Cranio-Sacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. It was pioneered and developed by Osteopathic Physician John E. Upledger after years of clinical testing and research at Michigan State University, where he served as a professor of biomechanics.
Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams, which is about the weight of a nickel, practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it is effective in treating a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.
How does Cranio-Sacral Therapy Work?
Two structures that make up the central nervous system, the brain and the spinal cord, have the most influence over the body’s ability to function properly. The central nervous system is heavily influenced by the cranio-sacral system, the membranes and fluid that surround, protect, and nourish the brain and spinal cord.
Every day your body endures stresses and strains that it must compensate for. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort the cranio-sacral system. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord, resulting in restrictions. This can prevent healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially hinder every other system it interacts with.
Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of touch. With a light touch, the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the cranio-sacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body. This will test the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the cranio-sacral system.
By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s ability to self-correct, Cranio-Sacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.
What conditions does Cranio-Sacral Therapy address?
Is there any condition for which CST should not be used?
There are certain situations where application of CST would not be recommended. These include conditions where a variation and/or slight increase in intracranial pressure would cause instability. Acute aneurysm, cerebral hemorrhage, or other preexisting severe bleeding disorders are examples of conditions that could be affected by small intracranial pressure changes.
How many Cranio-Sacral Therapy sessions will I need?
Response to CST varies from individual to individual and condition to condition. Your response is uniquely your own and cannot be compared to anyone else's, even those cases that may appear to be similar to your own. The number of sessions needed varies widely, from 1-3+ sessions a week over the course of several weeks.