Improved Brain Function for the Elderly with Cranial Structural Therapy

Osteopaths discovered the effectiveness of manual cranial therapy for medical applications in the early 1900’s.  They used light pressure on the cranium to evaluate the cranial motion encouraging it back into its normal ranges of motion to reduce congestion and release the restrictions in its normal range of motion. 

Osteopaths discovered the effectiveness of manual cranial therapy for medical applications in the early 1900’s.  They used light pressure on the cranium to evaluate the cranial motion encouraging it back into its normal ranges of motion to reduce congestion and release the restrictions in its normal range of motion.  Many massage therapists have taken training in cranial therapy following in the steps of the osteopaths with positive results for their clients.  The osteopathic method applies very light pressure and works with the perceived cranial motion to move cerebral spinal fluid through the brain and the spinal column.  The holds and the pressures applied to the cranium are precise and light, and accomplish their goals very gently.

There has been some belief that there could be damage to the cranium and the cranial system if heavier pressures were applied. However, some of the older osteopaths who have been working with the cranium for years have increased their pressure to achieve greater effects with stuck or damaged craniums.  Because of their skill and knowledge of the cranium there was no perceived damage from their treatments.

A bold new idea in the potential of cranial work is found in Cranial/Structural therapy where the cranial bones are used as handles to evaluate the range of the cranial motion, determine its restrictions and then hold against the restrictions with significant pressure for a soft tissue release of those restrictions.  The intention is to balance the body structure and bring the sacrum/ilium relationship into weight bearing integrity.  This can be accomplished by releasing the distortion patterns in the cranial motion at the Sphenobasilar Synchondrosis (SBS), the joint where the sphenoid and occiput join.  The release of the soft tissue restrictions in the cranium results in freer and greater range of motion.  Within this expanded range of motion there are hydraulic, energetic, and mechanical improvements in the cranial function.

This greater range of cranial motion opened the possibilities for an increase in the pumping of cerebral spinal fluid into and out of the brain.  This also led me to develop a new form of cranial decompression, the Cranial/Structural Frontal/Occipital Decompression, which utilizes this increased pumping to move excess cerebral spinal fluid, inflammation, swelling, toxins, heavy metals, and drugs out of the brain tissue.  This can be evaluated using tools like electro dermal screening, kinesiology and hands on compression of the cranium.

Results!  Results! Results!  Working with clients who had the above conditions was amazing!  Results from reducing swelling to detoxing of all forms of brain toxins have been outstanding, and far exceed the explanation of the known anatomy for clearing cerebral spinal fluid through the process of diffusion as previously recognized in cranial therapy.  Never one to argue with results, continuing to expand the application of the new Cranial/Structural Frontal/Occipital Decompression led to even more excitement about what was happening.  However, we did not have a physiological explanation for the degree of improvement that the clients were showing until the following research was published.

“ScienceDaily (Aug. 15, 2012) – A previously unrecognized system that drains waste from the brain at a rapid clip has been discovered by neuroscientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  The findings were published online August 15 in Science Translational Medicine.

The highly organized system acts like a series of pipes that piggy back on the brain’s blood vessels, sort of a shadow plumbing system that seems to serve much the same function in the brain as the lymph system does in the rest of the body – to drain away waste products.”¹

In a previous article we examined this research that discovered the above described glymphatic system as it relates to Autism and special needs children, traumatic brain injuries and multiple concussions.  We can see that working with the glymphatic system has the potential to reduce the inflammation and toxins for the reduction of symptoms of Autism.  We can also see the potential for re-establishing the normal function of the glymphatic system for traumatic brain injury and multiple concussions. If the glymphatic system is restored the swelling, inflammation, waste products and toxins can be removed from the brain and potentially prevent later degeneration of brain tissue.  It is possible that the reason so many of the athletes who have multiple concussions loose brain function later in life is because the toxins and wastes can no longer be flushed due to the damaged glymphatic system resulting in an accelerated deterioration of brain function. Re-establishing the glymphatic system with the Cranial/Structural Frontal/Occipital Decompression can in many instances not only reduce inflammation and swelling and speed up recovery, but in the future could prevent the deterioration of brain function.

“’If the glymphatic system fails to cleanse the brain as it is meant to, either as a consequence of normal aging, or in response to brain injury, waste may begin to accumulate in the brain.  This may be what is happening with amyloid deposits in Alzheimer’s disease,’ said Iliff. ‘Perhaps increasing the activity of the glymphatic system might help prevent amyloid deposition from building up or could offer a new way to clean out the buildups of the material in established Alzheimer’s disease,’ he added.” (Ibid, Science Daily, 2012, August 15)¹

Today the elderly face many challenges to the function and health of their brains.  As people age they are much more likely to be in need of surgeries and prescription drugs for the maintenance of their health. It is uncommon to have a client over 60 who is not on some form of prescription medication. Many are on multiple medications long term.  Each medication has specific side effects, and each medication has a chemical reaction with other medications. Unfortunately the research on medications has not always included the interaction with other medications or the additional side effects long term. When you combine medications with head traumas and diseases that can create inflammation in the brain resulting in scar tissue and restrictions of the glymphatic system, there is the additional potential that wastes have accumulated in the brain that the glymphatic system cannot flush out which are causing deterioration of the neurons.

According to Jeffrey Iliff, “Understanding how the brain copes with waste is critical.  In every organ, waste clearance is as basic an issue as how nutrients are delivered.  In the brain, it’s an especially interesting subject, because in essentially all neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, protein waste accumulates and eventually suffocates and kills the neuronal network of the brain.” ¹

In addition every elderly client has had different exposure to toxic chemical substances and heavy metals that build up in the tissues in and around the brain throughout their lives that are extremely difficult to flush.

Whether due to aging, trauma, or inflammation the glymphatic system in the elderly does not process out anesthesia as well as at a younger stage of life.  Many of the elderly experience major difficulty in focusing and function after surgeries due to the inability of the brain to flush out the toxic anesthesia. For some this can be as severe as delirium, and it can take months before normal brain function returns.  Others are sometimes mistakenly diagnosed as having dementia because of the length of time for recovery. The Cranial/Structural Frontal Occipital Decompression has been effective in manually pumping out the left over toxins from anesthesia thus reducing the resulting delirium, dementia, and Alzheimer’s dramatically speeding up the recovery for the elderly.

Dementia also shows up in many of the elderly in relationship to the combination of prescription drugs they are on, the degree of brain degeneration from amyloid deposition, heavy metals, and other toxins. The Cranial/Structural Frontal/Occipital Decompression works effectively in the elderly in diminishing the symptoms of dementia by working with the glymphatic system to remove the waste products, toxins and heavy metals.

The research and evidence about Alzheimer’s as to its cause and prevention is inconclusive.  However, the application of the Cranial/Structural Frontal/Occipital Decompression has assisted many who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  The compressed pumping of the glymphatic system with the Cranial/Structural Frontal/Occipital Decompression has resulted in better memory, more awareness, and less confusion for those who have had at least five treatments.  This very well may be explained by Iliff – “perhaps increasing the activity of the glymphatic system might help prevent amyloid deposition from building up or could offer a new way to clean out buildups of the material in established Alzheimer’s disease.”¹  It is encouraging to know that there is a manual therapy that is already producing results for the elderly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

If you are interested in Cranial/Structural therapy please contact us for more information.

[1] ScienceDaily quotes are from the research report:  University of Rochester Medical Center. “Previously unknown cleaning system in brain: Newer imaging technique brings ‘glymphatic system’ to light”. ScienceDaily, 15 Aug. 2012. Web. 27 Oct. 2012.


File Type: pdf
Categories: Cranial/Structural, Elderly, Head
Tags: Alzheimer's, cranial/structural, Frontal/Occipital, glymphatic, Occipital Decompression, Osteopath, Sphenobasilar Synchondrosis (SBS)