Craniosacral Therapy: Massage for your nervous system (Part 1)
Who doesn't need a brain massage these days? With all the chaos, confusion and stress of life thrown at us 24/7, our nervous systems are often on overdrive or unbalanced. Our nervous system has 2 parts: sympathetic (fight/flight/freeze) and parasympathetic (rest/digest/reset). You can think of these two on opposite ends of a seesaw: they have opposite functions and provide counterbalance for one another. Our nervous system (seesaw) can and should swing one way or the other depending on the situation or environment. However, shortly after a stressful situation has ended the system should return to a balanced state.
More often than not, our fight/flight/freeze mode becomes chronically elevated and we get stuck in that state of defense. When our nervous system is in a state of defense, the body works to protect our vital organs by restricting both oxygen and blood flow to the muscles and tissues resulting in tension.
Tension/Tightness + Lack of Blood Flow = PAIN!
The parasympathetic (rest/digest/reset) mode is where healing takes place. This state of safety results in increased blood and oxygen flow to tissues, improved digestion and a general state of rest/ease.
Tissue extensibility + Increased Blood Flow + Proper digestion of nutrients = HEALING!
We enter this healing state most often when we are sleeping. Sleep is a significant time when the body can go to work to repair and restore things that are "out of order." Unfortunately, sleep is a challenge for many people and they often do not enter this parasympathetic state for very long, if at all, during sleep. In turn, healing is also prolonged or difficult to attain.
Cranisacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle yet powerful modality focused on activating or "waking up" the parasympathetic nervous system so that the body can regulate itself and promote healing. The body can't heal properly if it doesn't feel "safe" or is under significant stress. When our nervous system is out of balance, even massage, chiropractic or other healing modalities can be perceived as yet another stressor that the body will resist or defend against. This is one of many reasons that relief of pain or tension is only temporary.