Craniosacral Therapy

A gentle touch therapy focused on the skull, spine, and sacrum to relieve tension and pain.


Craniosacral Therapy is a holistic healing practice that involves light touch to manipulate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium. Practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system, promoting a state of relaxation and well-being. The therapy is performed on a person fully clothed, and sessions typically last about an hour, with the practitioner using their hands to evaluate and enhance the craniosacral rhythm.

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Craniosacral Therapy was pioneered by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger in the 1970s. Upledger's insights originated during his time as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics at Michigan State University, where he noticed the rhythmic movement of the craniosacral system during a spinal surgery. Building upon the work of osteopath William Garner Sutherland, Upledger developed a method of using gentle manual pressure to release restrictions in the tissues influencing the craniosacral system. Since then, Craniosacral Therapy has gained recognition as a complementary treatment for various conditions.


  1. Pain Relief Craniosacral Therapy can alleviate chronic pain, headaches, neck and back pain, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
  2. Relaxation The gentle touch and relaxing nature of the therapy can promote a deep sense of calm and help reduce stress and anxiety.
  3. Improved Mobility By releasing tension in the tissues, Craniosacral Therapy can enhance joint mobility and overall flexibility.
  4. Better Sleep The relaxation response triggered by Craniosacral Therapy can lead to improved sleep quality and help alleviate insomnia.
  5. Enhanced Immune Function Reducing stress and promoting relaxation through Craniosacral Therapy can bolster the immune system and improve overall health.
  6. Emotional Balance Craniosacral Therapy can help release emotional tensions held in the body, promoting a greater sense of emotional well-being.

How It Works

Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, hands-on technique that involves light touch to manipulate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium. A practitioner uses soft touch to release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system. This therapy aims to relieve pain and dysfunction by normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord, promoting relaxation, and alleviating stress and tension. The practitioner evaluates the craniosacral rhythm to locate areas of restricted motion and then uses delicate manual techniques to release those restrictions and relieve undue pressure on the brain and spinal cord.


While craniosacral therapy is generally considered safe, it may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as acute aneurysm, cerebral hemorrhage, or other pre-existing conditions, should consult their healthcare provider before seeking craniosacral therapy. It is also essential to find a qualified and experienced practitioner to ensure the best possible outcomes. Some people may experience mild side effects following treatment, such as temporary fatigue or headaches, but these usually subside quickly. Results may vary, and multiple sessions may be necessary to achieve desired outcomes.

How Much It Costs

The cost of craniosacral therapy can vary depending on factors such as the practitioner's experience, location, and session duration. On average, a single session can range from $70 to $170, with the typical cost falling between $100 and $150. Some practitioners may offer package deals or discounts for multiple sessions. It is essential to check with individual practitioners for their specific rates and to determine whether insurance coverage is available.

Virtual & Online Options

While craniosacral therapy is traditionally performed in-person, some practitioners now offer virtual or online sessions. Online sessions may involve guided self-treatment techniques, visualization exercises, and remote energy healing. These options can be convenient for those who cannot access a local practitioner or prefer the comfort of their own home. However, in-person sessions allow for direct, hands-on manipulation of the craniosacral system, which may be more effective for some individuals. Ultimately, the choice between virtual and in-person sessions depends on personal preference, accessibility, and the nature of the individual's condition.


Practitioners of craniosacral therapy typically hold certifications from accredited institutions or professional organizations. The Upledger Institute International and the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America (BCTA/NA) are two well-known organizations that offer certification programs. To become certified, practitioners must complete a series of training courses and demonstrate proficiency in the techniques. Some practitioners may also have backgrounds in related fields, such as physical therapy, massage therapy, or osteopathy. It is essential to choose a practitioner with proper training and credentials to ensure safe and effective treatment.

Complementary Practices

Some complementary practices that pair well with craniosacral therapy include massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, yoga, and meditation. These practices can help enhance the relaxation and healing effects of craniosacral therapy by promoting overall balance and well-being in the body and mind.

Practitioner Types

Craniosacral therapy is typically performed by licensed massage therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, or osteopathic physicians who have completed specialized training in this technique. Some chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, and acupuncturists may also incorporate craniosacral therapy into their practice.

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  • Q: What conditions can craniosacral therapy help with?

    • A: Craniosacral therapy may be beneficial for a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, migraines, TMJ disorders, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, and stress-related disorders. It can also help with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Q: Is craniosacral therapy safe?

    • A: Craniosacral therapy is generally considered a safe and gentle therapy when performed by a trained practitioner. However, it may not be suitable for individuals with certain conditions, such as acute aneurysm, intracranial hemorrhage, or severe bleeding disorders. It's always best to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new therapy.
  • Q: How often should I receive craniosacral therapy?

    • A: The frequency of craniosacral therapy sessions depends on the individual's specific needs and condition. Some people may benefit from weekly sessions, while others may only require treatment once a month or less. Your practitioner will work with you to determine the best treatment plan based on your goals and progress.
  • Q: What should I expect during a craniosacral therapy session?

    • A: During a craniosacral therapy session, you will typically lie fully clothed on a comfortable massage table. The practitioner will gently place their hands on various parts of your body, focusing on the head, neck, and sacrum. You may feel a deep sense of relaxation and may even fall asleep during the session. The session usually lasts about an hour.
  • Q: How does craniosacral therapy work?

    • A: Craniosacral therapy is based on the idea that there is a subtle rhythmic movement of cerebrospinal fluid within the craniosacral system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and surrounding membranes. Practitioners believe that by gently manipulating the craniosacral system, they can promote relaxation, alleviate pain, and enhance the body's natural healing processes.


Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, non-invasive manual therapy that focuses on the craniosacral system to promote relaxation, alleviate pain, and support the body's natural healing processes. It can be a beneficial complementary practice for a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, headaches, anxiety, and stress-related disorders. When performed by a trained practitioner, craniosacral therapy is generally considered safe and can be a valuable addition to an individual's overall wellness plan. As with any therapy, it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider to determine if craniosacral therapy is right for you and to find a qualified practitioner who can tailor the treatment to your specific needs.