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What is craniosacral therapy and will it make me happier? A life coach explains all

Following a heartbreaking split, life coach Hattie MacAndrews tried craniosacral therapy. Here's what she found

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From soothing baths and calming walks to listening to music and sweating it out in the gym, everyone has their own unique way to help them heal heartbreak – but when you're in the depths of despair, it can be hard to know what will work for you.

"There's a lot of noise out there in the wellness industry, with an abundance of treatments, therapies and professionals on offer, all promising to boost our general wellbeing and in turn make us happier. But what really works and how do you know where to start?" questions life coach Hattie MacAndrews.

Following a sudden, painful break-up, Hattie set out on a mission to cut through the noise and find out what really works when it comes to finding happiness.

In her new column for HELLO!, Hattie set about exploring everything and anything she could to support her happiness post-break-up, with some seriously interesting findings.

hattie macandrews headshot

Hattie MacAndrews is trying out different approaches to happiness

After being impressed by acupuncture's ability to ease her heartache, Hattie tried craniosacral therapy. Here's how she got on...

What is craniosacral therapy?

"Craniosacral therapy is a hands-on healing method, which claims to release and heal trauma in the body using a technique called 'somatic emotional release'," says Hattie.

"The idea is that everything that our mind and body experience (including trauma), is suppressed, retained or stored in our body. A craniosacral therapist uses a very gentle 'touch' technique, to examine membranes and movement of the fluids in and around the central nervous system."

craniosacral therapy© Photo: Getty Images

Craniosacral therapy is said to help with anxiety and depression

The therapist 'listens' to the cerebral and spinal fluid of a patient's body with their hands and will work to gauge the health and rhythm of the flow, in order to help it become unblocked and return to its original tidal rhythm.

How does craniosacral therapy work?

"Using their hands and lightly holding or pressing various points on your body, the therapist is able to influence the movement and flow of the fluid, allowing the body to release and realign," Hattie says.

"In theory, the practitioner is working to calm and reset your sympathetic nervous system, (fight or flight response), which aids a healthier body and happier mind."

What are the benefits of craniosacral therapy?

Reported benefits include easing physical ailments such as migraines and neck pains, as well as helping to ease anxiety and depression and sleeplessness.

RELATED: 'How nature cured my heartbreak after a brutal breakup'

What happened when I tried craniosacral therapy?

"I went into the session with my craniosacral therapist with an open mind, unsure what to expect or what I hoped the desired outcome would be.

"I am intrigued by the idea that our pain or trauma gets trapped in our bodies, and can see how this might encourage inflammation, stress, poor sleep and other health issues down the line – all of which I'm keen to avoid following my heartbreak.

craniosacral therapy© Photo: Getty Images

Craniosacral therapy could help with migraines

"As I started my session, it was explained that patients can react differently throughout the treatment – with some feeling a big emotional release during the session, and others feeling a subtle shift that might have a bigger impact later down the line.

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"I lay still for just over an hour, while the therapist touched, held and applied very gentle pressure to various points on my body. There was very little verbal communication, apart from encouraging me to think about the ways in which any of my past painful experiences might still be affecting me, or what I might be hanging on to."

Does craniosacral therapy work?

"I'm disheartened to confess – I felt nothing. Not during the session or afterwards.

"I'm not entirely sure what I was hoping for, but having approached the session with enthusiasm and a willingness to comply, I can't help but feel it was completely ineffective for me personally.

"Immediately after the session I did feel calm and relaxed, but this is most likely due to the fact that I had lain still in a cool dark room for an hour.

"That said, during the session I was focusing on purely emotional release, and I believe that craniosacral massage therapy could be very effective for treating physical symptoms such as migraines or neck pain.

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"Perhaps I needed more sessions, or perhaps it's just not for me. I'm a huge advocate for trying and finding out what works for you in order to help you heal or find happiness.

"Perhaps if you're looking for a treatment with a very specific outcome, or you're experiencing physical symptoms as a result of an enforced trauma, it might work for you."

Looking for inspiration for finding your own happiness? Watch the video below...

Find out more about Hattie on her website, and follow her on Instagram here.

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