What is CranioSacral Therapy? 

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle form manual (hands - on) therapy based on the osteopathic philosophy that uses light-touch to release tensions in the soft tissue, relieve pain, and balance the nervous system for optimum health and vitality.   A common misunderstanding is that craniosacral therapy only works on the head and sacrum. CST is an integrative whole body approach. CST is safe and effective for infants, children, and adults. I am certified in both Upledger (functional) and Biodynamic craniosacral therapy. I integrate functional, biodynamic, direct/indirect fascial and visceral techniques to meet the individual needs of each client. 

The body endures stresses and strains on a regular basis. Eventually our muscles and connective tissues begin to tighten up and potentially affect the brain and spinal cord creating symptoms, dysfunction, injuries, disease, stress or trauma.  Releasing these tensions can help relieve pain and tightness, realign the body's structure, balance the autonomic nervous system, and help other organ systems function better. 

Skilled practitioners can feel and release restrictions in the tissues and organs of the client's body. Often these restrictions can not be identified by conventional diagnostic tests. As restrictions are released and the body begins to return to optimal functioning, many possible sensations may occur. The release may be felt as heat, pulsing, relaxation, or other sensations.

A nice explanation of the Upledger approach to Craniosacral Therapy:

The craniosacral system consists of the membranes and fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord as well as the attached bones including the skull, face and mouth, which make up the cranium, and the tailbone area, or sacrum.  This system plays a vital role of maintaining the environment in which the central nervous system functions. CST enhances the function of the central nervous system and is an effective treatment for numerous medical problems associated with stress, trauma, and physical pain

CST treatments also free the body to move in a more fluid and efficient way while facilitating deep relaxation, increased vitality, and a profound sense of well-being. Craniosacral therapy is deep healing work for the mind, body, and spirit. By complimenting the body’s natural healing process, CST can also be used as preventative health measure. If you live in New York, and are interested in learning more about it, please give my office a call.

“It is my belief that motion is health, stasis results in disease...in Craniosacral therapy, the practitioner continually evaluates the craniosacral systems and all body fascia, searching for areas of compromised mobility...it involves a whole-body evaluation of energy patterns and cysts. Once such abnormal patterns are located, the therapist may eclectically employ any and all techniques that may be useful in re-establishing optimal freedom of motion to any restricted areas that are found...such motion can range from the movement of interstitial fluids and transmembrane ionic and molecular transport, to gross joint motion and even energy flow...” Dr. John Upledger 

Conditions Treated with CranioSacral Therapy

Because cranioSacral therapy is so gentle, it can be effective for all ages including newborns and elders. Craniosacral therapy is helpful for a full range problems associated with pain, illness or dysfunction including: 

  • Migraines/Headaches
  • Concussions
  • Chronic Neck and Back pain
  • TMJ
  • Poor Digestion or Elimination
  • Asthma
  • Emotional Difficulties
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Stress and tension Related Disorders
  • PTSD
  • Scoliosis
  • General Nervous Tension
  • Brain/Spinal Cord Injuries
  • ADHD
  • Learning Disabilities
  • and many other conditions

What is a Session like?

A cranioSacral Therapy session takes place on a comfortable massage table in my quiet peaceful clinic. The client remains fully clothed. The therapist gently places their hands on various parts of the body to monitor the rhythm of the fluid flowing around the central nervous system. The CranioSacral Therapy practitioner generally starts at about five grams of pressure, or about the weight of a nickel, to evaluate and treat the craniosacral system. They then use distinctive light touch techniques to release restrictions throughout the system and surrounding connective tissue.  By using this gentle approach, the therapist can locate areas of restriction or tension deep in the body.  Sessions are generally deeply relaxing. People notice the changes in different ways. Many experience a decrease in symptoms. Some people report better sleep or vivid dreams. Most people report a profound sense of well- being. The integration period is usually 12- 48 hours.  

References: The Upledger Institute Craniosacral Therapy Brochure 
Upledger, John E, Your Inner Physician and You
 Upledger, John E, Craniosacral Therapy

History of CranioSacral Therapy

The craniosacral system was discovered around the start of the 20th century by an American osteopath named William Garner Sutherland. Dr. Sutherland was a student of Andrew Taylor Still, MD who is known as the father of osteopathy.  While studying the sutures of the cranium, he concluded that these bones were designed to "breathe" and move. It was the common belief that adult cranial bones did not move because their sutures become fused. Further investigation revealed that underlying the more obvious body rhythms such as respiration, and cardiac pulse lay a more subtle rhythm.  Over the next fifty years, through intense experimentation, he learned to feel the motion of the cranial bones and discovered the effect that this rhythmic pulsation has upon the whole body. He discovered that the cause of the movement was the cerebrospinal fluid which, as we know today, is essential for maintenance of the nervous system.  Dr. Sutherland realized that the motion of the cranial bones is connected to other tissues in the body and developed his approach to treating this system. 

In the 1970s Dr John Upledger re-discovered the cranial rhythm while assisting in a spinal surgery.  He worked with a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists, and bioengineers at Michigan State University to develop and confirm the existence of the craniosacral system.  Dr Upledger further developed Dr. Sutherland's work and created his own comprehensive system of craniosacral therapy. He formed the Upledger institute in 1985 and is currently one of the leading educators in craniosacral therapy. More than 80.000 therapists have been trained by the upledger institute.

The Medical Contraindications for CranioSacral Therapy

•  Acute CVA - a cerebrovascular aneurysm, a “stroke.”

•Recent open cavity head wound, or closed head injury – Head Injury 

•Herniation of the Medulla Oblongata

•Cerebral Aneurysm – (pertains to the cerebrum), Intracranial - any aneurysm situated inside the cranium. Aneurysm is a sac formed by a dilated wall of an artery or vein.

•Cerebral Hemorrhage – A burst in a blood vessel causing bleeding, blood escapes into surrounding tissue. A hemorrhage inside the brain is called a cerebral hemorrhage. (Called a hematoma when a massive accumulation of blood has been trapped inside surrounding tissue). 

•Epidural Leaks – A leak situated upon or outside of the dura mater.

•Brain Stem Herniation - rupture in smooth brain stem tissue through which a bodily structure can protrude.

The Overall Precaution

Any person who might not benefit from a slight increase in intracranial pressure should be included on this list of contraindications.  

Walter is certified in both Upledger and Biodynamic craniosacral therapy 

For more information on craniosacral therapy go to: www.upledger.com

"Cranio Therapy may benefit asthma, reoccurring ear infections in children, sleep disorders, and other conditions rooted in nervous system imbalances. I have found it to be safe and highly effective"  
-Dr. Andrew Weil , MD  

"I was first introduced to craniosacral therapy some thirty years ago. As a neurosurgeon who has worked extensively with the brain and spinal cord, I was astounded! I have personally witnessed dramatic improvements accomplished by competent craniosacral therapists. This is a technique that deserves careful consideration."
-C. Norman Shealy, MD, PhD, Founding President,
American Holistic Medical Association


Craniosacral Therapy

copyright 2009 Walter Blick, Craniosacral Therapy and Myofascial Release : New York, New York