Skip to content

Cranial Nutritional Therapy

What Is Craniopathy?

Craniopathy is a specialized field in Chiropractic which deals with the micro motion of the cranial vault (skull), its distortions and ultimately the effect is has on the normal cerebro-spinal fluid flow and the nervous system.  This science has been developed through study, research and clinical application over the last fifty years.

Craniopathy is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the function of the craniosacral system — the physiological body system comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.

Craniopathy enhances the body’s natural healing processes to improve the operation of the central nervous system.

Craniopathy enhances the body’s natural healing processes to improve the operation of the central nervous system.

Craniopathy enhances the body’s natural healing processes to improve the operation of the central nervous system, dissipate the negative effects of stress, enhance health and strengthen resistance to disease.

The basic theory behind Craniopathy is that the body is a holistic complex of systems, which everything in it is connected, and that healing is a natural power.  The therapy assists the body in healing itself by getting the craniosacral fluid moving efficiently and relieving any restrictions that may be blocking that movement.

Craniopathy is designed to try to restore normal physiologic motion, normal physiologic anatomy, and anatomic relationships in order to improve the body’s functions in a number of the organ systems.  It helps the body restore its normal physiologic activity, normal immune function, improving vascular tones, lymphatic flow – all of those systems that keep us intact.

How Does Craniopathy Work?

Craniopathy works by helping the body’s natural healing mechanisms dissipate the negative effects of stress on the central nervous system.

This is accomplished through utilizing a physiological body system called the craniosacral system, which maintains the environment in which the central nervous system functions.  It consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, extending from the bones of the skull, face and mouth (which make up the cranium) down to the tailbone area (or sacrum).  The role of this system in the development and performance of the brain and spinal cord is so vital that an imbalance or dysfunction in it can cause sensory, motor and/or neurological disabilities.

Like the pulse of the cardiovascular system, the craniosacral system has a rhythm that can be felt throughout the body.  Skilled practitioners can monitor this rhythm at key body points to pinpoint the source of an obstruction or stress.  Once a source has been determined, they can assist the natural movement of the fluid and related soft tissue to help the body self-correct.

The Central Nervous System - The brain and spinal cord form the central nervous system of the body coordinating all tissues, organs and systems within the body.

Cerebro-Spinal Fluid (C.S.F) - A sac like membrane, called the dural membrane, covers the brain and spinal cord and contains C.S.F. in which the brain and spinal cord are immersed.  The C.S.F. acts as a cushion, protecting this delicate mechanism, transports nutrition, removes waste products and provides an ideal medium for nerve function.

The Cranial Vault - The brain represents eighty percent of the central nervous system and is contained and protected by the skull (cranium).  The cranial vault is made up of eight cranial bones joined together at sutures (tongue and groove joints), which allows for cranial micro motion.

Dural Membrane - Within the cranial vault are anchor points for the dural membrane, which separates the brain into quadrants, and support the entire mechanism.  These tension membranes act rather like guy ropes on a tent and prevent the brain from twisting or being compressed when the position of the head changes.

Cerebro-Spinal Fluid Flow - A special function takes place in the human body that is essential to good health.  It is the circulation throughout the nervous system of cerebrospinal fluid.  Cerebrospinal fluid is created in four compartments in the brain and is supplied to the nervous system through the gentle pulsing action created by breathing.

Inhalation - On inhalation, the diaphragm contracts forcing the abdominal organs into the pelvic floor flattening the lower spine and shortening the spinal cord.  This compresses the sacral bulb, forcing cerebrospinal fluid up the spinal cord to the brain, which in turn expands.  On inhalation, the compartments producing cerebrospinal fluid fill up.

Exhalation – On exhalation, the brain contracts forcing cerebrospinal fluid down the spinal cord.  The diaphragm relaxes allowing the abdominal organs to move out of the pelvic floor, lengthening the spinal cord and expanding the sacral bulb.

Cranial Motion - In order to allow the brain to expand and contract the cranial vault has to comply accordingly.  On inhalation, the cranium expands.  The sutures separate and allow the brain to expand.  On exhalation, the brain contracts and the sutures close.  This is the micro motion of the cranium.

Sacro-Occipital Pump - The dural membrane not only anchors in the cranial vault, but also anchors at the sacrum, the middle bone in the pelvis, which is the base of the spine.  The sacrum holds the spinal cord in position so that it does not rotate or become displaced by normal movement.

Inhalation- On inhalation as the cranium expands the occiput and the sacrum move downwards shortening the spinal cord pushing the cerebrospinal fluid upward.

Exhalation – On exhalation, the occiput and sacrum move upwards, lengthening the cord, which pushes the cerebrospinal fluid downwards. This sacro-occiptal pump provides the mechanism for cerebrospinal fluid circulation around the brain and throughout the nervous system.  This function is dependent on a stable balanced cranium, spine and pelvis.

Cranial Distortions

Cranial distortions occur when the body is subjected to stresses to which it cannot adapt.  These stresses can be in the form of:

  • Physical: birth trauma, sports injuries, auto accidents
  • Chemical: food additives, drugs
  • Environmental pollution
  • Emotional

These can cause pelvic and spinal distortions.  These imbalances create a tightening of the muscles on the outer surface of the cranium and tension on the membranes inside the cranial vault.

The cranium distorts accordingly and the cranial bones move out of alignment, pulling on the brain, twisting the spine and creating an imbalance in the sacro-occipital pump mechanism.  This interferes with the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, creating toxicity, affects nutrition and impedes nerve function to all parts of the body.

What Conditions Can Craniopathy Help?

Because of its influence on the functioning of the central nervous system, Craniopathy can benefit the body in a number of ways — from bolstering overall health and resistance to disease to alleviating a wide range of specific medical conditions.

Among Craniopathy’s largest patient groups are those suffering chronic symptoms that haven’t been aided by other approaches.  In particular, Craniopathy is beneficial to those with head, neck or back injuries resulting from an accident — be it from a car, sports or work mishap or from a fall.  The light touch involved in the application of Craniopathy makes it a safe approach as well for children, infants and newborns with early traumas, including birth trauma.  They especially can benefit from the timely identification and release of restrictions in the craniosacral system, thereby preventing future difficulties such as learning disabilities or hyperactivity.

Another area of principal effectiveness is with stress-related dysfunction’s.  Insomnia, fatigue, headaches, poor digestion, anxiety and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction are just a few examples.  Craniopathy works to reverse the debilitating effects of stress by providing the conditions in which the nervous system can rest and rejuvenate.  In fact, it’s this capacity to reduce stress that’s leading an increasing number of people to include Craniopathy as part of their wellness routines.

Other conditions for which Craniopathy has shown to be effective are various sensory disorders.  Among these are eye-motor coordination problems, dyslexia, loss of taste or smell, tinnitus, vertigo and neuralgias such as sciatica and tic douloureux.