From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “The Lightest of Touch: CranioSacral Therapy,” by Jill K. Mabry, in the March 2010 issue. Article summary: Using a soft touch—generally no greater than five grams, or about the weight of a nickel—CST 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. In 1985, after extensive scientific and clinical studies at Michigan State University, he founded The Upledger Institute (UI) to continue advancing and spreading the word of this effective, light-touch modality to bodyworkers worldwide. The original four-level curriculum has since blossomed to more than 30 workshops, and nearly 100,000 practitioners globally have received their CST training through UI.

The core curriculum to CST techniques certification includes CranioSacral Therapy I, CranioSacral Therapy II, SomatoEmotional Release I and SomatoEmotional Release II. These are followed by two CranioSacral Advanced Classes and Diplomate Certification.

Additional course studies include specialized programs, such as CranioSacral Dissection, The Brain Speaks, CranioSacral Therapy and the Immune Response, CranioSacral Therapy and the Reversal of Pathogenic Processes, as well as a series of multilevel workshops focusing on obstetrics and pediatrics, and CST and BioAquatic Exploration, UI’s renowned Dolphin program. Other specialty classes include Unwinding Meridians, Imagery and Dialogue and Sensory Integration for CranioSacral Therapists.

Upledger’s CranioSacral Therapy I (CSI) lays the foundation for all of this subsequent work. In this class, participants learn the scientific foundation and principles of CranioSacral Therapy, develop finely tuned palpation skills, identify the subtle craniosacral rhythm and interpret its patterns to accurately evaluate the source of physical problems.

Students practice a 10-step protocol to release restrictions throughout the body, and discover effective approaches to common ailments, such as TMJ dysfunction, head, neck and back pain, central nervous system disorders and more.

CranioSacral Therapy II (CSII) participants study cranial-base dysfunctions, the masticatory system-hard palate, mandible and temporomandibular joint, whole-body evaluation and the energy cyst with regional unwinding. SomatoEmotional Release is introduced.

SomatoEmotional 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. SERI focuses on the physiological mechanism of disease and participants engage in hands-on practice to facilitate the SomatoEmotional Release process.

By the end of the course, students should be able to locate and release energy cysts, and dissipate suppressed emotions that may be inhibiting complete structural releases. Listening and comprehension skills as well as palpation and whole-body evaluation skills are refined. SERII participants further develop the release techniques for the Avenue of Expression and explore the integration of psycho synthesis, Gestalt and Jungian psychologies within the SER process.