Craniosacral Therapy (CST) | Autism PDD


hi everyone! I have been trained in CST and have been very impressed by its potential in improving our general health, and more so with its treatments for people with disabilities. I am an educational psychologist and have used many of the approaches used such as PECS, TEACCH, RDI etc. although thses have been successful in helping persons with ASD cope better in life,these are strategies that work on the 'outside'. CST works from the 'inside'. It facilitates the re-balance of one's physiological systems through very light touch. It really seemed like hocus-pocus to a skeptic like me at first. But when i saw it work, during the hands-on workshop, and was also able to personally effect some changes on the bodies of others, I was hooked. It is very gentle, non-invasive, very relaxing! A lot of the work uses energy, (not brute force) but the energy that exists all around us. Go to the website on Upledger institute and read more about it. This is really a good thing that should not be discounted.


Thank you  

Susanna T39282.2629282407

We did cranial sacral therapy with my oldest son when he was young.  He was showing signs of mild ADD, which essentially disappeared after starting cranial treatments.  He was more relaxed and focused.  He actually had a period of 6 weeks with no therapy.  We received a letter from school wondering what was wrong because he was inattentive and just not himself.  They could tell a difference.

My youngest son used to bang his head into soft furniture.  This stopped after a few treatments.  When we skipped appointments, the behavior returned.

I'm a very skeptical person who tends to stick with things like speech, O.T. and ABA.  However, I do think cranial sacral therapy is worth a try.  My boys just seem more relaxed and comforatable in their own skin.  In our case, it's something we do twice a month, and the results have been noticeable.  The changes aren't dramatic, but it's enough to keep us coming back for more.

Edited to add:  Cranial sacral therapy is also supposed to be great for people who suffer from migranes.

WIMomOf239283.5977083333I take my two boys to an osteopathic ped and he gives them this is great and has really helped their sensory problems...I dont always buy in the alternate treatments - but I want to try this as I have heard great things about it Thanks for this thread, Susanna, and WELCOME TO THE BOARDS!

The basis for CST (CranioSacral Therapy) is that the skull and sacrum are connected via the spinal column, and the brain and spinal cord are bathed in CSF, or cerbrospinal fluid, which continually circulates around these areas.  There are three layers covering the brain and spinal cord.  The outside layer is the dura mater.  The dura is attached to connective tissue of the body which in turn is connected to the fascia covering the muscles which attach to tendons that then attach to bones.  Muscles are covered with fascia then fat then the various layers of skin, ending with the external skin which is where we place our hands to perform CST.

The idea is that if there is a structural imbalance in the body, it can be perceived via an alteration in the normal flow of CSF, and the subsequent radiation of sensation (of the imbalance) out to the outer layers of the body.

A key factor here is that each bone of the skull, although connected by sutures, still has the ability to move in a very subtle way.  The bones of the skull move with respiration, heart beat, and with the craniosacral "pump"/flow of CSF fluid around the brain and spine.  Normally the movement is rhythmic and in balance.  When a CST practitioner perceives a lack of movement or a change in one side versus the other, then this can be corrected by certain specific and equally subtle techniques.

I learned the basics of CST in Medical School.  I have also taken Upledger sponsored class.  I believe that there is a physiologic basis for the benefits achieved with CST which is why I don't consider it "alternative".

Finally, with all due respect to the original poster, I would highly recommend trying to find a DO (osteopathic doctor) who specializes in manipulation and is very experienced in CST as a first choice.  If not available, try for an MD, chiropractor, or any professional with adequate training and  What would they do if there was a medical emergency during a treatment???

Anyway, sorry so long, but I thought this was important.

PS  I have found very few doctors/practitioners that I would allow to perform CranioSacral Therapy on me.

AndrewsMommy39285.5674305556Susanna T:

That was just a great explanation on how this therapy helps autistic 4 yr old used to go to our sofa and bite it several times a day and now after 7 mo of treatment the problem is completely gone...his compression is significant and we are on our way to recovery!!!


Thank you Andrewsmommy, I could not have explained CST any better. The reason I posted my comments was that when I chanced upon this site, CST was listed as a treatment that parents SHOULD NOT TRY. I just needed to 'defend' it as I have seen the differences it has made for the children and their families.

Parents, the next time your child goes in for a session, get onto the table yourself and experience it. It works for everyone, not only for migraines. It is able to bring out old injuries, even those sustained during childhood as our cells hold memories of our past. Given the right conditions, these injuries, including emotional 'injuries' will be released. You'll be amazed by the differences it can make!

One of the reasons our children are hitting their heads may be due to compressions in the bones there, causing discomfort. This treatment helps to release the compression. If your child goes back to hitting his head again after missing treatments, it may be that the compression was not fully released, or that there is some tightness somewhere else in the body that was not released, thus bringing back the compression.

To find someone qualified to treat using CST, just go to the Upledger website. They have a list of people who have undergone the rigourous training. Only those with certification are qualified to use this treatment in their practice, although trained people are allowed to "treat" their families and friends without certification. It is so gentle and non-invasive that no harm will come to those who are willing to experience it.

We have been doing it all year and it has been great, but my dr is very skilled...a bad dr is the problem not the therapy!!! He told me that many DO are not experienced to deal with autistic children...he is very talented and insightfull!!!I have read that Craniosacral Therapy can be very dangerous and should not be done to children.    When we did it, I was oblivious to any potential dangers.  After looking into it further, I think I'm going to be spending my money on other things.  Honestly, the only thing we've done that made a huge difference is the VB/ABA.  Since we've been doing it, everyone in our lives has been commenting on what a difference they see in our son.dR. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT FEED BACK TRAINING HELPING PEOPLE?i HEAR THIS CAN HELP ALSO.

How much does CST cost per session?  Would insurance pay for it?  If the pressure applied is no more than getting a massage, I don't see how it can do any harm.



My dr in San Diego charges 140 per 30 min session and is a dan as well...they don't bill insurance, but I think a PPO would be needed to get reimbursed...we saw improvements with the first session and the changes have been immense especially with sensory issues and eating (before the treatment he was eating hardly anything but peanut butter sandwiches and soy shakes) and now he eats meat, pasta, no veggies yet!!!I don' t know about CST, but I observed that my son with PDD/NOS showed a significant improvement in conversation skills and self-control after we started taking him for chiropractic adjustments and (needleless) accupuncture.Great to here these results. We can't afford private anything. We do very little medical/dental anymore. We just can't afford anything these days. CST has helped our son much!!!! At his birth the doctor used the vaccum to get him out. At the age of 2 we noticed that suddenly the shape of his head was changing.Right in the spot where the cup was positioned he developed a huge bump(2 Years after the fact).With weekly CST his head shape gets better and better as well as his sleep and sensory issues.I just cant imagine not including this treatment in his program!

KerriI was trained in CST in medical school. I have used it several times on my son who is diagnosed with Asperger's. I was initially treating him for a "stress" headache (school was very challenging for him). The treatments relieved his headache which was obviously musculoskeletal in origin. I also noticed that for a while his Asperger symptoms seemed to abate. For what it's worth he had a quite impressive right-sided torsion, something I had never observed before. I was able to relieve a lot of the asymmetry, but not completely. In all, I gave him three treatments. His headaches never came back (he had complained he had a headache all the time for several weeks). However, he would probably need weekly therapy for the Asperger's symptoms. Right now he is getting HBOT at his school in Massachusetts. It's the first time he has ever been away from home and although it is quite a struggle for him, so far, so good. I have heard anecdotal reports that CST works great in younger children. At age eight days my daughter had the privilege of CST treatment from Annie Wells for "birth trauma." It was a quite unusual experience. My daughter was crying her lungs out when we brought her. At the very second Annie touched my daughter the crying stopped. Spooky. I'm not kidding.

I am considering hooking my son up with CST in Massachusetts. Any one know a good osteopath near Lee, Massachusetts?
My dr is a pediatric osteopath and is wonderful...I asked him for a referral on the east coast and he said this was the man to see!!!

New York College of Osteopathic Medicine
Hugh Ettlinger, DO, FAAO
St. Barnabas Hospital
Third Avenue and 183rd Street
Bronx, NY 10457
(718) 960-6517
Dr. Lareau,
What do you mean by "right sided torsion"?daegandays+2,

While palpating his cranium I could feel a "pull" to the right and to the front as the primary respiratory mechanism moved through flexion and extension. I know this is very technical language. In very simple terms there was an asymmetry in motion that favored the right side and the front of his head.

CST is based on what is called the primary respiratory mechanism--slight natural movement of the body. It's constant, like breathing or a heartbeat and usually occurs about 2 to 12 times a minute. It takes a lot of training to be able to palpate it. The movement is quite miniscule but those who are good at palpating it can feel it quite readily. Osteopathy tries to release restrictions to restore symmetry. It takes a very light and sensitive touch and a good understanding of anatomy and principles of osteopathy.

Dr. Ettlinger was one of my teachers. He is excellent.
Thanks for the input on dr ettlinger...I am trying to refer him to a friend and she can't reach you know if he has a private office???Hi ann2boys,

Dr. Ettlinger is a professor at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine which is a part of the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, NY on Long Island. I imagine it may be difficult to get hold of him but if you call NYCOM (New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury, New York) I am sure they can contact him or give you a referral to a CST doctor. It's what the school does. Good luck!

Thanks so much for the dr said he was the best on the east coast to treat ASD...I forwarded the info to her!!! He is such a hard person to find on the web!!!Thanks for the info. I have never heard it explained that way before.A physiotherapist is the one treating my son. She got trained in it after her son suffered birth trauma.It helps our kids so much!!