Craniosacral therapy is a gentle hands-on therapy where the practitioner tunes into movements of cerebrospinal fluid along the central nervous system. Following this expression around the cranium and sacrum (base of spine) in particular, any deep tension and holding can be released leaving you with a deeper sense of stillness and balance.
Cranial work is excellent for bringing you out of a state of overwhelm and fight or flight. By the end of a session you commonly feel very clear, relaxed and settled back into a sense of how the body feels rather than stuck in mental states. Your mind goes calm and no longer needs to track things fearfully.
For tinnitus, coming out of fight or flight is crucial for getting better. Most people with tinnitus have an auditory system, which has become stuck in a state of red-alert. Literally listening out for danger far too acutely, tinnitus people not only hear the sound coming in from the external environment, but now have tuned into the impulses and sounds inside the body and feel threatened by these noises.
This is the most common cause of prolonged tinnitus. When your nervous system settles after a Cranial session, your internal reactivity calms down and you stop needing to register every bit of auditory information as important.
This is like the difference between waking up after a nightmare and the tiniest creak on the landing making you jump out of your own skin. Here a small noise causes a gigantic reaction, as if you have huge ears detecting every sound as dangerous. Out in the field, if a lion lurking somewhere, the sound of a twig snapping could literally save your life.
By contrast, when you feel calm, safe and happy again, for example, having a siesta after a lunch, the same creak on the landing won’t even get registered. In fact you could fall asleep with the radio on and kids playing nearby but because your ears are in happy, calm and relaxed mode, they can filter out masses of sound with no reaction from you.
When Craniosacral therapy brings you out of overwhelm or fight or flight and you drop back into a sense of calm and safety your hearing will stop listening out acutely and your tinnitus is likely to pipe down.
This means when you are happy and calm, the sound of a car passing by, a crying baby, doorbell or snoring can just be quietly and easily ignored by your hearing.
You can go to a pub and focus easily on a one to one conversation and filter out all the hubbub around you. When you are well, your hearing is able to focus or ignore sound according to whether it is important or not.
A Craniosacral therapist can help turn off this oversensitivity in your system. He or she can tune into specific areas of tension or activation along the auditory pathways and help release tension and drop these areas into stillness.
Tuning into the movement of the temporal bone and the structures within the membranes and nerves, it is literally possible to feel the buzz of tinnitus itself. The practitioner hangs out with this buzzy charge for maybe fifteen minutes or so, and gradually the disturbance softens and melts away. As the practitioner feels more and more stillness the client often reports that the sound has become less intense.
In short, Craniosacral therapy works both generally and specifically. It is good at settling the whole central nervous system, which in turn helps everything feel freer and less reactive, tinnitus included. But on a specific level, it can work on targeted areas inside the auditory pathways of the temporal bone and base of the cranium that can help symptoms back off directly.
To find out more about this work, and to find a qualified and registered Craniosacral therapist near you, please look at the UK Association website.
– Julian Cowan Hill RCST
– [email protected]