About Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral Therapy (CST), developed in 1970 by John E. Upledger, aims to release the restrictions that may inhibit the functioning of the craniosacral system—the fluid and membranes that surround the brain, spinal column, and nerves. “There is a sheath of connective tissue around the nervous system and the brain, and in between those sheaths and the neurons themselves there is cerebrospinal fluid that absorbs shock, nourishes, and supports the nervous system,” and you could say our consciousness is bathed in this fluid.

That fluid pulses in a rhythm distinct from respiration and circulation. The craniosacral rhythm can and should affect all the tissues and bones of the body. The craniosacral path and rhythm, which is ideally bilaterally symmetrical, is often distorted from normal life experiences such as stress, injuries, behavioral patterns and trauma.

Craniosacral therapists believe that a light two-handed touch, applied to the body’s paired bones (for example, the two heels, the two sides of the pelvis, the two shoulders), enhances the nervous system’s own ability to observe itself—to notice, for example, differences between the right and left—and make the self-corrections that will channel fluid and movement more evenly through both sides of the body. The intention of the practitioner is to inquire and allow. It’s a touch that says, ‘I see what you are going through, I’m listening.’

The belief is that such releases are felt not only by the nervous system, but by the many systems of the body with which the nervous system interacts.  When these systems work well, the body's innate abilities to heal itself are enhanced. It is believed that the digestive, endocrine, immunological, excretory, and circulatory systems all benefit from craniosacral therapy.

The Upledger Institute Clinic promotes CST’s value as part of the treatment for a variety of health problems ranging from migraines, neck and back pain, ear infections, and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), to Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), autism, Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression.

Repeatedly confronted with the lack of scientific evidence supporting the therapeutic value of CST, Upledger, who was a tireless advocate of his technique in Massage Today, wrote that he did not believe that the efficacy of CST, which is not only highly individualized but also subject to variables introduced by each therapist, could be accurately tested by traditional scientific studies. He invited those interested in CST “to continue to explore this therapy's potential for improving health, well-being, and quality of life. Let your proof be in your results.”