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My Favorite Treatment for Stress: Craniosacral therapy for Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors

healing hands at sunset
Craniosacral therapy is a hands-on treatment that helps with deep healing in stressful times

“The cranial sacral work was really amazing. I have not felt this calm since this whole thing started. The calm has stayed with me throughout the day.”

--Jacey T. 

I was just reflecting on how much I enjoy providing Craniosacral Therapy (CST) for my patients and wanted to share a bit about it. While CST is great for painful things like headaches, neck pain, and hip pain, I feel the most profound benefit of this work is its ability to deeply nourish and transform the nervous system so our body isn't so impacted by stress. This nervous system “reset” activates the body’s ability to heal itself. Especially when I am working with women going through or recovering from breast cancer treatment, CST allows the system to slow down, eliminate what is unnecessary from the body, and ramp up its ability to heal.

Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a treatment that has its roots in Osteopathic medicine and was developed by Dr John Upledger. It is a hands-on treatment that helps to optimize the subtle movements of blood and cerebrospinal fluid throughout the head and spine. (To learn more about CST, feel free to take a look at my post What is Craniosacral Therapy?)  While this is a hands-on therapy, it is very gentle–I do not dig into the muscles or adjust the bones, so it is appropriate for just about everyone.

Craniosacral Therapy During Chemotherapy

I especially love to use CST for people going through chemotherapy, particularly the day of or within a couple days of each infusion.  It helps to calm down side effects such as heartburn or nausea, slows down any “heebie jeebies” you may be feeling from all the dexamethasone, and gets the body in elimination mode so you can clear the chemo drugs more easily. It also creates a calm, healing space after your infusion where you can relax and feel pampered.

CST While Preparing for Surgery or Radiation

CST is also helpful for managing stress while you are going through or preparing for surgery or radiation.  From the moment that lump is found, breast cancer diagnosis and treatment is just simply megastressful (yep, I just made that word up). And the irony is that stress causes the body to get even further out of balance.  Long-term intense stress throws off your hormones, decreases your ability to digest and utilize your food, messes with your metabolism, and wreaks havoc on your blood sugar.  So it just makes fatigue, insomnia, hot flashes, anxiety and weight gain worse.  The good news? We have lots of good natural options for helping to rehabilitate your brain and body during and after stress.  Craniosacral therapy is my favorite of those for immediately taking you out of that state of stress and kicking your body back into repair and digest mode. (Check out my article here that explains how the Autonomic Nervous System works and how CST can help get it back into balance.)

"From the moment that lump is found, breast cancer diagnosis and treatment is megastressful...and the irony is that stress causes the body to get even further out of balance"

CST for healing up after treatment

I also love CST for women who are recovering from breast cancer treatment.  As we work to bring hormones, digestion, and energy back into balance, we often need to retrain your brain and adrenals to be in that state of repair.  My long-term goals with survivors are 1. to get you feeling good again after treatment and 2. To build long-term habits that are associated with vitality and reduced rates of recurrence.  When we build the habit in our nervous system to default towards rest, repair, and digest rather than fight or flight it helps to minimize the oxidative damage, inflammation, and blood sugar dysregulation that can be associated with greater cancer risk in the long-term.

Craniosacral therapy as a part of your stress management and healing plan

And this is why I love Craniosacral Therapy!  While we have wonderful tools such as nutrients and botanicals to reset and rebuild balance in the body, and many lifestyle hacks to help us learn to get into digest and repair mode, CST is an immediate way to get that started while you are in the office.  It puts you straight into parasympathetic mode so you can move into your day with clarity and a sense of calm. This allows the body to heal, repair, and integrate nourishment from your food.  And it gives me and you time to slow down and focus deeply on getting your body back in balance.  Over time, the effects of CST tend to last longer and rebuild your nervous system so you can spend more time in repair and digest mode, deepen your healing process, and set the stage for long-term health.

Want to know more?

Would you like to find out more about CST?  Book a free 15-minute discovery call or 60 minute appointment here.


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