Craniosacral Therapy Training and Careers

Get a Craniosacral Therapy Career and Education Overview

Craniosacral therapy originated with osteopathic physician Dr. William Sutherland in the 1900s. It is generally used to improve the movement of cerebrospinal fluid and reduce tension through gentle manipulation of the head and spine—”cranio” refers to the bony part of the head known as the cranium, and “sacral” refers to the sacrum, or the bottom of the spine.

Bodywork and medical professionals alike can benefit from the techniques taught in craniosacral therapy school.

Career Overview

Craniosacral therapy is used to treat a range of ailments, from the physical to the neurological to the psychological. It has proven particularly effective in treating headaches, jaw problems such as TMJ, eye and ear ailments, and neck and back pain.

During a session, the practitioner will delicately manipulate the bones of the head and the base of the spine in order to restore an optimal, balanced flow of cerebrospinal fluid and other subtle energies within the body. Graduates of craniosacral therapy school often incorporate these techniques into their practices as massage therapists, chiropractors or doctors of osteopathy (DO).

Training and Education

What You’ll Study in Craniosacral Therapy School

Craniosacral therapy school focuses on the study of the skeletal system, fluid movement, and the neuro-endocrine system, and how the body’s physical and energetic systems are interrelated. You’ll also study theoretical concepts of craniosacral therapy, and practice highly specialized observational skills that help attune you to the client’s physical state and any underlying symptoms or issues.

Average Length of Study

Full craniosacral therapy training at the foundation level requires 700 hours of study, if you pursue a program recommended by the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America. If you are already in practice as a massage therapist, you may be able to obtain a certificate in craniosacral therapy in as few as 150 hours.

Average Tuition

Depending on the length of the program and whether you’re attending a craniosacral therapy school or a massage therapy school, tuition varies between about $5,500 and $12,000 for a full craniosacral therapy training program.

Craniosacral Therapy Certification

Currently, craniosacral therapy school is not specifically regulated at the state or federal level. However, many states do regulate the practice of massage therapy and bodywork professionals, so be sure to check on the licensing guidelines of the state where you live. Craniosacral therapy practitioners can obtain voluntary Registered Craniosacral Therapist (RCST®) certification from the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America. Certification for bodywork and massage therapists is available from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

Craniosacral Therapy Salary

Salaries for practitioners with craniosacral therapy training can vary quite a bit depending on whether you’re working in private practice, as a massage therapist, as a chiropractor or as a doctor of osteopathic medicine. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for massage therapists is $37,180 while chiropractors earn $66,720. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
Sources: NCCIH, Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America, International Professional School of Bodywork, National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage.

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