Foundational Research (1970-2002)
More than 45 years have passed since researchers established the rhythmic motility of the cranial bones. (Frymann, V.M. “A Study of the Rhythmic Motions of the Living Cranium”, JAOA, Vol. 70, 1971, 928-945.)
Supporting research includes Greenman (1970), Michael and Retzlaff (1975, 1976), Popevec (1976), Upledger and Karni (1979), Moskalenko (1980, ’96, ’98, ’01), Heifetz and Weiss (1981), Oleski and Smith (2002).
In the 1990s, research was even carried out in space. Both the Russians (Moskalenko 1999) and NASA (Ueno, Ballard, et al 1996, ’97, ’98, ’03) used x-ray and high tech ultrasound equipment with findings that were consistent with each other.
From NASA Technical Memorandum 112195, dated 1996:
“Although the skull is often assumed to be a rigid container with a constant volume, many researchers have demonstrated that the skull moves on the order of a few micrometers in association with changes in intracranial pressure.”
Efficacy Research (1999-2016)
Good scientific research is expensive, tedious and hard to do well. Here is a compilation of studies that are recent, of higher quality, and demonstrated the efficacy of CST. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
PAIN / QUALITY OF LIFE
“CST was both specifically effective and safe in reducing neck pain intensity and may improve functional disability and the quality of life up to 3 months after intervention.”—Haller, H, Lauche R, Cramer H, Rampp T, Saha F, Ostermann T, Dobos G., Craniosacral Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Sham-controlled Trial. Clinical Journal of Pain. 2016 May;32(5):441-9.
“Levels of anxiety were significantly less in the CST group. Craniosacral Therapy is more effective in relieving chronic, non-specific neck pain and in improving physical quality of life than an active attention-control condition.”—Craniosacral therapy for the treatment of chronic neck pain: a follow-up study. Haller, H., Lauche, R., Cramer, H., Rampp, T., Saha, F.J., Ostermann, T., & Dobos, G.J. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 2014;20(5).
“Both [CranioSacral still point and massage therapy] protocols resulted in statistically significant improvement in the participants’ self-reported pain and comfort scores.” —Townsend, C.S., Bonham, E., Chase, L. Dunscomb, J., & McAlister, S. Comparison of still point induction to massage therapy in reducing pain and increasing comfort in chronic pain. Holistic Nursing Practice 2014; March/April.
“Pain and quality of life/general well-being can be improved by the use of CST. In general, a majority of positive outcomes are shown in reviewed studies, adding to the current belief for CST being effective in the treatment of patients with a variety of pathologies.” —Jäkel, A., & von Hauenschild, P. A systematic review to evaluate the clinical benefits of craniosacral therapy. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 2012; 20:456—465.
LOW BACK PAIN
“Craniosacral therapy may effectively reduce the intensity and frequency of pain in patients with non-specific low back pain”, “Craniosacral therapy reduces the resting tension of the multifidus muscle in patients with non-specific lumbosacral pain” and “Craniosacral therapy may be clinically effective in the treatment of patients with non-specific lumbosacral spine pain”. —Białoszewski, D., Bebelski, M., Lewandowska, M., Słupik. A., Utility of craniosacral therapy in treatment of patients with non-specific low back pain. Preliminary report. Ortop Traumatol Rehabil. 2014 Nov-Dec;16(6):605-15.
HEADACHE / MIGRAINE
“Immediately after treatments and one month afterwards there was significant lowering in HIT-6 scorings compared with prior to treatment. Craniosacral therapy can alleviate migraine symptoms.” —Arnadottir, T.S., Sigurdardottir, A.K,Is craniosacral therapy effective for migraine? Tested with HIT-6 Questionnaire, Complimentary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2013 Feb;19(1):11-4
“Low-strength magnet (LSSM) intervention did not achieve a comparable level of credibility and expectancy to CranioSacal Therapy, which was tested with a population of patients with migraine headache and found to be at least moderately credible as an intervention.” —Curtis, P., Gaylord, S.A., Park, J., Faurot, K.R., Coble, R., Suchindran, C., Coeytaux, R.R., Wilkinson, L., & Mann, J.D. Credibility of low-strength static magnet therapy as an attention-control intervention for a randomized controlled study of CranioSacral Therapy for migraine headaches. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2011; 17(8): 711–721
“I feel my improvement is totally due to Craniosacral Therapy; I feel better after a few sessions than after 6 months of general practitioner and medicines.” —Patient comment re: headaches. Harrison & Page, Multipractitioner Upledger CranioSacral Therapy: Descriptive Outcome Study 2007–2008. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2011; 17(1): 13–17
“Spinal manipulation therapy appears to be as effective as amitriptyline in producing short-term benefit for tension-type headaches.” —Vernon H. Spinal manipulation in the management of tension-type migraine and cervicogenic headaches: the state of the evidence. Topics In Clinical Chiropractic [serial online]. March 2002;9(1):14.
“The intensity and affective component of pain significantly improved in the group receiving the [CranioSacral] CV-4 technique. This study provides initial evidence that the CV-4 technique may be used successfully on patients who suffer from tension-type headaches.” —Hanten, W., Olson, S., Hodson, J., Imler, V., Knab, V., & Magee, J. The effectiveness of CV-4 and resting position techniques on subjects with tension-type headaches. The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy 1999; 7(2):64-70.
“Every person playing a contact sport should be getting CST. It enhances the brain’s natural protection system.” —Ricky Williams, retired American football running back, July 22, 2016
FIBROMYALGIA PAIN / FATIGUE
“Craniosacral therapy improves the quality of life of patients with fibromyalgia, reducing their perception of pain and fatigue and improving their night rest and mood, with an increase in physical function. Craniosacral therapy . . . also reduces anxiety levels, partially improving the depressive state.”—Mataran-Penarrocha, G.A., Castro-Sanchez, A.M., Carballo Garcıa, G., Moreno-Lorenzo, C., Parron Carreno, T., & Onieva Zafra, M.D. Influence of Craniosacral Therapy on anxiety, depression and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011; article ID 178769.
“Our findings indicate that craniosacral therapy improves medium-term pain symptomatology in fibromyalgia patients. Craniosacral therapy can be considered a complementary therapeutic approach to fibromyalgia that diminishes the patient’s perception of pain. This therapy should be included as part of the multimodal therapeutic approach to these patients.” —Castro-Sanchez, A.M., Mataran-Penarrocha, G.A., Sanchez-Labraca, N., Quesada-Rubio, J.M., Granero-Molina, J., & Moreno-Lorenzo, C. A randomized controlled trial investigating the effects of craniosacral therapy on pain and heart rate variability in fibromyalgia patients. Clinical Rehabilitation 2011;25:25–35.
“Upledger’s CranioSacral Therapy techniques, in combination with muscle energy techniques, appear to be effective in treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome. Pain levels were reduced with time in therapy in nearly all the patients. Many reported improved energy levels and quality of life.” —Silva, M.P., Barrett, J.M., & Williams, J.D. A retrospective review of outcomes of fibromyalgia patients following physical therapy treatments. Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain 2004; 12(2):83-92.
“CST proved to be both effective and safe in treating lower urinary tract symptoms of multiple sclerosis patients.” —Raviv, G., Shefi, S., Nizani, D., & Achiron, A. Effect of craniosacral therapy on lower urinary tract signs and symptoms in multiple sclerosis. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2009;15:72–75.
POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS (PTSD)
“The participants showed the following results: obsessive compulsive scores dropped from 86th percentile to 46th, depression from 69th to 27th, anxiety from 79th to 42nd, paranoia from 84th to 62nd. The results obtained strongly suggest that PTSD may be more successfully treated when the therapy includes corrections of the Craniosacral system.” —Upledger, J. E., The effects of CranioSacral Therapy on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptomology in Vietnam combat veterans. Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine, vol 11, No 2 pp. 123 – 143, April 2000
“There is more intelligence in our hands than in all of the books in the world.” —John E. Upledger, DO, OMM
Clients tell their stories of serious injury and years of recovery before trying out Craniosacral Therapy.
Medical scientist got into a sailboat accident and investigated his head & neck symptoms for years / 7 min.
Vietnam Veterans with PTSD describe their 2 weeks of intensive Craniosacral treatments in 1999 / 25 min.
If you’re looking for a Craniosacral Therapist to work with, learn more about me.