What is the Craniosacral system?
This includes the brain and spinal cord, and the fluid and tissues surrounding and protecting them, as well as the bones of the head, spinal column, and sacrum.

Is CST a type of massage?
Craniosacral therapy works primarily with the nervous system, not the muscular system as with massage. However, the term “massage” as it is commonly used refers to a wide variety of bodywork techniques, including Craniosacral Therapy. Considered to be a manual therapy technique, Craniosacral therapy uses a very light touch.

How did CST begin?
Craniosacral Therapy has its origins with the Native American bonesetters. It was developed as cranial osteopathy by Dr. William Sutherland in the early 1900’s and brought to widespread practice by Dr. John Upledger, also an osteopath, who has researched the techniques since the 1970’s.

What conditions does CST address and what kinds of issues can it help?
Craniosacral Therapy works with the central nervous system and has far reaching affects in the body.

What are some of the benefits of CST for animals?
CST can benefit animals with the following conditions: head injuries, head trauma, emotional or behavior issues, lameness, jaw dysfunction, chronic pain, spine injuries or back pain, laryngeal paralysis, recovery from Lyme Disease, EPM or other systemic disorders, arthritis, and CST can bring general relaxation and optimal function for high performance as well as geriatric animals.

What are some of the benefits of CST for humans?
CST has brought relief for headaches and migraines, chronic neck and back pain, coordination impairments, infantile disorders, traumatic injuries, chronic fatigue, scoliosis, central nervous system disorders, emotional difficulties, TMJ syndrome, post traumatic stress disorder, orthopedic problems, learning disabilities and many other conditions

What is a session like? What would I observe during a session for my pet?
For you, a session takes place on a massage table and you are fully clothed. Using very light touch, the practitioner monitors the rhythm of the craniosacral system and uses delicate manual techniques to release problem areas. It is not uncommon to feel changes in your body far from where the practitioner’s hands may be contacting you. It may feel like the practitioner’s hands are moving to make big changes, but an observer would see almost no movement.
For your pet, the small animal usually rests quietly on the floor or on your lap and often appears to be sleeping. You will observe the practitioner move her hands to different areas of the animal’s body, but changes under her hands are very subtle and hard to see. You will notice release signs of sighs, yawns, stretches, barking or purring during the session.
For your horse, you will usually hold him or have him on loose cross ties. The practitioner stands on a box etc. to easily and lightly place her hands on your horse’s body, following very subtle changes in the tissue under the skin. Horses tend to relax completely during a session, sometimes even laying down at the end of a session.You may feel heat released from areas of tension on your own body, or your animal’s.

How does CST work? What happens in the body with CST?
Through light touch and gentle manipulations, a practitioner makes subtle adjustments to release tension in the craniosacral system, aiding the body’s inherent, self-corrective physiological actitivites. “Regional release” used by advanced practitioners, allows the body to release a specific trauma often by recreating the same position it was in when the trauma occurred. Once the tension is released, the dysfunctional or painful part of the body is returned to its normal state. Sometimes in this process, an emotional release occurs as well.

What is SomatoEmotional Release and do animals have emotional releases?
Research in the late 70’s by Dr. John Upledger and biophysicist Zvi Karni led to the development of the idea  that the body often retains the emotional imprint of physical trauma. These imprints, especially of intense feelings that may have occurred at the time of injury—anger, fear, resentment—leave residues in the body in areas termed “energy cysts,” also referred to as restrictions.  Although you can adapt to energy cysts, over time your body needs extra energy to continue daily activities and the body loses its adaptability. Symptoms appear as a result. With somato-emotional release,  the therapist engages in dialogue that can help guide you through long held emotions and trauma. You do not need to analyze the problem or relive it, as your body will release the emotional and physical components of the trauma and the energy cyst dissipates, leaving the body to return to optimal function.

Animals can experience this same release of emotional and physical issues and it is important that a practitioner working with animals is very familiar with their behavior and has excellent animal handling skills.

How does CST fit into the world of veterinary medicine?
Many veterinarians refer animals for CST for soft tissue issues and systemic problems. Some vets even host CST therapists at their offices to provide this work in conjunction with chiropractic and acupuncture care. This level of intervention leads to optimal results in restoring animals to full function, and in maintaining performance animals at peak athleticism.

How can I learn more about CST for myself?
1800 233 5880   www.upledger.com   UI has trained over 200,000 people worldwide

You may also have heard Craniosacral Therapy referred to as:

Cranialsacral therapy

Milne Craniosacral

Biodynamic Craniosacral

Upledger CranioSacral

Sacral Occipital therapy is a chiropractic approach with a similar name