CranioSacral Therapy for a Multitude of Health ProblemsComments Off
It was an unseasonably warm day in October when my plane landed in Montana. I had just flown in from South Florida at the request of fellow craniosacral therapist Cindy Kafka. She had a patient whose injuries, she believed, were beyond her level of skill. A farming accident had left “Bill” (name changed to respect privacy) a quadriplegic; his neck, back and arms had been broken, possibly shattered. When paramedics first got to him, his body temperature was so low that they had to pour warm water onto his forearms (veins) just to keep him alive.
When I reached him he was rehabilitating in a nursing home with little hope of recovery. His sole goal with CranioSacral Therapy was simply to gain enough function to operate his computerized wheelchair. Yet it quickly became clear to us that any improvement would be welcome. So at the approval of the nursing home, I led a “multi-hands” CranioSacral Therapy intensive program. I worked with Bill alongside multiple therapists for 2 weeks: 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. Kafka had arranged for several practitioners to join us; each one had basic craniosacral training and experience. My intention was not only to support Bill in his process, but also to help Cindy and her colleagues strengthen their skills and feel more confident in their ability to work with him on their own, after my departure.
Simple Techniques in Several Hands
At our initial evaluation, Bill’s gray complexion indicated very poor circulation; his cranial vault had the sensation of being fused; and there was no palpable craniosacral rhythm. He had a serious infection in his toes. And he told us that for 6 months, doctors had been unable to control his raging bladder infection. He couldn’t pass a normal bowel movement without pharmaceutical help. And as you would expect from dealing with a multitude of health problems, he was depressed.
As a therapeutic team, we blended together to support Bill in what would become a transformational journey. We listened deeply to his body, helped release restrictions in his craniosacral and fascial systems, encouraged the whole-body flow of fluid, and supported him in his process in whatever way he needed. Our job was to trust the work, trust our hands, and trust Bill’s body to lead us through his unique healing sequence.
“Cranial pumping,” a simple technique taught in entry-level CranioSacral Therapy, quickly proved invaluable. Essentially, the therapist tunes into the craniosacral rhythm while using gentle pressure to nudge the end range of flexion and extension. By day three, this technique had helped Bill’s coloring change so dramatically that his night nurse, who had no idea what we were doing during the day, insisted on checking his temperature.
Bill’s fluid circulation continued to improve every day. As he slowly gained more vitality, he became stronger, his outlook improved, and he began interacting more positively with everyone around him. On the fifth day of therapy, the infection in Bill’s toes was gone, and he also reported that he had finally started relieving his bowel independently.
Article written by Nancy Westphal, LMT, CST-D; guest author for John Upledger, DO, OMM