CranioSacral Therapy (CST) was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger following extensive scientific studies from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics.
CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system - comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.
Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams, or about the weight of a nickel, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.
Craniosacral for Babies
Craniosacral can be an excellent tool for resolving and/or improving a wide range of issues in babies, including:
Reflux and spitting up
Difficulties with latch
Plagiocephaly & abnormalities in head shape (both those present at birth and those that occurred after birth)
Ankyglossia (tongue, lip, and/or buccal ties)
Tummy time difficulties
Why might my baby need craniosacral therapy? The process of birth can lead to many issues within the craniosacral system, especially if medical interventions were required during the birthing process. A newborn baby's head is made up of several bones that have quite a bit of movability in order for the baby to pass through the birth canal. The bones will shift and overlap during the birthing process. This is normal and any overlaps should naturally correct themselves. However, this is not always the case, especially if the baby required medical interventions to come out either via cesarean section, forceps, or vacuum. There also may be other restrictions caused by a prolonged and/or difficult labor or lack of normal mobility in utero. If these overlaps do not correct themselves, they can negatively affect cranial nerve function which can lead to a number of common problems seen in infants (especially those noted above), as well as other issues as the child ages including sensory-motor delays, visual impairments, hyperactivity, and digestive issues to name a few.
Babies born surgically via Cesarean birth can have a much harder time than those born vaginally. The process of going through the birth canal can correct overlaps in the head as well as engage primitive reflexes that will help the baby to develop typically, but this may be absent if the baby was unable to go through the birth canal. Emotionally, the birth process is harder for a baby born via C-section as the birth process is more abrupt and potentially more frightening. Additionally, the baby is usually separated from the mother immediately after birth while the mother recovers and this can be traumatic and scary for a new baby. All of these things can be addressed with CST.
By complementing the body's natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, including:
Chronic Neck and Back Pain
Central Nervous System Disorders
Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia
Spinal Cord Injuries
Stress and Tension-Related Problems
Fibromyalgia and other Connective-Tissue Disorders