What is CST?

CST (or CranioSacral Therapy) is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system.

The craniosacral system is Comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.

Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams, or about the weight of a 10 cent coin, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.


Craniosacral therapy (CST) was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger following extensive scientific studies from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics.

CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system – comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.

Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams, or about the weight of a 10 cent coin, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of 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 is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, including:

  • Migraine Headaches
  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain
  • Motor-Coordination Impairments
  • Colic
  • Autism
  • Central Nervous System Disorders
  • Orthopedic Problems
  • Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Infantile Disorders
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Emotional Difficulties
  • Stress and Tension-Related Problems
  • Fibromyalgia and other Connective-Tissue Disorders
  • Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
  • Neurovascular or Immune Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Post-Surgical Dysfunction
  • Pregnancy support

 Somato Emotional Release -  SER is a therapeutic process that uses and expands on the principles of CranioSacral Therapy to help rid the mind and body of the residual effects of trauma.

SER offers applications designed to enhance results using CST and other complementary therapies.

• Assess and mobilize the Avenue of Expression working through more than 10 different body components, including the thoracic inlet, hard palate, and hyoglossal tissues.
• Locate and release Energy Cysts.
• Release suppressed emotions that may be inhibiting complete structural releases.
• Refine listening and comprehension skills.
• Improve palpation and whole-body evaluation skills.


Craniofacial therapy is a safe effective therapy for infants and children as well as adults. The birth process can lead to restrictions that may be carried throughout life.


A CST evaluation and treatment soon after birth can minimize or release such restriction…

Symptoms such as colic, tongue tie, feeding problems, sucking problems, sleeping and behavioural problems can be helped with CST. Parents are often amazed by the sudden and dramatic change in a baby’s symptoms.

Babies can’t speak but that doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with them.

When a therapist connects with a baby they come to appreciate what things are like for that baby and interacting with them using CranioSacral therapy plays a big part in making the treatment effective.


CST is effective for a wide range of conditions in children and adolescents as well.

Childhood and adolescent conditions that have responded well to CranioSacral therapy include Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD), autism, adolescent withdrawal, fears and phobias, bed-wetting, and asthma.

Treatment of young children can be helpful in preventing issues arising later in life.

A baby does not have to be presenting with a health issue to benefit from a CST treatment Tongue Tie restrictions, depression, migraine, sinusitis, spinal and pelvic pain, and some psychological conditions are among the issues that can sometimes be traced back to what happened at birth.

All babies can benefit from CranioSacral evaluations and treatments as soon as possible after birth.

Children and their families should continue to receive CST periodically throughout childhood as they adapt to the process of growing up.


Contact the Upledger Institute Ireland for more information about Craniosacral Therapy for children and infants. Phone 085 1190 817 or email info@upledger.ie



The IACST is dedicated to creating a strong CST community in Ireland.Our aim is to promote high standards of CST training and practise.

IACST is the professional association representing Craniosacral therapists in Ireland.

It is a member of FICTA (Federation of Irish Complementary Therapy Associations) whose main objective is to “promote the formal recognition in Ireland of all complementary therapies.” IACST exists to represent your professional interests.

Web: www.iacst.ie

E-mail: info@iacst.ie

To work as a qualified CranioSacral therapist you need a Diploma in 



AP&P 50

AP&P Home Study 100



Professional Standards/Procedures 50

Home Study 10

Requirement: First Aid within last three years AND Insurance cove

Anatomy & Physiology & Pathology and Professional Standards and Procedures can be taken over the period of your training, with a school of your choice. Lecturers will not be Upledger Lecturers but must be approved by the UPLEDGER INSTITUTE IRELAND


All practitioners of CST must be covered by insurance. This can be done through the IACST which offers a discount rate for group insurance. For your own protection it is important to know that it is a LEGAL requirement when working with a child under the age of 16 years, that a PARENT or GUARDIAN be present at ALL times

It is recommended that all students become  a member of the IACST.

On-going continuous professional development (CPD) is a requirement for all practitioners.

CPD is built into the Upledger training programme e.g. Training Assistant (T/A) on CST I, CST II etc (refer to UI Ireland).

Approved external CPD training is also acceptable (refer to IACST)


There are local branches of the Upledger Institute in many countries around the globe with the central organisation located in the USA.

United StatesThe Upledger Institute


AustriaUpledger Institute Austria
BelgiumUpledger Institute Belgium
GermanyUpledger Institute Deutschland
HungaryUpledger Institute Hungary
IcelandUpledger Institute Iceland
IrelandUpledger Institute Ireland
ItalyUpledger Academy Craniosacral Method
NetherlandsUpledger Institute Netherlands
PortugalUpledger Institute Portugal
Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland)Upledger Institute Scandinavia
SpainUpledger Institute Spain
SwitzerlandUpledger Institute Switzerland
United KingdomUpledger Institute United Kingdom


For a comprehensive list of the Upledger Institute in other countries around the world please click here (opens upledger.com website in a new window)


John E. Upledger, D.O., O.M.M.

1932 – 2012

  • President, The Upledger Institute
  • Medical Director, HealthPlex Clinical Services
  • Certified Fellow of the American Academy of Osteopathy
  • Academic Fellow of the British Society of Osteopathy
  • Doctor of Science, Medicina Alternativa

Author: CranioSacral Therapy; CranioSacral Therapy II – Beyond The Dura; SomatoEmotional Release and Beyond; Your Inner Physician and You; A Brain is Born; and CranioSacral Therapy, Touchstone for Natural Healing

Dr. John E. Upledger was President of The Upledger Institute, Inc untill his passing in 2012. Dedicated to the natural enhancement of health, the Institute is recognized worldwide for its groundbreaking continuing-education programs, clinical research and therapeutic services.

Throughout his career as an osteopathic physician, Dr. Upledger has been recognized as an innovator and leading proponent in the investigation of new therapies.

His development of CranioSacral Therapy in particular has earned him an international reputation.

He has also served on the Alternative Medicine Program Advisory Council for the Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C. Although much of his experience has been garnered through private clinical practice, Dr. Upledger served from 1975-1983 as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics at Michigan State University.

During those years he supervised a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists and bioengineers in experiments testing the existence and influence of the craniosacral system.

The results of those scientific studies explained the function of the craniosacral system and its use in evaluating and treating poorly understood malfunctions of the brain and spinal cord.

Dr. Upledger went on to develop CranioSacral Therapy and other complementary modalities that are now taught worldwide to healthcare professionals through The Upledger Institute’s educational programs.

He has also written numerous textbooks and study guides, and more than two dozen research articles.

Dr. Upledger established The Upledger Foundation in 1987 to reach out to those less fortunate and help improve their life experiences.

This nonprofit organization is dedicated to the ongoing research and development of new therapeutic applications, and the establishment of community-outreach programs that enhance total health.