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Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John Upledger, DO following extensive scientific studies from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics. Dr. Upledger, DO then started the Upledger Institute to further his passion and share it with other practitioners. 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 cranial bones, cerebrospinal fluid and the membranes. The membranes surround the brain and spinal cord like a wetsuit and the cranial bones sit on top. The system works together to pump CSF throughout the system.


CST is a very calm and relaxing therapy, children can read, listen to music, watch TV or play with their toys during a session. The practitioner will feel for the CST rhythm by placing their hands on the cranial bones using a soft touch generally no greater than five grams, or about the weight of a nickel, restrictions are released in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system. The CST rhythm is the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pumping from the head down through the spine. The CSF is produced within the brain itself and contracts at a normal rate of 6 to 12 cycles per minute, creating the rhythm.


The proper pumping of the CSF is important for our body, its functions include:

  • Removing waste and toxins from cerebral metabolism

  • Protecting the brain & spinal cord

  • Supplying nutrients to the nervous system


A person properly trained in the technique with a background in treating children should perform CST on your child; there is a very high level of finesse that comes with working on children. CST treatment is aimed at the membranes and helping improve flow and exchange of fluids, it is not necessarily about realigning the cranial bones although in cases such as plagiocephaly can help tremendously.

How can CST help children?

  • Removes waste and toxins from cerebral metabolism- many children today are having trouble detoxifying and this aids in that process.

  • Supplying nutrients to the nervous system

  • Releases tension in the body

  • Balances the Nervous System

The nervous system imbalance is the key to why this helps so many children. The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) has branches, the sympathetic (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic (resting) both of which affect our bodies greatly. Most parents will describe their child’s behavior as “ramped up” or “they cannot seem to relax” and this may be why. The sympathetic nervous system is in “overdrive” and CST may help balance it out, thereby decreasing that “overdrive” feeling.

Symptoms a child may experience with ANS dysfunction include:

  • Abnormal sweating

  • Anxiety

  • Bed-wetting

  • Constipation and/or diarrhea

  • Dark/light intolerance

  • Detoxification issues

  • Difficulty potty training

  • Emotional instability

  • Feeding problems

  • Hyperactivity

  • Inattention

  • Nausea

  • Poor social skills

  • Sensory processing problems

  • Sleep problems

  • Tics

  • Vomiting

  • What does chiropractic care involve?
    The first thing Dr. Amber Brooks,DC, MSN, CACCP, BCIP, RN will do is to conduct a thorough history of your child’s health and any complaints. This is followed by a complete physical examination of the child’s spine. She will use gentle, specific skills to find and adjust any involved spinal areas as well as providing nutritional and lifestyle advice. When people are told Dr. Brooks,DC, MSN, CACCP, BCIP, RN treats children and babies, their initial reaction is often one of surprise, as they assume that she uses the same techniques on children as she does on adults. Dr. Brooks,DC, MSN, CACCP, BCIP, RN truly tailors to the individual and their particular spine, and children are no exception. She offers specific, gentle adjustments appropriate to the infant/child’s spine and craniosacral therapy (see craniosacral section for more info). Spinal adjustments for infants and young children involve very light fingertip pressure to correct spinal misalignments. This amount of “force” is often not more than a finger touch. This is usually sufficient to restore mobility to spinal joints, which have become locked and are causing interference to the normal nervous system function. Occasionally, the adjustments will make a ‘popping’ sound when the spinal joints are moved, fondly referred to “popcorn” in the office. However, this is not always heard when children’s spines are adjusted.
  • Does chiropractic care hurt?
    In general, chiropractic care for children is painless, except in cases where the child has an actual injury. In these areas, the child may be sensitive to touch; however, once the adjustment has been made and the area can heal more effectively, the sensitivity is alleviated. Overall, parents report that their children enjoy their spinal adjustments and look forward to their next visit.
  • How long does a chiropractic adjustment take?
    A child’s spine will generally respond much faster than an adult’s spine to chiropractic adjustments and will often require only a few adjustments to restore normal function. The actual number of adjustments varies depending on many factors such as the type of trauma involved and history of condition.
  • Are chiropractic adjustents safe?
    The risks of a child suffering notable injury from a spinal adjustment are extremely minimal. Chiropractors have been adjusting children for more than 100 years and have an excellent safety record. A recent study done by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) in the US, Canada and Europe showed that only a few children (out of more than 10,000 visits) experienced minor discomfort and fussiness. The remaining children in the study had no adverse reactions to the adjustment. This data tells us that chiropractic care for children may be one of the safest forms of health care available.

By complementing the body’s natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure and in conjunction with your primary care for its ability to bolster resistance to disease and is effective for a wide range of problems associated with pain and nervous system dysfunction, including:

  • Acid Reflux


  • Allergies

  • Autism

  • Birth Trauma

  • Breast-feeding Challenges

  • Chronic Fatigue

  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain

  • Colic

  • Constipation

  • Developmental Delays

  • Digestive Problems

  • Down Syndrome

  • Ear Infections

  • Emotional Difficulties

  • Failure to Thrive

  • Head-banging

  • Migraine Headaches

  • Physical/Emotional Abuse

  • Plagiocephaly & Brachycephaly

  • Pregnancy

  • Restricted Movement

  • Scoliosis

  • Seizures

  • Stress & Tension-Related Problems

  • Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)

  • Torticollis

  • Traumatic Brain & Spinal Cord Injuries

  • Much more

One of the reasons parents bring their children to see Dr. Brooks, DC, MSN, CACCP, BCIP, RN is due to physical trauma from an injury of some sort. The spinal misalignments that may occur at the same time of the injury will not necessarily result in immediate pain or symptoms. In addition to physical stress, parents should be aware that emotional and chemical stress affect the child’s nervous system and may also warrant a spinal check-up. Regular chiropractic checkups can identify potential spinal dysfunction resulting from these stresses and chiropractic adjustments may help to enhance future function and well-being.


Please read the research on the benefits of Craniosacral Therapy for children here.



You may want to consult with your primary care provider and discuss these factors.

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