Craniosacral Therapy and Recovery from Anaesthetic


Please note that the updated and full version of this blog post is available on my new website

As a Craniosacral Therapist, I regularly meet clients preparing and recovering from surgery in my private practice and in a hospital in Brighton where I work alongside medically trained colleagues specialising in respite and medical convalescence. I find that the effects of general anaesthetic appear to linger in some people beyond the normal recovery period, sometimes for days or weeks after the surgery and possibly longer. While most people recover well, some experience a range of sensations that can feel disorienting and distressing if left unresolved. I’d like to highlight some of the common experiences I’ve encountered and describe how I support clients through their recovery process…….. (Continues)


9 Replies to “Craniosacral Therapy and Recovery from Anaesthetic”

  1. Hi Steve. How lucky your clients are to have you close post surgery.
    Due to toxic hip implants I have had 4 hip revisions in 12 months. Epidural and sedation as apposed to general anaesthetic was used and kinder I think. I had had bilateral hips done only 5 years earlier, so kind of knew what to expect. And the trauma picture was also loaded with system metal toxicity and much more. Every case has its own story.
    My BCST colleagues have supported me thru this process. I can’t thank them enough ๐Ÿ™‚ for a resourced recovery and a fairly speedy one at that. I was fortunate to have hands on several times after each surgery in the 3-5 day hospital recovery period as well as in the weeks post op between surgery s.
    What a vision to have CST as a post op treatment.
    I’d like to add some comments.
    As therapists we need to be careful about assumption. Not all surgery is as provocative as the polar bear being chased and darted, and in many cases today, not all by any means, there is great improvement in explanation and drugs and recovery processes used.
    Post operative pain medications can also be as or more traumatic than anaesthetic in some cases, and the area and kind of surgery will have different affects on the wholeness of the patients web/ facial continuum as well as the immediate wound site., hence some of the mentioned symptoms as well. Also the resource of the patient as in emergency, trauma or elective surgery, as well as the individuals unique picture
    As always, as therapists we need to be incredibly mindful that we don’t shadow/reflect our own fears, and experiences, known or hidden, and lack of knowledge into the resonance of the treatment.
    Sounds like a great BCST post grad option to me. See you in NZ sometime soon ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Lynne, thanks for your comments! I’m glad to hear that you had a resourced and speedy recovery from your surgery, and of course that you were supported with CST ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree fully that assumptions are problematic, everyone will have their own response to surgery and medication, and their own road to recovery. The strong imagery of the polar bear captures the basics of the physiology well for me, even if the circumstances are different to human experience in hospital, thankfully patients aren’t chased by helicopter! ๐Ÿ™‚ Another major part of my practice is with people on long term medication regimens, particularly pain meds, and this is really similar in terms of the effects and also in how to work with them cranially, it’s a fascinating area of work! My approach is to work with the meds as a resource and this seems to have made a difference over the years. I’d love to pop back to NZ at some stage, I last visited long before I even heard of CST so all the more reason to visit now! Cheers, Steve

  2. Hi Steve

    I like to share my experience recovering from surgery in 2008. Prior to my surgery in 2008, I have never been hospitalised and yet alone have surgery. I myself am a Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy practitioner in Singapore. I have read many literature about surgery and recovery from anaesthesia.

    So, months before my surgery I prepared myself by having regular Biodynamic Craniosacral sessions and I did visualisation meditations for a safe surgery and a speedy recovery. I also made arrangements for my friends (who were at that time were training to be BCST practitioners) to do craniosacral sessions on me while I was in hospital.

    The day after my surgery, two of my friends came and did a craniosacral session on me. Midway through the session I felt nausea. I kept breathing in deeply and I could sense a whift of ether around me. I thought it came from the neighbouring patient as the doctors and nurses came earlier on and were doing some procedure on her.

    After my craniosacral session I commented โ€œpoor neighbour having to inhale all those strong etherโ€ and asked my friends whether they smelled that too. To my surprise they said no. So that ether must have come from me.

    I remembered reading an Upledger article saying that during CST sessions, anaesthetic would be released from the body. I didnโ€™t think I would experience the same thing.

    I am grateful to my friends who supported me during this period and I consider myself very fortunate to be resourced with craniosacral for a speedy recovery.

    1. Hi Adida,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, especially for mentioning the preparation you made before surgery. Surgery and/or anaesthetic can have a huge impact, so preparing well to be as healthy as possible will no doubt improve recovery. I’m glad you also had the support of your friends and colleagues afterwards, lucky you! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Warm regards,


  3. Great writing Steve about an important topic that appears regularly in my practice.I have found the effects can be felt years later.

    1. Thanks, Colin. Yes, it’s amazing how long the residual effects of these experiences can last. I suppose the effects are (necessarily) so powerful that we miss the change and habituate the feeling.

  4. I am a BCST in Leicester but before that I worked as an occupational therapist in hospitals. I came across many patients struggling to mobilise, feeling peripheral numbness, disassociation, confusion, hallucination and falls post surgery. The effects of anaesthetic can be lasting and I can appreciate the benefits of BCST – restoring feelings of wholeness, embodiment, providing clarity, focus, and release of trauma the body as gone through. The process of shivers and tremors is so valuable to release the trauma.

    It is very inspiring that Brighton is advanced in accepting complimentary therapy as BCST for post surgery patients. I feel BCST would be very used in Intensive Care Unit (ICU), as we are able to bring feeling of safety and clarity to our clients as ICU can be such an alien, scarey environment to patients. Thank you Steve for sharing this.

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Minaxi. I sometimes think that the effects of anaesthetic is such a common experience that it often gets overlooked by patients and clinicians alike.

      While working in the centre I mentioned in the post, I was fortunate to have the support and appreciation of front line staff who saw the benefits for the clients first hand. Thankfully the environment and structure of the organisation during the 12 years i worked there was open to a more rounded approach to care.

      BCST would surely be a wonderful addition to settings like ICU, which as you say can be scary, and sadly all too frequently. Given the culture we live in, it’s also highly likely that we will frequently encounter these patterns in private practice, particularly considering how quickly patients are being discharged these days.

      I’m glad to here there’s BCST in Leicester. I lived there many moons ago and have very fond memories ๐Ÿ™‚

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