Cranial work and Craniosacral Therapy

In my 23 years of practice with thousands of patients, we have seen the negative effect a patients’ health when their cranial bones are “locked up” or “jammed.” I have also seen the dramatic improvement in patients’ health and well being when the cranium is freely moving again. We practice a number of different gentle styles of freeing the cranium and sacrum. This is because there are many ways to restore natural movement in the cranial bones. In the history of the development of cranial work and craniosacral therapy, there have been chiropractors and osteopaths that have made breakthrough discoveries of how to release the cranium and sacrum. They each created their specific style and method of cranial and craniosacral release. We have studied most of these methods so that we have as many healing tools as possible to help our patients. If we use cranial work with a patient on a particular visit we match the particular style and method of cranial and craniosacral adjustment to the specific needs of each patient.

We have studied Sutherland’s osteopathic cranial work, De Jarnette’s Chiropractic Directional Non Force Technique, Chiropractor Donald Epstein’s Network Chiropractic, Chiropractor Ferreri’s Neuro Organization Technique, Osteopath Smith’s Zero Balancing Technique and Chiropractor Turner’s Cranial style.

The following is the history of the development of cranial and craniosacral work which will give you insight into the different methods.

The History of the Development of Chiropractic Cranial Adjusting.

The concept that the bones in the skull fuse in early childhood originated in a paper written in 1873 referred to as the “Munro-Kellie Doctrine.” The research that supported this theory is 136 years old and apparently the paper was not very well done (even for the standards of that time). This view was still espoused as late as 1931 by the British autonomists, Sperino. We were even taught this same concept in Chiropractic College in the 70’s.

In 1939 William Sutherland hypothesized that the cranial bones actually articulate against one another. He was a student at the American School of Osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri. He established that the cranium was capable of Primary Respiratory Mechanism and that the C.F.S plays a vital “nutritive role” in all the tissues of the body. The meninges and attaches to the foramen magnum, the upper cervical vertebrae and to the second sacral segment. He rationalized that when the head is traumatized the dura matter is the outermost layer of the meninges and attaches to the foramen magnum, the upper cervical vertebrae and the second sacral segment. He rationalized that when the head is traumatized the dura may become twisted and compressed producing dysfunctions and ill health.

In the mid 70’s John Upledger proved that the bones of the skull sutures moved 100th of an inch and contained blood vessels, nerve fibers and connective tissues. Upledger and his research team from Michigan State University studied fresh cadavers using electron microscopes, radio waves and cinematographic X-rays to prove that the cranial bones moved.

When fusion occurs in the skull it is pathological condition resulting from a trauma that has interfered with normal has been damaged from trauma and remains subluxated and/or fixated.

Upledger developed a technique called Cranial Sacral Therapy (C.S.T.). This is an extremely light touch technique taught mostly to massage therapists.

Leon Chaitow in his book Cranial Manipulation Theory and Practice examines the research on cranial suture movement and refers to the research of Zanaskis et al 1996 on suture respiration. Zanaski measured the range of cranial movement between the sutures at 1/100 of an inch or ¼ of a millimeter.

In 1930, Major B. DeJamette (Chiropractor and Osteopath) developed a technique involving the movement of the cranial sutures and he called it Sacro Occipital Technique (S.O.T). He taught it until 1984. The Sacro Occipital Research Society, International, continues it on today. All chiropractors have been taught the three categories and their testing procedures in Chiropractic College.

Directional Non- Force Technique (D.N.F.T.) was developed by a Chiropractor, Richard VanRumpt. This technique consists of gentle challenging and a unique leg length check. The adjustment is a gentle, but directionally specific thumb impulse.

In 1979, Carl Ferreri, D.C. developed a technique called Neuro Organization Technique. He integrated several other Chiropractic techniques along with his own method of testing and treating and came up with his own protocols. Dr. Ferreri developed a breakthrough treatment protocol for dyslexia and learning disabilities. This was my first introduction to the concept of moving the bones in the skull after adolescence.

Dr. Rodger Turner, D.C., first took Ferreri’s course in 1986 and started the journey of correcting cranial subluxations and misalignments. Initially we only used 5 different cranial adjustments. Today, the technique, which is called Cranial Adjusting Turner Style (C.A.T.S.), has developed exponentially to include 86 different adjusting procedures in the first level workshop.

Trauma is not limited to the spine and extremities. Much attention is paid to the protection of the head with the insistence that helmets be used for various sports. Some of them are very effective; such as the football helmet, others are less effective, the hockey helmet for example and others are almost totally ineffective like the bicycle helmet. The bicycle helmet is only effective if a brick falls straight down, directly on top of the helmet; otherwise the helmet actually causes more problems and subluxations to the skull when hit from the side, front and behind.

Chiropractors have all seen patients whose problems have originated from a head injury. The first head injury can occur during childbirth, then falls in infancy from the head hitting the edge of the coffee table or if the child tumbles down the stairs. The incidence of head injuries from hits from baseball bats, swings, balls, pucks, fists, sports injuries, car and industrial accidents are extremely common. Unfortunately, most of these patients do not receive adequate care for these injuries and their conditions deteriorate and result in chronic debilitating health problems.

The injury to the head is sufficient enough to cause temporary unconsciousness in some cases. The patient survives, but has many acute symptoms such as: headaches, blurred vision, speech difficulties, memory lapses, brain fog, emotional irregularities, decreased reflexes, altered coordination, and behavior changes.

If the cranial subluxations that resulted from the head injury are not corrected these symptoms persist and become chronic, causing a life time of pain, emotional roller-coastering, cognitive disorders and cognitive difficulties resulting in a sub-standard levels of life and health.

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