Manipulating the flow of your spinal fluids is more relaxing than it sounds
Synergy Integrated Medical Centre isn’t a spa as such – it’s more of a health facility, so don’t expect water features and flowers everywhere. That said, the villa is a gold mine of alternative health, with acupuncture, naturopathy, pranic energy healing and more. My only complaint was that I could hear the goings-on in the rest of the centre while I was trying to relax in the treatment room.
Craniosacral therapy was developed by osteopath Dr William Sutherland in the 1900s. It claims to optimise the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the spinal cord, easing the constriction of nerve passages so that the whole body can function better. It’s often used to treat mental stress, spinal pain, headaches, migraines, infant colic and more.
Step by step
When I arrive at osteopath Saiqa Mansoor’s office, she sits me down to have a chat about the therapy and any aches and pains I have. I tell her about a problem with my clicking jaw, and she talks to me about my past and identifies the exact point this problem could have occurred (when I had four teeth removed), then shows me some handy exercises that will help to realign my jaw (so far they seem to be working!). She then explains craniosacral therapy in depth, using a model of the spine. She says proponents believe we have a cranial rhythm coming from our craniosacral fluid, and that she, by very gently holding points at the base of my skull and spine, will figure out where the fluid is restricted and work to reinstate the flow of that fluid.
The treatment itself feels like very little at all. Saiqa tells me to close my eyes and relax, while cradling my head in her hands with very light pressure. She sits there for about 20 minutes, then moves down to my sacrum (the base of my spine) and does the same. She tells me that about 90 per cent of people fall asleep during the treatment (I manage to stay awake). According to Saiqa, my brain is like a magnet, pushing her away with all the thoughts running through my head.
I leave feeling unwound, albeit a little surprised at how minimal the treatment seemed to be. However, that night and the following day I had a terrible headache and felt lethargic, which Saiqa had warned me about – a process she calls ‘healing crisis’ – although two days later I woke feeling truly invigorated, and my normal tension headache had disappeared.
• There are no wince-inducing, bone-cracking moments. • Saiqa is very knowledgeable, and I learned several strategies to correct my individual muscular and spinal issues. • I really felt as though the treatment had made a difference. Despite the headache and tiredness immediately afterwards, I felt fantastic two days later.
• Most scientists don’t believe in craniosacral therapy, saying that the bones near the skull fuse as we grow up, meaning the gentle manipulation of the flow of fluid is a physical impossibility. • You hardly feel as though anything is happening during the treatment, which isn’t for everyone.
4/5 (because of the general advice Saiqa gave me to remedy my aches and issues). Sessions with Saiqa are Dhs350 for the first consultation and Dhs300 for follow-up sessions. Synergy Integrated Medical Centre, Al Wasl Road (04 348 5452)