Cranial Osteopathy Now Instead of CST

Several people have advised me to take Ruby to craniosacral therapy (CST). The reason we have put it off for so long is because we were having trouble finding someone who took our insurance. Plus I didn’t understand it; So naturally, it wasn’t a priority. Now that Ruby is seeing Dr Morris (chiropractor) it has become more of priority.

CST is a therapy dealing with the Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). When there is tension or other problems, it restricts the flow of hte CSF through the spine. This affects the performance of other organs that recieve messages from the brain via the CSF and nervous system, particularly the digestive system.

After making several phone calls and doing much research online, I finally found someone who takes our insurance. I called to make an appointment and also confirmed that he had experience with CST on babies. Today was her first appointment.

I explained Ruby’s medical history to him. And it turned out that he has never heard of a postior tongue tie (no surprise there). He explained that he doesn’t do CST. Appartantly CST is taught to whomever pays the fee to attend the lessons. Therefore there are several people who do CST work on paitents but are not really qualified. There also is not very much medical evidence to support CST.

However, Dr. Towns practices Cranial Osteopathy. It is a similar method and aims to accomplish the same thing, but it only taught to chiropractors. It is much more evidence based. Below is a chart comparing the two.

Cranial Osteopathy Craniosacral therapy
Results Consistently outstanding results. Variable results.
Scope of treatment Unlimited. Treats all body systems and tissues. Includes treatment of brain, bones, muscle, nerves, lymph, fascial and internal organ systems. Also includes treatment of arms, hands, legs and feet. Breadth of knowledge is inclusive. Variable with limited scope. Some are trained in treating spine, lymph, nervous, brain, organ and joints systems but many are not. Breadth of knowledge here can be highly variable–please ask individual practitioner.
License Fully licensed physicians. D.O. = Doctor of Osteopathy. Recognized in all fifty states and practiced throughout the world. No licensing exists anywhere.
Training 5 years minimum. Four years Osteopathic medical school plus one to three years of hospital residency. Throughout this training, practitioners complete hundreds to thousands of hands-on apprenticeship hours with expert Osteopaths. Variable. Most are licensed massage therapists or physical therapists with as little as 4 days of formal craniosacral instruction.
History of creation Discovered by A.T. Still, MD in 1874. Eighteen years later, after countless cured and its theories proven, the first school of Osteopathy was founded in Kirksville, Missouri in 1892. Dr. Still reasoned that the body has the innate ability to heal and that restrictions in the tissues are but delays. Once those are removed, nature has no route but to deliver perfect health. Superb anatomical knowledge was the foundation. Tissue balancing was the method. The physician’s hands were the tools. W.G. Sutherland, DO, under Still’s direction, developed the cranial concept, detailing motion of the cranial bones and central nervous system and their role in underlying disease, from migraine to ear infections to seizure. Today, only Cranial Osteopaths practice these traditional methods. We make up less than two percent of all Osteopaths out there. Craniosacral therapy was born from the womb of Osteopathy. J.E. Upledger, DO, himself an Osteopath, began teaching limited Osteopathic techniques and philosophy in 1985. He teaches mostly massage therapists, physical therapists, and other paying non-physicians. What he can not teach, because he instructs non-physicians, is medical diagnosis. No diagnosis often leads to a faulty and misguided treatm

Chart takes from

Upon examining Ruby, he discovered that her sacrum was misaligned and her palate was misshaped. He adjusted both. He said that a misshaped palate will cause problems sucking. That hinders the proper flow of CSF, which causes a lack of bowel movements. He wants to see her next week. Hopefully this will help her. If her sucking improves, then it’s one step closer back to the breast.

Following the appointment with Dr Town’s, we had an appointment with Dr Morris (her current chiropractor). I explained what happened with Dr. Towns. He said that he is more confident in cranial work than craniosacrial.

So now she is seeing two chiropractors. Dr Town’s for cranial work and Dr. Morris for everything else. Whatever works, right?


Found out that Dr Towns does not use Cranial Osteopathy. He uses SOT and Vector Points Cranial Therapy. For more information about this, see my post Correct/Additional Info About “Cranial Stuff” & How it Has Helped Us.


4 responses

  1. Well that explains a lot. I did CST with my oldest and thought it was a complete joke. I bet she just had a few classes and wasn’t really qualified!

    • Kelly,
      He said that ge can correct a raised palate too. They are never too old. He adjusts them on adults too. He takes BCBS so he may take Aetna too. I can give you his info if you are interested.

  2. I am sad to see that a chiropractor (which I am not sure this guy is?) would attack another profession like that. While it is true that anyone who attends a class can do CST, it is also true that in any profession, it is the responsibility of the consumer to do due diligence and ask about background, which is why in this case it was important that you made sure the person was skilled with babies. You might have a chiropractor or DO with no experience with infants and a CST with amazing skill and experience.

    I would consider what you have posted to be biased propaganda by one profession against another. In the world of natural medicine, “diagnosis” is not the gold standard. The body does not need to be diagnosed and managed–it needs to be supported so that it can heal.

    I have experienced CST, as have my children. The work is profound–it is certainly no joke. That said, in any field you need to evaluate your practitioner. Folks can take very extensive CST training or they can take a couple of workshops. But, then all chiropractors are taught the basics of working with infants, but I would never refer a baby to the majority of them, bc I think specialized skill with infants is required. I have been to DOs as well. Some are wonderful with babies. Some are not.

    And frankly, I am really confused, bc you have presented the supposed differences between a DO (which is equivalent to an MD) and a CST? Yet, you say the person you are seeing is a chiropractor? Then, he does not have the skills listed on the left either. If you are seeing an osteopath, then he is not a chiropractor. Osteopaths (DOs), chiropractors and CSTs all have different skills. Among each are gems and among each are some who are incompetent. I would imagine most are just fine–holding the middle ground. When it comes to babies, I prefer the gem from any one over the average among the others.

    • It’s ok to give the benefit of the doubt every now and then. Not sure what gave you the impression he was “attacking another profession.” I asked him what the differences where and he answered me. Dr Morris (the chiro you sent me to) gave the same answer when I asked him the same questions. Dr Morris is a big advocate of CST. But he does acknowledge that there are many out there who claim to practice it but are not well trained. It is the consumer’s responsibility to make sure you are going is skilled. However, that is difficult to determine. What a person tells you because they want you business can be different from reality.

      I spent a great deal of time talking to Dr. Morris about the difference between CO and CST. He thinks that I should definitely stay with Dr. Towns for CO. He said that there used to be a lady in Jax that was EXCELLENT at CST. She has relocated to Virginia. If she was still here, I would go to her whether or not insurance covered it. But I have to work with what I have here in town.

      I’m not sure if maybe Dr Towns is an osteopath also. I know he was trained in CO back in the 70’s when it first came out. He attends courses on it every year to keep up with new information. I will ask him about the osteopath thing when I see him again on Monday. Does that help to clarify?

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