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What Is Craniosacral Therapy?

Osteopathy is a manual form of healing which emphasizes the interrelationship between structure and function of the human body and is based on the concept that the body is a unit and that a structural dysfunction will affect physiological function (World Health Organization, 2010). 

The four components of Osteopathy include bone, muscles, viscera (organs) & the Craniosacral system. The osteopathic principles believe in the body’s ability to heal itself.

Marieka Zimmerman, Holistic Therapist and RMT, registered massage therapist

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on method (generally no greater force then 5 grams of pressure), of evaluating and enhancing the functions of the craniosacral system: which is made up of the membranes, bones and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. With trauma or systemic problems, strains develop and accumulate in this vital system.


The trained hands of a CS Therapist can detect these strains and help resolve them, and assist your body to heal and return to a more balanced, pain free state of health. By complementing the body's natural healing process, CST is used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and its effectiveness for a wide range of issues, such as: Migraine & Tension Headaches, Chronic Neck and Back Pain, Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries, Chronic Fatigue, Emotional Difficulties, Stress and Tension-Related problems, Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), and much more.

Craniosacral & Osteopathic Treatment for Infants:

John Upledger DO, OMM wrote: “The inner wisdom of a fetus and an infant is every bit intelligent as that of an adult. It knows that its body needs to correct its dysfunctions. It knows why those dysfunctions are present. It has a softer voice than the adult inner wisdom, therefore, the Craniosacral Therapist must learn to listen more carefully. Once the connection is made, all the information you need will be forthcoming.”


Being born is one of the most stressful events we may ever experience. In some cases, such as with the use of vacuum or forceps, a long challenging delivery, or due to an elected or emergency Caesarian delivery, some of the strains on the babies skull remain. These gentle, non-invasive modalities help relieve tensions and improve function of the brain and nervous system. There is no force used during a treatment; the practitioner is there to assist the child’s own healing potential!!

Marieka Zimmerman, Holistic Therapist and RMT, registered massage therapist

It is often effective in treating issues such as: latch difficulties, sleep disturbances, colic, reflux, irritability, poor sleeping, and plagiocephaly (misshapen skull), to name a few. The central nervous system is responsible for integrating sensory information and responding accordingly, and in the Peripheral Nervous system neurons allow us to take in sensory information and send it to the brain and spinal cord as a relay.  CST will help balance the nervous system, which helps children with sensory processing, behavioural issues, sleep problems, etc. Plus as the child grows, any unresolved strains from birth may lead to issues later on such as difficulty sitting still, poor concentration affecting behaviour and learning skills, anxiety, night terrors, etc. They may also be more likely to suffer from ear infections, coughs, tonsillitis and colds. CST helps to boost the immune system, promotes healthy blood and nerve flow assisting in the healing process.

Marieka Zimmerman, Holistic Therapist and RMT, registered massage therapist

 Babies who are born with 'tongue-tie' or ‘lip-tie’ are unable to open their mouths wide enough or stick out their tongue far enough in order to latch properly for effective breast feeding. This can be very frustrating for baby, and painful for mom! It can be missed during a baby’s routine newborn check, but once found the most common treatment option is to have the tie cut - a quick, simple and almost painless procedure. Having a followup Craniosacral treatment will aid in releasing tight muscles where the tie restrictions were, and will allow the baby to retrain their tongue muscles, which is essential for proper latch, but also for other activities later in life such as licking an ice-cream cone! Sometimes restrictions in the bones of the palate may also contribute to latch issues even if no ties are present, so treatments in the mouth often are beneficial. CST may need to be repeated over a few sessions in order to have a good response and to maintain its effectiveness.

Click here for the research article “Efficacy of an Osteopathic Treatment coupled with Lactation Consultations for Infants’ Biomechanical Sucking Difficulites: A Randomized Controlled Trial”. 

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