benefits from craniosacral therapy


There are many benefits from Craniosacral Therapy (CST), which is a gentle, non-invasive form of Osteopathic Manual Therapy that I use every day in my practice. It’s great for people who find conventional approaches (such as medications, exercises or manipulations) to be a little too hard on their systems. Like other osteopathic modalities, CST aims to release tissue tensions and enhance the body’s self-healing capabilities. The primary intention and focus is on the craniosacral system, which includes the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

By applying light touch and subtle manipulations, a skilled practitioner can release restrictions and promote balance within this system, leading to a range of potential benefits. But who is CST for? In this blog, we will explore who can benefit from craniosacral therapy and the ways in which this therapy can positively impact health.


Stress and Anxiety Sufferers:


CST is well-known for its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress. With gentle touch and manipulation, benefits from craniosacral therapy can help to release tension held in the body and encourages a deep sense of calm. Individuals experiencing chronic stress, anxiety, or related conditions often find significant relief from CST.  It also helps people dealing with short-term or episodic stressors. 


Craniosacral work supports the parasympathetic nervous system, which brings us into better balance. This means less “fight or flight” and more calm and centeredness. It doesn’t take away life’s stressors; it instead helps a person’s attitude toward them. The change is within ourselves.  It’s a softening of our perspective and reactions. My favorite story to tell from one of my overwhelmed patients was that after her session the things in her life suddenly “were as they should be”. 


Cradling Neck


People Dealing with Chronic Pain:


CST is very helpful for folks dealing with chronic pain, and especially those who also have nerve pain (which, very often might just feel like a muscular pain!). A hallmark of nerve pain is something that shifts locations through the body, doesn’t follow a predictable pattern, and/or has no clear cause. It’s a pain that hasn’t responded appropriately to traditional interventions like stretching or exercise.  Benefits from Craniosacral Therapy help to address subtle restrictions of the nerves of the central nervous system that are behind these symptoms. By working on underlying imbalances, CST has helped many of my patients with conditions such as migraines, fibromyalgia, back pain, and otherwise elusive muscle/joint pains.


Individuals with Trauma and Emotional Issues:


Emotional trauma, old and new, can manifest physically in the body and as a variety of symptoms. In some way, the body’s tissues hold a memory of the important events in our lives, even when our conscious minds might forget them. Craniosacral therapy recognizes the mind-body connection and can be beneficial for individuals dealing with trauma and emotional difficulties. By working with the tissues, CST can help release emotional tension (which may appear only physical) and promote mental well-being. It’s not uncommon for a treatment session to soften both the tissues and the emotions.


Other Odd Nerve Dysfunctions:


Other conditions that CST can help are conditions that depend on a nerve sending the appropriate messages. One hand feeling weak while the other feels strong is one example. But there are many different functions governed by nerves that CST can help with, especially in the cranial region itself: sudden hearing loss (not the age-related kind), visual disturbances such as flashes, blurry vision, or light sensitivity, and also changes in gland secretion (dry eyes, nose, mouth). 

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These are all governed by the cranial nerves exiting the brainstem. CST can help balance tensions in this area and reduce these issues, especially if they have come about suddenly or are the result of a physical trauma or stress to the area (i.e. a concussion).


People with Digestive Issues:


I primarily rely on Visceral Manipulation techniques for digestive issues. But, I sometimes will find that using gentler CST techniques can be just as effective. CST not only influences better balance in the nervous system to promote better organ control, but it also helps with mechanical restrictions that can be causing “kinks” in the system.  Constipation due to restrictions in the pelvis or reflux related to restrictions around the thorax are good examples.


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Individuals Seeking Overall Wellness and Prevention:


Craniosacral therapy isn’t solely for those with specific or urgent health conditions. It’s also valuable for individuals seeking to enhance their overall well-being and prevent future health issues. By addressing subtle imbalances and promoting the body’s self-healing capabilities, CST can support optimal health and help maintain a state of wholeness, contentment, and vitality.


Meditative Woman




Craniosacral therapy offers a gentle approach to wellness and healing. It’s a wonderful complement to conventional treatments that is drug-free and non-invasive. While there are specific groups of people who really benefit from CST, everyone stands to gain from this approach as a preventive treatment.


If you are interested in seeing what Craniosacral Therapy and Osteopathic Manual Therapy can do for you, Contact Us Today.


About the Author:


Tim Newton, PT, DPT, OCS, CFMM is a physical therapist who specializes in Osteopathic Manual Therapy to help people with pain, illness, and stress feel themselves again. His expertise is in Visceral Manipulation, Gentle Spinal Manipulation, and Craniosacral Therapy.  He is the owner of Inspire Movement Physical Therapy in Columbia, MD.

Tim Newton