Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (RCST®)

What is Craniosacral Therapy?                                           Call for specific questions:250-306-9283

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is an exceptionally gentle yet extremely powerful form of treatment providing therapeutic effects for minor aches and pains to severe and persistent chronic health problems. CST reduces restrictions within the central nervous system (CNS) that allows your body’s own natural healing mechanism to transform the negative effects of stress back into health within your body.

CST focuses on optimizing the bones that make up the cranium, vertebra, sacrum, coccyx, iliac crests and ribs. It helps to normalize the position and function of the central nervous system (CNS), the brain and spinal cord, cerebral spinal fluid and the system of membranes inside the cranium.

It is proven to be beneficial for chronic pain relief and injury rehabilitation as well as many other physiological disturbances. It does this by normalizing the space in which the CNS lies, which can decrease the tension pulls on the rest of the body from within.

CST is also documented to be highly effective in PTSD patients by helping the return of mental clarity, decreasing stress, encouraging an abundance of energy after life-crisis, and helping to alleviate chronic depression. It does so by releasing restrictions in the CNS and enable it to perform at peak capacity. This allows the nervous system to regulate the proper hormones, wake/sleep cycles, and allow the body to come back to homeostasis.

CST is also sought out by those who are perfectly healthy, as a meditative and calming experience as it helps improve overall wellbeing.

CST is an alternative therapy used throughout Canada, the United States, and the UK by many occupational therapists, physiotherapists, massage therapists, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors and dentists. Craniosacral therapy is based on Osteopathy in the Cranial Field, which was developed in 1899 by William Garner Sutherland and further developed by many other Osteopaths and other health care practitioners.

What is the anatomy of the CS system?

The CS system consists of the brain,  spinal cord,  connective tissue that surrounds the entire central nervous system (CNS), the fluid that wraps around the brain and spinal cord, and the membranes within the cranium. It extends from the bones of the skull (the cranium), down to near the tailbone area (the sacrum). Since the CS system influences the development and performance of the brain and spinal cord, any imbalance or restriction in the CS system could potentially cause any number of sensory, motor or neurological disturbances.

CS work is a gentle technique that helps re-establish the proper flow of cerebral spinal fluid throughout the brain and spinal cord. The Dura is connective tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) fills the Dural Tube. It cushions our brain and spinal cord as a shock absorber, transports waste material to be recycled, and brings nourishment to our nerves. When a restriction or blockage occurs in the CNS, the flow of nourishment can be impaired which in turn can affect the optimal performance of nerves and the organs and body parts they innervate.

How does CST work?

Like the pulse of the cardiovascular system and respiratory system, the CS system has a rhythm that can be felt throughout the body.

The mechanical approach: Using a touch, generally no heavier than a nickel, a skilled practitioner can monitor this rhythm throughout the body to pinpoint the source of restrictions, imbalances, adhesions or stress. The therapist gently encourages the body into restoring its natural CS rhythm by releasing fascial restrictions in the diaphragms so that the hydraulic force of the fluid can flow in synchronization between the cranium (the head) and the sacrum (the bottom of the spine).

The biodynamic approach: Using a gentle touch, a skilled practitioner can monitor the many rhythms and tides moving throughout the body to find the health and vitality in the system. By focusing on what is working well in the body, the practitioner typically looks for an encourages the forces of health to set the priorities of the session and to bring about natural adjustments from within the body’s own resources. It is hallmarked by a strong interest in the holism of the human experience.

What are the benefits of CST?

  • Helps relieve headaches
  • Helps relieve insomnia
  • Decreases symptoms of acute and chronic muscle strains
  • Decreases symptoms of degenerative arthritis
  • Decreases symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Decreases symptoms of nerve pain
  • Decreases symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Improves symptoms of auto immune disease
  • Helps decrease symptoms of autistic behaviour in children
  • Decreases symptoms of anxiety
  • Helps relieve headaches
  • Decreases tinnitus, ringing in the ear
  • Decreases symptoms of acute and chronic muscle strains; pain relief
  • Decreases symptoms of degenerative arthritis and nerve pain
  • Decreases symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Helps with insomnia; getting a better night sleep
  • Decrease symptoms of autistic behaviour in children by calming the nervous system & decreasing anxiety
  • Enhances the body’s self-defence mechanism against pathogens, improves symptoms of auto immune disease
  • Increases fluid exchange between physiological compartments
  • Increased blood flow to the brain
  • Helps to lower fevers
  • Reduces sympathetic tone in the body, decreases muscle tension
  • Decreases feelings of stress and increase a deep state of relaxation
  • Gives an overall sense of well-being

How long is a typical session?

60 minutes is the most common session length and is needed as a minimum for the initial assessment.  Later, sessions can be booked for 45 minutes, 60 minutes or 90 minutes.

We generally recommend longer treatment times as it gives your nervous system time to relax and sink into the treatment. Your session includes time for assessment, hands-on treatment and home-care education.

How is CST performed?

CST is performed on a fully clothed body. We ask that you wear comfortable pants (with no belt) and a warm shirt.

Craniosacral sessions involves the practitioner placing their hands on the patient, which allows them to “tune into the craniosacral rhythm”. The practitioner then uses delicate manual techniques to release restrictions and relieve undue pressure on the brain and spinal cord. When the CNS is free of restrictions, the body is more able to return to its highest levels of health.

What will CST feel like?

People’s experience of CS sessions vary a lot. Although the touch is very light, some people feel large releases happening deep within their bodies. Girgling noises from your stomach and small muscle twitches are very common. There may be sensations of your body moving through space or rocking. If any sensations become overwhelming, by simply opening your eyes you can adjust your perceptual awareness and that usually eases the senses. You can also let your therapist know if you would like to stop the session at any time.

Sometimes people feel the changes taking place within their tissues while the session is happening, and other times people feel a shift gradually occur over a period of the next few days.

Sometimes a small amount of discomfort arises during the release of tissue restrictions. As long as it is within your comfort zone, your practitioner will likely encourage you to breathe and stay with the felt senses of what you are experiencing.
At times, your practitioner may verbally take you through an awareness exercise within your body. This can help you to get out of your thought processes and into the ‘felt senses’ within your body.
For the most part, craniosacral sessions are very relaxing and people often fall asleep during their sessions. It has been said from many clients that they go into a ‘meditative state’ during the treatment and can feel a lot of ‘processing’ going on within their bodies.

What should I expect afterwards?

Once again, people’s experience of CS sessions vary a lot. Some people feel relaxed, rejuvenated and energized as though they just woke up from a deeply rested sleep. Other times people feel as though they are exhausted and need to go home and sleep for a long time. It is optimal to book your CS session for a time when you do not have a lot of things to do afterwards. Having the ability of going home to hydrate and rest is usually most beneficial.

How many sessions are needed?

The number of sessions needed for each person varies. Deciding factors will depend on how long a person has had an issue, their age, and present health. While some people may feel that significant progress is made after the initial session, for some it may take 3-4 sessions before they begin to feel the benefits happening throughout their body.

Note: Normally once the restrictions have been released, they will not return because the CS system deals with the source. However, if a client continues to do what caused the problem to begin with (repetitive use), then more restrictions will eventually reform. A client may find it beneficial to come in more often in these circumstances. Repetitive use syndromes (such as work related issues and athletes) may find this to be the case. They may enter a maintenance program which will require less frequent but continuous visits to clear out new and repetitive injuries.

When would a Craniosacral treatment be indicated?

Craniosacral sessions are best suited for maintenance of wellness and stress reduction. It is beneficial for acute, sub-acute and chronic pain.

Some conditions which Craniosacral work can assist are:

  • Autism
  • Birth Traumas
  • Chronic Depression
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Chronic Pain
  • Constipation
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Digestive Disorders
  • Dyslexia
  • Edema
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Headaches
  • Herniated Discs
  • Impingement Syndrome
  • Inflammation of the nerves
  • Insomnia
  • Low Back Pain
  • Lupus
  • Menstrual Cramping
  • Migraines
  • Muscle Tension
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Nightmares
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Personality Disturbances
  • Postural Deformities
  • PTSD
  • Raynaud’s Disease
  • Scars
  • Sciatica
  • Scoliosis
  • Stress Related Disorders
  • Tinnitus
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • TMJ Dysfunction
  • Vertigo
  • Whiplash

CST is also sought out by those who are perfectly healthy, as a meditative and calming experience as it helps improve overall well-being. Clients benefit from better overall health and resistance to dis-ease by receiving regular treatments for maintenance.

How can CST help me?

In general, everyone has some restrictions that exist. We may have acquired restrictions through our birth process, impacts to our body, surgery, stress, or daily living without ever noticing it during the actual event. CST can help restore health, improve nutrient circulation and aid in the removal of waste products and toxins as the cerebral spinal fluid moves throughout the Dural Tube. Once the membrane restrictions are alleviated, improvements in overall well-being result.

What happens after the first appointment?

Generally, clients will receive a “10 step protocol” during their first session at the clinic. This protocol is designed to give a full body assessment of the Craniosacral System, and treats the tension membranes, joints of the hips, spine and head. At your following sessions we will be spending the majority of the time treating the specific areas of concern. The places where your body is holding restrictions may or may not be where you are feeling the symptoms.

What are the benefits to the “10-Step Protocol” techniques?

Frontal Lift is used to release the sutures of the frontal bone and the anterior/posterior Falx Cerebri and Falx Cerebelli. Indications for this procedure include; headaches/migraines, sinus problems, CP, Frontal accidents (falls, mva), decreased smell or taste.

Parietal Lift is used to release the temporal-parietal suture and the superior/inferior aspect of the Falx Cerebri and Falx Cerebelli. Indications for this procedure include headaches/migraines, Transient Ischemia Attacks (mini strokes), general motor problems, general sensory problems, and/or forceps/suction delivery problems.

Sphenoid Compression/Decompression mobilizes the horizontal membrane system so it may affect vision by affecting nerves related to vision; lazy eye, etc. Indications are for headaches, endocrine dysfunctions, depression, macular degeneration, glaucoma, neck/low back aches, scoliosis, TMJD, Autism, and Seizures.

Temporal Ear Pull is used to release the lateral aspect of the Tentorium Cerebelli. Indications for this procedure include; Headache/Migraines, Learning Difficulties Dyslexia – Letters – right temporal bone Dyscalilia – Numbers – Left Temporal Bone, Hearing impairments, Tinnitus, Balance Disorder, Dizziness, Ear Infections, TMJ, Seizure disorders, jugular foramen, eye motor problems, Neuralgia; Bells Palsy, Trigeminal Nerve issues.

TMJ Compression/Decompression is used to release the soft tissue aspects of the TMJ that can affect the extracranial aspects of posture/biomechanical imbalance, and facial restrictions. It also affects intercranially by affecting temporal bone alignments. Indications for this procedure include; headaches, whiplash, tempomandibluar dysfunctions, post- dental work.

OCB Release releases the tension between the base of the skull and the spine. It also mobilizes the dural tube from the cranium. Indications: pain, spasms after a motor vehicle accident, heart arrhythmia, stress related issues (parasympathetic control issues) Contraindications; recent (unhealed) fractures of C1, C2, and Children under 8 years old. Cautions are RA and Downs syndrome.

Rock and Glide helps to decrease the restrictions along the Dura. Indications: headaches, scoliosis. Cautions: post disk surgery (create Dural Sleeve restrictions which can create radiating pain symptoms).

What are the general contraindications?

There are only a few CST contraindications to the more directly contacting CST techniques; Acute CVA (stroke), Recent open cavity head wound, hemorrhage, Epidural leaks (wait 24 hours after epidurals), unhealed fractures to the vertebrae, and brain stem herniation.

What is a still point?

A still point is a natural, therapeutic event which causes the nervous system to rebalance. It is an interruption of craniosacral rhythm which allows the system to reorganize its activity for more optimal effect on the body. Still points help facilitate the release of restrictions in the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. This causes a momentary buildup of fluid in the system. When the tissues are subsequently released and the fluid begins to flow again, it gently “flushes” the system, causing the membranes to stretch and release tissue restrictions or adhesions.

What are the benefits of a still point?

  • Decreases feelings of stress and increase a deep state of relaxation
  • Enhances fluid exchange between physiological compartments
  • Enhances the body’s self-defense mechanism against pathogens
  • Headache and muscle pain relief
  • Increased blood flow to the brain
  • Lowers fever
  • Reduced state of stress
  • Reduces sympathetic tone in the body
  • Sense of well-being
  • Helps balance the symmetry of the craniosacral system and corrects many restrictions in the system

What are still point inducers?


A Still Point can occur spontaneously or it can be induced by a practitioner. It can also be induced by a client at home with a Still Point Inducer which is a tool that is placed under the base of the skull while laying on your back.

How do I use a still point inducer?

Still Points can also be self-induced using either a homemade tool (two tennis balls placed in an athletic sock and knotted at the end), or a simple device called the Still Point Inducer.

Simply choose a comfortable surface (sofa, bed or floor) and lie on your back. Place the Still Point Inducer under your head, in line with your ears, and allow the weight of your head to rest on it. Then close your eyes and relax for 10 to 20 minutes. A Still Point Inducer can be used by most people up to 4 times a day. 


Important! Do not use if you have or have had any of the following:


  • Acute skull fracture
  • Acute stages of stroke or head injury
  • Cerebral aneurism
  • Brain hemorrhaging
  • Brain stem tumour
  • Internal bleeding in the head
  • Open head cavity wound
  • Any other conditions in which fluid pressure changes within the skull could be detrimental

I didn’t feel much; why not?

Some people may not “feel” very much in the way of physical contact during a session, however, profound effects may be perceived during or after as session as changes occur and the body rebalances itself. This is because the body tends to accept very weak forces and polarize against strong forces as a protection mechanism. CranioSacral Therapy uses very light subtle forces in order to affect positive changes that allow the body to rebalance to a healthier state.

Does insurance cover CST?

The majority of extended healthcare plans cover Registered Massage Therapy (RMT) treatments. Craniosacral treatments are under the umbrella of techniques practiced by RMTs. Therefore, if you have Massage Therapy coverage and a RMT is providing your Craniosacral treatment, it is covered.
* Full payment is required on the date your treatment is provided. You can then submit your receipt to your health insurer for reimbursement. Please contact your insurance provider to see what the specific details of your coverage are.
*Note: Did you know that any Massage Therapy receipts that will not be reimbursed by a third party insurer can be used on your personal income tax return as a medical expense?

Do you sell gift certificates?

Yes! Gift Certificates are available by appointment only. They can be picked up in person at our downtown location, 3410 31st Ave Vernon BC V1T 7L3 (beside Fine Kettle ‘O’ Fish).

For specific questions, Email one of our Craniosacral Therapists:
Courtney Barnes –
Agnes Hombach –
Katherine Reiber –
Or Contact 250-306-9283