Craniosacral Therapy and the Transformation of Trauma

This extract is taken from a longer presentation, given to the Healthy Living Network at Hamblin Hall, Bosham on October 19th 2016

With regard to helping people recover from trauma, the principal mission is to take care of adults and children who come for treatment.

Those suffering from trauma may display or feel some of the following symptoms:

  • Disconnected from loved ones

  • Out of sync with other people

  • Loss of  some  pleasure in life

  • Stuck in the past – trapped in a place, wishing to escape

  • Withdrawal  and detachment , even if had functioned well before

  • Vigilance and sensitivity to threat



For real change to take place, the body needs to learn that the danger has passed and to live in the reality of the present. You can be fully in charge of your life, if you can acknowledge the reality of your body, in all its felt dimensions.

Bessel van Kolk, Director of the Boston Trauma Centre describes his patients: “Almost all had in some way been trapped or immobilised, unable to take action to stave off the inevitable. Their fight/flight response had been thwarted, and the result was either extreme agitation or collapse”

“What if they could be taught to physically move to escape a potentially threatening situation?”

All trauma is pre-verbal, as noted by Shakespeare:: “Tongue nor heart cannot conceive or name thee”. A traumatic experience, by nature, drives us to the edge of comprehension, cutting us off from language based on common experience or pain. This is why, a body-based therapy, such as craniosacral therapy can be effective for releasing trauma.

After trauma, the world is experienced with a different nervous system. The survivor’s energy becomes focused on suppressing inner breakdown. Awareness may shut down and people may no longer even register physical pain. You can disassociate, faint and collapse. A traumatic experience can manifest in physical symptoms such as digestive problems, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and other autoimmune diseases. This explains why it is critical for trauma treatment to engage the entire organism, mind and brain.

The aim is to change the patient’s physiology with a gentle slowing down. Craniosacral therapists help people gently evoke and notice bodily sensations. For our physiology to calm down, heal, and grow, we need a felt sense of safety. The therapy relies on felt awareness and gentle paced communication which helps shift people out of fight/flight states, and reorganise their perception of danger.

In the treatment of trauma, Craniosacral therapy aims

  • To draw out sensory information that is blocked and frozen by trauma

  • To help patients befriend (rather than suppress) the energies released by their experience

  • In doing so, this  helps release physical and mental tension


Learning how to breathe calmly and remaining in a state of relative physical relaxation, even while accessing pain, is an essential tool for recovery. So, craniosacral therapy can induce a state of relative calm from which people can observe their traumatic experiences without being overwhelmed.  This process can enable people to move forward from the static feelings of the frozen or panicked self of trauma, replacing them with sensations in safety, mastery, delight, and connection. This is recovery.



Louise Toone RCST BCST

Registered Craniosacral Therapist

Telephone 02392 413278 Email