Craniosacral Therapy and Osteopathic Treatment

| Modified on Apr 14, 2019
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Craniosacral Therapy is a type of body work far subtler than any form of massage but which has reputed therapeutic effects that seem to resolve health issues no other allopathic or complementary and alternative medicine treatment can touch. This form of physical therapy is performed by osteopaths, osteopathy being a board-certified medical profession concerned with our bones and treatment of the body's skeleton as a holistic therapy to restore balance and flow throughout the body's systems.

The basic premise of craniosacral therapy is that there is a limited amount of movement possible between the fused bones of the skull and that therapeutic movement of these bones can change the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, restoring balance (cranial balancing) to the brain's biochemistry and thereby relieving the patient's symptoms. Health conditions frequently treated by an osteopath using craniosacral therapy: autism, migraine, chronic headache, other chronic pain conditions, tinnitus, PTSD, TMJ, insomnia, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

There is much debate over the scientific and health merits of craniosacral osteopath treatment. Likewise, there is debate over the validity of the science behind osteopathic treatment in general (osteopathy was created in 1874 and craniosacral treatment in 1983). However, enthusiastic reviews are often provided by patients who undergo the treatment.

How to Choose an Osteopath for Craniosacral Therapy

Many therapists claim to offer craniosacral treatment, however, it is generally considered best to seek out a trained osteopath if you are interested in treatment. For the treatment session, you will be clothed and most likely lying on a table. The osteopathic physician will manipulate your head and possibly other bones in your head as well as in the spine and pelvis. The Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America and the Upledger Institute offer resources to help you find a trained osteopath.

Chronic Ankle Issues

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Julie (Melbourne, Australia ) on 04/14/2019
5 out of 5 stars

I fell on the sidewalk and damaged my ankle and knee. My ankle was the main problem as it twisted when I fell. I visited my chiro 5 times however he was not able to fix my ankle. I was still limping after 5 months. My chiro recommeded I get a scan of my ankle so we could see what was going on. By chance I saw a cranio-sacral therapist and told her about my fall. She worked on my ankle and during the session I could feel the heat Radiating from my ankle. I had no expectations of this working as I had been limping for 5 months. Three days after my session I noticed less soreness and stiffness. One week later my ankle was 70% better. By the end of the second week my ankle was back to normal, no pain, no stiffness, no limping. I never went for the scan as one session of cranio-sacral fixed my problem. I'm very happy to have discovered this therapy.

General Feedback

Posted by Oldriska (Prague, Czech Republic) on 05/01/2013

Hi, I'd love to hear from those who tried Cranio Sacral Therapy. How did you find it, did it help your condition etc. I had my first session yesterday, overall I liked it but it's hard to imagine that such a minimal movement can be doing something. On the other hand, my jaw moved by milimetres during oral surgeries and I can REALLY feel the impact on my bite, comfort and even appearance. So maybe it is the little movements that make a change... for better or for worse.

EC: Good to hear from you, Oldriska! At your suggestion, we've created this new page for craniosacral therapy and osteopathic treatment in general. We're eager to hear from ECers in the know on these alternative health therapies!

Head Injury

Posted by Della (Riverside, California /usa) on 01/04/2012

Ted, I was leaving a restaurant, and slipped and my head hit the hood of a car very hard on my left temple. The ER did not take any x-rays because I didn't remember losing consicousness. I did have a large bump on my left forehead, my teeth went through my lip and I had a long cut in my eyebrow. Now I fall if I stand unsupported for a few minutes because my equilibrum is off and I cannot get my balance. Is there something I can do?

Replied by Linda
(San Francisco, Ca, Usa)

Della, I am very surprised the ER didn't XRay you or MRI your head, it may be wise to go back to them and tell them what is now happening.

The impact (or the subsequent swelling) may have temporarily affected the positioning of the cranial bones or soft tissue around your ear. Your ear and its functions and surrounding physiology are very important in maintaining equilibrium as your body moves. The ear, in a way, is like your body's gyroscope.

*IF* that is what happened, an Osteopath who does cranial adjustments should be able to check it out for you and *gently, non-forcefully* reorient everything to its original position.

The Upledger Foundation in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, maintains a list of currently-licensed CranioSacral Therapists around the US, (Some are Physicians and some are Licensed Massage Therapists) and may be able to refer you to a physician where you are located.

I hope you will *please* make sure via XRay or MRI or other appropriate medical imagery that there was not some other damage from the impact than whatever was immediately visible, before you let anyone try to move things around.. Can't mess around with your head.



Replied by Della
(Riverside, California /usa)

Thank you very much, Linda. I will try again. The HMO's in California will give you very little help. (Kaiser Permanente)


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Bren (Joelton, Tennessee) on 06/09/2013
5 out of 5 stars

In reply to Craniosacral Therapy. I have bad migraines and when I worked for my Chiropractor, he had a patient that was a retired Chiropractor that was a trained Craniosacral Therapist. He asked me one day if I would allow him to treat my migraine just as a favor to me. I had had it for a week and nothing would relieve the pain at all. I was a zombie from the pain, so I quickly agreed to let him treat me. He manipulated the bones in my skull and I could feel the headache gradually ease as he adjusted each different area. He totally relieved my headache! He would periodically treat me when he came in for an adjustment himself. I no longer work there so I do not have access to him anymore. I have gone to a few people who claim to be trained but I have gotten no reliev from them like I did this gentelman. I wish I could find him again because he is the only one that has given me total instant relief of these types of headaches.

If you can find someone who is good at doing the manipulating, it will work for you. I haven't been treated for any other conditions with it, so cannot say anything about the effectiveness but I'm sure it would help. The bones do not have to move much. I'm sure it is minimal, since there isn't much move room between the bones anyway. This man would feel the pulse and make sure that it was the same on both sides. He said that was very important. So make sure your therapist is checking for that as well.