CranioSacral Therapy and the Unquiet Mind

In last weeks’ episode of “Let’s Fix My Hip” I tried CranioSacral Therapy for the very first time. What is CranioSacral Therapy, you may wonder as I did too before I went in for my session? Google taught me that “CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system – comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams, or about the weight of a nickel, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.”

A couple of my friends had suggested that I try CranioSacral Therapy (or CST) to see if it might help my hip pain. As a traditional consumer sports type massages, I was pretty unsure of this whole thing. Soft touch no greater than 5 grams? No thanks, I like it hard and deep. (WAIT, WHAT?!) Massage, deep tissue massage. So I wondered what 5 grams of pressure could possibly do for my chronic hip pain. A quick Google search will result in claims that CranioSacral Therapy can help with things like migraines, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and orthopedic issues. There are also reports that it is a total scam. Although skeptical myself, I was willing to give it a try.

My therapist was very friendly and the session started off similar to a regular massage, except that I remained fully clothed. I found myself trying to relax in order to fully reap the benefits of the session, but instead of having thoughts float by me like wispy clouds over a summer meadow, they came hurling at me full force like a freight train.

Should I be feeling anything? My nose itches. I hope I don’t sneeze. I hope my stomach doesn’t start growling. Maybe I should have had more breakfast. Will it be time for lunch when I’m done? Why am I always thinking about food? Maybe I should have had less coffee. I should go get more coffee after this. I’ll relax more if I go to my happy place. (Envisions self on beach in Kauai listening to ocean waves and breathing fresh salty air but uh-oh, here comes the freight train again.) Has it been an hour yet? How does light pressure around my chin affect my hip? Are Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner getting a divorce? It’s really hard for me to quiet my mind. I wonder if this is why I’m not better at yoga. I should meditate more.

I think you get my point. After an hour I felt relaxed, but I am not sure my hip felt any different. When I stood up off the table it felt pretty good so that’s positive. Soon after leaving, however, the regular soreness returned. And I found myself wishing that perhaps I had spent my time and money on a deep tissue massage instead. Three days later I saw my regular massage therapist for some deep tissue work, and although she called her deep tissue massage that she had just given me “mean”, I felt so relaxed during it that I almost fell asleep. In other words, no freight trains. Maybe I need some discomfort during my massage to keep me focused on my breathing, or maybe I should give CST a try again. Maybe I need to do more yoga and meditation to quiet my mind. Regardless, I am pretty sure my racing mind is not going anywhere anytime soon.

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