Craniosacral Massage Therapy: Potential Positive Effects For You

As you think about making an appointment for massage therapy, consider trying a type of therapy many people are unfamiliar with. This technique is called craniosacral therapy. It involves a gentle massage on the skull to relieve tension throughout the body. Research has identified some specific uses for certain health problems, and it also is excellent for stress-relief effects.

About Craniosacral Massage

This therapy uses a light touch on the bones of the skull. In addition to reducing symptoms of chronic disorders and providing relaxation, craniosacral massage is used by therapists to prevent disease and physical dysfunction by enhancing the body's resistance. 

The technique was developed by an osteopathic doctor. Osteopaths are very similar to medical doctors. However, they focus more on a holistic view of health and consider disorders in the musculoskeletal system to be a primary cause of disease. 

Possible Pain Relief Benefits

Migraine Headaches

A study published in 2013 found significant improvements in migraine symptoms when patients received craniosacral massage. The study participants received six of these massages in four weeks. The positive effects continued for a month after the therapy ended. 

Chronic Neck Pain

Another condition that benefits from this massage technique is chronic neck pain. Researchers followed up with study participants three months after treatment ended and found that these individuals experienced:

  • decreases in pain intensity
  • reduction in pain during motion
  • a lower level of disability
  • less anxiety
  • improved physical quality of life

Neck pain is a common problem. If you ever have chiropractic care or regular massage therapy to relieve symptoms, try the craniosacral technique and see whether that has additional benefits. 

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD)

TMJ disorder can cause chronic jaw pain, headaches and other symptoms. Some massage therapists theorize that TMJD actually results from disorders elsewhere in the musculoskeletal system, or previous injuries that occurred there. Craniosacral therapy may be useful for relieving symptoms. 


Fibromyalgia patients receiving craniosacral massage therapy during research also reported significant benefits. These benefits included:

  • lower levels of anxiety and depression
  • reduced pain
  • improved sleep
  • better quality of life

Interestingly, the positive effects lasted for six months after the treatment ended.

Concluding Thoughts

If you suffer from any of these chronic health conditions, craniosacral massage therapy may bring relief. Find a therapist such as Dr. Randal L. Butch D.C., P.A. who offers this type of technique in addition to others. You can have this therapy as part of a regular massage if you let the therapist know ahead of time. Also tell the therapist whether you have a certain health problem for which massage will be an alternative treatment, or whether you are mainly seeking relaxation and stress relief.