The Body’s Intelligence: How Craniosacral Therapy works

by Amanda Ingall

My first craniosacral treatment was a pivotal moment in my life. Somehow the appointment brought me into a deep place of connection with my mind and body. I left feeling completely relaxed, my movements felt fluid. I felt connected to my core. I wanted more.  

What I experienced that day is something I now call the wisdom of the body. I also think of it as the body’s ability to heal and restore itself.  This happens when a therapist is able to listen and respond to the body’s intelligence, rather than impose a treatment from the outside.  Craniosacral is a form of bodywork that works from the inside out, moving from your body, outwards into the hands of the therapist.

So, how does it work?

Craniosacral Therapy works with the cranium (your skull) and it’s connection to your sacrum (the back of your pelvis). Let’s start with the skull.

Your skull is miraculous. It is a moving, pulsing structure. You may tend to think of your skull as one piece, like a coconut, but it does in fact have seams or sutures that join the bones of the skull together.  These sutures have a zigzag pattern and the reason for that is that your skull actually moves, expanding and contracting with a rhythm; a pulse that is created as your cerebrospinal fluid circulates. Your whole body rolls within this rhythmic tide, causing not only movement within the skull, but also throughout your whole body.  It travels along the spine to the sacrum; shoulders and arms roll In and out, hips and legs roll in and out, organs rotate around their axis.

This rhythmic system at your core is as essential, measurable, and tangible as your breath and heart rate.

To explain this better, imagine your skull is this inflated balloon.  This mimics the expansion of your cranium (skull) as it fills with cerebral fluid.

Imagine letting some air out, and notice how the cranium/balloon contracts and shrinks.  

Now we’ll make a twist in the balloon. The twist represents an adhesion, or stuck place with the skull.

What happens when you refill it with air?  The air can’t expand the balloon fully, just as in your body, the cranial fluid can’t expand your cranium fully.

How do we remove that twist and get back to a full, expanded, healthy cranium? In the case of the balloon, one would find a way for the fingers to let go and allow the balloon return to its beautiful round shape. In the case of your body, a craniosacral therapist holds your head in their hands and allows your body to move  into the twist.  The cool part is that once there, your body knows how to move back out of the twist and restore its natural shape. All of this is subtle, and looks like very little from the outside, but on the inside, you’ve just restored a great deal of spaciousness and movement.

Your body’s natural instinct and ability is to seek wholeness and balance.  Once restrictions in your connective tissues are allowed to release, your body can re-establish a stronger wave or flow of cerebral fluid from through your core. Your “balloon” can fill up and expand again, and your whole body benefits.

Craniosacral therapy is indeed a physical treatment and can heal specific physical issues.  Physical imbalances are corrected, pain is relieved, muscle strain resolves, headaches disappear. Still, I like to say Craniosacral has a foot in the spiritual world because there is a unique and undeniable spiritual dimension to this practice.  The craniosacral wave isn’t just a physical phenomenon; it is also a pulse or energetic wave of profound communication with our deeper selves.

Dr. Upledger (founder of the Craniosacral Therapy) refers to this intelligence as the inner physician, “the inner wisdom that knows what’s wrong, why it’s wrong, and how to correct it”.  I have found that when the physical body corrects itself, the energetic body also releases. This is why I have incorporated Chakra Balancing and working with the mind-body connection into my treatments.

Restoring the body’s natural rhythm often results in releasing into a more complete or whole Self.  Conventional ideas tell us that the mind controls the body. Bodywork had taught me that this is only half of the picture.   Through Craniosacral therapy I have discovered that my body has an innate intelligence that influences how I think and feel.  Rather than thinking my body is at odds with me, I believe that my body has my best interests at heart.  Sometimes we still have arguments (Body: “You are getting older.” Me: “No way. And what’s with the grey hair?”) Kidding aside, I know it serves me well to nurture and respect this partnership as it creates better health and well being in my body, and balance and peace in my life.

I welcome you to come and try a Mind-Body Healing treatment in the Queen Street Yoga Wellness Room. I trust it will help you discover a deep connection with yourself, both physically and spiritually. Click here to learn more or book an appointment.

For a limited time: Book a Mind-Body Treatment with Amanda and receive a free 30 minute Chakra Balancing Session! ($40 value)


Amanda Ingall has over 30 years of experience in the holistic healthcare field. Although she has now retired her Massage Therapy license, her individualized Mind-Body Healing sessions blend her many years of training including Medical Intuitive, Craniosacral Therapy, Tibetan Acupressure, Chakra Therapy, Polarities Energy Balancing, and Touch for Health. Her well-honed skills and intuitive touch will help you unwind tension patterns in your body, while helping your mind and spirit deeply rest and reset.

Amanda has taught meditation and yoga at Queen Street Yoga since 2012. She has been using Tarot as a curious kind of hobby for many years and now is offering it publicly for the first time. When she is not teaching she can be found on her yoga mat, playing with her grandkids, or quietly knitting.

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