In the wide range of bodywork modalities, craniosacral therapy is perhaps the least supported by either medical science (there is no “hard” evidence of its effects, essentially) or centuries-old tradition (having just been “discovered” at the turn of the 20th century). Yet after massage, it remains one of the most popular alternative wellness practices, which is a sign that, at least for some believers, there’s real healing from what appears to be just the simple laying on of hands.
After years of having it recommended to me as a way to relax, I visited Santa Barbara practitioner Paul Brown for a session. A craniosacral vet — he studied at Milne Institute in Big Sur and trained for 1,500 hours before logging 10 years of experience and nine years of teaching — Brown knows that his work isn’t for everyone, although it’s been known to help with everything from stress release to chronic pain. “This is not a fix-it plan,” he explained. “I’m not a healer. I facilitate the healing of the client.”
He had me lay, fully clothed, on a massage-like table, and he held onto my feet for about a half-hour, focusing his attention to the energy that apparently flows between my cranial bones and sacrum. Then for the next half-hour or so, he held my neck, shoulders, and head. Fully relaxed and sporadically slipping in and out of waking consciousness, I felt a few distinct jitters and jolts run through each side of my body, and saw greenish patterns of light before my closed eyes that I’d never witnessed before.
According to Brown, that was my body coming more in tune with itself, figuring out how to work out my kinks, from the physical to the psychological. “There’s an inherent treatment plan that revolves through all of us,” said Brown. “When the body is given the permission to find its healing nature, it does. It’s already there.”
To experience craniosacral therapy yourself, see paulbrowncranial.com.