Craniosacral therapy is a form of bodywork using gentle touch to manipulate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium, as well as the spine and sacrum.
Modern methods of Craniosacral Therapy (CST) have their roots in the work of William Garner Sutherland (1873-1954). Sutherland was a student of Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of Osteopathy in America. He discovered that there are a series of subtle rhythms which he called The Breath of Life that may be sensed through the body, bringing order and integration to both body and mind and which is essential for our health and well-being. Sutherland's biodynamic work is practised by many osteopaths who refer to it as Cranial Osteopathy. In the late 1970s another American osteopath, John Upledger, began to teach cranial work to non-osteopaths, and called it 'Craniosacral Therapy'. In the 1980s Thomas Attlee and Franklyn Sills began teaching CST in the UK, mainly to non-osteopaths.
Craniosacral therapy is a form of bodywork using gentle touch to manipulate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium, as well as the spine and sacrum. The craniosacral system consists of the dural membranes within the cranium and vertebral column, the bones to which the membranes attach and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It was Upledger who called the rhythm felt in the CSF ‘the craniosacral rhythm’ and ideally when the fascia and structures are all well aligned the CSF can flow round the brain and spinal cord easily. The therapist uses their ‘listening hands’, cradled around the cranium and tuned to the feeling of the craniosacral rhythm, to detect how well the rhythm is being transferred to the rest of the body. Using light touch and gentle manipulation the flow of CSF can be realigned.
Patients find CST effective for a wide range of problems associated with discomfort, pain and dysfunction such as headaches or bad backs, or long-standing problems both physical and emotional. It is suitable for everyone from new-borns to the elderly. Mothers and babies often come for problems associated with difficult or traumatic births. CST supports the body’s innate ability to balance, restore and heal itself, as well as helping to reduce stress.
The Craniosacral Therapy Association of the UK provides a professional foundation for the practice of craniosacral therapy.