CranioSacral Therapy

CranioSacral Therapy was developed by Dr. John Upledger, D.O., as an offshoot of Cranial Osteopathy. Dr. Upledger was one of the rare individuals who combined the intellect to gather and synthesize information from a vast range of resources, the heart to stay emotionally engaged with his patients, and the guts to go beyond conventional thinking in medicine.

CST uses light touch to evaluate and treat the connective tissue lining (membranes) of the central nervous system by using the bones of the skull (cranium) and the sacrum (the tail end of the spine) as handles to exert light traction on the membranes of the brain and spinal cord. This helps to optimize the free flow of the cerebrospinal fluid, which nurtures and protects the brain (cerebrum) and the spinal cord. The lightness of touch allows the practitioner to feel the innate rhythm of the craniosacral system and respond to it instantly. The symmetry, quality, amplitude, and rate of the rhythm as it translates from head to toe throughout the connective tissue can indicate the location and severity of restrictions in movement. These restrictions can be addressed with precision, and connective tissue mobility can be restored throughout the body.

It is actually the body itself that restores its equilibrium and function with just a little nudging from the therapist. CST is based on the assumption that the body has its own innate intelligence, an “Inner Wisdom”, who knows better than any outside expert what is needed for the true healing of body, mind and soul. During treatment one experiences frequent “still points”, when the craniosacral rhythm stops, and during this pause in its usual activity one can feel shifts and releases in tension locally and often throughout the body as the connective tissue resets its tension patterns. This results in increased mobility, improved circulation, and often a deep sense of well being emotionally as well as physically. 

Conditions that I have seen respond well to CST include:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • neck and back pain
  • shoulder pain, numbness and tingling in the arm
  • pelvic pain
  • TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) problems
  • whiplash injuries
  • fibromyalgia
  • chronic fatigue
  • asthma
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • stress
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • PTSD
  • and much more

CST has no known negative side effects, and should only not be applied in case of an acute bleeding inside the head, with preexisting severe bleeding disorders, during a still ongoing stroke, or on an acute head or spinal injury. It is effective for animals and newborn babies, so one does not have to "believe" in it to get good results. For additional information on CST during pregnancy check out Midwifery Today's excellent article. 

For general information about CST and the Upledger Institute International go to