Craniosacral Touch

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'In biodynamic craniosacral therapy we use touch as a way of communicating and listening. The focus is always on exploring sensations and the nature of being in a body. The cranial paradigm teaches that there are certain phenomena that occur in the body and the space around us. These include a sense of stillness, expansion and contraction through all the tissues and structures, a surge and tide-like movement of fluids, and shifts in an electric-like charge we call potency. A skilled therapist can interact with these phenomena to support a movement towards health.

At the heart of craniosacral touch there is a state of being present. Practice will make you more skillful at being able to manifest this. Eventually this starts to become part of you in a more apparent way. What you will notice too is a burgeoning sense of spaciousness, both gross and subtle. You will feel bigger and fuller as if you not only occupy your body but the space around it too. Also you will notice a mental and emotional spaciousness that allows you a deeper and richer experience of your thoughts and feelings. The spaciousness allows a disengagement, so that a natural state of non-attachment comes about.' [1]




Touch is fundamental way of creating safety and bonding in primates. Some authors consider the results of all bodywork (for example massage, chiropractic, osteopathy, physiotherapy) as being due to 'human primate social grooming'. [2]

Touch in cranial work is famously light: a featherlight or butterfly touch. A few grammes of pressure is common. However cranial work is not exclusively about light touch, the goal is match the touch to the needs of the client, sometimes a more direct, fuller contact is required. Some people heal in containment, some people heal in space.
A defining principle in craniosacral touch is that we are not applying mechanical force to change the tone in tissues or to attempt to move bones. The force the body can generate from within is far greater than a blind force applied from the outside:

'There is much to discover in the science of osteopathy by working with the forces within that manifest the healing processes. These forces within the patient are greater than any blind force that can safely be brought to bear from without.'[3]


  1. Sumner, G. and Haines, S. (2010) Cranial Intelligence - A Practical Guide to Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. London: Singing Dragon.
  3. Sutherland, W.G. (1990) Teachings in the Science of Osteopathy. Portland, OR: Rudra Press. Back cover