Frequently Asked Questions

Who developed CranioSacral Therapy?

Meet the team

What is CranioSacral Therapy (CST)?

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. It was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger after years of clinical testing and research at Michigan State University where he served as professor of biomechanics.

Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams - about the weight of a nickel - practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. By complementing the body's natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it's effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.

What does the CranioSacral System look like?

What can I expect from a CranioSacral Therapy session?

A typical CranioSacral Therapy session lasts from 45 minutes to an hour, and takes place in a quiet, private setting. As a client you remain fully clothed as you relax on a comfortable, padded massage or treatment table. The practitioner will stand or sit positioned at various points of your head, torso or feet. At times your practitioner may also support your limbs and spine while helping your body release accumulated tension.

What you experience during a CST session is highly individual. Some people say they feel deeply relaxed, while others describe feeling unwinding sensations as the body releases tension. You may even recall circumstances surrounding a past trauma or injury that caused your body stress. While it doesn't occur in every session, this aspect of the process – called SomatoEmotional Release – is perfectly normal, and helps the body reverse dysfunction and restore optimal levels of mobility.

Because each individual response to CST is unique, the number of sessions needed to resolve any particular condition varies widely. While one session may give you the relief you need, your situation may require more therapy before it's completely alleviated. Your therapist can best advise you in this area.

What will I experience after a session?

Just as each individual experiences CST sessions differently, the results can be diverse as well. You may leave in such a relaxed state that you feel like sleeping for hours. Or you may leave full of boundless energy. You may feel a decrease in pain or an increase in function immediately after the session, or the effects may develop gradually over the next few days.

Since CST helps the body resume its natural healing processes, it's common for your improvements to continue weeks after the session. You may also experience a reorganization phase as your body releases previously held patterns and adapts to a new state of wellness.

How does CranioSacral Therapy Work?

Few structures have as much influence over the body's ability to function properly as the brain and spinal cord that make up the central nervous system. And few systems have as much impact on the central nervous system as the craniosacral system — the membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord.

Every day your body endures stresses and strains, and your structures work to compensate for them. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort the craniosacral system, which can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord. The result is a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with.

Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of touch. Generally using about 5 grams of pressure — roughly the weight of a nickel — the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.

By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body's ability to self-correct, CranioSacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.

Who can benefit from CranioSacral Therapy?

Because CranioSacral Therapy is so effective as a preventive health measure, almost anyone can benefit from a session. For more pressing concerns, CST has proven especially effective on puzzling cases that have not responded well to other approaches. It's particularly helpful to those with head, neck or back injuries resulting from an accident.

The extremely light touch also makes CranioSacral Therapy a safe approach for children and infants who have experienced early stress, including birth trauma. By releasing restrictions around the central nervous system early, you may help prevent future difficulties such as learning disabilities or hyperactivity.

Are there any conditions that shouldn't be addressed with CranioSacral Therapy?

There are few situations in which CST is not recommended. They include any condition in which slight variations in intracranial pressure would cause instability, such as acute aneurysm, recent skull fracture, and cerebral hemorrhage or other severe bleeding disorder. If you have any questions about whether these situations apply to you, seek the advice of your physician before receiving a CST session.

Where can I find more information about CranioSacral Therapy?

Research Articles

Who are the practitioners at The Upledger Institute Clinic?

The Upledger Institute Clinic staff is a diverse group of professionals that includes osteopathic physicians, occupational therapists, massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractic physicians and counselors. All practitioners have been carefully selected for their abilities and dedication to the philosophy and ethical principles upheld by The Upledger Institute.

What are the hours of operation at the Upledger Clinic?

The Upledger Institute Clinic has appointments available from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. To schedule an appointment please call 561-622-4706.

How long will my appointment last?

Our normal appointments last from 45 to 60 minutes. Some can be 2 to 3 hours if desired. Please be sure to discuss your individual needs when you call for an appointment.

What is your fee schedule?

Most initial individual appointments are $140. Intensive therapy programs are $5,200 for each 5-day program. (See "What Is an Intensive Therapy Program" for more information.)

Do you accept insurance?

Over the years, CST has become increasingly recognized as an effective treatment for many types of conditions and dysfunctions. As such, some treatments may be reimbursable by your insurance carrier. We are glad to provide you with a receipt for your treatment so that you can submit it to your insurance carrier. We ask that payment be made to us at the time services are rendered.

What can I give to my insurance carrier to help with coverage?

A prescription from your primary care physician with your diagnosis code and a written description of CST can be helpful with insurance coverage.

What if I need financial assistance?

The nonprofit Dr. John E. Upledger Foundation offers limited financial assistance to patients in need. Please call the Upledger Foundation at 561-622-4334 EXT 1332 to request an application. Once the Upledger Foundation receives your completed application, a response generally takes about 6 weeks.

How often does someone need CST sessions?

Since no two people have the same needs, each person is treated as an individual. The first step is to be evaluated by one of our therapists. Our priority is to listen to and evaluate your body. We also consider your symptoms as you describe them, along with any previous diagnoses. We can then sit down together to discuss the treatment program that best suits you as an individual.

How long will it take before I know if CST is helping?

The positive effects of CST can be quite pronounced. The light touch we use can actually induce the spontaneous release of accumulated tensions in any part of the body. This release often allows the healing process to begin. If the source of dysfunction is within the craniosacral system itself, noticeable improvement may be achieved after the first visit.

For those undergoing CST for health maintenance, there may be an overall sensation of simply feeling better after a session. The length of time it takes to know if CST has helped you is all based on your individual needs and particular circumstances.

What is an intensive therapy program?

Intensive therapy programs represent some of the most innovative healthcare currently available anywhere. Each program is limited to just four participants and features a select team of clinicians comprised of Upledger Clinic staff and skilled visiting therapists. Using CST as the primary therapy, they work with patients in one-on-one and multiple-therapist sessions to address the specific health concerns of each individual.

Once the source of a patient's problem is isolated, the therapists often combine CST with other therapies to facilitate the most effective results. Participants also take part in daily group discussions. Plus, attending family members and/or caregivers receive support and training in applications they can continue at home. Program lengths vary between one and two weeks.

What is a visiting therapist and what are the eligibility requirements?

Practitioners trained in CST have the opportunity to work for extended periods of time at the Upledger Clinic. We call these practitioners Visiting Therapists. Before being considered for this program, therapists must complete advanced coursework in CST and demonstrate extensive clinical experience comparable to that of our staff clinicians. They must also first take part in our extern program, where they must be evaluated and approved by Upledger Clinic staff clinicians.

What is an extern?

Externs work at The Upledger Institute Clinic for a given period of time under the supervision of staff clinicians. It is an excellent opportunity for CST practitioners to observe other clinicians at work and deepen their skills. To be eligible, therapists must first successfully complete coursework through SomatoEmotional Release I, and be approved by our staff.

Where is The Upledger Institute Clinic located?

11211 Prosperity Farms Road, Suite D-223, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410.

From I 95, take exit 79A/PGA Blvd, East. From the FL Turnpike, take exit 109/PGA Blvd and head east. Continue east on PGA Blvd to Prosperity Farms Road. Turn right (south) and proceed for 2/10ths of a mile.

The office complex is on the right side. (Look for red tiles on the walls flanking the entry driveway.) The Upledger Institute Clinic is located on the 2nd floor of Bldg. D, on your left as you enter the office complex. An elevator is available for your convenience. Parking is free, easily accessible and located directly in front of the building. Handicap spaces are designated.

Telephone: 561-622-4706