What is Cranio-Sacral Therapy?
The term “Cranio-Sacral” is a portmanteau: “cranial” + “sacral”, referring to the top (cranium/skull) and bottom (sacrum/tailbone) of the central nervous system.
Though it’s not a massage, Cranio-Sacral Therapy is a pain and drug-free hands-on healing method, exceptionally gentle yet an extremely powerful and profound form of Natural Medicine.
Cranio-Sacral Therapy originates from the work of Dr Andrew Still (father of Osteopathy, then his student William G. Sutherland, father of Cranial Osteopathy), during the end of the 19th century. On subtle levels of physiology, William Sutherland identified a rhythmic motion of the cranio-sacral system which he described as the Breath of Life, also referred to as the Primary Respiratory System. This motion significantly involves your cranio-sacral system which is a physiological system of the body that consists of the central nervous system, the cerebrospinal fluid and surrounding membranes and bones which manifests in all parts of the body and can be palpated by sensitive hands.
The presence of this rhythmic motion is just as essential, measurable, and tangible as our breath and heart rate. This has been demonstrated scientifically, especially in osteopathic, dental medical journals and in documented film (Seifriz 1954).
This Breath of Life which we feel in the body (as in all living things) is an indication of our aliveness and a reflection of our vitality, health, balance and progression during our entire human life. Any injury, illness, tension, stress, trauma, emotional block can influence this underlying rhythmic motion, creating disturbances to its fluent expression.
When a practitioner places their hands lightly on the patient during the session (which is generally no greater than 5 grams - the weight of a butterfly), the Practitioner tunes in and engages with these tide-like rhythms enabling the body’s natural potential for healing to address, resolve and release any disturbances and resistances. This helps to open the natural flow of health which supports the body’s innate ability to balance, restore and heal upon aligning with this flow.
It is very gentle and non-invasive and therefore ideal for people dealing with all sorts of physical issues, trauma, difficult life experiences and illnesses, emotional pain and spiritual misalignment.
Cranio-Sacral Therapy works with the whole person. Changes may occur in body, mind and spirit during and after sessions.
What conditions can Cranio-Sacral Therapy help with?
As well as helping with specific physical, neurological, emotional or spiritual problems Cranio-Sacral Therapy is effective for the results of accidents, falls and strains, diseases, psychological conditions and may also assist to reduce stress and improve the functioning of the immune system.
Even if you have no symptom regular treatments may help prevent more complicated health conditions from developing in the future as CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure.
CST helps to relieve symptoms from simple aches & pains to severe, complex and persistent health issues:
· Physical & Emotional Blocks
· Shock and Trauma
· Muscle Injuries
· Headaches and Migraines
· Dental Problems
· Head or Spinal Injuries
· Unresolved Chronic Pain
· Recent Surgery or Injury
· Tinnitus, Hearing loss, Sinus Infections, Vertigo
· Nervous Tension
· Digestive Disorders
· Reproductive and Hormone Imbalance
· Birth Trauma
· Raynaud's disease/syndrome/phenomenon
. Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries
· Emotional based trauma
· Vasovagal Syncope
· Brain Fog
· Neck Pain
· Back Pain
· Structural imbalances
· Chronic fatigue
· Frozen Shoulder
· Post-surgical recovery
· HSP (Highly Sensitive People)
. "No discernable problem"
& many more health concerns
How does it work?
The essential role of a Cranio-Sacral Therapist is to be the safe container where you can let go, enabling the restoration of underlying mobility, integrity, health and vitality. The Cranio-Sacral Therapist is trained to hold a place of self-witness in order to engage with their sensitivity and allow for your healing.
By placing thier hands very gently on your body, the Practitioner allows the Breath of Life to flow through her hands. Through her therapeutic presence the Practitioner seeks to restore balance to the cranio-sacral system enabling you to re-align the core levels of health.
As the Practitioner settles in with stillness and spaciousness, the treatment begins by helping your system settle into a state of slowing. She identifies areas of restriction or tension, then as the practitioner engages with and follows the internal pulls and twists until still points of rest and release, deeper therapeutic forces arise allowing the structure to spontaneously respond and the tissues to return to proper health function.
Stillness attracts stillness and as you lie still and relax in this therapeutic space, your system can express and release its accumulated traumas. The Cranio-Sacral Therapist gets to humbly watch and surrender to the process of this unfolding, while you are easing out of your suffering.
As the Cranio-Sacral Therapist holds a sacred respect tuning deeper and deeper into your body, she trusts the tide and gets out of the way of this intelligence far beyond our human mentality.
As the practioner explores the realm of stillness in this neutral presence, you begin to heal, wrapped in compassion as you touch the Cranio-Sacral Therapist’s heart.
What happens during a Cranio-Sacral Therapy session?
The CST session takes place in a quiet and private setting in a sensitive and caring environment. All treatments are strictly confidential. I will honor your trust and respect your privacy the same way a doctor is bound by confidentiality.
During your initial treatment session your practitioner will take a comprehensive written case history and assessment, listening with care to the reasons for your visit. This part of the session is important, both for gathering information and to establish a good understanding with your practitioner.
You will then be invited to take your shoes off and lie fully clothed on a comfortable padded table. You may be asked to remove your glasses, belt or jewelry as they may be in the way or effect your comfort.
The practitioner will then make light contact with your head, feet, the base of your spine, arms, neck and other areas, encouraging your body to relax and begin to make the changes it needs.
Because the body functions as a whole, and the area where the symptoms are located is not always the area that causes the symptoms, your practitioner may focus on body parts other than where your symptoms occur. Because of the complexity of the connective tissue, symptoms that you experience in one part of your body may cause restrictions in a seemingly unrelated part of your body.
Your practioner may stay at the same spot the whole session or may move several times to different locations on your body.
During a session there may be a lot of silence as you deeply relax, or there may be a dynamic peacefulness as you engage with your practioner as to what is being felt.
As you settle, you may feel different sensations as the nervous system and body tissues release tensions. Or you may not feel anything at all and find yourself deeply relaxed, in a meditative state or asleep as the body settles deeper allowing profound and long-lasting effects.
On occasion there can also be physical unwinding of physical and emotional tensions in the body. You can suddenly feel a freeing movement come into an area and this change may also be marked by a spontaneous deep breath.
At the end of the session you are encouraged to spend a few minutes getting up. Your practioner then sits and chats a few minutes with you about the session and wraps up.
As you make progress, you may experience change from one session to the next. During your subsequent visits with your Cranio-Sacral Therapist, a few moments of discussion will take place to re-assess the changes and adapt the session accordingly.
How many sessions will I need?
Response to Cranio-Sacral Therapy varies from individual to individual, condition to condition and your experience of the work will be uniquely yours. The frequency of treatments is up to you and the therapist.
Sometimes people report relief after only one or two sessions. For long-standing problems, you may need more than one or two sessions to fully benefit from CST several sessions may be needed.
Some people find they benefit from regular treatments and say that, as well as noticing improvement in their physical or emotional symptoms, they feel they have increased self-awareness and improved quality of life.
It is not uncommon for some people to choose to receive Cranio-Sacral Therapy regularly because it can be so pleasant to experience and as their desire to attain wellness & better health.
Is there ICBC coverage for Cranio-Sacral Therapy?
Yes! Since April 2019 ICBC has a new benefit of $1,000 for necessary naturopathic treatments (ie: natural medicine which helps the body heal itself, like Cranio-Sacral Therapy).
If you have an ICBC claim, you can request your adjuster's authorization for $1,000 towards Cranio-Sacral Therapy treatments for what is considered reasonable and necessary for your care and recovery.
Please contact your ICBC claim representative in order to obtain pre-approval for funding as I do not have the authority to make such a decision on your behalf.
Since Cranio-Sacral Therapy is considered a "may pay" therapy there isn't a direct billing relationship with ICBC and pre-authorized Cranio-Sacral Therapy treatments are billed privately. We will provide you with a receipt for your treatment which you can submit to your adjuster within 60 days of the treatment date for reimbursement.
Is there any health condition for which Cranio-Sacral Therapy shouldn't be used?
Cranio-Sacral Therapy is not a substitute for any medical diagnosis.
If you have a particular concern about your health, it is always recommended that you consult your health physician since your CST practitioner does not diagnose or prescribe medication.
Cranio-Sacral Therapist - 1 year (PgDip)
Anatomy, Physiology & Pathology (ITEC Level 3)
Osteodouce® Practionner (Energetic Osteopathy)
Vagus Nerve Mojo Certified
Fully licensed and, First-Aid Certified
Treatments & Cost
Cranio-Sacral Therapy - 60 minutes