Do you live with headaches? Have you heard that craniosacral therapy can help with headaches? Do you want to know how? Well, then you have come to the right place.

Craniosacral Therapy for Headaches

Craniosacral therapy is often seen as a popular alternative and natural treatment for both headaches. Why? Because most medications come with side effects that many would rather avoid. Also, medications are often once a headache is already being experienced. Craniosacral therapy has the ability to work as a preventative measure and treatment option.

How Craniosacral Works for Headaches

Craniosacral therapy works for headaches because it is a therapy where a therapist using their hands to feel for and identifying blockages in the craniosacral system. The Craniosacral system includes:

  • Bones

  • Membranes

  • Cerebrospinal fluid

Cerebrospinal fluid a fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. This fluid has a rhythm and flow just like your heart has a beat and rhythm. When the flow and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid is either blocked or restricted because bones have slightly shifted or membranes have - It could also be slight changes in paraspinal tissues and fascia.

According to this one study, from the standpoint of craniosacral therapy, slight changes in these different aspects of the brain and body can lead to both headaches. Craniosacral therapy works by using soft, gentle hands-on techniques applied to the head area of a person receiving treatment with the intention of doing three things:

  1. Normalize cerebrospinal fluid: Its rhythm, flow, and beat

  2. Remove blockages: Any blockages or restrictions are removed

  3. Realignment: Any slight alignment issues are corrected

How Effective is Craniosacral Therapy Work for Headaches?

There have not been many studies conducted on the effectiveness of craniosacral therapy for headaches, however, there have been a few. As scientists and researchers take a deeper look, the more we will know.

Headache Effectiveness

According to this one study, the estimated that the percentages of people who experience headaches are 46%. That's a lot of people. This particular study looked that the effectiveness of craniosacral therapy for cervicogenic headaches - these are headaches caused by a health condition like:

High blood pressure

Neck Injuries

An infection

In essence, cervicogenic headaches are a secondary symptom brought on by a health condition. Out of 46% of people experiencing headaches, 2.5-4.1% of the headaches experienced are cervicogenic headaches.

The study, used the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6) to measure the effectiveness of craniosacral therapy on cervicogenic headaches. This is a test that is essentially a diary about headaches that is maintained by the person who lives with headaches. It measures the following elements related to their headaches:

Quality of life

Frequency of headaches

Duration of headaches

5 Aspects of the Study

Here is a list of five different aspects of the craniosacral therapy and its effectiveness for headaches:

  1. Study participant gender: Male and Female

  2. Age of participants: 18 and over

  3. Eligibility of participants: Needed to meet the Cervicogenic Headache International Study Group diagnostic criteria for cervicogenic headaches

  4. Number of participants: 94 were screened, and 49 were chosen and participated in the study

  5. Frequency of treatments: This study, had the participants receive treatments for three weeks and were treated three times a week.

Study Results

The study found that before the prior to treatment the average score of participants on the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6) was 67.6. The higher the score the greater of a negative impact the headaches are having on a person.

After the three weeks of craniosacral therapy treatment, the average score on the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6) was 42.7. That is an almost 25 point improvement.

Thus, the study concluded that craniosacral therapy is an effective treatment strategy for patients of cervicogenic headaches.

What About Other Types of Headaches?

There are other types of headaches like cluster headaches, or tension headaches, will craniosacral therapy be as effective? More studies like the one above need to be conducted with these other types of headaches, however, if we look at the information, we would most likely be able to safely say that it could be helpful.

Asking craniosacral therapy practitioners for what their experience has been in treating different types of headaches can be a great way of gaining an understanding of how effective it could be for other types of headaches.

One other method, is asking a practitioner if they have past clients who they have treated for headaches who may be willing to share with you their experience with craniosacral and managing their headaches.

What About Migraines?

If you live with migraines, you may be looking at the types of other headaches that could be treated with craniosacral therapy and wonder - why were migraines mentioned? There is a good reason why! There have been studies and research conducted specifically on the effectiveness and impact craniosacral therapy can have on migraines. So, to discover more, read our guide: Craniosacral Therapy for Migraines.


Arnadottir, T. S., & Sigurdardottir, A. K. (2013). Is craniosacral therapy effective for migraine? Tested with HIT-6 Questionnaire. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 19(1), 11-14. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2012.09.003. Retrieved March 8, 2019, from

King, H. H. (2017, January 01). Manual Craniosacral Therapy May Reduce Symptoms of Migraine Headache. Retrieved March 8, 2019, from

Mann, J. D., Faurot, K. R., Wilkinson, L., Curtis, P., Coeytaux, R. R., Suchindran, C., & Gaylord, S. A. (2008). Craniosacral therapy for migraine: protocol development for an exploratory controlled clinical trial. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 8, 28. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-28. Retrieved March 8, 2019, from

Rao, K. (2017). Effectiveness of Craniosacral Therapy in Cervicogenic Headache. MOJ Yoga & Physical Therapy,2(4). doi:10.15406/mojypt.2017.02.00031. Retrieved March 8, 2019 from