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What is craniosacral therapy? (CST)
Craniosacral Therapy is a safe, gentle effective manual therapy that works by facilitating the body’s own self healing mechanisms to remove or lessen the negative effects of stress on the central nervous system (CNS). It works by treating a physiological system known as the craniosacral system, which houses and protects the CNS (the brain and spinal cord) as well as assisting in proper regulation and function. CST, through the cranisacral system can affect the function of the central nervous system (CNS) and autonomic nervous system (ANS). Craniosacral therapy facilitates the stimulation of the body’s self healing mechanisms, assists in trauma release, offers balance to the autonomic nervous system and can connect with the non conscious helping its messages come to a conscious level.

What is Equine Facilitated Craniosacral therapy?

Equine Facilitated CST is when we treat the body with craniosacral therapy in partnership with a horse or horses. Having the assistance of a horse can show the therapist very quickly some deep hidden holding patterns and can help access the message quicker than in a clinical setting.

Inertial patterning-expressed in the craniosacral system
During the course of our lives our bodies become patterned, shaped and conditioned according to how we're able to deal with any stresses or traumas. If stresses or traumas are overwhelming, they become locked in the body as sites of inertia - until such a time as we are able to access resources that allow them to be processed and released. These sites of inertia effect the natural rhythmical movements of the our natural physiological rhythms and so hinder the ability of our essential blueprint for health to manifest at a cellular level. Common causes of inertia are physical injuries, emotional and psychological stresses, birth trauma and toxicity. Due to an accumulation of these stresses, tissues can become imprinted with the memory of unresolved experiences and so act like video tape which may keep replaying whenever stimulated. CST WITH HORSES ASSISTING and a skilled therapist help release such patterns much quicker than in a normal clinical setting.

Who is it for?
Equine Facilitated CST is for anyone. It can be applied with a person on a plinth, beside or in the vicinity of a horse/horses or even on the horse’s back. Significantly, the therapist has hands on the body to assist releases. Usually adults like to lie down and children tend to be more active, by engaging with the horse/pony. Sessions are held in Ardpatrick, where Deirdre's specialist therapy horses live in a natural way. Deirdre specialises in working with children, especially those who do not respond so well in the clinic environment. Some Autism Spectrum children are entirely non-verbal, and thus need different opportunities to develop and grow, to be recognized and understood, and therefore nurtured and supported. This is where horses are invaluable. Horses are non-verbal. The horse thinks, lives, acts, and responds in pictures and feelings (thinks in sensory). The ‘normal’ mind ignores details, the autistic mind sees it all, responds to it all, and may therefore be misunderstood by being in the world this way. Horses have a wide view and bilateral vision also, so they notice every detail, too, and respond accordingly. By watching the interaction between horse & child (participant), we have the potential to treat from a safer place where the defense mechanisms in the child are more easily gain access to the craniosacral system. It is possible for the body to access its own wisdom in listening to possibilities of letting go holding patterns and remind the ‘rest and digest’ part of the autonomic nervous system that it is safe to.

How does it work?
Horses have an amazing insight to read information from humans. The horses may choose to assist releases in the body by touching a particular place or places. Or they may work in the distance showing patterns (which help a story unfold), or mirroring what is going on internally/externally for the patient/client. The horses seem to recognise blockages in the body in line with areas of dysfunction, which inhibit free flowing physiological functioning of the craniosacral system. Physiologists now know that there are more neural cells in the gut than in the entire spinal column. As a result the enteric (intestinal nervous system) can gather information and adapt to the environment. The heart also serves as an organ of perception, with more than 40,000 nerve cells along with a complex network of neuro transmitters, proteins and support cells allowing the heart to be as large as many key areas of the brain, and as important in sensory input. Horses have VERY large guts and hearts, relative to us humans. They are animals of prey needing nano second external stimulus to be processed to allow the flight response to safety. They base their reactions on what they feel, not what they think. Moreover, as herd animals they need to live, function and respond from a place of coherence and clarity so the response to danger or potential danger can be acted on immediately and in unison.

Professional qualifications of facilitators
There is no formal qualification for facilitators for equine assisted CST but it is in the pipeline. However, at the very least, these therapists should be qualified in equine facilitated therapy and craniosacral therapy. Please refer to for CST registered therapists and for equine trained therapists. Deirdre is highly qualified and experienced in both and teaches internationally.(

Many of us are functioning from a place where the nervous system is consistently overwhelmed. This is often connected to shock or trauma even as early on as birth. By working to assist in releasing these holding patterns, and facilitating the CNS to more easily process, both internal and external messages, the body is encouraged into a more relaxed and restful state. When we work in partnership with horses the effects of the hands on treatment is faster, deeper and safer. This leads to improved sleep patterns, down toning of emotional outbursts and the possibility to learn about self-regulation, and much more, for both carers and those challenged with information overload.

If the safety of any participant is in question this would be deemed a contraindication. Contraindications for craniosacral therapy and equine assisted work also apply here.

Particular horse welfare considerations
As craniosacral therapists work with the craniosacral system, horses are chosen when their own needs have been cared for. Horses receive regular treatment to ensure their well being and those working in partnership are carefully chosen.

Typical referrals
For reasons outlined above those most benefiting from equine facilitated craniosacral treatment are those challenged with overwhelmed central nervous systems. Anybody can be treated for any condition.

Here are 2 Videos of this Therapy


More Links

Riding Beyond: Opening Doors to the Future for Breast Cancer Survivors
What is Craniosacral Therapy

EFL Life and Workplace Coaching FETAC /Skyhorse EGE/ and EAGALA Certified

SkyHorseEGECertified  EAGALA


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