CranioSacral Therapy

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) originates from a concept explored in the 1900’s by Osteopath Dr. William Sutherland that the bones of the cranium move amongst each other and can create pressure on the brain. With his research, he developed Cranial Osteopathy. In the 1970’s, American Dr. John Upledger noticed the craniosacral rhythm while assisting a spinal surgery. This discovery piqued his interest and led to his study of Cranial Osteopathy and further research into the relationship of the structures between the cranium and sacrum. Dr. Upledger coined the term CranioSacral Therapy and developed the CST curriculum which is currently taught internationally. 

CST can be difficult to explain, so here it is broken down into several aspects:

  • Cranio refers to the cranium, which houses the brain. Sacral refers to the sacrum, also known as your tailbone, and marks the end of your spinal column. CranioSacral therapy involves the evaluation and treatment of the physiological forces and structures between these two points. 
  • The CranioSacral rhythm is essentially the pulse of the brain and spinal cord and is created by the movement of cerebrospinal fluid between the two structures. Like the rhythm of the breath or the pulse of blood from and to the heart, the CS rhythm can be felt throughout the body by anyone taught to tap into the frequency.  By evaluating this rhythm, a CST practitioner can identify restrictions in the body.
  • The body loves to be in motion. Every cell, tissue, and organ needs to be able to move freely in order to function correctly.  With physical or emotional trauma / injury, adhesions and structural deformities can develop which lead to restricted motion of the tissues involved affecting, increasingly over the years, the adjacent structures and ultimately the entire body.
  • The role of a CST practitioner is not to forcibly correct the body, but rather to encourage the body to correct itself, which leads to a more fundamental change and often disappearance of chronic symptoms. The idea is that if the systems of the body are balanced, then it has the ability to heal itself.
  • Because of the direct connection with the brain and spinal cord, CST also has an effect on the Autonomic Nervous System, often causing a feeling of deep calm or groundedness during and after the treatment. Treatment of this system enables the body to respond to stress and challenges better and can help improve a patient’s energy level.  
  • A CST treatment can be considered effective if releases are present during or after treatment. A release can be in terms of physical release of adhered structures or emotional release involving thoughts and feelings surrounding an event of trauma or injury.

Conditions treated by CST include, but are not limited to:

Migraine or chronic headaches, chronic neck and back pain, motor-coordination impairments, colic, autism, ADHD, central nervous system disorders, orthopedic problems, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, scoliosis, infantile disorders, learning disabilities, chronic fatigue, emotional difficulties and mental health challenges, post-traumatic stress disorder, stress and tension-related problems, fibromyalgia, connective-tissue disorders, jaw dysfunction, immune disorders, post-surgical dysfunction, digestive disorders and fertility impairments.

See also visceral manipulation.