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  • Writer's pictureLinda@CranioSacralBoulder

CranioSacral Therapy and the Treatment of PTSD

Updated: Sep 19, 2023


Seeking help with post traumatic symptoms


What is CranioSacral Therapy?

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of the body’s craniosacral system. The craniosacral system is comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. By freeing the central nervous system to perform at its best, CST naturally reduces pain and stress, strengthens resistance to disease and enhances health and well-being. Because it’s so gentle, CST has proven effective for people of all ages.


How Did CranioSacral Therapy Begin?

CranioSacral Therapy was developed by Dr. John E. Upledger, an osteopathic physician and surgeon featured in TIME magazine as one of America’s next wave of innovators. From 1975 to 1983, Dr. Upledger was a professor of biomechanics at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. While he was there he led a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists, and bioengineers that performed and published the clinical research that formed the basis for the modality he named CranioSacral Therapy.



How is CST Performed?

How is CST Performed?

A typical CST session is performed fully clothed on a comfortable padded table, or in a seated position. Through gentle touch, the therapist begins monitoring the rhythm of the fluid flowing around the central nervous system. Delicate manual techniques facilitate the release of restrictions in the body and head, thus improving the function of the central nervous system. The sessions are generally deeply relaxing, creating feelings of gentle pulsation, warmth and tissue release. A CST session can last a few minutes to over an hour. It can be used alone or integrated with other therapies to enhance well-being.



What is SomatoEmotional Release®?

What is SomatoEmotional Release®?

SomatoEmotional Release® (SER) is a process that helps to release trapped emotional energy and facilitate the discharge of trauma and injury. The body frequently retains an emotional imprint of physical injury, especially of intense feelings. These emotional imprints often get deposited in the body, creating areas called “energy cysts.” The body can adapt to energy cysts, but as more stress builds throughout life, the body can lose its ability to accommodate and uncomfortable symptoms often become more difficult to suppress. In those cases, an individual may experience an SER during the CST session. The individual will often spontaneously move into the same position they were in when the injury occurred, as this allows the trapped emotional energy to escape along the same pathway it took when it entered the body. The tissues may soften and relax, and the body is free to return to optimal levels of functioning.


CranioSacral Therapy and the Treatment of PTSD Research and numerous case studies have shown CranioSacral Therapy (CST) have been beneficial when treating physical and mental injuries from: • Combat • Natural disasters • Sports • Family violence • Acts of terrorism “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is not an incurable, hopeless mental disorder. PTSD has been shown to have physical roots. I hope you will join us in the years to come as we seek to eliminate PTSD from the trauma equation.” — Dr. John E. Upledger CST is particularly effective for patients who have suffered PTSD, including concussion and head trauma. When provided by advanced CST therapists trained to evaluate and treat changes in the craniosacral system, integration into the medical treatment plan can be started as soon as clearance from the attending physician is obtained. When CST is incorporated consistently throughout the acute and rehabilitation process, long term benefits and the potential of full recovery is maximized.



The Role of CranioSacral Therapy in Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The Role of CranioSacral Therapy in Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


Test results support CST as an effective therapy to assist with: • Traumatic Brain Injury • Concussions • Combat Traumatic Stress • Panic attacks • Insomnia • Flashbacks • Intrusive thoughts • Hypervigilance • Depression/Suicidal thoughts • Guardedness • Behavioral isolation • Chronic anxiety • Chronic pain issues


Results reported by individuals:

• Reduced physical pain and discomfort • Reduced panic attacks • Significant improvement in insomnia and return to normal sleep patterns • Alleviation of hypervigilance and appropriate responses to the environment • Reduction/elimination of intrusive thoughts and flashbacks • Memories recalled without the negative charge • Willingness to participate in healthy activities • Depression and suicidal thoughts reduced and even eliminated • Reduction in need of psychotropic medications, and in some instances, discontinued over time • Return to clear mental functioning • Relationships with family and friends becoming meaningful again • End of social isolation and reconnection with community


“I started having panic attacks when I was a child growing up in an environment with constant violence. CST has given me the opportunity to release these past traumas and create pathways in dealing with stress and perceived threats. PTSD is absolutely a disease of dis-connection in ourselves and with others. CST is the bridge back home to self.” — TP, California


“After two tours in Iraq, I was only sleeping four hours a night (before the intensive). After CranioSacral Therapy, I felt better. By the end of the week, I was getting nine hours at a stretch. I felt more relaxed and able to focus.” — Senior Chief GR


+This text is shared with permission from Upledger Insitute with whom I certified, am an ongoing professional member, and continue my studies.

The images shared are my own or shared from Unsplash.

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