CranioSacral Therapy... or as my son calls it- "that head thing".
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
When I first came across CranioSacral therapy (commonly referred to as CST) it was during a session my child was having for some issues around behaviour and learning development. I took my child to this appointment not knowing what to expect, all I knew was I just needed help.
You see my son had a tendency to lash out at his sisters a lot, it was more than just small tiffs, it was pushing the boundaries of normal anger and aggression in a 5 year old. I was worried that has he grew bigger it was a problem that would be harder to manage and resolve and so, I was at my wits end with what to do and how to help.
Working in childcare for over 10 years and the skills I had learnt in dealing with children's behaviour wasn't working and the child psychologist told me there was nothing "wrong" with him in the sense that she couldn’t diagnose him with anything. (That’s a whole other rabbit hole we could go down, right?) She believed he just needed to learn to play nicely with his siblings and manage his emotions. Real helpful! (insert eye roll)
The thing is, the problem never seemed to affect his school days. It was only when he was in the comfort of his own home. The kinder teachers feedback when I voiced my concern, was that he listens and plays well with others and has never shown any forms of aggression. I was confused and talking with other mums had me questioning whether I really had anything to be concerned about. Their experience was that once their child got home from school, their emotions seemed to crumble, purely because they were feeling safe in their own spaces and could express themselves freely. My motherly instinct wasn't convinced that that's all it could be, and so I was left searching for answers.
We had tried all sorts of options such as behavioural books and programs, child psychologists, redirection and bonding activities with his sisters, but he needed something else to support him in his emotional turmoil. Being interested in the alternative therapy field, I thought it would be beneficial for him to have some unwind time in the form of massage or energetic healing.
It is commonplace, in this alternative world, to understand that if our emotions are not released, they are stored in our body and can manifest into physical health issues.
I remember being told “you have to use a tissue for your issues or your issues will become your tissues.” In other words, if you don't release those emotions they will build up in your body and become a physical problem and I feared this for my son, as I knew he wasn't releasing his emotions effectively, but simply boiling over as they filled his little body.
So I go to this appointment with a local therapist who is also a family friend. I knew that I could trust him to provide something (anything!) to help my struggling child.
After some discussion on why we were there, my son laid on the table and the therapist began placing his hands on his feet but only briefly, and then moved to his head. The therapist placed his hands so gently he seemed to be barely touching my sons head but his hands seemed very finesse and detailed in the locations he was placing them. It seemed so intricate and purposeful and I couldn't help but watch so carefully. The positions he took included hands cradling under the head, on the sides with the fingers just resting over the ears and along the brow line.
My son quickly went from nervous and continually looking at me for assurance, to gently making shapes with his hands, almost like mudras. He was completely calm and had a real gentle nature about him. I honestly thought he was going to fall asleep but he never.
From my perspective, the therapist barely seemed to be doing anything extreme but seeing my son so relaxed and calm was NOT a usual behaviour for him and so I was stunned.
I left the appointment, not really knowing what he had done but feeling like it was good and very beneficial.
Now at this point in my life I was studying crystal healing and blueprint healing and had bought myself a massage table to practice my treatments. When we got home after that appointment, I planned on giving my family a crystal session to practice for an upcoming assessment. When it came for my sons turn, he laid down and said “can you do that head thing, mum?” I was pretty astounded that he wanted more of that session when from an outside perspective the therapist really didn’t appear to do much, especially in terms of manipulation. Obviously though, for my son, he felt something much more profound than the average bystander could see. I knew at this exact moment that I needed to learn this therapy, if only to give my son sessions at home and help him find that quiet and calm space. I needed to give it a shot because it seemed to impact my son so positively.
It took over a year to find a course suitable (reasonably close by and within my budget) but once I got started I didn’t want to stop. The teachings fed my need for spiritual connection and developing my intuitive skills but it also dove deeply into my interest for science and anatomy. It was the perfect blend of both worlds and I knew that one day I would go on to offer this to my own clients, not just my son. CST was going to change my life!
Its such a gentle hands on modality that is completely non-invasive and done with a fully clothed client. It avoids the clink and clunking of some other alternative treatments and is (briefly) the tuning into the rhythms of a persons system, working with the cranium/head and the sacram/tailbone (hence cranio-sacral) and working on smoothing out any blockages or unevenness. This therapy has opened me to a new world of alternative healing. It has and will continue to teach me new things about the physical body and how it interacts to our everyday experiences. Every trauma we endure, whether it be a stubbed toe, loss of a loved one or even your own birth into this world, leaves an impact on our systems. CST is the release for all of that and any of it.
My son is now 10 years old and while he still has moments where his emotions seem to take him over, I know that CranioSacral therapy made a huge impact for him. Hormones are starting to get in the mix (which is pretty scary) but now I am equipped with the skills to support his system in these times of change and while I know it is a beautiful therapy to receive, it's even more beautiful to give.
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