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Could CranioSacral therapy improve meningeal lymphatic drainage and brain inflammation in autistic people?

by | Oct 17, 2017 | News & Views | 2 comments

Has anyone spotted an interesting new paper published in the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies this year? (2017)

Titled “The use of CranioSacral therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorders: Benefits from the viewpoints of parents, clients, and therapists,” the paper examines the efficacy of CranioSacral Therapy (CST) which ‘Mobilises restricted connective and meningeal tissues by following a progression that aims to identify structural restrictions.’ Apparently, ‘neurobehavioral dysfunction’ can (hypothetically!) lead to ‘the free movement of cerebral spinal fluid being impeded.’

The researchers state that post-mortem studies have shown evidence of ‘neuro-inflammation’ in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). This seems to indicate that experts in the field are working out if the brains of people with autism are naturally hyper-activated and inflamed.

Researchers have proposed that ‘meningeal lymphatic drainage deficits’ may occur due to inflammation in the brain of an autistic person – the study we mention here also cites the subject of toxins, stating ‘There is also a growing amount of research regarding the presence and levels of environmental toxicants in the bodies of people with ASD.’ CST has been successfully used on people with migraines, dementia and general ‘autonomic nervous activity’, so it is perhaps a natural step to see if it can aid the symptoms associated with autism.

The study in the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies found the following improvements/findings in some of the people that took part in the study:

Anxiety and emotional stability

  1. “CranioSacral Therapy has an immediate calming effect on my child. He relaxes and lets go. He will often ask for a session if we forgotten to make an appointment. Monthly sessions seem to work best now.”
  2. “My son is very calm after each session. He is able to communicate where he wants his therapist to work.”
  3. “Able to calm self down faster than before.”
  4. “Calm and happy.”

Social changes

  1. “Eye contact, quality of social interactions.”
  2. “Moderate improvement: social communication.”
  3. “Eye contact and awareness of others around him; improved area.”

Sensory and language improvements were also noted.

The study concluded that ‘There is a definite requirement to find effective treatment for ASD and initial findings suggest that CST may be a viable alternative or as a compliment to traditional medical, psychological, and educational approaches.’

More research is surely imminent but it is interesting to read about the concept of autism being a kind of inflammatory state.

A little disclaimer – here at we don’t claim to be experts about Autism Spectrum Disorders; the information we post here is based purely on our own exposure and experiences.

Reference for study – The use of CranioSacral therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorders: Benefits from the viewpoints of parents, clients, and therapists Susan Vaughan Kratz et al. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies (2017) 21, 19e29.





  1. Matt

    I think this is incredibly exciting research which supports the growing body of evidence that all known conditions, including autism, can be attributed to auto-immune system dysfunction. This, in turn, can easily be attributed to environmental factors; pollution, pesticides, GMO foods, stress, etc. which explains the perceived increase in instances of such conditions as ASC.

    • admin

      Thanks Matt! Good to hear from you! Kathy is researching a feature on auto-immune system dysfunction which will be coming up soon x


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