To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article package, “Cranial Therapies” in the June 2013 issue. Package summary: MASSAGE Magazine presents articles about two different types of cranial therapies not related to Upledger Institute International: Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy and The Cranial Release Technique.

by John Joseph Ray, M.M.T., N.C.T.M.B.

Cranial Sacral Therapy for Children, MASSAGE MagazineI have used cranial sacral therapy successfully with children of all ages for many years and for many different conditions, including attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), migraines and head injuries. Many cranial sacral therapists have successfully used cranial sacral therapy to address colic, learning disabilities, nervous system disorders, autism, infantile disorders, motor-coordination problems and more.

Some parents bring their children to a cranial sacral therapist after the child has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. Those parents have often heard cranial sacral therapy might help, but they wonder if their child will be able to stay still enough for the session.

The therapist should talk gently, yet confidently, with the child, trying to connect with her by asking about things she’s interested in and keeping the atmosphere light.

As you talk, use a couple of specific cranial sacral therapy techniques that help the client break out of whatever mental pattern she is currently in. As you see her breathing change, gently suggest she close her eyes and breathe more deeply. Usually, within five minutes or so, the child will enter into a state of deep relaxation, and you will be able to continue with the cranial sacral therapy techniques that are appropriate for her.

Meanwhile, the mother might watch with a surprised expression. She might not believe her child is lying so peacefully on the table—and your young client might say, “Can’t I stay a little longer?” or “When can I come back?” Children love having a chance to finally let go of all the stimulus of the world and feel the peace of a deeply relaxed central nervous system.

Several mothers have told me, after cranial sacral therapy sessions, they received comments from teachers saying their child is paying more attention in class and progressing with their schoolwork.

This is not to say cranial sacral therapy is a silver bullet or cure-all for ADD or ADHD. Obviously, there are other factors that may also need to be addressed.

Nevertheless, children seem to thrive on cranial sacral therapy. They respond quickly and easily. Wouldn’t it be nice if every child received some cranial sacral therapy early in life?

John Joseph Ray is a master massage therapist and approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork as a provider of continuing education. He teaches Direct-Indirect Technique™, cranial sacral therapy and other CEU classes through Ray of Light Massage Training (