What Is Craniosacral Therapy?


Quick Answer

Craniosacral therapy, also known as cranial osteopathy or cranial balancing, is a form of therapy that involves light touching on the skull, spine and pelvis to improve the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Although it may reduce stress, the American Cancer Society states that it doesn't help treat disease.

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Full Answer

Osteopath John Upledger developed craniosacral therapy in the 1970s and 1980s based on the belief that the cranial bones undergo very small, rhythmic movements and that manipulation of these movements affects the flow of cerebrospinal fluid with therapeutic results, as Wikipedia explains. The therapy involves very light touches along the skull and spine to release any restrictions, often resulting in deep relaxation.

The Upledger Institute claims that craniosacral therapy is beneficial to patients suffering from a host of conditions, including migraine headaches, temporomandibular joint syndrome, colic, scoliosis and chronic fatigue syndrome. However, the American Cancer Society points out that few clinical trials have been conducted on craniosacral therapy, and most of those that exist are flawed and unreliable. No clinical study has verified the underlying premise of craniosacral therapy regarding rhythmic movements of the cranial bones, given that adults' skull bones are fused and do not move in the way craniosacral therapists claim. The main benefit of craniosacral therapy appears to be that of a placebo.

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