History of Cranial Sacral (CranioSacral) Therapy

Craniosacral therapy was developed in 1970 by a Michigan State University biomechanics professor, Dr. John Upledger, D.O. (Osteopathic Physician), after observing the rhythmic movement of cranium sacrum during a neck surgery in which he was assisting. He became curious and researched the theory of Dr. William Sutherland, the father of cranial osteopathy that the bones of the skull were structured to allow for movement. From 1975 to 1983, Dr. Upledger and a neurophysiologist and histologist, Ernest W. Retzlaff, assembled a research team to investigate the alleged rhythm and to study Dr. Sutherland's theory of cranial bone movement. Dr. Upledger and Retzlaff published their results supporting both concepts: cranial bone movement and cranial rhythm. However his colleagues and medical texts could not explain his discovery. Dr. Upledger’s continued work in the field ultimately resulted in his development of CranioSacral Therapy.

Today, Practitioners of Craniosacral Therapy state that there are small, rhythmic motions of the cranial bones attributed to cerebrospinal fluid pressure or arterial pressure. The premise of CST is that palpation of the cranium can be used to detect this rhythmic movement of the cranial bones and selective pressures may be used to manipulate the cranial bones to achieve a therapeutic result. However, the degree of mobility and compliance of the cranial bones is considered controversial.

Benefits of Cranial Sacral Therapy

CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction including:

      >  Constipation
      >  Irritable Bowel Syndrome
      >  Seizures
      >  Scoliosis
      >  Migraine Headaches
      >  Disturbed Sleep Cycles
      >  Asthma
      >  Neck Pain
      >  Sinus Infections
      >  TMJ syndrome
      >  Ménière's disease
      >  Ear Problems
      >  Learning Disabilities in children such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
      >  Birth Trauma
      >  Head Trauma
      >  Stress and Tension

There are few reports of adverse events from CST treatment. In one study of craniosacral manipulation in patients with traumatic brain syndrome, the incidence of adverse effects from treatment was 5%.

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The therapist lightly touches the client's body, and focuses intently on the communicated movements. The weight of the therapist's touch is said to be a weight of a nickel. The Cranial Sacral therapist "uses their hands to gently free up restrictions in the movement of cranial bones and associated soft tissues and to stimulate the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid, which bathes all the surfaces of the brain and the spinal cord

Patients often report feelings of deep relaxation during and after the treatment session, and may feel light-headed. While sometimes thought to be caused by an increase in endorphins, research shows the effects may actually be brought about by the endocannabinoid system." [2]

How Cranial Sacral Therapy Works

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What is Cranial Sacral Therapy?

Craniosacral Therapy (CST), or Cranial-Sacral Therapy, is a form of bodywork or alternative therapy that uses a light, gentle touch of the hands to manipulate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium (head). It stimulates healing by using gentle hand pressure to manipulate the skeleton and connective tissues, especially the skull and sacrum. The name Cranial Sacral (or CranioSacral) comes from the word, cranium which are the bones of the skull and sacrum, the tailbone.

Distinct Touch and Cranial Sacral Therapy

​Dr Olivia Valenzuela (BD, DNM) uses Cranial Sacral Therapy to treat certain physical conditions. Our experience and training allows us to determine the suitability of using CST given your particular physical issues and certain success parameters. Call or  schedule an appointment online today at (719) 471-3535 Colorado Springs or (303)463-3306 Arvada.  We will first evaluate your condition and discuss what is needed for your situation.



  1. Wikipedia author unknown, (2014, November 4). Craniosacral Therapy. (Wikipedia Foundation, Inc.) Retrieved November 13, 2014, from   Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craniosacral_therapy
  2. Upledger, John Matthew, (2011). What is CranioSacral Therapy? (Upledger Institute) Retrieved November 11, 2014, from Upledger.com: http://www.upledger.com/content.asp?id=61
  3. Weil M. D., Dr. Andrew, (2014). What is CranioSacral Therapy? (Weil Lifestyle, LLC) Retrieved November 11, 2014, from drweil.com:  http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03223/Cranial-Osteopathy-Craniosacral-Therapy.html

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How To Prepare for Your Massage Therapy


Distinct Touch recommends:

Drink at least 40 oz. of water before your appointment.

Shower or bathe as usual beforehand but avoid applying lotion to the area being massaged.

We may apply essential oils. For maximum effect, please leave these oils on overnight.