What is Craniosacral therapy?

Craniosacral Therapy evolved from osteopathy. In the early 20th century Dr William Sutherland, an osteopath, discovered that the bones of the cranium connect to the sacrum through the core link. The core link is made up of the cranium (the skull), the spinal cord, the dura mater (the protective sleeve around the spinal cord) and the sacrum. Dr Sutherland noticed that when ‘pressures’ were applied to the various bones of the skull, the sacrum and pelvis were affected and vice versa. His work was further developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger in the 1970s at Michigan State University where he developed and refined the techniques of Craniosacral therapy which we use today.
Equine Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle, non-invasive touch therapy that releases restrictions deep in the body. It works with the cranium, the spine, the sacrumand all of its fascial connections, including the extremities. The core link (Craniosacral system) houses, protects and nourishes the Central Nervous System which has the most influence over the body’s ability to function properly.
EQCST has a calming and re-balancing effect on the state of the nervous system of the horse. It down regulates the Sympathetic Nervous System (flight/fight/freeze) and up-regulates the Parasympathetic Nervous System (rest/digest/heal). Craniosacral treatment eliminates negative effects of stress, strengthens the immune and endocrine systems and enhances overall health.
Releasing restrictions in the Craniosacral system enables the body to rebalance itself. The body will always try to create balance in an imbalanced state through compensation patterns. These compensations patterns will over time create problems/disfunctions in the musculoskeletal system, which can lead to injuries, chronic problems and eventually behavioural issues.
All horses experience pressure to the cranium through bridles, halters, pulling back, etc. Pressure on the cranium (the skull) can often set up compensatory patterns in muscles which significantly influence the overall bio-mechanics of the horse. EQCST helps to retain or reinstate the integrity of the horse’s system in a very gentle way.

Craniosacral therapy works well with other holistic therapies. It is not a substitute for veterinary care.

When can EQCST help?

  • Headshaking
  • TMJ problems
  • Head traumas and injuries
  • Teeth grinding and chewing problems
  • After dental work
  • Back pain
  • Sinus problems
  • Eye Problems
  • Nervous tension
  • Poll and neck stiffness
  • Lack of flow and flexibility in riding
  • Behavioural issues

Equine Craniosacral treatment

  • Initial consultation: medical history (current and old injuries, any other treatments being received), the type of work you do with your horse as well as personality and behaviour of your horse
  • Treatment on your horse includes: a visual assessment and gentle touch techniques touch techniques
  • Duration of the session is approximately 60 min


Before the treatment

  • Before the treatment please do not ride or work the horse for two hours before the session
  • The horse should be dry and mud free, in the stable (if this is his/her comfortable safe place)
  • Time of treatment should be a quiet time – not when the horse is expecting to be fed or turned out


After the treatment

  • Following the treatment, the horse should rest for that day
  • Preferably the horse should be turned out into the field so he/she can move freely as this will optimize the effect of the treatment
  • It takes 3-4 treatments for best results