By Amit Jayaram November 1997 Cranio-sacral balancing is a hands-on, no-drug therapy that restores the body’s intrinsic balance, helping you attain optimal physical and emotional health For most of us, health care is often the last thing on the agenda. It is only when the machine has all but broken down that we find our way to a doctor. We tend to narrow our vision, to see health as an event, not as a process that permeates our entire life and all we do. Exploring the preventive aspects of alternative medicine could free us from disease caused by stress and tensions and lead us towards more holistic health.STARTING OFF WITH ENERGY MATTERSBorn in a home where homeopath was the norm, it was hardly surprising that I found myself at Richa’s house in Delhi, all set for the first session of cranio-sacral balancing, which she has started practicing recently. She explained that the therapy was a partnership between the therapist and the person undergoing it. For it to be effective, I had to be receptive and flow with the treatment.I was relaxed and open to the therapy, as well as a regular meditator, so I settled back, all set to enjoy the beautiful experience that was to follow. Richa put on some soothing music and went to work. It felt like a gentle massage. The touch felt good and my body relaxed into a silent and peaceful state. At the end of the session, I felt very nice, but just a bit wobbly. Richa said that it was normal, and made sure that I was grounded and stable before she let me leave.She also worked on my mother, who had arthritic joint problems in her ankles and knees that made walking difficult. Within three sessions, my mother was walking again. Komal G.B. Singh, a former newsreader, who took five sessions, calls it a unique experience and says Richa definitely has a healing touch. She remembers moments of extremely deep relaxation, and says that the effects deepen over time. The important thing to remember is that cranio-sacral balancing is not merely curative. It restores the body’s intrinsic balance, promoting equilibrium and poise.GIVING THE BODY A HELPING HANDA non-obtrusive and supportive environment in which the body consciously relaxes and heals itself, cranio-sacral balancing came into existence as a result of the fusion of two separate discoveries. Early this century, William G. Sutherland, a practicing osteopath in Minnesota in the USA, was impressed by the fact that the bones of the skull were designed to move in relation to each other.He experimented on himself with helmet-like devices that applied pressure to different parts of his skull, while his wife noted down subsequent personality changes. This was the beginning of cranial osteopathy. Though often miraculously successful, it was an embarrassment to the mainstream medical establishment. Much later, in the 1970s, Dr John Upledger noted rhythmic movements on a patient’s neck during surgery. Research showed how this rhythmic movement held the key to the evaluation and treatment of malfunctions of the brain and spinal cord and, indeed, a wide variety of other health problems including chronic pain, lowered vitality, recurrent infections.And cranio-sacral balancing was born. Richa, an Osho sannyasin (nun) since the age of 10, apprenticed with experts at the Osho Commune In Pune to learn cranio-sacral balancing. These therapists had in turn learnt the system from Dr Upledger’s institute in Florida. ‘We have added a new dimension of awareness to the therapy,’ says Richa. ‘My patients leave not just with relief from disease, but also with an awareness of where the disease is coming from, thus stopping it from manifesting itself again.’DISSOLVING CYSTS OF ENERGYAt the heart of cranio-sacral balancing is the therapeutic process of somato-emotional release, discovered by Dr Upledger and Dr Zvi Karni in the late 1970s. According to their findings, when your body is subjected to physical force by accident or injury, it either dissipates these forces and allows natural healing to follow. Or it retains them, adapting by walling them off, forming an energy cyst—an area of dysfunction which inhibits normal body functioning.For instance, body energy must detour around the energy cyst, because this dysfunctional area does not cooperate with vital fluid tissue and fluid motion. Although it takes additional energy, a healthy body can work around these energy cysts. But as the years pass, the body loses its rejuvenating powers, giving rise to symptoms of illness and disease.Interestingly, the most significant factor that governs the formation of energy cysts is your emotional status at the time of the injury or accident. Negative feelings, the harboring of resentment, anger, fear and such emotions increase possibilities of energy cyst formation; positive and accepting feelings diminish it. EXPERIENCING THE STILLPOINT Positivity and cooperation during the session is critical. This process of change to positive health is facilitated by the therapist’s healing touch. How does it happen? From the cranium to the sacrum flows the cerebrospinal fluid, which nourishes the brain as well as the central nervous system. This is the cranio-sacral system: the bones of the skull, the spinal column, the sacrum and soft connective tissue. It has a natural pulsation that can be felt anywhere in the body with practice. The normal rate is 6 to 12 cycles per minute, and remains unaffected by emotions, exercise and so on. This system is intimately connected with our health and well-being. The therapist feels the rhythm at the base of the skull, and then applies pressure—never more than 5 to 6 grams—which stops the pulsation. This forces the fluid to find new paths inside the dural membranes. The body’s inner regulatory mechanism automatically makes necessary adjustments. This is the stillpoint—when the whole system comes to a halt, for seconds or minutes. The experiencer senses this as a state of relaxation or tranquillity. Then, the rhythm starts again. Dr Upledger calls this stillpoint a therapeutic interruption of the cranio-sacral rhythm, which allows the body to reorganize its activity for more optimal functioning, physical and emotional. Curiously, this is a process that can happen naturally, when one unwinds, and arises during sleep, relaxation and meditation. I have had over a dozen sessions since the first one, and they have been very beneficial. In my case, cranio-sacral balancing also synchronized beautifully with my meditation. My inner space has become more expansive and my feeling of well-being is much more tangible.
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