The Stillpoint Project

Alternative Health Care

Craniosacral Therapy

There are twenty-nine bones in the adult skull, all hinged by joints called cranial sutures. Because the cranial mechanism influences the entire body, treatment can be indicated in many disorders. Ailments of the eyes, ears, nose and throat, birth injuries, mental derangements, and respiratory problems are some examples.

The cranial sacral therapist uses hands-on techniques to balance the functional relationship between the movement of the skull and the tail bone. This is a very complex and delicate therapy, and one that is greatly hindered if the patient is already struggling with pre-existing jaw problems. It is also of utmost importance to understand that the treatment of the cranial mechanisms, without attention payed to the rest of the muscle skeletal system, can lead to grievous imbalances as the body tries to adapt to a one-focus approach.


In 1899, William Garner Sutherland, a student at the American School of Osteopathy, became fascinated by the anatomy of the human skull. Of particular interest to him were the side ‘plates’ called the sphenoid and the temporal bones. “Like a blinding flash of light came the thought,” he said, “(They are) bevelled like the gills of a fish and indicating articular mobility for a respiratory mechanism.” Simply put, the skull’s structure appeared as if it were designed to move.

Unable to get this image from his mind Sutherland set out to prove it wrong by performing experiments on his own skull with ingeniously inventive mechanical devices. Until this time it had been standard belief that the sacroiliac joint (tailbone), and the cranium (skull), were fused and solid. This conclusion however, was based on studies of the cadaver rather than a living subject. Sutherland not only found he could distort his cranial mechanism but he could likewise, correct it. He went on to determine the different effects of varying cranial strain patterns and the resulting theories were used to diagnose and successfully treat his patients.