Cranialsacral Unwinding

What is Cranialsacral Unwinding?



CranialSacral Unwinding with Pamela at ANUE.

CranialSacral Unwinding with Pamela at ANUE.

For those seeking in-depth information, the beginning of this article is very technical. You may choose to skip down through the first three or four paragraphs to find more general information.

History of Craniosacral

Craniosacral was first developed by John Upledger. In 1971, he first discovered that the dural mater cycled in a wave like motion at a cycle of 6 to 12 cycles per minute. It was during a surgery that Upledger was assisting a neurosurgeon, when he noticed the dural membrane not holding still. Upledgers’s was to hold the membrane still with a pair of forceps so the surgeon could remove calcified plaque without disrupting the integrity of the dural mater. His inability to perform this simple task led to his awareness of a wave-like motion traveling through the dura mater in the spine. This was the start and discovery of Crainoscral Therapy.


So Is It Craniosacral or Cranial Unwinding?

Sometimes I refer to Craniosacral Therapy as Cranial Unwinding Therapy, because I was taught through SWIHA, and for legal purposes that the name had to be changed. For the remainder of the article you will see references to Cranial Unwinding and Craniosacral which mean the same.


What is Cranial Unwinding used for?

Cranial Unwinding is used to balance the dura mater in the spine and the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. Cranial Unwinding helps to allow the cerebrospinal fluid to flow freely and nourish the spine and the brain with the body’s own natural sources to create healing and balance throughout the body. To understand how this works it is essential to understand the meningeal system, how the bones of the cranium inter-link together, and how the fascias inter-link.


How Cranial Unwinding Heals The Body

The meningeal is tough and waterproof. It consists of three layers of membrane called the meninges. These layers are called dura mater the outermost layer, the pia mater, the innermost layer and the arachnoid membrane, middle most layer. The middle layer arachnoid membrane, acts as a gliding surface for the outer and inner layers. Between each layer is cerebrospinal fluid. The cerebrospinal fluid acts as a lubricant and helps to create the gliding motion between each layer as they move in relationship to each other. These three layers of membranes envelope the spinal cord and the contour of the brain. In places where the membranes become stuck there is pain. Depending on where the membrane is stuck and if there are any pinched nerves, pain can be local or at a distance within the body. It is up to the Cranial Unwinding Practitioner to determine where the pain is located.

An imbalance of the nervous system, musculoskeletal system, vascular system, lymphatic system, endocrine system, and the respiratory system may influence the craniosacral system. An imbalance in the craniosacral system will affect the nervous system.


Misaligned Cranium Bones Can Cause Imbalance & Pain

The bones of the cranium are interconnected like the teeth of a comb and are slightly movable. Sometimes during birth or head injuries these bones can become misaligned and cause an imbalance and pain. In the cranium there are contacts used to energetically open and align the bones of the cranium. Once they are aligned the fluid is free to flow delivering oxygen and nourishment and often times the pain goes away as the pressure is relieved.


The Bunching Of Fascia Causes Imbalance and Pain

Inside the body there is a thin layer of interlinking fibrous membrane that separates and envelops muscles and organs throughout the body called fascia. It looks like the thin layer of skin or membrane that is seen over the muscles on the inside of chicken. If you can imagine for a moment this skin being like clingy plastic wrap and at the moment of trauma (mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually), it bunches together causing it to pull in other areas of the body, When it bunches or wrinkles for some length of time, it causes the tissues to crystallize and squeeze nerve endings. When this happens to the body’s fascia it doesn’t allow for the interstitial fluids to flow freely through the tissues of the body and causes friction, stress and pain in those areas, in other areas the fluid is not allowed to flow. The interstitial fluid helps to lubricate the fibers and nerve endings and provides nutrients to keep the cells healthy.


The Body Uses It’s Own Natural Way To Unwind Itself

Cranial Unwinding allows the body to use its own natural way to unwind itself and the therapist helps the client move his/her body by following this movement. While the body is in movement the mind replays thought processes that happened at the time of trauma and the client has a chance to rethink and put into perspective what thoughts are of current value for the here and now. As the body unwinds itself it loosens the tissues and opens channels that allow the flow of fluid to move in areas that were too tight to benefit from the nourishment this fluid has to offer. It then has a chance to flow through the body’s tissues, spine and the cranium in a balanced way. Loosening of the tissues also helps to free nerve endings, thus relieving the cause of pain.


There Is A Rhythm In The Fluid That Fluctuates In The Tissues

“Sutherland found that the Potency of the Breath of Life has an action that generates rhythms within the fluids and tissues of the body. The concept of the Breath of Life is perhaps the universal or divine intention in action. He teaches that there is a deep spiritual root within the human condition and it has invisible intelligent potency which is a force generated by the intentions of a higher intelligence, which he called the Breath of Life. He believes this maybe what is called the Holy Spirit within the Christian Tradition. There is a feel of Great Presence when one senses its continuity.”

It is written in his book Craniosacral Biodynamics there rhythms are expressed as tidal fluctuations palpable throughout the body. “Through palpation of these tidal fluctuations a practitioner can tune into the deeper fluctuations or the cerebrospinal fluid and sense its qualities and strengths, its tendencies, and its patterns.” Thus making the dynamics of the human system available to human perception. The practioner can even sense the potency, or the life force, which is driving it. Practitioners can sense this fluctuation and also allow it to communicate to them. When respectfully listened to, the dynamics of this most inherent life force will communicate to the practitioner the totality of the person’s life story. In the cranial field, this quality of attention is sometimes called reading the nuances of the tide.”

There are three tides the Cranial Rhythm Impulse (fast-tide), the Mid-Tide and the Long-Tide. Each has its own rate of movement and perception of emotions it deals with.

The Cranial Rhythm expresses added force that overlays a deeper force. Genetics, trauma, pathogens, toxins, are some of the forces that are added.


 Therapists Are Trained To Listen To The Body

The Cranial Unwinding Therapist is trained to really listen to the body and to what the client is feeling, sensing and saying, thus becoming a mirror for the client to reflect on himself/herself. The therapist is also trained to feel and sense these energy blocks through the hands and even through his/her own body to help the client awaken their awareness within. Great books to read and where I got most of my information, for better understanding are as follows: Cranialsacral or Cranial Unwinding is Craniosacral Therapy, Touchstone for Natural Healing by John E. Upledger, DO, OMM, and Craniosacral Biodynamics by Franklyn Sills.


Cranial Unwinding has been known to help:

Chronic Pain Syndromes, Headaches, Arthritis and Joint Pain, Neuralgia, Fibromyalgia, Lower Back Pain, Traumatic Injuries, Strokes, Degenerative Disease of the Central Nervous System, Trauma from Surgery and Emotional Trauma to name just a few.


Combine Therapies To Help Heal The Body

Through the use of and when needed a combination of, Hypnotherapy, Neuromuscular, Myo 7 Step, Swedish Massage and Reiki are used. The client and I create a partnership and a safe place where the client can be nurtured and begin the healing process. Below, I have provided a description of these modalities to help the reader better understand them and how they can benefit the client.