The craniosacral system is such an amazing and important part of our body, yet many of us (at least those who do not work in the medical field) have never even heard the word 'craniosacral' until someone attempts to explain what Craniosacral Therapy is!
I certainly had a only very vague idea of this system myself before I started to study CST. I wonder why we don't learn this stuff at school – or is it because I was too busy with my art and french to be doing biology lessons?!
So, here goes my explanation of this phenomenal system;
The brain and spinal cord are encased in the skull (cranium) and spine. They float in cerebrospinal fluid. So, your brain is quite literally floating in fluid as you read this.
The spinal cord is an extension of the brain, and it goes right down through the 24 vertebrae, to the bottom of our lumbar spine, where it splays out in a bunch of nerves.
This bunch of nerves, (which make up the spinal cord) continue out at the end of a protective sheath, called the Dural tube. There is a little pool of Cerebrospinal fluid at the bottom of the spine in which the bunch of nerves, aka the Cauda Equina, gently floats. (The unusual name is latin for horses tail, in case you're wondering).
Speaking of the Dural tube, or Dura, you may have heard of an epi-dural – this is when anesthesia is injected through the fairly tough dural tube in to the nerves around the spinal cord, to numb the body in corresponding areas before surgery or sometimes childbirth.
Cerebrospinal fluid is amazing stuff; It is a clear, colorless body fluid similar in chemical composition to blood plasma and seawater. It has a luminescent quality, and in some circles is thought of as "liquid light". It is made in the brain, where it bathes and protects it from injury. It then travels down the spine, surrounding the spinal cord, and allowing the spine to move with ease down to the sacrum.
I remember a yoga teacher telling me once that "spines love to twist", and I realise now that when we twist our spines we get all that CSF shaken up and moved around and lubricating everything.
This fluid then travels back up from the sacrum, through the spine and is reabsorbed back into the brain in a rhythmic fashion for 6-9 cycles per minute. It nourishes the nerves and tissues and cleanses the craniosacral system of cellular toxins.
The techniques used in craniosacral therapy can enhance the workings of the system, helping CSF to flow better and giving the brain and spinal cord a sort of deluxe wash!
Isn't that interesting that CSF has a similar composition to seawater, and that we are made up of 75% water? No wonder we are so affected by the moon and it's cycles.
So spare a thought to your amazing craniosacral system and that 'liquid light' you are making in your brain this very second, you clever clogs you!