Comparison of Osteopathic Physicians and Craniosacral Therapists

Category DO CST*
Graduate Training 4-years osteopathic medical school Variable. Some have PT or massage license, but people without any healthcare training can become certified to practice CST
Post Grad Training and Practice 3-8 years residency training depending upon specialty. Then 5 additional years in practice before they are eligible to apply for certification. One four-day course is necessary to begin practicing. Two 4-day courses are necessary for certification
Licensure/Scope of Practice Fully licensed to practice the complete spectrum of medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states. No state or federal licensure and no governing body. Not trained or licensed to diagnose or formulate treatment plans for each patient
Professional Organization Dr Andrew Taylor Still founded the first osteopathic medical school in 1892, based upon the body’s innate healing capacity. In 1939, Dr William Sutherland introduced cranial osteopathy, which he characterized as merely a “contribution of thought” to Dr Still’s osteopathic science John Upledger, D.O. introduced CST (a “gentle soft touch therapy”) in 1983 and chose to teach it to non-physicians.

* The Upledger Institute
Chart used with kind permission from Donald Hankinson, D.O.