What is CranioSacral Therapy?

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a light hands-on approach that can dynamically help to release deep soft-tissue tensions, the causes of pain and to restore the whole body’s health and wellbeing.

Using a gentle touch approach with no more than 5 grams of pressure, the weight of a nickel, the CranioSacral Therapist evaluates, releases tensions, the causes of pain and soft-tissue restrictions that are effecting the body’s craniosacral system. CST helps to improve the functioning of the central nervous system, thus optimizing the potential of the whole body-mind to holistically to heal.

What is a CranioSacral Therapy Like? A session is usually, depending on the client’s responses, can range between 40 to 90 minutes. The client is customarily clothed during the session, with shoes and their pant belt off for comfort; Also, a Massage and Mini CST session can be purchased together, where by the client is unclothed for the massage application of lotions, kneading the muscles and is draped by a sheet for warmth and modesty.

The CST practitioner begins by gently touching various part of the body to monitor the rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid, that is flowing through the central nervous system. By carefully listening, monitoring through touch to locate weak movement patterns, tensions and restrictions the practitioner can find the original source of the pain or dysfunction. Then by using delicate “direction-of-ease” techniques the CST practitioner can help release and support body’s own healing.

What Conditions does CST Address?  CranioSacral Therapy helps the body’s ability to take better care of you. It has been shown to help relieve a full spectrum of health issues, both in clinical trails and in practice internationally.

  • Headache Pain and Migraines
  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain
  • Chronic Fatigue, Stress and Tension Related Disorders.
  • Central Nervous System Disorders
  • Infant and Childhood Disorders
  • Learning Disabilities, ADD/ ADHD
  • Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Motor -Coordination Impairment
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Scoliosis
  • Post – Traumatic Stress Disorders
  • TMJ Syndrome
  • Orthopedic Problems
  • And Many Other Conditions

In practice, the CranioSacral Therapy techniques usually yields no negative side effects. The client can see benefits within the first 1 to 24, or 48 hours after the first session. Recovery goals are usually met within 2 to 4 sessions, although more involved health conditions can require additional sessions.

To understand a bit more about CranioSacral Therapy it helps to know a little bit about the craniosacral system itself.  In general, the craniosacral system is protective membrane system for the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). The central nervous system is protected by the bones of the skull (the cranium), the vertebrae of the spine, and the tailbone, (the sacrum). Inside of this bony outer boundary are the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord and make up the craniosacral system.

The outermost layer of membrane is called the dura mater, it is the thick protective membrane that lines the inside of the cranium and extends down the vertebral canal around the spinal cord to the sacrum. It has a few attachments within the vertebral canal that allows movement of the spine, and then the dural membrane extends and securely attaches again on the tailbone, the sacrum. The dural membrane creates the watertight, outermost boundary for the cerebrospinal fluid, which supports the entire weight of the brain and spinal cord.  The other two inner layers of craniosacral membrane system is the arachnoid mater and pia mater, all together the 3 layers are called the meninges.

Just like the respiratory system and the cardiovascular system, the craniosacral system is a physiological system that has its own rhythm. This rhythm, or cycle of expansion and contraction is created by the production and reabsorption of cerebrospinal fluid with in the craniosacral system. The cerebrospinal fluid’s volume with in the system is constantly changing; it is rising and falling at a rate of about six to twelve cycles per minute. This rhythmic motion helps to circulate cerebrospinal fluid through out the craniosacral system.

This rhythmic motion is caused by the pumping of the cerebrospinal fluid through out the system, it provides nutrients to the brain and spinal cord, removes metabolic waste products, acts as a shock absorber, creating buoyancy to reduce the effects of gravity on the brain and spinal code and maintains an environment that supports good nerve functions throughout the central nervous system and body.

A soft-tissue restrictions along the central nervous system, membrane system can cause any number of problems including chronic pain, headaches/migraines, visual and auditory, motor coordination and endocrine and immune system issues, scoliosis, learning disabilities, chronic fatigue, and other health concerns.

Medical science had previously believed that the bones of the skull were fused together by adulthood. We now know today, that this is not the case. The sutures of the cranium, are soft-tissue, bound together by Sharpey’s fibres, that are innovated by nerve pathways and capillary networks.

A CranioSacral Therapist knows how to evaluate through touch the subtle movement of the craniosacral system to detect soft-tissue restrictions and thereby support the release of pain and dysfunction. CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle hand-on-modality that works closely with the body’s own inner-wisdom, its’ ability to heal, to help facilitate improvements in functioning. Locating and releasing these restrictions, in turn helps the body’s own healing processes. A CranioSacral Therapist can help keep your nervous system and your entire body functioning at its best.

Who developed CranioSacral Therapy (CST)?
CST was pioneered and developed by the late Dr. John E. Upledger, DO, OMM, after conducting extensive scientific research and clinical trails from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and professor of Biomechanics. The health benefits have been observed in clinical practice internationally for well over 30 years.


We honor the memory of Dr John E. Upledger,
who’s  influence has transformed internationally, the world of therapeutic healing touch. For more research and development information about CranioSacral Therapy, and the Upledger Institute go to www.upledger.com