Men's and Women's Health

Cranial Care for Adults

Dateline: March 2011 Perhaps the most obvious people who can benefit from cranial work are those who have had head trauma, either accidental or surgical. I am a perfect example of that application. In 1996, I had a very serious fall and concussion. Within three to four years, I was rapidly becoming disabled - unable to walk without canes, unable to get up and down out of a chair, mental confusion and serious balance issues. By the time I located a qualified cranial doctor I was in serious trouble. In my case, I had to travel to Seattle, Washington to get the care I needed; however, it was well worth it. In just one visit, I was walking without canes and my balance was restored. I felt that I had been given my life back, despite the fact that I had to travel to Washington State, at first monthly, then, quarterly, then twice a year. The expense was well worth the outcome. And, I believe I would have progressed more rapidly if I could have been treated more frequently.

When discussing trauma, the medical text Medical Rehabilitation of Traumatic Brain Injury, by Drs. Horn and Zasler, on pg. 134 makes the following comment: "According to the Brain Injury Association (formerly National Head Injury Foundation) and the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, the accepted term is mild traumatic brain injury . . . Practitioners must understand that the term "mild" describes only the initial insult relative to the degree of neurologic severity; there may be no correlation with the degree of short- or long-term impairment or functional disability." In other words, the injury may be mild from the point of view of a surgeon, i.e., no skull fracture or destruction of brain tissue, but it may cause long-term problems for the patient. A concussion is a perfect example of this sort of injury; so is whiplash.

And, unfortunately, it is difficult for the medical profession to diagnose and deal with these problems since "[s]tudies such as computed tomographic (CT) scans of the brain and standard electroencephalography (EEG) typically do not show abnormalities supportive of brain dysfunction and/or trauma." (Ibid., pg. 134) This leaves the average M.D. at a loss as to what, if anything, can be done.

Fortunately, cranial work can adjust the precise area of the brain injury, relieve the restrictions and help restore function to the entire body. Something that many of us do not realize is that 80% of the nervous system is contained within the cranial vault. Our brain is like the hard drive on our computer; it controls everything, including: voluntary muscle activity, involuntary muscles (heart and digestive tract), and the function of all of our organs. So, there is a great deal more to brain injury than just amnesia or loss of cognitive function.

Fortunately, there are specific cranial releases for a variety of problems affecting adults. These include:
> heart arrythmias
> gastroesophageal reflux
> stroke
> language difficulties
> stuttering
> brain atrophy
> reading problems
> difficulties writing
> motor control over extremities
> difficulties with memory and intelligence

One word of caution: The amount of improvement and how long it will take to rectify the situation are dependent upon how long the injury has been there. I have had a few patients with severe, multiple strokes over a long period of time. I was called in at the tail end of this process, and could accomplish very little. In other patients, where the injury was of long-standing duration, but was a single episode, we have seen a lot of progress - it just takes longer than a more acute problem to correct.

I will always remember Dr. deJarnette, who pioneered much of the cranial techniques. He lived well into his 90's and was alert and mentally present right up until his passing. His "insurance" against aging? He had regular cranial work throughout his life, and had it performed weekly as he got into his 90's. In his opinion, keeping the sutural system of the skull mobile would prevent brain degeneration, and he was a living testament to his theory.

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