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Craniosacral Newsletter | What Happens in a Session | Scheduling Guidelines

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Craniosacral Bodywork

Craniosacral bodywork is about the parasympathetic nervous system, the "rest and digest" function of our nervous system. As such, this gentle touch modality helps calm the body and mind during times of routine and extraordinary stress. In addition, craniosacral bodywork assists the smooth flow of cerebral spinal fluid, the "feel good juice" of the body. Craniosacral bodywork, therefore, also opens us up to a pervasive sense of well-being and to our own, innate wisdom.
                                                                                    ~ Aureal Williams

Perhaps you have heard of the two parts to the autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic system of fight, flight or freeze and the parasympathetic nervous system of rest and digest. While we need both these parts of the nervous system to work together, chronic stress often causes the sympathetic nervous system to override the parasympathetic nervous system. According to the ground-breaking research of Stephen Porges, PhD and his Polyvagal Theory, there is also a third part to this system, the social nervous system. This system is based on the complex integration of cranial nerves V, VII, IX, X and XI, a system that allows for chewing, facial expression, vocalization, hearing and head turning that allows us to orient to our surroundings.

Craniosacral work helps to balance all of these components of the autonomic nervous system as it supports the body's innate cranial rhythm of cerebral spinal fluid, bones of the head, spine, sacrum and dura mater, the membranous system of connective tissue that connects all of these parts.

This fluid wave gives the body a third rhythm, in addition to heart rate and respiratory rhythms. This third rhythm is called primary respiration, breath of life, craniosacral rhythm or cranial wave. What is interesting is that this cranial wave rhythm is the first rhythm to show up in embryological development, preceding the heart rate and the respiratory rate. Since it is the first rhythm to show up in our embryological development, the cranial wave represents a core, root-anchoring rhythm for us.

As a non-invasive modality, craniosacral bodywork assesses the rate, rhythm and potency of the cranial wave, the beat and flow - so to speak - of the autonomic nervous system. When we synchronize with, and bring our attention to, the rhythm of the cranial wave, we anchor ourselves with this root rhythm and connect with the very core of our being. Slowing down enough to sense and appreciate the cranial wave often elicits a pervasive sense of well-being.

Since stress can affect the health, well-being and quality of life from infancy to old age, the gentle touch of craniosacral bodywork can be an appropriate health care choice for people of all ages. In her practice, Aureal works with infants and toddlers, children, preteens, teens and adults. She also offers workshops and groups using craniosacral techniques, including, Calm Parent/Calm Child and Self Calm/Stay Calm.

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What happens in a session

The craniosacral practitioner assesses the cranial wave for rate, rhythm, potency and ease or restriction of flow. The practitioner holds her hands, gently and with little or no movement, on the client's body as it relaxes into stillness. The practitioner holds her hands in one particular position from seconds to many minutes, as directed by feedback from the client's body. As one part relaxes, the practitioner moves to the next part to be relaxed. Through deep rest and stillness, the client's body relaxes into a sense of well-being, often self-correcting imbalances.

In work with infants and children, a parent or guardian stays in the room with the child during the session.

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Scheduling guidelines

Craniosacral sessions for children take a half hour to an hour, depending on the age and needs of the child. Sessions for adults are, generally, 90 minutes. To maximize the therapeutic benefits of this work:

  • Avoid a large meal within two hours before and after the appointment
  • Avoid rushing to the appointment
  • Allow quiet time after the session – preferably, an hour or two for a quiet walk, journaling, a cup of tea, or a nap.
  • Dress in loose clothing of natural fiber. Both synthetic fabric and denim restrict assessment quality. Shoes are removed for the session.
  • Parents accompanying children can bring a book or quiet paper work to do during the session

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Craniosacral Work for Infants & Children

Aureal's craniosacral work for infants & children can benefit the following conditions:

Birth trauma
Mother/child bonding
Father/child bonding
Sleep disturbance
Sibling rivalry
Hyperactivity
Bullying
Peer Pressure
Blended families
Homework fights
Parent/child
conflicts
Preteen/Teen Transitions
Over/Underachieving Child
Indigo Child Support
Health change of a loved one
Loss of family member or pet

Effects of the sessions are unique to each child and depend on the physical/mental/emotional/spiritual needs at the time the sessions. The number of sessions recommended depends on the needs and responsiveness of the client. Generally, it is helpful to plan on six to ten sessions and these sessions can be spaced over weeks or months, depending on client needs. Children can experience a deep state of calm and well-being and may fall asleep on the table. Parents often report that their child appears relaxed and peaceful for days after the session, with cumulative effect over a number of sessions. In general, benefits of craniosacral bodywork can include:

Rest & relaxation

Ease of tension and stress

Increased resilience

Relief of somatic responses, such as headache,
stomach ache, chronic worry, agitation, irritability

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Craniosacral Bodywork for Adults
Presenting Conditions & Benefits

Stress management
Anger management
Time management
Chronic health conditions, such as cardiac conditions, arthritis, headaches, tinnitus,
Spiritual care
Self-actualizing - being and becoming, rather than doing and doing
Parenting issues
Addiction recovery
Low self-esteem issues
Longing for peace and quiet


Effects of the sessions are unique to each person and depend on the physical/mental/emotional/spiritual needs at the time the sessions. Clients can experience a deep state of calm and well-being and may fall asleep on the table. The number of sessions recommended depends on the needs and responsiveness of the client. Generally, it is helpful to plan on six to ten sessions and these sessions can be spaced over weeks or months, depending on client needs. Children can experience a deep state of calm and well-being and may fall asleep on the table. Clients report relaxed and peaceful calm for days after the session, with cumulative effect over a number of sessions. In general, benefits of craniosacral bodywork can include:

Rest & relaxation

Increased intuition and state of well-being

Ease of tension and stress

Increased resilience

Relief of somatic responses, such as headache, stomach ache,
chronic worry, nervous agitation, irritability

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Aureal Williams, B.S.N., R.N., LMT received her Bachelors of Nursing degree from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts and she graduated from SHI, Integrative Medical Massage School in Lebanon, Ohio. She is licensed as a registered nurse and a massage therapist in the state of Ohio. Her nursing experience includes work in early intervention, pediatrics, child and adolescent psychiatry and as nurse educator in a parenting program.

With 35 years experience in the study and practice of Eastern philosophy & mediation, Aureal brings a calm, non-judgmental presence to her work with infants, children, teens and adults. A craniosacral bodyworker since 2003, Aureal brings a stillness that helps clients rest and relax. In addition to her hands-on craniosacral work, Aureal's focus is to teach children, teens families and adults effective and fulfilling new ways to cope with stress.

 

 

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