Freeing the Axial Skeleton: Myofascial Balancing
for Craniosacral Therapists
Addressing the myofascial ‘hard frame’ is a natural complement to craniosacral work which focuses on subtle movements and physiological activity in the fluid body. This hard frame—the bone and myofascial architecture—creates the container for the fluids and organs. So any asymmetry in the architecture creates a limitation, grand or small, on the subtler levels.
The Method: Myofascial Balancing
In this class, we focus on the axial skeleton: pelvis, sacrum, spine, ribcage and head—the craniosacral 'neighborhood.' Our primary focus is assessment-driven myofascial work, which can be directed at deep or superficial layers as needed. The amount of force used can vary to be comfortable and specific to the restriction being addressed.
As with other osteopathic methods, the work is directional. We take tissue or bone into the pattern ("indirect") or immediately toward neutral ("direct"). Both strategies affect change—though they often feel different to the receiver. Direct work tends to feel more intense, which is satisfying to some; while indirect work tends to feel more gentle, which may be better for those with acute symptoms.
We frequently use the skeleton as a ‘handle’ for treatment and as a guide in evaluating alignment. Orienting to the bones allows us to apply "long-lever" techniques, creating change with client in standing. Because the work is non-lubricated, it can be done on skin, through a sheet or through clothes, and in varied positions. (No need to worry about draping!) This strategy allows us to combine the client’s awareness and active engagement, and much less force than when the client is on the table.
As a perfect complement to cranial work, we present strategies for decompressing the spinal facet joints. Releasing these joints brings a thoroughness to your work with the dural layers and the cranial sutures.
The work is designed to keep the loop between evaluation and treatment as short as possible. By consistently checking the state of the tissue, the practitioner remains well-oriented and therapeutic goals can be attained quickly. This style of tissue engagement is easily integrated with the mid-tide level of motility.
Areas of exploration and treatment
- Weight-bearing dynamics and common postural patterns
- Intrapelvic patterns: tilts, inflare, outflare and torsion
- Non-invasive fascial techniques for psoas, iliacus, diaphragm and QL
- Contribution of spinal dura to fascial strain patterns
- General as well as specific vertebra-by-vertebra alignment in the spine
- Rib cage shape and mobility, including diaphragm and mediastinum
- Decompressive technique for the anterior neck, appropriate for acute whiplash
- Mobility approach for the cranial dural layers
Throughout the course, we focus on the ways that gravity influences our hard frame. Posture and usage affect our shape, creating an architecture that is the nest and the ground for the central nervous system. Being able to clearly assess and effectively treat that architecture adds grounding and versatility to a craniosacral practice.
Pre-requisite: Introductory Craniosacral Workshop with Lauren. If you have studied craniosacral work beyond the introductory level elsewhere, please contact Lauren to discuss your readiness for this course.