What is cranial-sacral (craniosacral) therapy?

craneo sacral therapyCranioSacral Therapy (CST) is performed by using the hands to gently manipulate the area to relieve tension within the body. This is thought to reduce and relieve pain or dysfunction throught the various body and organ structures to improve the health and performance of the entire body system.

The method was developed by Osteopathic Physician John E. Upledger, a professor who researched and studied biomechanics at Michigan State University. This touch therapy is very gentle but can rebalance and lessen restrictions within the soft tissues which are around the central nervous system. As the central nervous system is responsible for regulating many processes in the body, this health measure can be corrective or preventative in promoting immune system function, disease resistance, pain, and many other body issues.

The cranial bones constantly shift with subtle movements as many as six to twelve cycles in any given minute. It is thought that this rhythm is due to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fluctuations within the brain and spinal structures which then are moved throughout the entire body.


Treatment using craniosacral therapy aims to detect imbalances within the body and restore the natural rhythms which promote optimal health and wellness. A therapist trained in this method will use the sensitivity of their hands to detect these disturbances and gently manipulate the areas of the skull, cranial sutures, skull, diaphragms, and fascia to remove any restrictions found in these areas.

Before the treatment begins, patients will be asked about their health history, any injuries or surgeries, lifestyle habits, or other factors which may have impacted the functionality of these structures such as the situation of when you were born, having given birth, and other important details regarding illness or trauma.
Patients will lie down on the therapists work surface fully clothed and have gentle manipulation and pressure applied to these key areas to restore any restrictions in myofascial tension, restrictions of the head to restore cranial mobility, remove restrictions of the nerves or CSF throughout the central nervous system.

This therapy will also help to realign bones which can cause pain or restricted mobility to the hips, back, knees, shoulders, or elbows. Various areas along the central nervous system will be manipulated to help relieve these impingements or restrictions and restore natural flow of energy and CSF throughout the body structures.

Who can it benefit?

Craniosacral therapy is beneficial for many issues a patient may be encountering, including those of babies or children.

Pregnancy, birth, and the period immediately following birth may cause misalignment or cause pressure points on various cerebrospinal processes in the body. Craniosacral therapy can help to restore the various structures to their original positions and performance and can improve and restore optimal performance of these structures.

Infants and babies who are experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding such as latching may benefit from this treatment as the issues can be as a direct result of the birthing process placing stress on the cerebrosacral regions.

Those who frequently suffer from recurrent ear infections can also benefit from this treatment as it can help to realign the central nervous system and improve the normal flow of fluids to and from the ears. Other ear-related issues such as ringing of the ears, vertigo (feelings of dizziness), or some types of hearing loss may also be improved through this therapy.

Problems with the motor functioning of the eyes or issues related to the symmetry of the face can be corrected by restoring proper energy flow through the nerves which flow outward from the central nervous system.

Attention deficit or other learning disorders may be influenced by soft tissues inhibiting the natural rhythms of the nervous system and have seen improvement through the use of craniosacral therapy. This has also proven useful for other developmental delays in addition to improving symptoms of those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.

Gross or fine motor problems in both adults and children can benefit from this therapy’s corrections as they are often a result of key structures being partially restricted.

Frequent sufferers of pain due to headaches, jaw pain, and many other neurological conditions or pain syndromes will often benefit from this manipulation of the neurological and central nervous system.
Body traumas received my pain, injury, or the effects of stress on the body are also significantly improved by these manipulations which promote the natural functioning of the structures and promote healing.

Cranial-sacral therapy has been used consistently since the time of its discovery over one hundred years ago and has gained acceptance and recognition as a successful therapy. This therapy has become a treatment of choice for many for pain management, neurology, and rehabilitation after injury, illness, or other traumas. Its non-invasive gentle approach and use of hands-on techniques is similar in many ways to chiropractic adjustments. Chiropractors work to realign the major bone and tissue structures within the body whereas craniosacral therapies focuses on the cerebrospinal fluid, central nervous system, and small bones within the skull or other structures which are even more important that the larger structures. This therapy’s gentleness is ideal for those who cannot withstand more vigorous adjustments and is ideal for the treatment of pain. CST, or cranial osteopathy, it is a gentle, non-invasive, hands-on technique, developed by an American osteopathic physician almost one hundred years ago.

The inclusion of craniosacral therapy in your pain management and your overall health status can have useful and dramatic results one would not associate with such a gentle form of therapy. If you are looking for addition to your current treatments, have covered other options without success, want to try something new, or are just starting out on your treatment and recovery, craniosacral therapy is a wise choice for overall health.