An Outdated Story
Craniosacral Therapy has its American roots in the birth of Osteopathy, as founded by Andrew Taylor Still in the mid-1800s. Dr. Still developed a treatment story and philosophy that sought to honor the original perfection of body, spirit and mind, with techniques to mobilize the healing flow of arterial blood throughout the body. The work that we know today as Craniosacral Therapy generally refers to a light-touch therapy that addresses the bones, membranes and fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Therapists generally focus on manipulating their perception of the cranial rhythm to mobilize cranial bones and membranes.
However, even a light touch can carry a heavy intention and introduce more confusion and trauma into an already-stressed nervous system. Over the years that I worked with the story of the craniosacral-therapy system, I realized that if I held a very neutral yet supportive intention, without blending into the patient's process, the self-corrective process of the nervous system could show itself with more vitality and more meaningful results. This approach named itself "Profound Neutral." Profound Neutral grew from a way to be present with various fluid flows in the body to its more accurate presence as a way to communicate with the nervous system.
Profound Neutral is a way of holding the tissues without blending, without intention, and without directive action. We are connecting lightly with the skin to engage the autonomic nervous system - and the brain - as a non-threatenting contact. This allows the nervous system to create pathways of safety from brain to periphery, that then allows better fluid flow, respiration and the neurochemical signalling of relaxation and healing flow. All multi-cellular organisms find their balance in the 'neutral zones' of their physiology; it is to this restorative balance point that we resonate. Profound Neutral supports the body at its key point of balance and reorganization; it allows the brain and body to change in ways that are authentic and meaningful. It allows the patient to feel their own original flow of health and own their internal resources for healing.
Our Neuroscience Foundation
Neurovascular Integration comes from the depths of Profound Neutral. From the starting place of our own dynamic stillness, we place hands on our patients to awaken their resonance with their own place of stillness: this is the restorative place in the nervous system, where the stressful sympathetic system can find its balance with the peaceful, powerful parasympathetic system. This is the critical dance of the nervous and neuroendocrine systems. An agile nervous system is a healthy one. In our work, we engage the patient in the process of focused breathing for self-regulation ("Breathe It"), introducing self-awarenes to the physical sensations that arise with this focus ("Feel It") and then create a new story about the process ("Name It!"), which facilitates neurochemical responses that allow us to "re-wire" the stress patterns in the brain and body to healthier, more positive patterns.
Neurovascular Integration utilizes basic hand-holds from foot to head as we connect lightly with the body and engage the brain and nervous system. With this opportunity, the brain can reconnect to the body in vital, healthy ways, typically resulting in spontaneous, corrective movements and a pleasant remembering of physical ease. When we feel safe in our bodies, we can move safely in the world.