Craniosacral therapy (CST) evolved from conventional osteopathy first used by physician Andrew Taylor Still in the late 19th century. In the early 1900s, osteopathy
student William Sutherland challenged conventional osteopathic
thinking about the fused bones of the human skull. Sutherland proposed that these bones were not in fact fixed, but able to move and performed experiments to prove the effects of that movement on physical and mental well-being. Sutherland called his system of treatment 'Cranial Osteopathy'.
Craniosacral therapy was developed from Sutherland's cranial osteopathy by osteopathic physician John Upledger. In 1970, Upledger performed surgery on a patient's neck and noted the rhythmic movement of the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This subtle pulsation was pressure in the membrane sac and along with cranial bone structure became part of the craniosacral system.
Upledger spent the next 15 years studying the craniosacral system and its effects on the body concluding that movement in the system is linked to physical, mental and emotional well-being. In 1985, the Upledger Institute was founded to educate the public and healthcare professionals on the benefits of craniosacral therapy .