by Oliver Nash

CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the function of a physiological body system called the CranioSacral system.

The CranioSacral system is comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid which form the fluid-filled sac around the core of the nervous system - surrounding, nourishing, and protecting the brain and spinal cord.

Like the pulse of the cardiovascular system, the CranioSacral system has a rhythm that can be felt throughout the body.

Using a touch generally no heavier than the weight of a small coin, skilled practitioners can monitor this rhythm at key body areas to pinpoint the source of an obstruction or stress.
Once a source has been determined, they can assist the natural movement of the fluid and related soft tissue to help the body self-correct. This simple action is often all it takes to remove a restriction.
Other times, CST may be combined with other complementary therapies to help restore the body to it's optimum functioning level.


A practitioner using CranioSacral Therapy has some key evaluation techniques available to help locate restrictions in the body, among these techniques are...

The CranioSacral Rhythm (CSR)

The CSR is a very subtle rhythmical movement which is transmitted via the muscular, nervous, and fascial systems and can be felt anywhere on the body.
The practitioner feels for the strength, amplitude, and quality of the rhythm in different places on the body to track down areas where the rhythm is impaired - this helps the practitioner find areas where healthy tissue function is restricted.
A person with a left knee problem may have a healthy, ample rhythm all down the right leg but restricted rhythm from the knee down in the left leg.
To the practitioner this indicates a restriction in the left knee or the nerve supply to that area.

Fascial evaluation

Connective tissue (fascia) is continuous in the Human body from the top of the head to the bottoms of the feet.
It is layered with pockets between the layers containing the structures within the body such as organs, muscles, bones, etc.
Normally, fascia is free to glide a millimetre or so and maintains a fairly elastic property.

Adhesions, and restrictions can be pinpointed by testing the free gliding ability of the body's fascia - feeling for areas that do not move as easily as others.
The practitioner can feel the left knee restriction of our imaginary person by taking hold of both ankles and gently pulling towards the feet, the fascia in the right leg moves easier and further than the fascia in the left leg, which is bound up in the left knee.

Typical treatment session

In a typical CranioSacral Therapy session the client remains clothed and lies on their back (if possible) on the treatment table.
The therapist may place their hands on key evaluation areas such as the ankles, head, neck, lower back, assessing the state of the client's CranioSacral system.

The treatment itself involves the application of very light forces applied by the therapist's hands.
Limbs may be picked up and moved gently and slowly as the body tissues are allowed to 'unwind' themselves.
A typical session lasts an hour - though half-hour sessions may be better for children and infants.

It's uses

It's far-reaching effects enable CranioSacral Therapy to be useful for a wide scope of health problems, including:

  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Digestive problems
  • Chronic back pain
  • Depression
  • Strokes
  • Brain and spinal cord injuries
  • Problems of the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • M.E.
  • Menstrual problems
  • Menopausal problems
  • Arthritis (osteo & rheumatoid)
  • TMJ dysfunction (jaw problems)
  • Chronic Pain Syndrome
  • Post-operative adhesions
  • Dyslexia & Dyscalclia
  • Allergies
  • Neuralgia
  • Sinusitis
  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo
  • High & low blood pressure

New-borns, Infants & Children

Babies and children can also benefit from CranioSacral Therapy.
Because of it's gentleness, the first CranioSacral Therapy treatment could be done within minutes of birth.
By correcting problems in the CranioSacral system early on in life the development of things such as colic, respiratory problems, hyperactivity, dyslexia, seizure disorders, floppy baby syndrome, and possibly cerebral palsy, scoliosis, and orthodontic dental problems, may be avoided later in life.


CranioSacral Therapy was developed by Dr. John Upledger, an osteopathic physician and surgeon.
From 1975 to 1983, whilst professor of biomechanics at Michigan state university, Dr. Upledger led a team of twenty-seven scientists in a research project to examine and evaluate the CranioSacral system.
This research and extensive clinical application enabled Dr. Upledger to develop CranioSacral Therapy.

Information supplied by:
Oliver Nash

Oliver entered the health care profession as a massage therapist and then went on to study acupuncture and Chinese medicine at the International College of Oriental Medicine.
During his time there he discovered CranioSacral Therapy and was so captivated by it's effectiveness that he began to integrate it into his work.

Oliver has become one of only a relatively small number of practitioners to have trained to Advanced level in CranioSacral Therapy, and is a member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners.

(c) Oliver Nash 1999

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