The Sacred Sacrum, Part 2

Freedom Through Stability

By Cindy Williams
[Classroom to Client]

When something is described as sacred, it is held in high regard and offered inherent entitlement to respect and reverence. It inspires awe and curiosity for its power and significance. In some cases, its value is so great that without it, everything around it would be compromised.
The sacrum is one such sacred object. Better said, when properly stabilized, it is the keystone of a sacred region that has the power to support the rest of the body in health.
In the May/June 2020 issue of Massage & Bodywork (“The Sacred Sacrum, Part 1,” page 28), we presented an awareness of the energetic and structural significance of the sacral region and touched on the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects that may become compromised when delicate balance is off kilter.
In this article, we will cover subtle yet effective techniques to perform on clients and self-care exercises to assign between sessions to consciously support and encourage alignment. This requires a reminder of how to approach conversation and touch with your client when addressing this sacred region.

First Things First—Client Comfort and Safety

Because the sacrum is located in the vulnerable pelvic region and is connected to deeply rooted emotions and experiences, practitioners are wise to be mindful to clients’ subtle cues of discomfort. Clients might feel awkward with hands-on work on or near their gluteals, abdomen, hips, and thighs.
You may notice the client tensing their muscles, breathing more rapidly, fidgeting, or talking about an unrelated topic to ease their discomfort. This is why it is important to clearly communicate what your intentions are, why this area is worthy of attention, and precisely how you will be draping and touching them before the work begins. Acquire their permission for anything you do.
New practitioners may struggle with confidence on communicating and touching these areas appropriately and, as a result, skip them entirely. Practitioners miss a valuable opportunity to facilitate healthful change for their clients when they avoid key areas out of fear. Working with a mentor and role-playing client communication are great ways to overcome insecurity and gain the necessary confidence to address vulnerable areas with ease and grace.
Showing your clients anatomical images can support this conversation. Many clients have no idea what their sacrum looks like, how it is connected to the spine and pelvis, how it is “glued” together by dense connective tissues, or why it can easily fall into misalignment. When you educate clients on these details, you offer deeper understanding, which fosters more comfort and safety.
If the client is open to energetic healing practices, provide some literature outlining the key aspects of the sacral and root chakras. Introducing clients to deeper subtleties can possibly illuminate connections to other mental and emotional experiences that are showing up in their lives.

Effective Techniques and Exercises

The aim of these techniques and exercises is to free up excessive tension and stagnant energy so that the pelvis and sacrum can move, align, and adjust to external force more naturally and efficiently.
Please note there are a wide variety of deep-tissue techniques that can be applied to the lumbar, abdominal, gluteal, and thigh regions that affect the sacrum and surrounding articulations. This article focuses instead on subtle techniques that can be performed with or without deep-tissue massage.

Sacrum Cradle Technique

This technique is performed at the beginning or end of the session while the client is fully clothed and in supine position.
1. Direct the client to lie on their back with both knees bent and feet flat on the table.
2. Sit on a stool on the right side of the client facing the head of the table.
3. Ask the client to press into their feet and lift their hips slightly off the table.
4. Slide your right hand under their sacrum so the heel of your hand is at the coccyx and the palm of your hand cradles the curvature of the sacrum. Fingertips will be facing toward the spine.
5. Your left hand can be placed under the client’s lumbar spine in a perpendicular fashion or on their lower abdomen between the anterior superior iliac spines.
6. Encourage your client to allow their sacrum to drop into your hand. Keep your hands soft and receptive, allowing the sacrum to naturally release into your touch. Hold for 1–3 minutes or as long as it calls you to stay. The key to this technique is holding sacred space for your client’s sacrum to unwind on its own with natural intelligence.

Sacral Rocking Technique

This technique can be performed at any time during the session while the client is in prone position. It is a great opening or closing to a back or posterior leg routine. For warmth, I typically apply sacral rocking with the client fully draped.
1. Standing on the client’s left side facing the table, place your right hand on the sacrum in a perpendicular fashion.
2. Place your left hand perpendicular to the spine at the client’s mid-thoracic or lower cervical region.
3. Gently rock the pelvis from side to side, starting with small gentle movement, then building momentum as the pelvis and sacrum begin to free up.
4. To finish, slow the pace and motion of the rocking until the pelvis is still. Hold in stillness for 30 seconds, or as long as the body calls you to stay.
5. OPTIONAL: Sacral rocking can also be done with the left or right hand on the sacrum and the other hand on the posterior thigh, depending on which side of the table you are standing. If you choose this approach, repeat the rocking from both sides of the body to incorporate the posterior thigh of each leg.

Scissor Kick Exercise

This take-home exercise will assist clients with maintaining energetic movement at the base of the spine and released muscle tension around the sacroiliac and coxal joints. It also facilitates the movement of cerebrospinal fluid and can create release in the cranial region.
1. Lie face down on the floor with your head resting on your hands. The knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle.
2. Swing your feet inward and outward (both feet will swing out at the same time, then swing back in at the same time) rhythmically. Alternate which foot crosses in front of the other on the inward swing.
3. Repeat for 5–10 minutes. The pace can be slow or swift depending on comfort level. There is no right or wrong.
4. Upon completion, roll onto your back and rest, noticing sensations in the body from head to toe.

Neutralizing Knee Squeeze Exercise

This take-home exercise is a powerful way clients can balance the musculature on both sides of the pelvis and thighs, which allows gravity to realign the pelvis and sacrum with little effort. Clients will need a fat pillow or yoga block and a yoga strap or belt for this exercise.
Phase 1
1. Lie on your back with your knees directly over the hips, and lower legs and feet resting on a couch or ottoman.
2. Place the pillow or yoga block between your knees. Squeeze the knees together firmly into the pillow, then release.
3. Repeat 20 times, and perform three sets of 20 squeezes.
Phase 2
1. Remove the pillow or block. Secure the strap around the lower thighs above the knees (do not strap directly around the knee joints). Knees should be hip-width apart.
2. Spread your knees apart so your thighs push against the strap, then release.
3. Repeat 20 times, and perform three sets of 20 squeezes.
Phase 3
1. Leave the strap in place to keep your knees at hip-width distance, but release all effort.
2. Rest in this position for 10–20 minutes.

Presence Is of the Essence

We can heal what we place our attention on. When our sacred center is acknowledged, held with full presence, and properly looked after, the rest of the body receives the positive ripple effect of freedom through stability.

Since 2000, Cindy Williams, LMT, has been actively involved in the massage profession as a practitioner, school administrator, instructor, curriculum developer, and mentor. She maintains a private practice as a massage and yoga instructor. Contact her at

Editor’s note: The Scissor Kick Exercise and Neutralizing Knee Squeeze Exercise are intended as resources for clients. The exercises should not be performed within massage sessions or progressed by massage therapists, in order to comply with state laws and maintain scope of practice.