Like the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, and other systems in the human body, everyone has a craniosacral system. This system consists of the bones, membranes, and fluids that surround your central nervous system — your brain and spinal cord.
Cerebrospinal fluid is produced in the brain in a tide-like, rhythmic manner. Craniosacral therapists can feel this subtle rhythm. It is palpable bodywide. It’s subtle but not magic — most of us learn to sense it in an hour or two of training.
With experience, we learn to read its qualities (weak, strong, fast, slow, whether it’s symmetrical in both sides of the body, etc.). These qualities vary from person to person, day to day, even moment to moment.
Still points occur when this rhythm pauses. They occur naturally and spontaneously. No one knows precisely why they occur, but they are regenerative. It feels as if the system is gathering resources during these pauses.
Still points can also be induced biomechanically or invited biodynamically, depending on the craniosacral therapist’s training or preference.
They help rebalance the autonomic nervous system, which because of stress often tilts to the sympathetic branch. The parasympathetic state feels more relaxed and refreshing. The body has more resources in this state for repairing and renewing itself.
Someone experiencing a still point may enter a state of internal stillness that feels deeply peaceful.
When the rhythm resumes, it feels as if the body has reorganized itself in the direction of greater health and well-being.
Still points can last for a few seconds or much longer, 20 or 30 minutes.
Craniosacral therapists stay connected to still points and can usually feel a difference in the qualities of the rhythm when it resumes. They may invite (or induce) multiple still points in a session as well as note when the client has spontaneous still points.
I enjoy inviting still points at the beginning and end of every session, including TMJ Relief sessions.
The poet T.S. Eliot wrote about this pause in 1936. I am not aware of whether he was familiar with craniosacral still points, although they were known to cranial osteopaths at the time. He captures the in-between state, the pause, the gathering, well in these words: