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The Origin of Craniosacral Therapy

The original forefather of Craniosacral therapy was Andrew Taylor Still. (1828 -1917).


His research and work led him to believe that the body contained everything it needed to maintain good health if it was treated properly. He devised a system of manipulation of the spinal bones that he would later call Osteopathy, to correct misalignments or dislocations which he called “subluxations”. He saw these subluxations as barriers, or blocks to the innate healing of the body. By removing them the body would heal most things by itself. The work of correcting these subluxations freed up nerve impulses and benefit blood and lymph flow.


William Sutherland (1873-1954) extended Still’s work into cranio-osteopathy.


Dr Sutherland directed a course in the 1940’s called Osteopathy in the Cranial field at the American School of Osteopathy. The success Dr. Sutherland was having by treating the cranial bones attracted some attention by the orthodox medical profession at the time and he ended up teaching his methods to help cope with the added demand.


One of his students was Dr. Harold Magoun. (1898-1981)


He did much to refine, codify and promote Sutherlands work including the writing of “Osteopathy in the Cranial Field” considered to be the bible of Sutherland’s methods.


John Upledger (1932 - 2012) a student of Dr. Harold Magoun took these methods and developed what he called Craniosacral therapy. Upledger’s work embodies and develops the essential teachings of Still and Sutherlands work without having to have an extensive medical science background.

All four of these forefathers to Craniosacral therapy primarily employed the use of subtle manipulations of tissues and bones into their work.


Franklyn Sills is the first pioneer in the development of a newer lineage of Craniosacral Therapy called Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy which does not rely on the manipulation of tissue to enhance wellness but rather energy and presence.


Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, a further outgrowth of this lineage distills down the essence of Cranial Osteopathy to focus on the basic priming of the client’s potency, inherent wellness using subtle touch while foregoing any manipulation of tissue. BCST puts the focus of generating the client’s inherent well-being and potency through enhancing the subtle tidal movements, known as the breath of life. This is done by means of co-regulation and supporting the client into deep stillness through presence and subtly attuned palpation.

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