How to Find a Craniosacral and Visceral Manipulation Practitioner
Craniosacral Therapy (CST) and Visceral Manipulation (VM) are powerful, hands-on therapies that we use daily at Better Belly Therapies to help our clients with IBS, acid reflux, autoimmune diseases, and gut health disorders!
The International Alliance of Healthcare Practitioners (IAHP) is an organizational body that lists all practitioners who have ever taken one of their courses with Craniosacral Therapy, Visceral Manipulation, or any of the other trainings under their scope (such as lymphatic drainage or neural manipulation).
There are many health practitioners who can do Craniosacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulation who may live near you.
In this article, learn how you find a therapist near you!
Just open the Find A Practitioner page, and follow the steps below to find the best therapist you can near you.
1) Optimize Your Search
Only use the first 3 digits of your zip code to search the widest area around your home!
Click "Advanced Filter", which will open a drop-down menu of modalities and specialties to search for.
I typically recommend scrolling down to "Visceral Manipulation" and searching for that, because Visceral Manipulation is a less common skill compared to Craniosacral Therapy, and it is KEY in getting the full benefit of both modalities.
Many therapists who know Visceral Manipulation will also know Craniosacral Therapy, so picking just Visceral Manipulation will frequently yield results of therapists who have both skillsets.
2) Find the Best Practitioners
The key to finding the best practitioner is knowing how to interpret the information on the page.
I typically do NOT recommend picking a practitioner solely based on their location, licensing, or fee for service.
Instead, I recommend you pick a therapist based on their experience and training, specifically in CST and VM, and additionally considering if they have a specialty training you're interested in (e.g., pediatrics, prenatal care, GI health, etc.).
Below, I break down how I evaluate a quality practitioner using two main methods:
Training and Experience
3) Evaluate the Information
Start with Basic Information (licensing, location, and website/profile), but make your main choices on their Training and Experience.
The biggest difference the base license of a practitioner may make is:
- Can they bill insurance?
- Do they work in a hospital setting or private practice? (How easily can you see them?)
I never recommend evaluating the quality of a therapist based on their licensing, but if billing insurance is something you're interested in, or you want to get in ASAP (opposed to waiting to see them through a hospital system), then their credentials may make a difference to you!
Examples of licenses you may find:
- PT – Physical Therapist
- OT – Occupational Therapist
- MA – Masters Degree
- LMT/BCTMB – Massage Therapist
- RN/BSN – Nurse
- DC – Doctor of Chiropractic
Website / Profile:
While this doesn't make or break a good practitioner, if the therapist you're researching has a profile set up (the green button) or a website linked - check them out!
Websites and profiles often include more information, such as fees per session, if they take insurance, or the best way to get in contact.
I do not recommend making your choice of a therapist solely on who is closest. A good practitioner is worth driving to.
Keep that in mind as you choose a practitioner you want to work with!
Training and Experience
The most important part of a profile is the therapist's training and experience - not location, licensing, or even fees for service.
The International Alliance of Health Practitioners (IAHP) houses a variety of helpful modalities.
The therapists you look at may have training in only one modality (such as Craniosacral Therapy) or in multiple modalities.
Since Visceral Manipulation (VM) is a more rare skillset, I usually recommend prioritizing finding a therapist who knows VM first, and then seeing if they know Craniosacral Therapy.
Examples of modalities you may see:
- Craniosacral Therapy (CST)
- Visceral Manipulation (VM)
- Neural Manipulation (NM)
- Lymphatic Drainage (LD)
- Zero Balancing (ZB)
While you may find multiple modalities, for the purposes of gut health, I still recommend prioritizing 1) Visceral Manipulation and then 2) Craniosacral Therapy before any other modality.
More modalities is not always better in this case!
Teacher Assistant (TA):
Teacher assistants are qualified therapists who have been approved by IAHP to assist in training the future generation of therapists.
They are high qualified! If you can find a therapist who also is a TA - definitely check them out!
Every modality has a core curriculum or usually 4+ classes. These core classes are represented by dots that are emptied (not taken) or filled in (class taken).
When it comes to Craniosacral Therapy (CST), look for a therapist who has a minimum of 2 dots filled.
For Visceral Manipulation (VM), look for a therapist with a minimum of 2 dots filled - but ideally, closer to 3 or 4 completed! This can make the world of difference in the efficacy of your treatment sessions.
If you want to know more about specific classes this therapist has taken, you can click a link to learn more about each level of class they've taken.
Some classes will be specific to their focus or specialty.
For example, I have taken a course specifically on facilitating the Gut-Brain Connection using Craniosacral Therapy (CST). This was my "CLSB" course - or Craniosacral Therapy: Listening to the Second Brain.
If you can, find a therapist who's done advanced coursework in your health condition or symptom!
Examples of specialty coursework:
- Pediatrics / Infants
- Gut Health
- Mental Health
- Alzheimer's / Dementia
Choosing a Therapist
No one license, modality combination, or number of courses can prove whether or not this person can or cannot help you.
The best litmus test is ultimately to book an appointment and see how the therapist works.
Questions to ask during your visit:
- Do I feel comfortable with this therapist?
- Do they seem knowledgable about my condition or symptoms?
- Have they worked with other people like me before?
Just a few dots and courses taken can be powerful enough to change a life! The key is always that the therapist is applying them well - which is something that only experiencing them can show you!
Work with Me!
If you live in the metro-Detroit area, let's connect!
I am SUPER passionate about working with clients with IBS, autoimmune diseases, and chronic gut health problems. My clients have seen amazing changes in their health - and you can too!
If you want to know more about our work, you can check out our Google testimonials here.
*Note: Not all physical therapists or pelvic floor therapists will know craniosacral therapy or visceral manipulation. This is extra training that a PT may choose to get. If you are trying to find a therapist under your insurance who does CST and VM, call the office you are referred to ahead of time and inquire if any of the therapists there know CST or VM.
If you are unsure if a practitioner can help you, call ahead to talk to the practitioner to learn more about them, their practice, and if they are familiar with helping digestive dysfunction through craniosacral therapy and visceral manipulation.
Learn More About CST & VM
Can Craniosacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulation Help You?
Still have questions on what exactly Craniosacral Therapy (CST) and Visceral Manipulation (VM) are?
You might be wondering:
- What is a CST / VM session like?
- What is the difference between CST and VM?
- What parts of the body do they work with?
- How are they different than a regular massage?
If you're wondering these question, I answer all these and more in Chapter 6 & 7 of my book, Stop Stomach Pain: Heal Your Gut and End Food Restrictions.
You can download a FREE excerpt of Ch. 6 & 7!