top of page

What is Craniosacral therapy?

Ben treatment 2.jpg

Craniosacral therapy is a very gentle body-based therapy that works with the body's innate capacity to heal itself.


Craniosacral therapy has it’s origins in the field of Osteopathy with the work of Dr William Sutherland, who was a student of the founder of Osteopathy Dr Andrew Taylor Still.


Dr Sutherland dedicated a lifetime's work into understanding the mechanics of the inherent movement in the body, which manifests as a rhythmic to-and-fo, the ebb and flow within the fluids of of every part of the body, all together in rhythmic harmonious movement. 


Like the inhalation and exhalation phases of an inner breath, this tide-like motion coming and going in the body continues regardless of whatever posture we are in, whether we are doing activity or are at rest it is present in the body. 


Sutherland observed that these movement cycles continue throughout life, from our very first moments to our last. He came to appreciate these inherent movements as the expression of a fundamental Intelligence or life force, constantly at work in organising and maintaining the body in health and in disease.


He came to appreciate that this subtle rhythmical motion within the body reveals important diagnostic and clinical information about the health of the individual, and about what resources are available to them in overcoming physical problems, psychological and emotional stresses and the effects of trauma.


He named this Intelligence the Breath of Life, and it’s expression in the body ‘Primary respiration’, thus acknowledging it’s primary function in centering all physiological action in the body down to a cellular level.


As a way of classifying and explaining the Primary Repiratory System he defined a series of five interelated categories using the terminology of core anatomical and physiological relationships; 


  • The tide-like fluctuation of cerebral spinal fluid within the central canal of the spinal cord, which bathes the brain and the central nervous system. Sensed as an inherent movement througout the fluids of the body, driven by the potency of the breath of life.

  • The inherent motility of the central nervous system, sensed as a rhythmic motion in the brain and spinal cord.

  • The reciprocal tension membrane, in which the membranes around the spinal cord and brain which are under constant tension express inner breath and motion.

  • The presence of movement in the meeting places between the bones of the skull, which are sensed to have rhythmical cycles of inherent motility as they express the potency of the breath of life in Primary respiration.

  • The inherent movement of the Sacrum between the two halves of the pelvis, which moves in accord with the central nervous system and the reciprocal tension membrane as it is attached to the membranes around the spinal cord and brain.


The Craniosacral Therapy Association recently produced a short film that describes Craniosacral Therapy - Click this link to view


bottom of page