What is craniosacral therapy?

Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a gentle hands-on technique that works with the soft tissue structures of the body and the flow of cerebrospinal fluid between the head and the base of the spine. These structures and fluids protect, support, and nourish the brain and spinal cord.

CST uses a light touch to examine membranes and movement of the fluids in and around the central nervous system. Relieving tension in the central nervous system promotes a feeling of well-being by eliminating pain and boosting health and immunity.

What conditions does craniosacral therapy treat?

Because craniosacral therapy is so gentle, people of all ages can benefit from it. CST can help relieve:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Autism
  • Brain and spinal cord trauma
  • Central nervous system disorders
  • Chronic (long-term) neck and back pain
  • Dyslexia
  • Fascial pain
  • Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
  • Learning disabilities
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Motor-coordination impairments
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Scoliosis
  • TMJ disorder

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/29/2017.


  • Haller H, Lauche R, Cramer H, et al. Craniosacral Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Neck Pain. A Randomized Sham-controlled Trial. Clin J Pain. 2016 May; 32(5): 441–449. Published online 2016 Apr 18. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000290
  • Matarán-Peñarrocha GA, Castro-Sánchez AM, Carballo García G, et al. Influence of Craniosacral Therapy on Anxiety, Depression and Quality of Life in Patients with Fibromyalgia. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011; 2011: 178769. Published online 2011 Jun 15. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep125
  • Jäkel A, von Hauenschild P. A systematic review to evaluate the clinical benefits of craniosacral therapy. Complement Ther Med. 2012 Dec;20(6):456-65. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2012.07.009. Epub 2012 Aug 22.

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