The study of the cranium as a treatable entity has been the subject of controversy for many years. Cotton, Frye and Southerland were among the earliest practitioners who suggested that the vault bones of the skull could be manipulated to relieve and were responsible for many of the symptoms of mankind if they were in lesion. Theories about the function of the cranial vault range from the concept that the skull is a solid, immovable object that, once ossified, cannot move interosseously and is, therefore, not able to be manipulated to those who view the cranium as a dynamic structure, which maintains motility throughout life.
The proponents of cranial manipulation suggest that certain hand contacts taken on the surface of the cranium with directed thought and/or pressure can influence and alter the position and function of the cranial bones, which will have an effect on the inner working of the nervous system and the flow of cerebral spinal fluid in and around the brain and spinal cord. The general belief is that cranial “adjustments” can in by some means change the tension of the meningeal dural system as it traverses from the inner portions of the cranial vault to the sacrum, which can alter and correct aberrations in flow of cerebral spinal fluid. This is said to have a beneficial response for the patient in the form of improved health and reduction of a variety of symptoms.
Research continues regarding the efficacy of cranial manipulation as a viable modality for the treatment of a wide range of human ailments. Clinical data suggests that cranial manipulations have had benefits for a large number of patients with conditions such as headaches, sinusitis, tinnitus, dizziness and even epilepsy.
My many patients who, on numerous occasions, were unable to hold still during a cranial adjustment inspired this text. While I was in the midst of intense concentration holding a cranial contact and waiting to feel the “release” that would indicate that the correction was complete and motion had been re-established in the skull, my patients often would turn or tilt their head in such a way as to change my perception. I began to realize that specific movements made by the patient facilitated the expansion and release of the cranial sutural area I was working on.
I began to experiment with the basic motions of lateral flexion and rotation while holding various cranial contacts. I found that in many cases the decompression of the jammed or fixated area was faster and more complete than realized with passive motion alone. I also discovered that if the patient’s motion was too fast or forceful the sutural system would lock and the technique would fail. It became apparent that a balance between the force applied by the practitioner and the strength of movement administered by the patient had to be evenly distributed in order to produce the desired result.
The difficulty of finding the harmonious combination of the patient’s exertion and the physician’s counter resistance was complicated by the inability of the patient to understand the direction of the movement the doctor was trying to achieve. This became particularly difficult when combined movements were requested. Sometimes it became necessary to demonstrate to the patient the desired motion by moving their head in the correct manner with my hands or demonstrating visually with my own head motion.
Eventually, I worked out a system, which allowed me the coordinate the direction, and intensity of the subject’s motions to create the desired effect. I began using a demonstrator skull with the patient to orientate them to the concept of flexion, extension, rotation and lateral flexion. I found it was easier to tell the patient, “tuck your chin,” “lift your chin up,” and “turn your head to the left or right “and” side bend to the left or right.” Occasionally, it was necessary to move the patient’s head in the needed direction until they began to understand the directions. Most patients were able to comprehend the concepts of specific motion and were able to grasp the notion of combined movement with relative ease.
The quality of the motion is as important as the direction of movement in applying the isocranial component to a cranial correction. The muscle contraction must be very slow and in the proper direction to facilitate the sutural release. If the patient contracts the musculature too hard or too quickly the doctor cannot maintain proper contact on the skull and will slip off the contact point. If the doctor increases his pressure to maintain contact the cranial response will be to lock up and no motion will be achieved, the patient will not respond and the lesion could conceivably be aggravated by the treatment. The patient is always given instructions in a low relaxing tone of voice.
The doctor’s first command to the patient is to say, “I want you move very slowly and gently” and then he gives the required direction of the movement. The slower and more gently the patient applies the contraction of the musculature, the easier it is for the doctor to perceive the changes in the cranial sutural tension. The doctor may also tell the patient to stop or relax the contraction at a point when the suture begins to release. He my also tell the patient to hold and maintain the contraction at a specific point or level which he feels is achieving the desired result. The doctor may feel the need to stop resistance and reinitiate the contraction intermittently during the procedure to optimize the beneficial effects.
I have tried to consider as any option and possible combinations of doctor’s contacts and various movements of the cranium, which can be used individually or in concert with each other to best, correct the cranial fault. I would also like to point out that Isocranial procedures can be used to correct torsion lesions of the midline bones and to close sutures that are perceived to be open or separated.
The cranial practitioner must use his or her judgment in applying Isocranial techniques to correct cranial faults and misalignments. Time and practice will give the user a chance to develop a feel for the muscle contraction assistance afforded by this procedure and to decide if the is validity to its use. I am sure that doctors that begin using these applications will develop many new and innovative ways to administer and alter them to benefit their patients and improve their results. One of the most significant advantages to Isocranial technique is the reduced time needed to apply the technique and also the improvements in local pain reduction are usually immediate. Correction seems to last longer and recovery time is reduced.
Coronal suture Isocranial technique: Morphology:
The coronal suture extends from the right to the left greater wing of the sphenoid and is formed by the union of the frontal bone and the right and left parietal bones. This is a complex suture which interlocks with the parietal bones with serrations beveled surfaces and pin-to-socket couplings. At the superior most aspect of the suture, near the bregma the frontal bone overlaps parietal bones. In the lower third the parietal bones overlap the frontal bone. The middle one-third of the coronal suture is transitional where the frontal and the parietal bones present alternating overlapping and interlocking serrations. The purpose of releasing the coronal suture is to relieve pain along the sutural margins noted on palpation and patient history of anterior cranial pain. Optimistically, the release of the frontal bone from sutural restrictions with the parietal articulations will relieve intracranial pressure in the anterior dura and enhance cerebrospinal fluid circulation around the frontal lobes. In addition to reducing pain along the coronal suture margins, there are patient reports of improved sinus drainage, relief from frontal area headaches and improved mental function in patients complaining of confusion and loss of concentration after frontal area head trauma.
The technique involves specific hand contacts along the frontal and parietal bones applied by the physician. Once the specific contacts are made, the patient is guided through respiratory phases (inhalation and exhalation) and specific motions to assist the practitioner in releasing cranial sutural restrictions. Physician directed patient motions include right and left rotation, right and left lateral flexion and flexion and extension. The doctor’s contacts are positioned at strategic points to assist patient motion in one direction while assisting motion in the opposite direction. By utilizing the muscles of the cervical spine to aid in the correction or cranial sutural lesions the effectiveness of the technique is greatly enhanced, pain is relieved along the sutural margins and the beneficial effects of intracranial realignment will be experienced by the patient over the next hours and days following the procedure. A hand on training in Isocranial technique is available through the Sacro Occipital Research Society International (S.O.R.S.I.) www.sorsi.com or 1-888-245-1011.1 1-888-245-1011.