The Craniosacral System

The brain and spinal cord, comprising the central nervous system, are surrounded by a protective membranous sheath called the dura mater (‘tough mother’) which extends from the head to the coccyx (tailbone) at the base of the spine. This resilient membrane attaches to the skeleton at the occiput (the base of the skull), the axis (C2), the sacrum (S2) and coccyx. The dura mater is flexible and elastic, able to stretch, compress and twist as we move, all of which affects the functioning of nerve flow in and around the brain and spinal cord.

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Contractions in the dura mater from stress and tensions can restrict the integrity of the brain and motion of the spine, resulting in many conditions which impact the entire physiology. Because this connective tissue is one continuous sheath, movement at one end of the dura mater (e.g. lower back) affects the motion at the other (the cranium). A craniosacral therapist can detect these motions even from the body’s extremities. 


A hydraulic pumping system is created by the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) around the brain, and up and down the spinal cord. This is the craniosacral system, and can be considered as the body’s third circulatory system (alongside the blood and plasma systems).

Cerebrospinal Fluid - the ‘sap’ in the tree

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a clear, colourless body fluid that is produced largely within the ventricles of the brain. From the ventricles, CSF circulates around the nervous system and up and down the spinal cord before being absorbed into the blood-stream. CSF is vital for our health and wellness, serving many important roles. As it flows around the brain and spinal cord, CSF provides nutrients and removes waste products. CSF allows the brain to float buoyantly in its own ocean so that it is not damaged at the base by the pressure of its own weight. CSF protects the brain from impact, acting as a protective shock absorber. It also acts as an immunological buffer, reducing infections.  


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The flow of CSF helps to adjust intracranial blood volume and pressure, preventing ischemia (reduced blood flow) and encouraging blood profusion. And as the most conductive fluid in the body, CSF transports hormones, neuropeptides, information and energy to remote sites.

(Partially cited from Chia and Thom: Craniosacral Chi Kung).


CSF is considered to be the ‘sap’ in the tree. The 19th century physician and founder of osteopathy, Dr Andrew Still, referred to CSF as "the highest known element in the human body" and encouraged that, "This great river of life must be tapped." 

It was a student of the founder of osteopathy – William Garner Sutherland - who founded the cranial technique. 

What our customers are saying

[CSF] allows me access into what I believe is the very nature of the being, the soul.  

Joel Alter - Osteopath who uses cranial methods, California