While other forms of massage therapy focus on reshaping your muscles or joints, craniosacral massage involves adjustment of the bones in your skull, pelvis, and spine. Created 80 years ago by Dr. William G. Sutherland and further developed by John E. Upledgerin in the 1970s, this therapy is as popular as it is contested. Practitioners use light pressure on bones to better understand the body’s rhythms, remove blockages, and modify them for improved alignment and health.
Craniosacral massage is based on both chiropractic and osteopathic treatment practices. Chiropractic therapy involves the diagnosis and treatment of the joints along the spinal column, which can impact the muscles, organs, and nerves. Chiropractors use massage therapies and instruments to adjust the patient’s joints. Similarly, osteopathy is a branch of medicine that modifies muscles, bones, and joints to treat disorders. Craniosacral massage draws from both of these fields, applying them to the skull, spine, and pelvis specifically.
Our current understanding of anatomy and physiology indicates that the bones of the human skull normally fuse after childhood, undermining the concept of this therapy. However, many massage therapists, osteopaths, and chiropractors support this practice, and Mr. Upleder draws thousands of attendees to his program on craniosacral massage every year.
In a typical session, your craniosacral massage therapist will work with you in a quiet, private room for 45 to 60 minutes. The patient remains on a table while the practitioner gently manipulates the bones from the lower back to the skull. Each patient responds differently to therapy. Some feel their bodies releasing tension, some become very relaxed, and some even remember past bodily injuries as they release.
Craniosacral massage is used to treat a variety of symptoms, including: