Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a type of chiropractic treatment based on regulating the flow of cerebrospinal fluid through manual manipulation of the cranial joints (joints of the skull), as well as the joints of the face, spine and pelvis. Developed in the 1970s, CST is an offshoot of the cranial field of osteopathy. While CST has been proven to relieve stress, there is not yet scientific evidence to support its treatment of disease. Nonetheless, by its devoted practitioners, and the patients who report reaping its benefits, it is considered an effective treatment. The palpations of the chiropractor during craniosacral therapy are unusually gentle, requiring a touch with only 5 grams of pressure, as light as the pressure of a nickel.
During CST, the patient generally experiences deep relaxation as the therapist palpates the skull and body. It is believed that the patient's endorphins are released during treatment and that the experience is enhanced by the practitioner's sense of connection to the patient, a process described as entrainment. Through this process, it is believed that the therapist is able to detect the rhythms of the patient's flow of cerebrospinal fluid and to correct them. CST is said to improve the functioning of the central nervous system, reducing stress and strengthening the immune system.
This therapy is recommended as a treatment for psychiatric and cognitive disorders, as well as for physical ones. In addition to being used to treat headaches, temporomandibular joint syndrome dysfunction (TMJ ) and back and neck pain, CST has been used on patients with attention deficit disorder (ADD), autism, learning disorders and hyperactivity. For patients who have found other treatments ineffective for chronic conditions, such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, CST has sometimes relieved symptoms and restored a sense of well-being.