Massage is often thought of as the go-to to improve sports performance. We are seeing that Craniosacral Therapy is just as effective and in some cases more effective in improving sports performance than massage.
Craniosacral Therapy is a light touch technique that works directly with the rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid and indirectly with the parasympathetic nervous system or PNS. The PNS is the rest and digest part of the nervous system. It is the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system, the part that is responsible for fight or flight.
We spend so much of our time in fight or flight. Anytime you are stressed out, you are engaging the sympathetic nervous system. When this system is over engaged you will heal slower, your digestion isn’t as efficient and your body struggles to get all of the nutrients out of the food you are eating. Over long periods of time the hormones released when you are in fight or flight can break down the lining of the cardiovascular system, leaving you at risk for a heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases.
This is not good.
The sympathetic nervous system is designed to get us out of grave danger so it sends blood to our extremities and slows blood flow to our digestive organs. This is great if you are engaging in exercise, or actually need to get out of a dangerous situation, but over time creates tight muscles that don’t repair well or relax when they aren’t engaged.
Whatever you level of activity is, you know that when you have tight muscles you don’t perform well. When your muscles are tight you are more at risk of injury and you are slower to recover.
Craniosacral Therapy or CST, engages the parasympathetic nervous system. When we can disengage from fight or flight and really engage the rest and digest part of our nervous system, our body has the ability to heal itself more efficiently, we get more nutrition out of the food that we are eating because our digestive system now has adequate blood flow, our muscles relax (sometimes even more than they do when we get a massage).
Even more astounding is we have a client who’s resting heart rate is going down by 6-8 beats per minute! Talk about impressive change to the body. A lower heart rate is easier on our cardiovascular system, can contribute to quicker recovery times after high intensity cardio, can support the body in increased endurance and is overall beneficial to the entire cardiovascular system. We realize this is just one client, not enough to declare absolute results, but the response shows promise in other athletes.
Massage can and is beneficial to any activity, but if you are active and deal with a lot of stress in your life, or if you are not recovering as well as you would like with massage, Craniosacral Therapy may be a beneficial addition to any bodywork you are already receiving.
To schedule a Craniosacral session with one of our therapists click here.