Almost a decade ago, I had developed a problem in my back. It was some sort of a disc issue. Once in a while I would have excruciating pain, that was ok – I could go through it. But almost all the time there was a persistent dull pain. This constant pain used to tire me out and the quality of my life was compromised as I simply wouldn’t have the energy to do so many things I wanted to.
Around that time, a doctor from Denmark used to visit our ashram in Bangalore every year. She would give me treatments that truly helped my back. Her simple, gentle touches somehow made me feel tremendous relief. Over time, the pain went away. I had discovered Craniosacral Therapy (CST).
Dinesh and I went on to learn the technique from her and many other highly skilled therapists from around the world. We are both certified Craniosacral therapists now and have treated hundreds of people.
It’s very heartening to see that these days, there is a major shift in most people. They want to give their bodies a chance to heal using alternative therapies instead of popping pills. They want to eradicate their health issues completely instead of just managing their discomfort through symptomatic relief. We have found Craniosacral therapy to be fantastic agent to bring about this change.
Here is a quick F.A.Q. about CST.
What is Craniosacral Therapy? How can it benefit me?
Craniosacral Therapy is a profound, non-invasive, healing process that works through gentle touch to release stress, disturbance, injury and deep-seated trauma. It is known to benefit an entire range of problems, from minor aches and pains to severe chronic conditions.
CST is a holistic technique that works through the various levels in the body impacting the musculoskeletal, nervous, cardio-vascular, circulatory and immune systems as well as the organs, tissues and fasciae. It triggers the body’s self-healing mechanisms to relieve diseases, symptoms and root causes. This restores balance across the various systems of the body, bringing it back into its state of effervescent health and well-being.
A CST session can bring an intense sense of relaxation to the entire system, and so, many people take sessions just to sink deep within and recharge themselves.
How does Craniosacral Therapy work?
If you scratch yourself, or get some cut or small wound, in a few days’ time, your body manages to heal itself. The body has an innate intelligence and enjoys good health and it forever wants to be in that state of vibrant health.
Many times, we abuse our body by disrupting its natural rhythms (not sleeping or eating on time), over indulging (eating wrong types of food, working too hard, etc) and consuming obvious poisons like non-veg food, alcohol, tobacco or recreational drugs causing it terrible stress. Accidents, bugs, illnesses and other mishaps all contribute to the assault on it.
The body is a brilliant piece of organic engineering and most times manages to bounce back to health, albeit, with a few leftovers of distress. These distresses pile up over time causing our immune systems to break down and creates disease.
There is a vast intelligence in the body and if you could tap into them, almost infinite resources available. Craniosacral Therapy acts as a catalyst for you to tap into your own system, use resources available to you, and create great health. Of course, lifestyle changes would need to happen alongside CST for it to have a more dramatic, permanent effect.
Through touch, a therapist can figure out what’s going on in the body and bring about balance and harmony by supplementing its own drive towards great health.
What’s the history of CST? Who developed it?
An American osteopath Dr. William Garner Sutherland developed CST almost a century ago. He observed that the bones of the skull are joined together in a zig-zag pattern, like the gills of a fish. He had an astonishing, ground-breaking realisation that maybe the skull bones are not completely fused as is widely believed. Possibly, there is some scope for minute movements… Even he thought the idea was ludicrous, and developed the techniques of CST while he tried to prove himself wrong!
As he refined his theories, he found out that not just the cranial bones, but every muscle, bone and organ in the body has a particular type of movement to some sort of a rhythm. In health, these movements are unrestricted and free. When some injury or disease affects some area, the movement is compromised.
A Craniosacral Therapists is trained to feel this dance of the various systems of the body through “thinking, feeling fingers” – and when they perceive it to be restricted, to gently nudge them back into synchronicity. The body then reorients itself towards health.
This makes CST both a preventive and a curative procedure.
Where can I get this therapy?
Though initially only doctors – chiropractors and osteopaths had access to learning this therapy, through the work of many forward-thinking doctors like John Upledger, these therapies are now available to be learned by people with no medical background.
Sri Sri School of Healing Arts (SSSOHA) is perhaps the first Indian school to offer training programs for learning CST. There are many who have trained to become therapists. SSSOHA has a complete listing of student and professional therapists along with their email ids on their website. Visit www.sssoha.com/practitioners/
Are there any side-effects of undergoing a CST treatment? Can it be done in conjunction with other therapies or treatments?
CST is holistic and organic in nature. It respects the innate ability of the body to heal itself. It will not interfere with any treatment you are currently undergoing and could in fact enhance and speed up recovery.
Is there any age or any other restrictions to get CST?
Anyone can take CST – including new-borns, pregnant women and the elderly.
Any precautions? Are there times when one doesn’t take CST?
In general, there are no precautions needed to be taken. CST can be even given pre and post-surgery with the consent of the operating surgeon – though in many cases, CST has helped prevent surgery in the first place. It’s great when your Craniosacral therapist can work with your health care physician and supplement your existing treatment.
How long is each CST session? And how many sessions does one typically need?
A CST session could be between 45 minutes to an hour. Each person’s experience and response to the treatment is unique. The number of sessions required could vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some people feel “cured” in just one or two sessions, others may need many more sessions over the course of a few months or even years.
In our experience, most people will return for sessions long after they are completely alright, to relax and rejuvenate themselves, enhance their sense of well-being and make sure they don’t fall ill.
What are the reviews like? What do people say after treatments?
Minor aches and pains vanish like dew drops in the morning sun. Many have reported a feeling “a lot better”, “feeling fresh”, “feeling like I have a new body”.
People with chronic or severe issues report the gradual lessening of their pain over a few sessions. People with physical problems like migraines, back problems, arthritis, etc have got much better and could be weaned off the medicines they were taking.
CST has helped people with depression or anxiety resume their normal day-to-day lives – many say – I am back to being me again!
CST treatments have enhanced focus and clarity in students and professionals making them better at their jobs.
Almost everyone enjoys a CST session.
What do traditional doctors have to say about CST?
Many allopathic, homeopathic and ayurvedic doctors now work with trained CST therapists to bring back their patient’s health in more holistic and organic ways, preferring to give CST treatments a chance before exploring more invasive procedures.
However, there is still a lot of work and formal research to be done for CST to get more widespread acceptance.
Do you need a licence to practice CST?
Currently in India you don’t require any licence, however, there are schools like the Sri Sri School of Healing Arts that certify practitioners.
How can I learn this therapy? Can you tell me more about Sri Sri School of Healing Arts and details about the CST training program?
Sri Sri School of Healing Arts (SSSOHA) has been formed with a vision to create qualified therapists and practitioners of various alternative and complementary healing modalities. All their trainings offer a unique blend of deep spirituality rooted in the ancient Indian scriptures, combined with techniques from all over the world that would be relevant to the course a student is taking.
Their flagship program The Bio-Dynamic Craniosacral Therapy Practitioner Training is like no other we know of. It draws on powerful and profound spiritual practices and combines them with the knowledge base of Craniosacral therapy which itself is more than a century old.
The BCST workshop is scheduled over 20 months in the format of nine seminars. Eight of five days each and one weekend seminar.
The training consists of approximately 750 hours of learning, over a period of 20 months. These 750 hours include 345 hours of supervised classroom training, 200 home practice sessions of about 45 minutes each, 10 hours of personal treatment experience of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, along with about 250 hours of home study and two case study projects.
They are committed to teaching the material as an experience rather than just a concept. Their courses are taught in quiet, beautiful and serene environments that are most conducive to learning and experiencing these deep processes.
Come explore and experience the wonderful, enchanting realm of alternative therapies.
The registrations are open for their next batches which will start in Rishikesh and Bangalore in September and October respectively. Visit www.sssoha.com for more details about schedule, eligibility, course content and course fees.
This article was compiled by Khurshed Batliwala (Bawa) with the inputs from Dr. Ankita Dhelia, Lalit Yadav, Dinesh Ghodke and the team at Sri Sri School of Healing Arts.
The Sri Sri Ayurveda Panchakarma offers a host of treatments including craniosacral therapy.