I know it may be hard to believe, but our bodies all have a unique and amazing internal rhythm. This rhythm is known as the craniosacral rhythm and is caused by the movement of our craniosacral fluid from the cranium to the sacrum (from brain to the bottom of the spine and beyond). Every human has a different rhythm – sometimes it is upbeat and other times slow and calm. It is ever-moving and I feel it with my hands every time I practise Craniosacral Therapy.
As a therapist, I am in fact searching for this individual and unique rhythm because it allows me to discern balance from imbalance. If I place my hands on both feet and I feel the rhythm on only one side I know that there is an issue on the other side of the body. I know where to start. Testing various areas of the body by listening with my hands for that rhythm is one of the ways I can discover what needs to be released. If I don’t feel the rhythm in a particular place then I know that this is a blocked area. After discovering the roadblock in the tissue and gently releasing it, using the very lightest of pressure (only 5 g, which is the weight of a nickel), I pause and allow the body to rebalance. And then I look for the rhythm again with my hands; if I feel it then I know the release has been successful.
In 1939 Dr. William Sutherland, an American osteopath, ascertained that the human body has two respiratory systems: 1) The primary respiratory system is the constant rhythmic motion of cerebral spinal fluid in the central nervous system. The craniosacral rhythm acts as the internal breathing mechanism for our fluids, fascia, bones, muscle and organs. It can be felt anywhere in the body. 2) The secondary respiratory system is the familiar motions of the chest, lungs, and diaphragm associated with the exchange of air. Sutherland deemed the primary respiratory system as the most important factor in achieving full health. Years later, Dr. Fulford (another American osteopath) expanded on the interconnectivity of these two breathing systems with his approach to treatment and his 7 daily exercises. He stressed the importance of whole-body breathing.
As a Craniosacral Therapist, I am here to help the body release tension and rebalance; I am also here to raise awareness about the importance of the unique and beautiful craniosacral rhythm we each possess. And every time I hear it, it is music to my hands.
– Linda Utting, RMT, CST
If you are interested in reading Dr. Fulford’s full article, please refer to the next blog post entitled Breathe.