Craniosacral For Children & Youth

By Hugh Milne, DO, © Copyright 2008.

Craniosacral Has Helped Kids With

  • Asthma
  • ADHD
  • Dyslexia
  • Headache: all types
  • Traumatic birth
  • Mood swings

Craniosacral Can Help In The Following Areas

Spirit: Yes

Body: Yes

Mind: Yes

Emotions: Yes

Brief Description Of Craniosacral

  • Craniosacral is a form of bodywork that utilizes extremely delicate finger and hand contacts to cranium, spine, and pelvis.
  • It works with cranial bones, central nervous system, energy fields, membranes and cerebrospinal fluid.
  • It can have a dramatic effect on dyslexia, headache, TMJ, and ADHD, and is effective in correcting cranial molding after birth.

Success With Craniosacral

  • Headache: Girl aged 8 had a stroke. Her mother called me because while the after-effect of the stroke had stabilized, she still had headaches. I was curious: How does an 8 year-old have a stroke? It turned out that she had been lifting a heavy breadboard down from a counter at home and lost her grip and it had slammed into her forehead. It hurt for a day or two and then she thought no more of it. About three weeks later one of her classmates kicked a soccer ball straight into her face, and it impacted her forehead in exactly the same place as the breadboard. Later that night a blood vessel in her brain hemorrhaged.

My work with her consisted of relieving the pressure and impactation (something wedged) on her forehead, unwinding the tension, compressions and contraction in her upper neck, and helping the more delicate central bones of her head to regain their normal fluid vacancy.

After two 45-minute sessions a week apart, she had no more headaches.

  • Dyslexia and coordination problems:

A teacher of a ten year old approached the girl’s mother. The daughter was doing so poorly in class with her reading and writing skills that something would have to be done, perhaps special tutelage, or to repeat the grade. She kept hurting herself in gym because her motor skills seemed uncoordinated. I sat with both the mother and daughter at the beginning of the session, tuning in to the deeper reasons for this dyslexia. It seemed to me that the parents were fighting, and at the same time attempting to hide this from their daughter.

Since it seemed to me appropriate to discuss the subject, I asked the mother’s permission to do so. When this was granted, I explained to the daughter that what she was sensing, and what was disturbing her so much was in fact happening, and that the tensions and anxiety she was experiencing had slowly caused her cranial bones to become displaced.

I encouraged the mother to take her daughter for a long walk by the river and be frank and open with her, and treat her as an equal, not as a child from whom things should attempt to be hidden. I pointed out that you couldn’t hide emotional realities from a child.

I then worked on the daughter’s head to correct and normalize the position and movement patterns of her sphenoid - the most central bone of the head and the one most often associated with learning difficulties. This took about 20 minutes.

A week later the teacher asked the mother, “What have you done with Anne - this is a different child!” Her dyslexia had disappeared, and her learning abilities fully normalized. (When Craniosacral is successful in children with dyslexia, it is often successful immediately and permanently, as it was with Anne.)

Two years later Anne’s coordination had improved to the point that she was the top gymnast in her grade school, excelling on the single bar.

Craniosacral Is Appropriate For Ages

  • All ages, including in utero (pre-birth) and even during birth

Children & Youth’s Reactions To Craniosacral

  • May be immediate, gradual or long term
  • The younger the child, the more rapid the response

Extra Care Is Needed Treating

  • Brain tumor
  • Epilepsy
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • If child is unable to stay still

Contraindications: When Craniosacral Should Be Avoided

  • Should be avoided in the first four to six weeks after surgery


  • It originated prehistorically in Shamanism and bone setting.
  • American Osteopath, William G. Sutherland, formulated it in the 1900’s.
  • It is practiced today by Osteopaths, Chiropractors, and Massage Therapists.
  • Craniosacral is also known as: Cranial Osteopathy, Visionary Craniosacral, Craniosacral Therapy, Sacro-Occipital Technique, and Craniology.

Basic Concepts And Components Of Craniosacral

  • It regards the body’s energy field as a source of information and intelligence that can be “listened to” through the fluctuations of cranial bones, spine, and sacrum.
  • It helps the body to heal and correct itself; restores natural health and well-being.
  • Children inherently understand what the work is because they appreciate being touched carefully, compassionately, intelligently, in a meaningful way.

Description Of A Typical Session

  • It is done fully clothed.
  • Begins by establishing contact with the child—eye contact, movement contact, and verbal contact.
  • It moves to contact with specific cranial bones in a quiet, meditative way.
  • Great care is taken with the child’s sensibilities, regarding pressure and length of contact.

Major Differences Of Opinion Between Practitioners

  • Some give very short five to ten-minute sessions.
  • Training and skill levels vary enormously.
  • Some practitioners work in a purely technical way, others in a technical and intuitive way.

Fees/Costs In 2007

  • The cost is $30 to $110 per 30 minute cranial session, depending on practitioner skill level and location.

Average Time Per Session

  • At birth, ten to fifteen minutes
  • After age five, fifteen to twenty minutes
  • After age twelve, thirty to forty minutes

Recommended Length Of Time Between Sessions

  • Five days

Estimated Length Of Time Before Improvements Can Be Expected

  • Improvements can be expected in one to four sessions.
  • Four to six sessions are typically needed.

Suggestions To Make Craniosacral More Effective

  • Make sure that postural, diet and/or home situation suggestions are followed.
  • Specific homework tasks are fulfilled.

Other Methods That Complement Craniosacral

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Homeopathy
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga
  • Osteopathy
  • Chiropractic
  • Ayurveda
  • Meditation
  • Leadership development courses

Nature And Length Of Training To Be A Practitioner

  • Training may be a four-day seminar.
  • Training may be a part time two-year training of approximately 750 hours.
  • Training may be an integral part of Osteopathy or Chiropractic training.
  • It may be a part of a DO (Doctor of Osteopathy), M.D., or D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) training.

Certification/Licenses Held By Craniosacral Practitioners

  • There are no state or federal licensing requirements.

Professional Associations To Contact For Names Of Local Practitioners

Number Of Craniosacral Practitioners In U.S., Canada, And Mexico

  • Several hundred

What To Look For When Choosing The Best Practitioners

  • Sensitivity, presence, responsiveness
  • Referrals or testimonials from people you trust

Leading Clinics, Centers, Practitioners

Resources, Research Papers, Books, DVD’s, Websites

  • Feeley, Richard; “Clinical Cranial Osteopathy”
  • Blood, S.D. “The Craniosacral Mechanism and the Temporomandibular Joint.” Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 86, no. 8 (1986): 512-9


  • Milne, Hugh. The Heart of Listening: A Visionary Approach To Craniosacral Work. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1995.
  • Upledger, John and Jon Vredevoogd. Craniosacral Therapy. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1983.

Helpful Tips For Parents

  • Entirely dependent on practitioner’s evaluation

Biography of Hugh Milne, Author

  • Third Generation Scottish Osteopathy
  • 40 years of experience
  • Degrees: N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathy), DO (U.K.)

To Contact Hugh Milne, Who Contributed This Chapter

Hugh Milne; P.O. Box 220; Big Sur, CA 93920-0220; Ph: 831-667-2323; Fax: 831-667-2525; Website: www.milneinstitute.com; Email: infomilne@aol.com

Marie Mulligan’s Comment About Craniosacral: There can be additional benefits when people get involved with Craniosacral practiced by people licensed in other healing modalities. Parents are advised to have one or two sessions themselves so they can feel the practitioners’ competency and can understand the process. My children have benefited from this work.

Rick Geggie’s Comment About Craniosacral: I have seen many quite remarkable benefits from good CS work with children & youth. The process is very gentle. Children often fall asleep. CS also tends to enhance the good effect of many other practices. Results are often quite rapid.

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