Restrictions and Trauma

Patterens of Restriction - Trauma and Craniosacral Therpay

How patterns of restriction are formed.

From the top of your head to the soles of your feet, every structure in your body is covered in a thin membrane called Fascia.

Here is a diagram of a cross section of a nerve. As you can see a nerve is comprised of threadlike structures. These threads are called axons.

Each axon is wrapped in fascia. Bundles of wrapped axons are further wrapped together and then those bundles are wrapped together with other bundles and so on.

It is the same with every other structure in your body, big or small, it is wrapped in fascia. Fascia forms a connective covering that encapsulates your whole body.

glad-wrap-fasciaTo get an idea of what effect trauma has on all that wrapping, think of 20 layers of cling film, one on top of another, with a thin layer of fluid between each layer. When your body is functioning normally, each layer glides easily over the next.

But if you poked your finger into the middle of those layers of cling film the imprint left by your finger would totally compromise the cling films ability to move one layer over the other.

To get an idea of what effect physical trauma has on our body, take the above small analogy of poking our finger in the cling film and multiply it by 1,000.

If you look at the back of your hand as you wiggle your fingers, what you are looking at is the outer layer of fascia of your hand. Below it many layers of fascia are gliding over each other as your fingers move.


craniosacral therapy and restrictionsHere’s another way to look at it. ¬†Whenever I am in the fruit and veg section of a supermarket I am always reminded of how trauma is imprinted in our bodies.

What generally happens is I will pull one of those plastic bags from the roll. I will be talking to my wife as I try to open the bag. I will rub the end of the bag between my thumb and forefinger. After a couple of attempts I will realise that I’m trying to open the wrong end of the bag.

If I look closely at where I’ve been trying to open the bag, I will see that my thumb and finger have left an imprint in the bag.

You could say there is a pattern of restriction in the bag. If I smoothed out the imprint as best I could, I still wouldn’t be able to get the fine creases out of the plastic.

trauma and craniosacral therapy

This is similar to the way physical trauma affects our bodies. Let’s say someone is in a car accident. The impact of the steering wheel puts a large pattern of trauma in their body. Broken bones, lacerations etc. Their body can release much of the pattern of restriction but it may not be able to release the entire pattern (the fine creases in the plastic).

Patterns of trauma are usually complex because the body moves as it is impacted. So in the example above the person wouldn’t have a steering wheel-shaped pattern of restriction imprinted in the area of their body where they struck the steering wheel. The pattern of restriction will include the way their body moved as it was thrown around in the accident. If you have ever seen crash simulations using dummies you’ll know they move around a lot during the impact.

So rather than one pattern of trauma there are many.

Depth of imprint

Another consideration is how deep the pattern is imprinted in the body. Picture this. You have a large bowl of jelly and a ball bearing. You hold the ball bearing 5cms above the surface of the jelly and let it fall.

It hardly breaks the surface of the jelly. You retrieve the ball bearing and drop it into the jelly from a height of 1 meter. The ball bearing has now embedded itself into the jelly to quite a depth.

With patterns of restriction the greater the force of the trauma the deeper into the body the pattern is imprinted.