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Gentle Power: The Healing Potential of Cranial Sacral Therapy

Updated: May 23

Close-up of a woman receiving Cranial Sacral Therapy, showcasing the gentle touch and relaxation associated with the treatment.
Experience the transformative power of Cranial Sacral Therapy, a gentle yet profound approach to healing.

In contrast to other forms of bodywork and massage, cranial sacral therapy is a very gentle and subtle approach to resolving imbalances in the body, specifically along the spinal column. Although the touch is light (no greater than the pressure of the weight of a nickel), the affects can be just as powerful, if not more powerful, than a standard chiropractic adjustment or massage.


How does it work?

Cranial Sacral therapy addresses an often overlooked system of the body, the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Because the spinal cord is a superhighway of nerves that connect the brain to the rest of the body, releasing restrictions in this system can have powerful systemic affects on the entire body and organ systems, including digestive, musculoskeletal, respiratory, circulatory, etc. Because it acts primarily on the function of the nervous system and the brain, CST has been shown to help with the physical symptoms of mainly mental disorders, such as Post Traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders.


More about Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)

CSF is a clear plasma-like fluid that bathes the Central Nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord. It is produced and secreted at the choroid plexus, located within the lateral third and fourth ventricles of the brain, and can produce up to 0.5 liters every day. (the Choroid plexus is also the location of the blood brain barrier). CSF circulates throughout the system in a manner that attempts to maintain a consistent volume, which is between 150-270 mL (about ½ a cup). Absorption occurs by three routes in the subarachnoid space within the brain, including the glymphatic system.

The primary functions of the CSF and its circulation is to remove metabolic waste, cushion the brain and intracranial neurovascular structures from injury, maintain neutral buoyancy, and maintain electrolyte balance. When this system is not flowing or recycling properly, waste can build up and the system and can lead to any number of unwanted neurological symptoms. In fact, one of the most important times for the CSF system is during the night while we are asleep. This is when a large proportion of the CSF gets recycled through the glymphatic system. This is one of the reasons why inadequate or insufficient sleep can leave us feeling lethargic and depressed.


Conditions that Cranial Sacral therapy help:

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Alzheimer’s/Dementia

  • Autism/Sensory processing

  • Chronic pain

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Concussions

  • Depression

  • Emotional Stress

  • Immune disorders

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Connective tissue disorders

  • Headaches/Migraines

  • Orthopedic injuries

  • Learning difficulties (ADD/ADHD)

  • Motor/Coordination impairments

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Insomnia, sleep disturbances

  • Scoliosis

  • Spinal cord injuries

  • Post-surgical recovery


How is CST performed?

Sessions are typically performed with clothes on, lying face up on the massage table. The practitioner may begin either at the head the feet, or over the sacrum, depending on the conditions. Using subtle pressure, the practitioner will hold your feet, head, or sacrum to feel/listen to the subtle flows and rhythms. Then if something is out of balance, the practitioner will reposition you on the table to reestablish flow of CSF, and may also use various tissue-release methods while supporting the limbs. Sessions will typically last one hour, and people tend to experience deep relaxation, pulsing sensations, “pins and needles”, hot/cold sensations, fall into a dream like state, or may even fall asleep.


CST is a very low risk method of rebalancing the body that can help a variety of conditions. Even though there is limited evidence for if its efficacy (except for migraines and headaches), anecdotal evidence is vast in the power of this gentle healing modality


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