Craniosacral therapy

Here we look at the claims for craniosacral therapy.

Version: 2.0 Last updated: April 2023 To be reviewed: November 2025

Treatment details


Alternative medicine



Regarded as safe



No or limited evidence that it is effective



Claims for treatment

That craniosacral therapy (CST) reduces or removes the perception of tinnitus by easing the restrictions of the nerve passages and by stimulating the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spinal cord[1].

What is the treatment?

Manual manipulation of the cranial bones.

What are the downsides of this treatment?

Cost – CST is only available privately.

Has there been research into this treatment?

No research has been conducted into CST for tinnitus, and very little research has been conducted into CST in general.

What does the research say?

There is insufficient evidence to support craniosacral therapy [2] [3].

There is no plausible mechanism of action for CST. Whilst no studies have been conducted on CST and tinnitus, studies conducted into CST and other conditions do not show that it is effective.

Osteopathy is not mentioned as a potential treatment in three current tinnitus guidelines[4-6].

Tinnitus UK


In the UK, CST and craniosacral therapists are not subject to statutory regulation[7]. If a therapist is not a member of a reputable voluntary regulatory body, they do not have to meet any requirements in order to demonstrate that they are competent and safe to practise.

All online references accessed 1 November 2022 unless noted.

1. Rebecca Wright (Therapy Directory). Craniosacral therapy.

2. Ernst, E. Craniosacral therapy: a systematic review of the clinical evidence.
Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies. (2012) 17(4), 197-201

3. Green C, Martin CW, Bassett K, Kazanjian A. A systematic review of craniosacral therapy: biological plausibility, assessment reliability and clinical effectiveness. Complement Ther Med. (1999) Dec;7(4):201-7. doi:

4. Tunkel DE, Bauer CA, Sun GH, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline: Tinnitus. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. (2014) 151(2_suppl): S1-S40.doi:10.1177/0194599814545325

5. Cima RFF, Mazurek B, Haider H. et al. A multidisciplinary European guideline for tinnitus: diagnostics, assessment, and treatment. HNO 67, 10–42 (2019).doi:10.1007/s00106-019-0633-7

6. National Guideline Centre (UK). Tinnitus: assessment and management: NICE Guideline [NG155]. (2020) Mar.

7. Craniosacral Therapy Association. Why choose a CSTA-registered practitioner?