Craniosacral Therapy

Until I read the following by Robert Rickover, I thought craniosacral was just some feel-good massagey thingy while as an Alexander Technique teacher, I was showing people how to take responsibility for their use.

Robert writes:

The truth is that many investigators other than Alexander have gained valuable insights into human functioning and have developed effective methods and procedures of their own. We would do well to investigate these with an open mind. We may even want to incorporate some of them into our own teaching – just as Alexander did.

Personally, I have made significant improvements in my use and functioning as a result of my experiences with the Feldenkrais Method, the Tomatis Method, acupuncture and acupressure. Cranial Sacral therapy has taught me more about freeing my neck than years of Alexander training. Others I know have benefited enormously from such widely diverse methods as chiropractic, massage, physical therapy, yoga, Tai Chi, Rolfing and Trager work.

According to Wikipedia: Craniosacral therapy (also called CST, also spelled Cranial Sacral bodywork or therapy) is an alternative medicine therapy used by osteopaths, massage therapists, naturopaths, and chiropractors. A craniosacral therapy session involves the therapist placing their hands on the patient, which they claim allows them to “tune into the craniosacral rhythm”.[1] The practitioner gently works with the spine and the skull and its cranial sutures, diaphragms, and fascia. In this way, the restrictions of nerve passages are said to be eased, the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spinal cord is said to be optimized, and misaligned bones are said to be restored to their proper position. Craniosacral therapists use the therapy to treat mental stress, neck and back pain, migraines, TMJ Syndrome, and for chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.[2][3][4] Several studies have reported that there is little scientific support for the underlying theoretical model for which no properly randomized, blinded, and placebo-controlled outcome studies have ever been published.”

Ingrid Bacci is an Alexander Technique teacher in Cortland Manor, New York. She talks here about the Alexander Technique and Craniosacral Therapy.

Ingrid: “The body can hold emotions that are repressed. In Alexander Technique training, I got a tremendous release in my body from physical pain. At the same time, I felt a lot of emotions flooding up. I found craniosacral therapy useful for processing that.”

“My jaw started locking up. While Alexander helped me release tension throughout my body, I couldn’t figure out how to release the vice-like sensation that came into my jaw. I went to a craniosacral therapist and she did some specific things that helped that.”

“Unlike with Alexander Technique, you can go into a semi-hypnotic state in craniosacral therapy. It’s passive. I started flashing back to something I could not recognize. I started crying. When I was finished crying, the pain in my jaw was done.”

Robert: “I encountered craniosacral work at the time I was graduating from a [three-year] Alexander Technique training course. Walter Carrington, the father of my course, was intrigued by craniosacral work and encouraged some of his students to experience it.

“I ended up taking a five-day training in it. I was impressed by the training. I found I could do it but I also found that it bored me and that I was much more interested in receiving it.”

“Over the years, I’ve found it an incredible complement to Alexander work. Not as much on the emotional level, but at getting at deep-rooted patterns.

“What craniosacral can get to that Alexander lessons can’t are these complex fascial patterns. Alexander directions tend to be linear and many of these patterns [are deep and difficult and not easily accessible to Alexander directions].”

Ingrid: “Unwinding, where the complex fascial tissue and muscles [unwind]. It’s learning to talk to the tissues. Why don’t you show me how you want to unwind.”

Robert: “There are certain tension patterns where Alexander Technique works well in releasing them but with other complex [tension] patterns, it’s hard to imagine how you could usefully direct yourself out of them. I’ve become aware through 20 years of craniosacral work of specific tensions that I never noticed before with many years of Alexander teaching. No one ever called them to my attention. They were under the radar of what an Alexander teacher could even notice.”

Ingrid: “I learned through craniosacral therapy that we may not release certain tensions because we’re emotionally committed to them. They are part of the way we hold ourselves in life and they’re bound up with fear or anger or feeling burdened. When you can bring a sense of the emotional quality of that tension to the client, then they can work with it more consciously through Alexander Technique style of direction.”

Robert: “The Alexander Technique shows you how you can take up the space in the world you are entitled to and not scrunch yourself up.”

Robert Rickover is the son of the following bloke (eulogy):

Hyman George Rickover (January 27, 1900 – July 8, 1986) was a four-star admiral in the United States Navy who directed the original development of naval nuclear propulsion and controlled its operations for three decades as director of Naval Reactors. In addition, he oversaw the development of the Shippingport Atomic Power Station, the world’s first commercial pressurized water reactor used for generating electricity.
Rickover is known as the “Father of the Nuclear Navy”, which as of July 2007 had produced 200 nuclear-powered submarines, and 23 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and cruisers, though many of these U.S. vessels are now decommissioned and others under construction.
With his unique personality, political connections, responsibilities, and depth of knowledge regarding naval nuclear propulsion, Rickover became the longest-serving naval officer in U.S. history with 63 years active duty.[1][2][3]
Rickover’s substantial legacy of technical achievements includes the United States Navy’s continuing record of zero reactor accidents, as defined by the uncontrolled release of fission products subsequent to reactor core damage.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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