Craniosacral Therapy

What Is Craniosacral Therapy?


Craniosacral Therapy is a very gentle, light touch technique that works to release restrictions in the fascia (the connective tissue that organizes the tissues and organs in our bodies) and craniosacral system (the fluid and membranes that nourish and protect the brain and spinal cord) to promote optimal functioning and reduced pain.

There are different schools of Craniosacral Therapy. At Whole Family Health, our practitioner is trained in Upledger Craniosacral Therapy, the school of teaching founded by Dr. John Upledger, the doctor of Osteopathic Medicine who first noticed the craniosacral rhythm during surgery and later discovered that he could palpate the craniosacral rhythm from anywhere in the body. He realized that restrictions in the craniosacral system could affect the nervous system, which regulates all body systems, and he designed many of the techniques that we use today to find and resolve these restrictions. Upledger Craniosacral Therapy is firmly rooted in physical anatomy, but the effects of the treatments can go far beyond, often affecting patients not only on a physical level, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Who Can Receive Craniosacral Therapy?

Anyone of any age can receive craniosacral therapy treatment, but only therapists with specialized training can work with children under 10 years of age. Because of the immaturity of the skeletal system and bone structure, techniques need to be modified for children in this age group. That said, when this treatment is provided to infants and children by someone trained in pediatric craniosacral therapy, the results can be highly beneficial, from better sleep quality, digestive and immune function in otherwise healthy children, to improved cognitive and behavioural functioning in children with autism, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, sensory processing issues and other neurological concerns.

Craniosacral Therapy is also beneficial and safe for pregnant women and women trying to conceive, and there is some evidence and lots of clinical experience that suggest that manual therapies, such as craniosacral therapy, can be beneficial in promoting conception in women with fertility challenges1 through improved blood flow to, and enhanced lymph drainage of, the reproductive organs.

There are very few contraindications to craniosacral therapy treatment, but if you have recently undergone brain or spinal cord surgery, or recently suffered from hemorrhagic stroke or aneurism, for example, your therapist will want to confirm with your medical doctor that your condition has stabilized adequately before starting with treatment. If you have any questions about whether or not craniosacral therapy would be right for you, please contact us.

What Kind of Conditions Can Benefit From Craniosacral Therapy?

Clinical experience of therapists has shown Upledger Craniosacral Therapy to be effective for a wide variety of conditions, including, but not limited to:

  • unsettled babies
  • sensory processing disorders
  • learning disorders
  • autism
  • attention deficit disorders
  • central nervous system disorders
  • traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
  • post-traumatic stress disorders
  • post-surgical dysfunctions

Research into Upledger Craniosacral Therapy has revealed evidence of its value in the treatment of headache and migraine2,3, asthma4, fibromyalgia5, infertility1 and anxiety4,5.

Who Provides Craniosacral Therapy Treatment at Whole Family Health?

Genevieve Boyer is a registered acupuncturist at Whole Family Health who also practices craniosacral therapy. She is trained in craniosacral therapy and somatoemotional release for adults as well as infants and children through Upledger Institute International. Craniosacral therapy can be integrated into an acupuncture treatment session or can be done as a stand-alone treatment.

To find out more about Genevieve, you can read about her here!

To view Genevieve’s International Association of Healthcare Providers practitioner profile visit


  1. Kramp, ME. 2012. Combined Manual Therapy Techniques for the Treatment of Women with Infertility: A Case Series. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association; 112(10):680
  2. Arnadottir, TS and Sigurdardottir, AK. 2012. Is craniosacral therapy effective for migraine? Tested with HIT-6 Questionnaire. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
  3. Harrison, RE and Page, JS. 2011. Multipractitioner Upledger Craniosacral Therapy: Descriptive Outcome Study 2007–2008. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine; 17(1): 13
  4. Mehl-Madrona, L., et al. 2007. The Impact of Acupuncture and Craniosacral Therapy Interventions on Clinical Outcomes in Adults with Asthma. Explore; 3(1):28
  5. Mataran-Penarrocha, GA et al. 2009. Influence of Craniosacral Therapy on Anxiety, Depression and Quality of Life in Patients with Fibromyalgia. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.