Biodynamic Cranial Therapy


Biodynamic Cranial Therapy has as its goal the normalization of the body’s healing mechanisms. It does so in an extremely gentle fashion, allowing effective treatment for people of all ages and conditions of health.

The structural parts of the cranial system include more than just the cranium, or skull. They also include the bones of the face, spine and pelvis; the meninges (the coverings of the brain and spinal cord), and the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

The bones of the skull and face all move in relation to each other, having joints between them that allow for the expansion of the cranium of .01 to .04 millimeters. This movement begins about 6 months before birth, before any bones have formed in the fetus, so when the skull starts to ossify (turn to bone), it does so in a way that allows motion to continue.

The meninges (pr: men IN jeez) are three layers of membrane that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. These membranes are between the brain and the skull. The outermost of these membranes is the dura, which is stronger than steel. The dura attaches to a number of bones in the skull, two bones in the neck, and the sacrum, which is between the pelvic bones. The dura can often become irritated, which causes it to go into a twist pattern. When this happens, it will take the bones with it, often causing spinal misalignments. This is why spinal adjustments often don’t last very long- if the underlying dural tension isn’t eased, the vertebrae will be pulled back out of place, often within minutes. Dural tension can be caused by injuries, food allergies, medications, and stress, among other things.

A cranial treatment consists of three parts: pre-neutral, neutral, and post-neutral. So what’s a neutral? Simply stated, neutral is the point at which the body is ready for a treatment. Until then (pre-neutral), most people are in sympathetic overload, which is to say that they are stuck in the “fight or flight” response.

When the sympathetic nervous system is overloaded, the normal functioning of the digestive, hormonal, and immune systems is inhibited. The sympathetic nervous system’s job is to keep us alive in a crisis, so it is as if your body is saying, “hey, I might die in the next five minutes, so let’s put off digesting lunch until later.” Well “later”, of course, never comes because in modern times we lead over-committed lives where one stress leads to another.

So when you lie down on the treatment table , you have a tendency to bring this pile of stress with you. In addition, most people with health problems have gone through a certain amount of adaption to their condition. When tissues have been injured, or irritated for a period of time, they will often become segmented, or separated from the whole of the body. When a part of the body is injured, it sends a lot of nerve impulses to the brain. This has the good effect of mobilizing the body’s defenses and healing responses to the injured part. But after awhile the brain’s sensitivity to these impulses wanes, in the same way that we become used to traffic noise or strong perfume– at first you really notice it, but after awhile it becomes “old news” to your brain and it loses your attention.

For example: A person awakens in the morning, goes to the bathroom to brush her teeth, and in bending over the sink, feels a brief sharp pain in the lower back. She is then left with an aching pain in the muscles of the lower back, but gets dressed and hurries off to work. As the day progresses, the pain spreads across the lower back. Within a few days, a burning pain begins to travel down the right hamstring. At this point, an appointment is made, and our patient finds her way onto a treatment table.

At the moment of injury, this patient may have had a bulging disc in her back, but by the time she reaches the treatment table, she has adapted to this condition with spasm, swelling, and multiple misaligned vertebrae, all attempts by the body to “soften the blow” of the original injury.

This is a preneutral condition. More conventional methods would direct treatment at the spasm or swelling, using antiinflammatories and muscle relaxers, which often bring relief, but do nothing to correct the underlying cause of the problem. Injuries treated in this way often lead to incomplete resolution of the problem, followed by a long series of reinjuries and degenerative conditions.

The proper application of Biodynamic Cranial Therapy will often resolve conditions like this, as well as many others, by treating the body in such a way as to allow the adaptive conditions to subside. As the system settles down, the fight-or-flight response eases and the body reaches neutral, a very calm, relaxed state. At this point, treatment of the original injury begins (post-neutral), and resolution of the problem often follows.

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