Cranial or craniosacral therapy is a low-force therapy that is often placed under the massage therapy category. However, it was also developed in the osteopathic discipline.

The concept behind craniosacral therapy is that the head and the tail influence the spine and thus the rest of the body. The central nervous system (CNS) is heavily influenced by the craniosacral system including the membranes and fluids that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord.

Everyday our bodies endures stresses and strains that they must compensate for. These changes often cause body tissues such as the craniosacral system to tighten and distort. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord resulting in restrictions. This can create a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system and potentially every other system it interacts with.

In craniosacral therapy, the goal is to detect and correct these restrictions using simple methods of touch. The craniosacral practitioner feels various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Low-force techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.

By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s ability to self-correct, craniosacral therapy is theorized to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.

Cranial therapy can work on the inner movement, vibration and energy of the body and is thus subtle and deeper type of manual therapy. It is this release of the deep tensions of the body that can lead to improved whole-body health and performance.

Amy Van Antwerp, BCTMB has had multiple hours of training in craniosacral therapy in Seattle and Tulsa.