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CranioSacral Therapy: Another Physical Therapy Modality

CranioSacral Therapy is an Osteopathic modality that was brought to the masses by John Upledger, DO in the mid 1980’s.  It is a very gentle technique using a force of 5 g or the weight of a nickel.  There are many dentists and MDs alike who are taught in college that the cranial bones don’t move and therefore discount its effectiveness, but after years of using this approach, I can tell you it works!

CranioSacral Therapy, as the name implies, involves the bones of the cranium and their relationship to the sacrum.  These structures lie at opposing ends of the spinal cord which is protected by the dura mater or tough mother.  Every time we hit our head, fall on our buttocks, get hit in the back, etc, tensions build within the dura.  After years of tension, dysfunction may occur in the form of neck pain, headache, migraine, vertigo or TMJ.

Inside the cranium there are two large membranes called the falx cerebri and tentorium cerebelli.  The falx divides and supports the right and left halves of the brain while the tentorium overlies the cerebellum.  These membranes are affected by outside forces and move ever so slightly with common activities such as walking.  When trauma occurs, these membranes may be affected and create dysfunction.  CranioSacral Therapy works by releasing the tension from these structures.

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is highly effective for vertigo, sometimes requiring only 3 treatments.  I also use it for headache, migraine and TMJ.  I have found that on occasion, people develop tension inside the mouth following extended dental procedures such as placement of a crown or root canal.  If headache or TMJ issues occur due to this increased muscle tension, the CST is very effective by relaxing these structures.  CST is also very calming to the central nervous system and therefore helpful with fibroymalgia and PTSD.  Patients with chronic pain especially enjoy CST as it is the one modality that is not painful for them to receive.

Because CranioSacral Therapy is a recognized Physical Therapy modality, it is covered by insurance.  If you have more questions about CST visit the Upledger website at .

Mary Boyd, MS, PT is a member of the Sandpoint Wellness Council and can be reached for questions at 290-5575 or on the web at or .


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mary July 9, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Thank you for a very informative article. I know there are many forms of vertigo, my fiance has been suffering with severe vertigo going on 7 mths now. The MD’s have told him it is the Optical type of vertigo. Is there an Upledger CranioSacral therapist in Sterling Heights MI?
Thank You & Blessings
Mary Pottorff


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