Craniosacral therapy is a very gentle way of working the body using light touch. It is distinct from osteopathy because it does not involve the manipulation of the bones and muscles.
“About 35 years ago a whole bunch of osteopaths realised they were just using this touch and decided to start teaching that section, so it became a distinct therapy.” Explains Rod Hague, Chichester Natural Health Centre’s craniosacral therapist. “You tend to have waves of people that have the same type of condition. I had a lot of people with sciatica for a while. Then I often have a lot of babies with colic or who have had relatively traumatic births.”
Mothers and babies often visit Rod after difficult or traumatic births. Newborn babies and infants are the most significant beneficiaries of craniosacral therapy because their skulls are not yet properly developed and are therefore more receptive to the treatment. In Canada, all newborns receive the therapy as part of post-natal care.
In older children and adults, it can be successfully used to treat mood disorders, epilepsy, stroke, cerebral palsy and general stress disorders. However, many people start having craniosacral therapy because they have acute physical problems like headaches or bad backs. As craniosacral therapy is non-invasive, it can be used on anyone from newborns to the elderly. Unlike massage, the therapy does not stimulate the lymphatic system, meaning that it is suitable for cancer patients.
The first session begins with a written case history, with Rod taking details of work life, previous injuries, medical history and anything else he thinks may be relevant.
“That’s why the first session is an hour-and-a-half. Depending on the client, it can take quite a while to get those details down.” Rod says. “Then follows the couch time. The patient lays down on their back if they are comfortable or sitting up if not. I tend to start with the ankles and the feet to check the left and right balance and get a better picture of the overall balance. Although, if you have particularly sensitive feet, the treatment can be started with the ankles and lower calf areas.”
During a treatment, most patients experience a feeling of deep relaxation, some even fall asleep or go into a dream-like state. It can be a very different feeling to anything experienced before, but it is extremely pleasant.
The number of sessions required depends on the conditions involved and how long an injury or strain has been sustained.
“Quite often people will come to see me when they have tried a lot of other things, so the trauma could be quite a long time ago. So, getting the body to let go of that trauma can take quite a long time. Similarly, I saw a lady who had really bad sciatica because she was pregnant, and she only had one treatment and didn’t need to come back. Some people come only for an MOT once a year, just to maintain health.”
Rod is available for appointments on a Tuesday at Chichester Natural Health Centre. His initial consultation and treatment will last about an hour and a half, and follow-up treatments are an hour.
If you are interested in booking in, there is always a warm welcome for you at Chichester Natural Health Centre – so why not call in or telephone to find out more. Our reception is covered six days a week.
Chichester Natural Health Centre, 5 City Business Centre, Basin Road, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8DU