Like any good massage therapist, you’re looking to add more products and services to your roster so you can better serve your clientele. CranioSacral Therapy (CST) can be an excellent tool in your arsenal, allowing you to reach clients suffering from a variety of maladies. You might even have pursued some training in CST and want to gain official recognition as a CST practitioner by getting certified. But how do you get certified in this discipline?

First, there are a number of places where a therapist can receive CST certification, including Upledger Institute International, a health care education program that has trained more than 90,000 practitioners in more than 56 different countries since it was founded in 1985. Once you find a place, you can start on the rewarding road of certification.

Upledger Institute International, for instance, requires that those applying to the certification program provide a copy of their hands-on license or equivalent documentation, indicating legal ability to practice (if this is required in your state or region–not all locations mandate this).

For those who qualify, Upledger Institute International actually offers two levels of certification: technique certification and diplomate certification. Technique certification is the more basic program of the two, but still involves a lot of training. First, you must have at least some basic background in anatomy and physiology from an accredited university or other school. With that, you can move on to basic CranioSacral training. Upledger’s technique certification offers CranioSacral I and CranioSacral II. Completion of both is necessary for certification, as is clinical experience in the discipline. Upledger also requires a multipart exam, which includes an essay exam, as well as practical and oral exams.

The training required for diplomate certification is more involved. To get certified at this level, you need to take an advanced CST class, complete another multipart exam and amass at least 20 hours of clinical experience. The latter can be gleaned in one of several ways, including as an extern at the Upledger Clinic or by taking a class on clinical application of CST. Other pieces needed for the diplomate certification include five case history write-ups. You also must complete one of the following:

• Six hours of CranioSacral Therapy presentation to an organized group

• Completion of the four-day CST overview/introduction tutorial

• Publication of an article on CST in a third-party publication

No doubt, certification in CST can be a rigorous process, but those who have proper certification can reap multiple rewards. Chief among these are building client confidence in your abilities and techniques, and receiving recognition for your skills as a therapist.