Cranial Therapy

Craniosacral Therapy is a manual, non-invasive therapy using gentle hand pressure to manipulate the skeleton & connective tissues, typically the head, skull, & sacrum. Craniosacral therapy's benefits are to release tensions deep in the body in order to relieve pain and dysfunction.

Craniosacral Therapy, also called cranial osteopathy and cranial therapy, is a manual, non-invasive therapy using gentle hand pressure to manipulate the skeleton and connective tissues, typically the head, skull, and sacrum (the large triangular bone at the base of the spinal column). The purpose is to release tensions deep in the body in order to relieve pain and dysfunction. CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it's effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction (Upledger Institute International).

CST is a therapy stemming from osteopathy. Osteopaths use manual techniques to manipulate and strengthen the musculoskeletal framework. Osteopaths focus on muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and the spine.

Weil, Andrew MD. WEIL/Cranial Osteopathy. Retrieved from:
https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/wellness-therapies/cranial-osteopathy/

Upledger Institute International/CST FAQs. Retrieved from: https://www.upledger.com/therapies/faq.php

Dr. Axe DC DMN CNS, Josh. (2017 October 12). Dr. Axe FOOD IS MEDICINE/Craniosacral Therapy for Depression, Neck Pain, & Headaches. Retrieved from: https://draxe.com/craniosacral-therapy/

Scientific Evidence to Support Craniosacral Therapy

There have been some mixed results on the effectiveness of craniosacral therapy, but there are some studies that have shown some positive results.


Just remember, everyone’s body is different, so what may work for one person, may not work for another person, even if both people are labeled with the same health condition.

1. Treatments for headaches, neck, back pain, anxiety and depression
Published in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, a study was done with 157 patients receiving CST for different health ailments. Of the 157 people, 74% reported significant improvement, 67% said their well-being and chronic stress improved, and 70% were able to decrease or discontinue their medication.

2. Treatment for Neck Pain
Another study published in the Clinical Journal of Pain had 54 participants and used “sham treatments” on half the people. In comparison with the sham, the results showed 78% who received craniosacral therapy saw improvements with 48% reporting significant clinical benefits.

3. Reducing Headaches
To test migraine pain intensity and frequency a randomized control trial, published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Therapy, was conducted for an eight-week period. The group receiving CST showed reduction in the duration of how long their headaches lasted after 30 days, along with intensity. At the end of eight weeks, headache intensity reduced even more.

4. Fibromyalgia Symptoms
A study published in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine had 84 participants and half received placebo treatments. After 25-weeks results showed significant improvements in symptoms including anxiety, pain, quality of life, and sleep for the CTS group. A year later, sleep problems were still better, however other improvements were not reported.

Here are some other studies to view on the effectiveness of Craniosacral Therapy: Upledger Institute International.

Dr. Axe DC DMN CNS, Josh. (2017 October 12). Dr. Axe FOOD IS MEDICINE/Craniosacral Therapy for Depression, Neck Pain, & Headaches. Retrieved from: https://draxe.com/craniosacral-therapy

Upledger Institute International/CST FAQs. Retrieved from: https://www.upledger.com/therapies/faq.php

Craniosacral therapy could reduce or eliminate the need for pain medication, as a very safe, non-invasive treatment option.

Craniosacral therapy could reduce or eliminate the need for pain medication, as a very safe, non-invasive treatment option. Some benefits people experience includes deep feelings of relaxation, reduced muscle tension, improved mood, improved pain tolerance and reduced stress levels.

In one study, patients experiencing headaches, migraines, neck pain, back pain, anxiety, or depression, saw great enough improvements to reduce medication, and some even discontinued it altogether. There are studies to support improvements in many other chronic pain conditions. CST has also been shown to help with infants experiencing colic, teething, and problems from birth trauma. Studies don’t show many significant changes, but some possible benefits include improvement in sleep, digestion, and moods through easing tension in the baby’s body.

Dr. Axe DC DMN CNS, Josh. (2017 October 12). Dr. Axe FOOD IS MEDICINE/Craniosacral Therapy for Depression, Neck Pain, & Headaches. Retrieved from: https://draxe.com/craniosacral-therapy/

Weil, Andrew MD. WEIL/Cranial Osteopathy. Retrieved from: https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/wellness-therapies/cranial-osteopathy/

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