Craniosacral Therapy

by | May 21, 2024 | Health and Wellness

Understanding Craniosacral Therapy: A Wholistic Approach to Healing

Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a gentle, non-invasive form of bodywork that focuses on the cranium (head), sacrum (base of the spine), and the central nervous system. This therapy aims to relieve pain and tension by manipulating the soft tissues and fluids surrounding the central nervous system. CST is grounded in the belief that the body has the ability to heal itself when given the proper support.

The Upledger Institute, established by Dr. John Upledger in 1985, is a pivotal organization in the field of cranio-sacral therapy. Dr. Upledger, an osteopathic physician, was instrumental in developing and popularizing CST. His interest in the therapy began in the 1970s when he observed rhythmic movements in the spinal membranes during a surgical procedure. Intrigued by these movements, he embarked on a journey to understand their significance and potential therapeutic applications.

Dr. Upledger’s research led to the development of CST techniques that practitioners use today. The Upledger Institute continues to advance his legacy by providing education and certification programs for healthcare professionals. The institute’s mission is to promote health and wellness through CST, emphasizing a holistic approach to patient care.

The Role of Cerebral Spinal Fluid

A central element of craniosacral therapy is the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), a clear, colorless liquid that cushions and protects the brain and spinal cord. CSF circulates within the subarachnoid space, bathing the brain and spinal cord in nutrients and removing waste products. It plays a critical role in maintaining the central nervous system’s homeostasis, providing a stable environment for neural function.

In CST, practitioners believe that restrictions in the flow of CSF can lead to various health issues, including chronic pain, neurological disorders, and stress-related conditions. By applying light touch and gentle manipulations to the cranial bones and sacrum, CST practitioners aim to release these restrictions, enhancing the flow of CSF and promoting the body’s natural healing processes.

Benefits and Applications

Cranio-sacral therapy is used to address a wide range of conditions, including migraines, neck and back pain, TMJ disorders, and chronic fatigue. It is also employed to support overall wellness and stress reduction. Patients often report a sense of deep relaxation and improved well-being following CST sessions.

The Upledger Institute’s ongoing research and commitment to education have helped establish CST as a respected complementary therapy within the healthcare community. As more practitioners incorporate CST into their practice, the therapy’s potential to enhance patient care and improve health outcomes continues to grow.

Craniosacral Therapy at CLM

It is important to note that craniosacral therapy should be performed by licensed professionals who have undergone proper training. At Carole Lilly Massage, our Advanced Massage Therapy offers an integrative, whole-body approach to pain relief. CLM Therapeutic Massage Therapists have advanced training in multiple modalities and years of experience in working with acute and chronic pain patterns.

Carole is a Nationally Board-Certified Massage Therapist, a NC Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist, and owner of Carole Lilly Massage. She is a member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners, an Upledger Institute CST teaching assistant, and has been taking CST coursework with the Upledger Institute since 2012.

Carole Lilly Myofascial Release at Carole Lilly Massage

“I love that I get to wake up each day and share CST with you. It’s such a gift to slow down and take good care of ourselves.”  – Carole

Steve is a NC Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist and Board Approved Provider for Teaching Continuing Education.  He brings over 30 years of Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) knowledge and experience to you at Carole Lilly Massage.  His approach to CST is unique to each client.

Steve McLaughlin at Carole Lilly Massage

“Your health and wellness are without doubt the most important investment you will ever make. Whether massage is a means of stress management or pain management, I believe massage and bodywork can make a difference.”  – Steve

At CLM, we recommend a CST session if you want to create a deep sense of calm and improve whole-body health and performance. Your therapist uses light-touch techniques to relax the central nervous system and release tensions deep in the body.

All therapeutic services are at the same rate.
Full Session $130 l Extended Session $185


Craniosacral therapy, championed by Dr. John Upledger and the Upledger Institute, offers a unique approach to health and wellness by focusing on the central nervous system and the vital role of cerebral spinal fluid. Through gentle manipulation, CST seeks to restore balance and promote the body’s intrinsic healing capabilities.

If you have any questions about Craniosacral Therapy sessions at Carole Lilly Massage, please contact us.


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