The cause of fibromyalgia and chronic pain is uncertain, but its symptoms are clear. They include varying degrees of pain, headaches, tight and sore muscles, inflammation, brain fog, insomnia, and a persistent feeling of having the flu or a hangover.
All of these symptoms have a commonality. They are all expressions of a nervous system that is overactive. Overactive nerves are very sensitive to stimulus. Small amounts of stimulus in the chronic pain patient lead to large reactions in the body. Activities of daily living start to feel like a series of overwhelming events that lead to fatigue and a struggle to remain engaged in life.
I believe craniosacral therapy offers an effective way to manage and decrease these symptoms. When the cause of a condition is not known, the best that can be done is to manage its symptoms. This may seem like a depressing notion. However, my 20 years of experience in working with people with chronic pain and fibromyalgia suggests something different. Deeply listening and honoring these symptoms through craniosacral therapy and mindfulness lead to insights that are healing, transformational, and empowering.
Healing with craniosacral therapy occurs on multiple levels. Physically, craniosacral therapy encourages the natural flow of cerebrospinal fluid which bathes and nourishes the entire central nervous system. This fluid is the building block of all tissues in the body. When the flow is impeded by forces put on the body in the form of trauma or disease, the natural ability of the body to heal itself is impeded as well. Craniosacral therapy encourages these ‘blocks’ to release and resolve. With this limiting forces resolved, the body can come closer to regulating an overactive nervous system more effectively.
There have been clinical trials on the efficacy of craniosacral therapy for chronic pain and fibromyalgia. Researchers at the University of Almería did double blind clinical trials on craniosacral therapy. After 25 weeks of craniosacral therapy, they found that the pain trigger points common in fibromyalgia patients were significantly reduced. (Guillermo A. Matarán-Peñarrocha, Adelaida María Castro-Sánchez, Gloria Carballo García, Carmen Moreno-Lorenzo, Tesifón Parrón Carreño, and María Dolores Onieva Zafra, “Influence of Craniosacral Therapy on Anxiety, Depression and Quality of Life in Patients with Fibromyalgia,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2011, Article ID 178769, 9 pages, 2011. doi:10.1093/ecam/nep125).
Mentally and emotionally, craniosacral therapy offers gentle touch that is compassionate and non-invasive. This support allows one to be aware of their mental and emotional habits or patterning in a non-judgmental way. Acknowledging ‘what is’ without judging or pushing is in and of itself healing. Being aware of what is happening moment to moment creates a sense of space around our emotional patterning, making our emotional reactions feel less charged. Craniosacral therapy offers an opportunity to observe our emotions in a safe and contained way and be supported in expressing them without being overwhelmed or judged by them. Exploring other ways of reacting, and discovering new resources can emerge and a new way of being becomes possible.
Spiritually, craniosacral therapy acknowledges our deepest roots and the organizing principle of our being (Universal Life Force or Breath of Life). In the stillness that arises during a session, clients can gain access to the experience of connecting to their originality, opening their heart to the way they are intended to be.
Renee Rutz, craniosacral therapist, has an ability to hear and see beyond words and pain to the wholeness of our experience. Through many years of treatment Renee has guided me with kindness, insight and skillful touch through deeper pathways of pain management. I often leave a session with an unfamiliar and welcome reminder of what it’s like to be pain free. Renee is a true healer.
L.S. – dental hygienist, yoga instructor
I have been seeing Renee Rutz, craniosacral therapist for over 22 years. I began receiving massage from her for Lupus related chronic pain. It is massage and chiropractic that that brought me to Renee’s office, but I soon learned that craniosacral therapy are equally as important for my particular issues. I get a sense of balance and peace after our one hour treatments. I just allow her to sense what my body needs and she always hits the spot! I try to go once a month for general upkeep and more often if I am in crisis. I still have consistent pain, but I know it would be much worse without Renee’s care. I depend on her for most of my health maintenance. I find her a wealth of knowledge. I am truly blessed to have been in hers and Complete Chiropractic and Bodywork Therapies care since the early nineties and will continue moving forward.
A.M. – farmer, Lupus patient advocate