What Is Cranio-Sacral Therapy?

Nancy Rizner

Cranio-sacral therapy (CST) is a gentle-touch technique to help the body relax and relieve holding patterns that can cause pain or discomfort. One of APD Integrative Medicine’s massage therapists, Nancy Rizner, LMT, has taken coursework with the Upledger Institute to add this skill to her practice.

People may want to try CST when they have physical symptoms like headaches, arm, or leg pain; jaw pain; or back and neck pain. Some people find these sessions help gently release tension and stress, too.

You will remain clothed for the session and relax on one of our super comfy massage tables. Nancy places her hands on your head and then on different places on your body, “listening” for the cranio-sacral rhythm that moves through your body. She will be looking for places where the rhythm gets tangled up or stops, then she helps the body unwind those tangles.

The sessions can be deeply healing because the nervous system can fully relax. Nancy says it’s common for people to fall asleep during their treatment, which is a good first step to healing.

Sometimes emotions may come up, especially those attached to injuries whether minor or major. Nancy says, “That’s okay. The body can hold emotions and this gentle touch helps the feeling get expressed and get free. We don’t have to talk about the emotion, just acknowledge it was there.”

Sometimes the body will make little movements — jerky or sudden, maybe out of the blue. Nancy says, “This is all part of the nerves untangling and the nervous system righting itself.”

After the first visit, Nancy recommends another three sessions to give your body a full opportunity to release any held tension. As people have more sessions, their body moves from releasing more recent tensions to releasing older and more deeply held patterns.

Nancy has taken Craniosacral 1 & 2 and Somato-emotional Release (SER) classes through the Upledger Institute as well as participating in an intensive CST group that worked with chronically ill people. She has been a licensed massage therapist since 2017 and a part of APD Integrative Medicine since 2021.

CST is both powerful and gentle work and I’m thrilled we can offer this service to our community. If you would like to make an appointment to see Nancy for cranio-sacral therapy, please call the clinic at (603) 308-0770.

Cindy Reuter ND, LAc, RD, MSOM, MPH, is the Medical Director of Integrative Medicine at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital.  

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