Cranial sacral therapy (also known as craniosacral therapy or CST) is a form of complementary therapy in which the practitioner uses therapeutic touch to manipulate the tiny movements of the bones of the skull (cranial bones) and the triangular bone at the base of the spinal column (sacrum). These bones are considered to move minutely on their own to a rhythm dictated by arterial pressure and spinal fluid pressure.
The concept behind cranial sacral therapy is that these tiny movements can be controlled by a skilled practitioner, leading to positive mental and physical health benefits such as relaxation, deepening of self and body awareness, increased energy and feeling more in touch with emotions. CST is also useful in the treatment of ongoing health issues such as back pain and recurring headaches.
As with any other complementary therapy, the results are only as good as the practitioner carrying out the treatment. Additionally, there can be risks associated with any kind of therapy if it is not carried out safely and correctly. With cranial sacral therapy, studies have shown that the main risk occurs in people with existing head injuries. A good, well trained practitioner will be able to identify these patients during the initial consultation, and will advise their patient accordingly. Certification is a vital tool to help patients identify these practitioners, and therefore choose someone suitable.
There are a number of institutes and organisations all over the world who offer specific training and certification in craniosacral therapy. Most of these require previous knowledge, training and qualifications in subjects such as anatomy and physiology. In order to become a successful CST practitioner, it is vital to have both general anatomical knowledge and the specialised knowledge that you will acquire during the certification process.
In order to become certified, you will need to complete both theoretical and practical training. You will be expected to keep a portfolio of case studies proving both your knowledge of theory and your understanding of its practical application. For further information regarding schools that run accredited certification courses in the UK, please visit: www.craniosacral.co.uk/training
The first stop for practitioners and patients is the Craniosacral Therapy Association of the UK. Their website is located at www.craniosacral.co.uk/training and they can be contacted for further information by telephone, post or online via a web form. As well as information about the practice of CST, the Association also directs visitors towards further reading that they may find useful, and offers a directory of certified practitioners.
If you are approaching the world of practising craniosacral therapy with no prior knowledge, you will also find it useful to look for further information on general anatomy and physiology of the head, neck and spine. Information on this subject is widely available. It is recommended that you look for reliable sources such as medical reference books and websites, and training providers with appropriate credentials.