Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a gentle hands-on treatment that may provide relief from a variety of symptoms including headaches, neck pain and side effects of cancer treatment among many others.
CST uses a light touch to examine membranes and movement of 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.
The focus of CST is a gentle placement of hands to assist release of the body’s connective tissue, or “fascia.” Fascia (Latin word for “band”) is a covering found throughout the body including organs, glands, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, brain and spinal cord. This covering forms a body-wide connective network. CST is based on the idea that the body is interrelated at all levels.
CST is thought to improve efficiency of biological processes through boosting inherent self-regulation, self-correction and self-healing. The therapy can be used successfully with children and adults.
A CST session is similar to massage therapy, except you stay fully clothed.
The treatment session begins with a consultation with your trained therapist to identify troubled areas. Soft music and low lighting are often used to increase your state of relaxation.
The therapist uses gentle pressure techniques to assess the existence of possible disruptions and/or restrictions in your fascial system. Light touch and fascial release may help your muscles and organs naturally relieve stress, which improves function. Other patients often report feeling a sense of deep relaxation.
CST can benefit almost everyone. With a few conditions, however, craniosacral therapy may not be appropriate and you’ll need to talk with your CST practitioner and physician.
Your session needs to wait if you have experienced any of the following and have NOT been released for treatment by your physician:
CST is not covered by insurance. An out-of-pocket payment is required prior to treatment.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/05/2020.