Craniosacral therapy

Sari Lewis demonstrates craniosacral therapy with Shawna Blankenhorn. 

Photo courtesy of Sari Lewis


When you walk into Sari Lewis’ treatment room, you’re surrounded by an atmosphere of serenity. The lights are dim, and quiet relaxation music fills the room. 

Lewis, an occupational therapist, is also a registered craniosacral therapist, practicing the “gentle, hands-on treatment used to find and release restrictions of the craniosacral system, which includes the brain, spinal cord and cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord), within the dural membrane,” according to Lewis’ website

Lewis uses various gentle techniques that “prepare the body to heal from the inside out” and are designed to relax and release restrictions in the tissues or in the bones, including myofascial release, joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization and neural tension release. 

Craniosacral therapy taps into the internal, Lewis says, where she works as a “facilitator to help (the) body restore its natural sense of health.” 

Lewis treats people with headaches, neck pain, fibromyalgia, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and many other ailments.

People seek her treatments as an alternative to more traditional modalities, including chiropractic manipulation, physical therapy and massage, she says. Massage therapists dig deep into muscles to release restrictions, she says, but craniosacral therapists encourage the tissues to release rather than forcing them to release. 

After taking a health history, Lewis conducts a postural evaluation with the client standing and then lying down on her padded treatment table, which is similar to a massage table. “It gives me an idea about where things might be out of balance,” she says. “It also helps the client become accustomed to my touch and being in the (treatment room) environment. It’s all about creating an environment where people can feel safe and that this is sacred space for healing.”

When she has completed the evaluation and the client is on the table, Lewis places her hands under the client’s head, shoulder, sacrum or feet to cradle those areas and allow improved fluid flow and tissue release. “I identify tissue restrictions through palpation and support the area as it releases from the inside out,” she says. “Often, it’s just a matter of patiently waiting for the tight tissues to relax and release. And often, there’s a feeling of heat releasing from the energy built up in a tissue restriction.”  

Lewis brings clients into an almost trancelike state of relaxation and releases the fascia, a connective web of tissue that “is like a Spider-Man suit that  ... wraps in and out of everything.” When the fascia starts to release, it vibrates and shivers and the client can feel chilly, she says. 

Each client session lasts about an hour, “one-on-one with my hands on them almost the entire session,” Lewis says. 

The treatment, while subtle, has the ability to stir up toxins in the body, and clients are advised to drink water after a session. “Every client session is different,” she says. “I work with newborns up to people who are elderly.”

Sari Lewis, OTR/L, RCST can be reached at 480-998-8448 or