Craniosacral Research Blog
A 2016 study using the Upledger Institute 10-step craniosacral protocol Version 1 on 49 participants with cervicogenic headaches who meet the Cervicogenic Headache International Study Group diagnostic criteria for CGH. Over the course of three weeks each participant received 9 sessions. “SPSS statistical software (version 10.0) was used for all the analyses. Correlation analysis was used to verify the relationships of the HIT-6 score with headache features and disability from the headache diary. A probability value of <0.01 was considered statistically significant. During the diary recording period of 3 weeks, 49 subjects of the study contributed 121 diary entries of headache. The demographic data shows that females comprised 71% of the participants. Headache-related disability was present 3.4±4.1 days during the 3-week period. The average of the HIT-6 score pre- treatment was 67.6±7.8 points and post- treatment was 42.7±3.6. The Correlation analysis of the frequency of headache attacks and duration of disability according to the headache diary significantly correlated with the severity of headache-related disability at each attack.” The study concludes that craniosacral therapy is effective in the treatment of cervicogenic headache.
Research: Rao K, Khatri S (2017) Effectiveness of Craniosacral Therapy in Cervicogenic Headache. MOJ Yoga Physical Ther 2(4): 00031.
CranioSacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulation: A New Treatment Intervention for Concussion Recovery
A 2014-2015 single-blinded case series conducted at the Upledger Institute with 11 male retired professional football players medically diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. Each participant received a 2-hour session in the morning and in the afternoon of CranioSacral Therapy (CST), Visceral Manipulation (VM), and Neural Manipulation (NM) for five days. Results: “Statistically significant differences were seen with a decrease in overall pain rating scale scores (P = 0.0448), and cervicogenic pain levels decreased (P = 0.0486). There were statistically significant increases in Dynavision Average Reaction Time (P=0.0332), Memory Test (P=0.0156) scores, and cervical ROM scores (P = 0.0377). Hours of sleep averaged 2 hours on the first day of treatment and increased to 4.0 hours at the end of treatment and were continuing to increase, as noted at a 3-month evaluation. Conclusions: Ten sessions of specific CST/VM/NM therapy resulted in statistically greater improvements in pain intensity, ROM, memory, cognition, and sleep in concussed patients.”
Research: Wetzler Gail, Roland Melinda, Fryer-Dietz Sally, and Dettmann-Ahern Dee. “CranioSacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulation: A New Treatment Intervention for Concussion Recovery.” Medical Acupuncture. August 2017, 29(4): 239-248.
A 2015 case study showing how biodynamic craniosacral therapy aided a 53-year-old man with arthritis who developed knee pain during his 30 years of being a server in restaurants. The pain scale (1-10) was used after every session to evaluate treatment efficacy using eight different categories: knee pain, knee tension, knee flexibility, difficulty climbing the stairs, leg tension, leg fatigue, right ankle pain, general body fatigue. The first four sessions were held one week apart, and in all categories pain was reduced from 8-10/10 to 1-2/10. Three weeks passed between the 4th and 5th session. The only symptom that had returned to 8-10/10 was knee pain. By the 10th session all evaluation categories were a 0/10 on the pain scale. Conclusion states (translated from French) “Although the results are confined to a single case, observations and the data obtained by Mr. Otero demonstrate that improvements after sessions can persist for two weeks. A three week pause between sessions may lead to a “relapse” for knee pain, as can be seen in the chart. In the light of the information gathered by Mr. Otero, great progress can be observed for all tested variables after 10 sessions. This leads him to believe that weekly sessions of biodynamic craniosacral therapy can help to improve the health condition of people with arthritis. At the time of printing this article, Mr. Otero’s client continued to be treated. Thus, 3 months after this case study, the latter may go a whole month without knee pain, and since the initial sessions, no longer feels any pain in his right ankle. This therapeutic avenue, therefore, deserves to be explored!”
Case Study: Zennaf, S. Une étude de cas prometteuse!. Le Massager. 2015; November;16-18.
General Movements in preterm infants undergoing craniosacral therapy: a randomised controlled pilot-trial
A 2016 study “to investigate neurological short-term effects of craniosacral therapy as an ideal form of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) due to the soft kinaesthetic stimulation. Included were 30 preterm infants, with a gestational age between 25 and 33 weeks, who were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit of the University Hospital of Graz, Austria. The infants were randomized either into the intervention group (IG) which received standardised craniosacral therapy, or the control group (CG) which received standard care. To guarantee that only preterm infants with subsequent normal neurodevelopment were included, follow up was done regularly at the corrected age (= actual age in weeks minus weeks premature) of 12 and 24 months. After 2 years 5 infants had to be excluded (IG; n = 12; CG: n = 13).”
Study concludes “We were able to indicate that a group of “healthy” preterm infants undergoing an intervention with craniosacral therapy (IG) showed no significant changes in GMs compared to preterm infants without intervention (CG). In view of the fact that the global GMA (primary outcome) showed no difference between groups and the GMOS (detailed GMA-secondary outcome) did not deteriorate in the IG, craniosacral therapy seems to be safe in preterm infants.”
Research: Wolfgang Raith et al. “General Movements in preterm infants undergoing craniosacral therapy: a randomised controlled pilot-trial.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. January 2016, 16:12.
Benefits of Craniosacral Therapy in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial
A 2016 A single-blinded randomized controlled trial consisting of sixty-four patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain. Results show: “No statistically significant differences were seen between groups for the main outcome of the study, the RMQ (p = 0.060). However, patients receiving craniosacral therapy experienced greater improvement in pain intensity (p ≤ 0.008), hemoglobin oxygen saturation (p ≤ 0.028), and systolic blood pressure (p ≤ 0.029) at immediate- and medium-term and serum potassium (p = 0.023) level and magnesium (p = 0.012) at short-term than those receiving classic massage….Ten sessions of craniosacral therapy resulted in a statistically greater improvement in pain intensity, hemoglobin oxygen saturation, systolic blood pressure, serum potassium, and magnesium level than did 10 sessions of classic massage in patients with low back pain.”
Research: Castro-Sánchez Adelaida María, Lara-Palomo Inmaculada Carmen, Matarán-Peñarrocha Guillermo A., Saavedra-Hernández Manuel, Pérez-Mármol José Manuel, and Aguilar-Ferrándiz María Encarnación. “Benefits of Craniosacral Therapy in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. August 2016, 22(8): 650-657.
The use of CranioSacral therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorders: Benefits from the viewpoints of parents, clients, and therapists
A 2016 preliminary study consisting of online questionnaire survey completed by 405 participants assessing craniosacral as a form of treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Conclusion determines “This preliminary study introduces the concept of CranioSacral Therapy as a treatment option for symptoms associated with ASD. Its clinical use has been available for three decades but few empirical studies exist. The results of the survey suggest that CST is already being professionally recommended as a treatment. This study found that there were positive responses observed by all 3 targeted groups leading to the authors concluding that there is worthy cause to further investigate how CST benefits Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).”
Research: Kratz, Susan Vaughan et al. The use of CranioSacral therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorders: Benefits from the viewpoints of parents, clients, and therapists. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. June 2016, 0(0). Available online: http://www.bodyworkmovementtherapies.com/article/S1360-8592(16)30098-5/fulltext
A 2012-2013 randomized controlled clinical trial with a parallel-group design and 3 months of follow-up observation of 54 blinded patients were randomized into either 8 weekly units of CST or light-touch sham treatment to assess the effectiveness of craniosacral therapy in treating chronic neck pain. Findings: “CST was shown to be specifically effective and safe in reducing neck pain intensity and may improve the functional disability and the quality of life up to 3 months after the intervention. Particularly in chronic and recurrent neck pain, CST may be a worthwhile treatment option in addition to standard medical care. Further studies with rigorous methodological designs and long-term follow ups are needed to confirm CST efficacy in neck pain treatment.”
Research: Heidemarie Haller, Romy Lauche, w Holger Cramer, Thomas Rampp, Felix J. Saha, Thomas Ostermann, z and Gustav Dobos. “Craniosacral Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Neck Pain A Randomized Sham-controlled Trial.” Clin J Pain 32.5 (2016): 441-449.
The comparison of the therapeutic massage with the craniosacral method in treating the pain syndrome of the cranial part of the spine
A 2013-2014 randomized trial with two groups of twenty subjects experiencing cervical pain meant to determine if classical massage, craniosacral therapy and/or the two modalities combined help decrease cervical pain. Findings: “On the basis of conducted research, the following conclusions have been drawn: 1. Classical massage is an effective and valuable method of curing pain ailments of the cervical part of the spine. 2. The craniosacral therapy is an effective, non-invasive method of curing pain ailments of the area of the neck. 3. The craniosacral therapy, with its only 100 years of history, can be used equally well together with the classical massage known and valued for thousands of years to cure pain ailments of the neck. The patients evaluated the applied method positively. They felt better and the pain ailments were lesser. The other group – the research one – the improvement of health was greater. The fact suggests a more effective influence of the cranial-sacral therapy than the classical massage in case of pain ailments of the cervical part of the spine.”
Research: Miszewski Waldemar, Miszewska Agnieszka, Śniegocki Maciej, Siedlecki Zygmunt, Grzyb Sebastian, Siminska Joanna, Pietkun Katarzyna, Głowacka Iwona, Nowacka Krystyna, Hagner Wojciech. The comparison of the therapeutic massage with the craniosacral method in treating the pain syndrome of the cranial part of the spine. Journal of Education, Health and Sport. 2016;6(4):249-270.
A 2006-2007 study with 30 participants, 27 adults and 3 children between the ages of 8 and 14. “The patients presented with pain [(26) 86.7 % ]; depression [(2) 6%]; anxiety [(1) 3.3 % ] and depression +anxiety in [(1) 3.3 % ]. There was complete recovery in 10 (33.3%) cases; 75 % recovery in 7 cases (23.5%) and recovery between 50 to 75 % in 11 cases (36.6% ). 1 patient (3.3 %) showed recovery less than 50 % and 1 patient did not show any improvement. It was concluded that craniosacral therapy reduces the pain and is helpful in anxiety and depression.”
Research: Singh M, Ahluwalia C. “Pathophysiology of Energy Medicine with Special Reference to Craniosacral Interventions.” Delhi Business Review, 2015 16(1),109-118.
A 2015 study with participants between the ages of 17 and 25 that “aimed to assess the effectiveness of biodynamic craniosacral therapy as an adjunctive method for emerging adults with autism…. The group was administered 30 therapeutic sessions on a regular interval of time. The study uses a pre-test, mid- evaluation and post-test design to understand the significant improvement on the overall characteristics and domains such as language, sociability, sensory/cognitive awareness and physical health.
However, the results indicated that there was a significant difference obtained within the group in terms of their improvement from the pretest to posttest in the social skills, speech and cognitive awareness, with no significant improvement in physical behavior. From these findings, it is observed that biodynamic craniosacral therapy has contributed towards the improvement of the autism characteristics of the sample to a significant degree. The study tried to explain the possible reasons for the present findings and suggested what could be incorporated for the effectiveness of the self-healing body mechanism.”
Research: PriyankaM B. “Effectiveness of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy on Emerging Adults with Autism.” International Journal of Physical and Social Sciences, 2015 5(7),68-80; Published online 30 December 2015.
Links and Resources
The most comprehensive online platform of craniosacral research to date right now is: http://www.craniosacral.co.uk/research. The intention of this blog is to expand on what this UK craniosacral site has already begun.
If you know of craniosacral research or case studies that are not listed on this blog, please contact us with that information so that we may post it: [email protected].
These are links to other sites that list research available on craniosacral therapy:
These are online social media groups that share information about craniosacral therapy: