Does Cranial Sacral Therapy for Tinnitus Really Work?
Cranial Sacral therapy for tinnitus certainly sounds serious and intense, but is it effective?
Cranial Sacral therapy, or Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a type of alternative therapy that uses touch to palpate the synarthrodial joints of the head. A CST practitioner may also use touch on the individual’s pelvic bones and/or spine. The idea is that palpation regulates the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and supports primary respiration.
In simpler terms, a Cranial Sacral practitioner will lightly place their hands on various points on your body in an attempt to “heal” you of whatever condition you’re dealing with, such as pain, migraines or in this case, tinnitus. With so many causes of tinnitus, it’s hard to imagine that simply placing your hands on a certain part of your body would yield results.
While this type of alternative medicine was developed in the 19070s, it’s somewhat similar to cranial osteopathy.
Does Craniosacral Therapy Work?
Unfortunately for this type of therapy, more research and clinical studies are needed. Although CST may alleviate stress or tension in the individual, the American Cancer Society claims “available scientific evidence does not support claims that craniosacral therapy helps in treating cancer or any other disease.” In addition, some in the medical community view craniosacral therapy as pseudoscience without scientific proof for any of the benefits practitioners claim CST can help with.
The treatment came into the spotlight recently after Julian Cowan Hill posted various videos on Youtube about tinnitus and his experiences with it. He said he is now “cured” from tinnitus and a large part of that success involved cranial sacral therapy.
Tinnitus sufferers should always be wary when treatments or products claim to cure tinnitus. Currently, there is no cure for this condition so it can be very misleading to label this therapy as such.
What about actual research?
Craniosacral Therapy Association based in the UK sites a research study done in Iceland in 2012 and claims the study concluded that Craniosacral therapy can alleviate migraine symptoms.
However, when looking closer at the study, it’s clear that further research is needed before a definite link is created.
The study in question only used 20 participants and had no direct comparison group. In the study, individuals who suffer from about two migraines per month were randomly assigned to two groups. All participants received six craniosacral treatments over four weeks and answered the “HIT-6” questionnaire four times. A HIT-6 questionnaire is an evaluation of headache disability for the individual.
The study found that there was significant lowering in HIT-6 scorings compared to prior to treatment.
The study noted: “It is important that future research include a comparison group such as a placebo group and preferably even include comparison with other types of therapies used to treat migraine. A longer follow-up time to ascertain the immediate and long-term effects of the craniosacral therapy is also recommended. More knowledge is needed to determine if, and how, craniosacral therapy affects migraine. However, our results indicate that craniosacral therapy could be considered as a potential therapy for migraine sufferers with the aim of improving quality of life.” The key words here are “craniosacral therapy could be considered as a potential therapy.” More research is needed before claiming CST has impact on migraines, or other types of pain.
The British Tinnitus Association also looked into claims that Craniosacral therapy could alleviate tinnitus symptoms. They’ve found that “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.”
Cranial Sacral Therapy Reviews
As with most tinnitus treatments, people with tinnitus have gone online to see if others have had any success with Cranial Sacral therapy for tinnitus symptoms. One user on a message board mentioned that because it’s so expensive, they wanted to make sure others have positive results with this type of tinnitus treatment.
Carol wrote: “As a registered practitioner in Cranial Osteopathy (26 years) I eventually refused Tinnitus patients as I could not justify accepting fees without being able to guarantee any success.”
Another tinnitus sufferer wrote: “I think “cranio” is great for calming the nervous system, but not a cure for symptoms of tinnitus. If you listen to the science part of how new neural pathways are created by behaving differently (neuroplasticity) and really understand this, your tinnitus symptoms will back off. You have to unlearn the sound. It’s the same with lots of bodily symptoms and thought processes. If they aren’t a threat to us our conscious mind will demote them to our subconscious.”
One tinnitus sufferer tried six sessions of Cranial Sacral therapy for their tinnitus and wrote: “Although it was very relaxing and he was very caring and understanding, it did nothing for my tinnitus, but will reduce any stress you may have.”
It seems the common thread is that this type of tinnitus treatment may reduce some symptoms temporarily, but nothing long term. It also seems that many people describe the sessions as extremely calming and relaxing, if nothing else. This fact may be the only thing working towards alleviating tinnitus symptoms, as we know that stress usually makes the ringing in the ears sensation louder.
So while there may be no science behind Carinal Sacral therapy and tinnitus, people may be seeing results only because it reduces stress.
Based on the fact that there is no research linking cranial sacral therapy and tinnitus, it’s not recommended tinnitus sufferers spend money on this type of therapy. The minimal amount of studies on CST and other condition also don’t show much of a link between CST and improved symptoms.
Because this type of therapy requires a qualified craniosacral therapist, it can also be very expensive. It’s highly unlikely that insurance companies will cover this type of therapy as it is more like a massage than real medical treatment.
If you have extra money to spend on treatment, this type of therapy may help relax you and alleviate stress. But don’t count on it eliminate your tinnitus symptoms. If anything, it might be better to spend that money on a relaxing holiday away and get the same results.
Quiet Mind is a blog dedicated to turning a critical eye to tinnitus treatments and supplements. So many don’t work and are overhyped, we’re here to shed some light on some of the scams and successful products that claim to stop the ringing.