About CranioSacral Therapy


Dr. William Sutherland an osteopathic student in the early 1900’s noticed that the bones of the skull were designed to allow for movement in relationship to one another.  He tested his theory by putting dried beans into the skull and added water.  This caused the bones to move along the sutures and disarticulate.

Dr. Sutherland also used a leather helmet and a vice to put pressure on the paired bones of his skull and then recorded his head pain, coordination problems and personality changes.  He then developed a system of treatment known as cranial osteopathy.  This type of treatment requires force and exerted pressure on the cranial bones for treatment of head pain.

In the seventies, Dr. Upledger an osteopathic student noticed when assisting with surgery that the spinal column pulsated with a particular rhythm.  Dr. Upledger later took Dr. Sutherland’s technique of treatment and refined it by not focusing on the bones, but the membrane sac encased within the skull and the canal of the spinal column.  Dr. Upledger’s technique of treatment is called craniosacral therapy.  Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of the nervous system.  The treatment typically uses 5 grams of pressure.  Craniosacral therapy is used to detect and remove restrictions that may be at the heart of sensory, motor, and neurological dysfunctions.  Craniosacral therapy has aided patients with even the most difficult medical histories, including post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, and traumatic brain injuries.

What does the therapist feel?

First and most important is the stereognostic abilities of our hands. With awareness, training, intention and attention we can literally feel slight imperfections in the body.   A therapist’s hands can feel and then visualize when the alignment of the spine has been altered by feeling the position of spineous and transverse processes.  They feel changes in fluid flow and reduction in skin temperatures after trauma to the body.  They feel fluid rhythms in the body.  They can sense the integrity and the binding of soft-tissue after trauma.  Compare this to someone who has learned to read Braille after two hundred hours of hands-on practice.   Instead of reading Braille, a skilled therapist can read, analyze, and listen to the body by using their hands.  When they find restrictions they can correct them.  Literally by working hands-on the body, craniosacral therapists develop a new language center in their brain.

What does the patient feel?

Patients help guide the treatment by giving verbal feedback about what they are feeling.   

Craniosacral therapy includes a whole body assessment of the nervous system and surrounding joints and overall mobility.  When a restriction is located, gentle stretching pressure is applied until the release of tension is felt.  This softening of the tissue indicates that the fascial adhesion is relaxing back to its healthy state. Some physical and emotional responses may include:

  • Change in breathing pattern during release
  • Change in temperature of an area being released
  • Sweating or chills which resolve within a few hours
  • Soreness that resolves quickly or within the next day
  • Release of stored emotions
  • Release of trauma by trembling which resolves within the hour
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Feeling “woozy” and disoriented temporarily after a treatment
  • Melting sensation or energy flowing during release of a restriction
  • Physical unwinding of the body
  • Fatigue after treatment


Why is Craniosacral so effective?

On the metaphysical level:

  • The therapist’s intention to assist the body with healing is extremely powerful. 

Intention appears to cause other things to resonate at the same frequency.  (Taggart’s intention experiment)

  • The attention and intention of healing is communicated through our hands.

Big things are but tiny building blocks.  They are made up of and are in instant and ceaseless communication with each other.   

  • Craniosacral therapy is gentle and non-invasive.

Critical point analysis is derived from the fact that in any highly complex system there is a specific crucial point at which the smallest input will result in the greatest change as it is with craniosacral therapy.

On the physical level: 

Usually 5 grams of pressure is used for treatment.   Five grams is the weight of a nickel.  Effectiveness depends on the sensitivity of the therapist’s hands, her skill level, her medical and educational background, and her accumulated skills.  She can feel and release 

  • Misalignment
  • Tissue adhesions
  • Decreased circulation which impedes nourishment and waste removal
  • Trapped electromagnetic energy or electromagnetic energy imbalances


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