What is Craniosacral Therapy?

Craniosacral therapy (CST) originated from the work of the osteopath, Dr William Sutherland who is credited with discovering the craniosacral system in the early 1900s and began working with this system to improve health. The craniosacral system has its own rhythm and is affected when there are restrictions or disturbances within the body. CST is a hands-on therapy using gentle touch that is non-invasive and subtle but very powerful. It works through feeling and sensing the craniosacral rhythm and how well the rhythm is reflecting out to the rest of the body. It is a sensitive therapy that works with a natural stillness which allows the body to restore its own balance and health.

How does it work?

Using ‘listening hands’ to tune in to the patterns of rhythmic motion, craniosacral therapists can evaluate imbalances in the natural expression of movement and use a range of non-invasive therapeutic skills to encourage the release of restrictions. The emphasis is always on listening, as the person’s system knows its own pathway back to health. This is totally respected during treatment and the therapist follows but does not direct the process. There is no manipulation used.


CST is a holistic therapy and respects that restriction or imbalance can have many causes. This may be due to physical injury and/or emotional disturbance.

Who does it help?

People come for craniosacral therapy for a variety of reasons, the most common in adults being headaches or migraine, back and neck pain, tinnitus and jaw problems, digestive problems and stress related issues. It is often found beneficial for delicate conditions such as dizziness, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. It is suitable for all ages.


Each individual’s circumstances are unique and the story of life events is held within the body. Symptoms of pain or dysfunction within the body may be due to injury or the result of a coping mechanism which has been held over a period of time. Emerging symptoms may involve both the physical and emotional.


Those suffering through traumatic situations in their lives, past and present, can benefit from CST as tension, anxiety or grief can be released in a supported and comfortable way.


You do not have to be unwell to benefit from CST and many people have regular treatments simply to support health and well-being through the challenges of everyday life.

Craniosacral Therapy in Pregnancy

The gentle nature of CST makes it an ideal choice in preparation for, during or after pregnancy. It can give relief from physical discomfort or anxiety and supports bonding between mother and baby.

Babies and children

CST is widely acknowledged as a gentle form of treatment for the delicate systems of babies and children. The birth process is of particular interest as the physical forces exerted on the baby during birth can create ‘holding patterns’ within the system which can remain into child and adulthood.


Shock can also be present in the system, contributing to sleeplessness and colic – releasing this can be transformative for both parent and baby, both of whom are included in treatment.


Many children benefit from CST for childhood ailments such as ear problems or asthma but increasingly for behavioural issues due to hyperactivity, autism, anxiety and over sensitivity.

What to expect at your appointment?

A full case history is taken. Treatment involves light touch, usually on the head and along the spine. The client is fully clothed and lies on a comfortable couch, although position can be adapted for comfort or need. Treatment is generally deeply relaxing although some emotional or physical sensations may be felt as the system finds release and re-balances. Many clients experience benefit from their first session although, frequently, 2-6 sessions are required. Sessions take approximately one hour.

Further information

Further information can be obtained from The Craniosacral Therapy Association of the UK, Practitioners registered with the Association abide by a strict code of ethics, hold full insurance and undertake continuous professional development.

Please note that Craniosacral Therapy is not intended as primary healthcare, but to work alongside the medical care offered by your doctor.

Follow the link to the Craniosacral Therepy Association in the UK. Or watch their video.