Craniosacral Therapy: “The Other Massage”

THE OTHER MASSAGE is my euphemism for Craniosacral Therapy. It is as well, the title of an article I wrote in 2002, explaining in layman’s terms, some of the aspects of this amazing alternative treatment modality. It’s fiction, but, based on my experience, is a fair representation of a possible CST session..

The article was published in Spokane in Heartlinks magazine and in Portland in Natural Awakenings magazine (2006).

“The Other Massage”

The headache had been lingering for three days when I decided to do something about it. The ad said ‘headaches’ so I decided to give this strange-sounding therapy a try. “Cranio-sacral,” I thought. “Must be something to do with the head.”

After answering the therapist’s questions about my history of falls, car accidents, blows to the head, (and even my birth!), I removed my shoes and lay down, face up and fully clothed, on the massage table. I felt her hands carefully sneak in under my head, and a light, motionless pressure which lasted 3 minutes or so. A strange sense of peace and well-being came over me. The headache seemed to be fading a bit.

“That was a still point,” she explained. The first of ten craniosacral moves called ‘The Ten Steps.’

Then came a hand under my pelvis, and one over my abdomen; after a minute, I felt a churning and pulsing inside, and when it subsided, she moved on, to apply a similar procedure in three other locations up my body: my stomach, above my chest, and on my neck. “Just releasing the diaphragms,” she informed me. “You understand, most of the connective tissue in our body runs longitudinally–top to bottom–but these four areas have transverse layers of tissue, and must first be released if I am to successfully clear the longitudinal restrictions.”

I was drifting more and more into relaxation, and noticed my breathing becoming deeper. I thought about that lake we’d hiked in to last summer, and the fish that didn’t bite.

I felt her hands lightly touching my temples. She was now sitting out of sight, at the end of the table behind my head. I could feel the slight finger pressure towards the ceiling, and the roominess increasing inside my head. I couldn’t really register the headache anymore. I was enjoying this, and thought about the squirrel that watched us pitch the tent.

“That was the third step–stretching the falx,” I heard her voice say. “It’s a membrane inside your skull that probably tightened when you had that whiplash two years ago.”

Then I noticed her fingertips in the hair an inch above my ears. “This is the parietal lift,” a voice said, “The fourth step.” I felt only a slight, even tug in the direction of the top of my skull. The space inside my head was becoming a very pleasant experience, and I could no longer locate my headache. I didn’t care.

The other six steps came and went, and I was only vaguely aware of the therapist working on me. She said something about “The ear pull” and later the “Decompression of the sphenoid,” but I was in a dreamland, and only feeling more and more relaxed. I awoke after about an hour. Standing up, I felt a sense of relief throughout my body, and a wonderful blend of energy and lightness. My headache was a distant memory, and the aches in my neck and shoulders were also gone. I felt a new sense of balance.

The Ten Steps Treatment. History and How It Works