing techniques, and guided meditation combined in such a way that it is an effective and empowering choice for those who need a gentle method for bringing the body into balance and reducing stress. Therapeutic Yoga is a deeply meditative experience – it provides the opportunity to step away from the busy-ness of the outside world and access the deeper wisdom that resides within us.
The postures experienced in Therapeutic Yoga sessions can be repeated safely at home with the use of a few blankets and pillows, allowing the opportunity to continue working towards balance, stress reduction and pain management independently.
(Adapted from www.therapeuticyoga.com)