Craniosacral Therapy: Popular and Effective for All Ages

By Sharina Brothers, ND

Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle, hands-on treatment found all over the world. Clinically, the list of conditions craniosacral therapy has helped is impressively long and ranges from reducing anxiety and stress to treating a concussion sustained from a soccer game. It can be appropriate for pain and pressure reduction during orthodontic care, chronic ear infections in children, and as supportive care for seizure activity and even Parkinson’s disease. Craniosacral therapy is also astonishingly helpful after a car accident for drivers and passengers. Both physical and emotional trauma may be gently released from the body with a short series of treatments.

Many women are now seeking out craniosacral therapy during pregnancy. I have had women return for treatments during their second pregnancy after benefitting from craniosacral therapy during their first pregnancies.  These patients found that craniosacral therapy often resolved or at least reduced pain and dysfunction in the body both during and after pregnancy.  Many patients also reported better sleep after treatments. 

Babies, too, have benefited from craniosacral therapy. My most recent case involved a newborn who would not turn his head to the right. After three treatments, which also included the gentlest forms of naturopathic physical manipulation, the baby had full and easy range of motion again. 

In certain cases, craniosacral therapy may also help with breastfeeding. I always recommend a full work-up to determine the cause of feeding difficulties prior to a craniosacral treatment. If the cause is due to not opening up the mouth wide enough, craniosacral therapy may relax the tightness in the baby’s mouth, neck, and head, which allows the baby to latch on more effectively.    

There is research to support the use of craniosacral therapy for learning difficulties in children, migraines, tinnitus, various types of paralysis and seizure activity, traumatic brain injury, chronic neck pain, and more. Studies on chronic neck pain show that relief and improved quality of life can be found even up to three months after treatment. There was even a recent pilot study in early 2015 that examined the effect of craniosacral-like therapy on active duty solders with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and head injury. Headache, anxiety, and pain in the soldiers were all reduced during the study, which was encouraging to researchers and soldiers alike. 

The studies that have been done, combined with positive feedback from patients, indicate that craniosacral therapy continues to provide benefit for a variety of health conditions. It may well be that with time, the list of conditions it is indicated for will continue getting longer. In the meantime, it is a pleasant and deeply relaxing treatment to experience. 

Craniosacral therapy is offered at Be Well Natural Medicine with Dr. Brothers. It can stand alone as a powerful yet subtle therapy or it may be appropriate to complement other physical therapies such as massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. 

Literature to support the use of craniosacral therapy:

  • Case study in otitis media: The corrective aspect of craniosacral fascial therapy. Journal of Allergy and Therapy, 2014. 
  • Craniosacral therapy for the treatment of chronic neck pain: A randomized sham-controlled trial. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 2015.
  • Pilot study of the effects of mixed light touch manual therapies on active duty soldiers with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder and injury to the head. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 2015.

 

Many thanks to contributing author Sharina Brothers, ND. Dr. Brothers is a registered naturopathic doctor in Minnesota and is also a Washington State board licensed naturopathic doctor. During the five years of naturopathic medical training at the School of Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle, she was trained to the highest standards as a primary care doctor with intensive hands-on clinical practice that included naturopathic physical manipulation and craniosacral training.