The incredible thing about CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is that almost anyone can do it. I started in CST after an injury and “regular” physical therapy (PT) wasn’t working. My PT then started this “new” treatment which felt very calming and helped to relax my muscle spasms, while aligning my body. I was feeling better almost instantly. I took my first class in CST in 1991 and fell instantly in love with the work and now I teach CST.
In CST you need to be able to “blend” with the other person, so your hands can ‘listen’ as to where to start treatment; it is very non-invasive.
My biggest lesson on non-invasiveness was with a 5 year old boy I’ll call Eddie (not his real name). Eddie had autism (or autism spectrum disorder – ASD) and his mom heard that CST was an effective treatment for ASD.
When his mom called, she didn’t think Eddie would lie on my table, nor would he stay in my treatment room as he had a lot trouble staying in one place. I said, “No problem; bring in all his favorite toys”.
Eddie showed up the first day listening to music with headphones on and all his favorite toys out on my treatment table. He stayed on the table because he wanted to be near his favorite toys (some were toys he rarely got to play with – what a smart mom he had!).
As Eddie didn’t use words, I paid close attention to his body language. He seemed to be in another world until… I started to put my hands near his head. He looked at me like “don’t you dare go any closer” – although he said nothing. I said – “that’s OK Eddie, I’ll move my hands further away” and as I did I asked “Is that OK?” I didn’t receive a verbal answer, but he went back to his “zone”.
I kept my hands there in space and over time would move them closer to his head. If I went too fast, he would let me know. After some time I was on his head. Once on his head, Eddie lay down for the remaining session. I considered this a success. Why? Because I showed Eddie that I was ‘listening,’ not invading and that he was “in charge” of his personal space.
His mom called later that night asking what I did to him, as he was starting to use words he’d never used before AND making better eye contact! This is the power of CST.
The next time Eddie came in, he jumped on the table with his headphones on, but no toys on the table. The same thing happened, although faster (My hands were on his head after about 10 minutes) all the while “listening” to his body language. Once my hands were on his head, he lay down and fell asleep for the rest of the session.
The third session he came running in and jumped on the table and lay down (no headphones on) and once I put my hands on his head he fell asleep for the entire session. WOW! Would I have ever gotten a chance to do this had I not “listened” to him for the first session? It’s all about building trust and developing a “safe” place.
The fourth session, Eddie again ran in, jumped on the table and lay down. This time, mom came in video-taping everything; she said no one in school could believe that he voluntarily lay down for someone for an entire hour in the middle of the day.
Eddie made fabulous gains in his speech, eye contact and integration into the school classroom. This particular school system actually paid for him to come and see me as part of his Individual Educational Plan (IEP) because it made such a difference for him.