What is Cranial Sacral Therapy? How Can it Help You With Pain Relief?

According to the National Headache Foundation, over 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches, and 28 million suffer from migraines.

Headaches and migraines are often triggered by stress, which is the cause of 75% of all physician visits in the U.S. Poor sleep can also result in headaches and migraines as well.

While many medications are out there to help relieve headache symptoms, alternative treatments also exist. Cranial sacral therapy tends to be one of those treatments.

What is Cranial Sacral Therapy?

Cranial sacral therapy, also sometimes referred to as craniosacral therapy or CST, is a non-invasive and gentle form of bodywork that addresses the bones of the head, spinal column, and sacrum. It is used to relieve compression through the gentle manipulation of the bones in your skull, spine, and pelvis, which allows your cerebrospinal fluid in the central nervous system to become normalized.

The goal of the treatment is to release fascial restrictions in the body that help to eliminate stress, strengthen resistance to disease and improve overall health.

Cranial sacral therapy can be used for people of all ages, and can also treat other conditions in addition to migraines and headaches, such as:

  • Neck pain
  • Sinus infections
  • TMJ
  • Trauma recovery, including trauma from a whiplash
  • Scoliosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Mood disorders, including anxiety and depression
  • Ear infections
  • Insomnia or disturbed sleep cycles
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Is Cranial Sacral Therapy Safe?

When compared to taking prescription or OTC drugs, the risk of side effects of using cranial sacral therapy as a form of treatment to eliminate stress has fewer side effects. Certain drugs, specifically anxiety drugs or anti-depressants can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Heart problems
  • Lack of coordination
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Severe interactions with other medications
  • Heart problems

Also, when cranial sacral therapy is combined with yoga and mindful meditation, you facilitate the getting into the parasympathetic state to further encourage healing and decrease stress. This combination can also improve your strength and flexibility, and enhance your brain’s capacity for perception and awareness in the present state.

How Many Treatment Sessions are Needed?

The number of sessions needed depends on the symptoms you suffer from, how readily your body responds to this therapy, and what your goals are. However, as a general rule, three to ten sessions will usually have a positive and significant impact on your overall health. And in some cases, patients opt-in for regular sessions for longer periods of time, which can be accompanied by an occasional tune-up to maintain optimal health.

Where To Go For Cranial Sacral Therapy

If you reside in the Washington, D.C. metro region, then I can certainly help being that I am a licensed physical therapist in Virginia specializing in manual therapy techniques including cranial sacral therapy.

If you do not live in Virginia or the Washington, DC metro region then you can still reach out to me. I can help you find a good and reputable provider in your area that specializes in the treatment you need.

Don’t let headaches and migraines cause any more pain. Try cranial sacral therapy and see what type of results you get.

Marge Kalfon, MSPT is the founder of PT by Marge and is a licensed physical therapist in Virginia. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Physical Therapy from Thomas Jefferson University in 1996. Since then, she has practiced in a wide variety of settings ranging from large hospitals to small private practices. She has extensive training and experience with a wide variety of manual therapy techniques as well as orthopedic and neurological rehabilitation.