Craniosacral therapy: a systematic review of the clinical evidence


  • Edzard Ernst MD, PhD, FMedSci, FSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

    Editor-in-chief of FACT, Emeritus Professor, Corresponding author
    • Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
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Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a popular treatment for a wide range of conditions. This systematic review evaluates the evidence of effectiveness for CST for any human condition.


An electronic search for relevant studies was conducted across three databases; this was complemented by extensive hand-searching of departmental files and bibliographies. Articles were included if they reported RCTs of CST for any human condition. Data were extracted according to predefined criteria and trial quality was determined using the Jadad score.


Six studies were included. Except for one, all were associated with a high risk of bias. Low quality studies suggested positive effects, while the high-quality trial failed to demonstrate effectiveness.


The notion that CST is associated with more than non-specific effects is not based on evidence from rigorousRCTs.