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Defining Craniosacral Treatment for Today’s Clients

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

Some time ago my teenage son flippantly described my work as “massaging people’s brains”! His observation, which was based on first-hand experience of treatment, gave us something to chuckle over together while I pondered the possibility that I would be defining how I work as a CST practitioner for many years to come. Today, what has become clear to me is that the range of people asking for CST is widening. This brings with it various interpretations of how treatment is received and therefore how we might think about defining CST.


Reflecting back to another occasion in clinic, I recall a new client who confessed he had not heard of CST, and had only booked in on the suggestion of the receptionist. He only hoped that I could ease the pain in his shoulder. At the end of a subsequent session, he rhetorically revealed, “Well, this is magic – don’t you think, what else can it be – the pain in my arm has gone!” He would go on to book more sessions as he recognised that the consultation involved his emotional wellbeing too, which he realised he wanted to explore as well as being treated for his shoulder pain. Does this sound familiar?

This reminds me of a line in Hugh Milne’s book Heart Of Listening in which rolfer Richard Stratman says that following treatment, clients may want: “more of that. They may not be sure what ‘it’ is, they just know they want to do it again.”

As a CST practitioner, I am often called upon to explain to clients this profound, yet seemingly simple form of therapy – whether it’s for someone displaying anxiety, trauma or hormonal imbalances. Some of us may choose to focus on explanations of patterns we find in a client’s central nervous system, cranial bones and depth of breathing. Alternatively we may find it more appropriate to explain the fluids and focus of their physical, mental and emotional presentation as well as tidal aspects of CST work. Equally, some therapists prefer a more spiritual approach to communicate the CST process, assisting a client’s self-awareness and path to healing.