CST is a light-touch, whole-body treatment technique developed by John E. Upledger, DO, OMM that works with the body’s craniosacral system to support and nourish the central nervous system — improving overall health and well-being. It is a complementary method of hands-on bodywork that works with the natural and unique rhythms of the different body systems to pinpoint and address problem sources. CST helps to alleviate the aches, pains and strains of life and improves coping mechanisms to allow for better management of stress. CST improves the body’s ability to self-care and can produce profound, positive changes. (From the Upledger Institute website)
The CranioSacral System includes the brain, spinal cord, cranial bones, spine + sacrum and the nervous system. Since the nervous system encompasses the whole body, this work benefits the entire body. By encouraging the nervous system to drop into a parasympathetic state (rest and digest) deep healing can take place-- restoration of the tissues and membranes after injury or trauma, relaxation of tension and stress in the physical body, connection and integration with the body's inner wisdom, release of traumatic and held-back emotion, and rebalancing of the body's natural state to relieve chronic pain and illness.
SomatoEmotional Release (SER) is a therapeutic process that uses and expands on the principles of CranioSacral Therapy to help rid the mind and body of the residual effects of trauma. Emotional release can encompass inner child work, body dialoguing, experiencing emotions during a session like laughter, crying, or anger, and expression of muscle spasm until an emotion is cleared from the body. This work is completely unique to each client and benefits anyone who is ready to reconnect with their mind, body and spirit. Safe space is cultivated and held in order for emotional release to occur naturally, as the body can be encouraged but never forced to release what it's not yet ready to release.
To me, CST + SER are the process of pausing, unlocking the armor we use to protect ourselves, and engaging with our vulnerability and true self that's hiding below that. It's the feeling of being comforted and guided through the healing process. It's the greatest expression of gentleness, as the touch is 5 grams or less (the weight of nickel). This is the work that healed my chronic pain, and began my true journey as a healer.
I love what my first healer + teacher, Jennifer McIsaac says about manual therapies like CST, SER, massage and yoga: