January 4 -2009
Questions and comments for this issue:
+ Bring someone international to your practice
- from Nica in Berlin.
+ Follow on comment on Shunts from Malcolm Hiort,
Director, Australian Craniofascial Therapy School
+ Follow on comment on Shunts from Al Pelowski in Durban.
+ Question about self doubt.
+ Question about unwinding from Nellian Bekker.
+ Question on Death and ReBirth from Ingrid Hoffman in Ireland.
It may only be 5 days old but so far 2009 is shaping
up to be a great year. I start back into my practice
tomorrow after 10 glorious days of rest and excess.
My batteries are charged and I’m ready to go.
Here are the latest additions to Open Source Cranio. . . .
I finally finished updating the list of cranio
sacral therapy schools around the world. I know
it’s not exhaustive so if I haven’t listed your favorite
school let me know and I will include it.
Cranio sacral therapy schools
Speaking of listings I am in the process of updating
the therapists listings. I want to set them up so that
you can access and update your own listing and I want
to link the listings to some sort of google map so that
it will be easier for people to find therapists near them.
So if any of you are computer whizzes and would like
to help please get in touch.
You will notice that I have changed the design of
the site. Hopefully it is now easier to read and
works better as a learning resource.
Let me know what you think.
Here are some of the topics being discussed on
the Open Source Cranio Forum. . . .
There is a nice post from Xavia in South Africa
about a 4 year old girl who has Angleman’s syndrome.
Another good post from Thespeni Calogero-Allen
in South Affrica about a 2 year old releasing a burn trauma.
There was a question about insurance from Sara.
And a discussion about depression.
Masterclass DVD Series.
I have been busy preparing my DVD masterclass series.
This will be about 8 hours of video taken from a post
graduate seminar I did in Cape Town. It’s looking
like it will be an 8 or 9 DVD set. I will let you
know more about it when it is closer to completion.
Another cranio newsletter. . .
James Nemec, a cranio sacral therapist from America
has started a cranio sacral therapy newsletter.
I think it is worth checking out as it’s always
good to get different perspectives.
I came across this article about a girl with
vacterl syndrome, it’s alright I didn’t know what
it was either, it’s a series of birth defects that
affected a number of internal organs including her
heart, esophagus and stomach, as well as caused
irregularities with her spine and anus.
She also had a severe scoliosis. She is getting
great results with cranio sacral therapy but her
insurance company won’t cover it. Local town did
fund raising to help her continue with her treatment.
Personally I find the cost of her treatment high
but that could be just me.
What do you think?
And finally the other thing I have been up to is
making goofy videos about learning to use my all
-terrain roller skates, ominously called Doomwheels,
in conjunction with my Kitewing, which is a cross
between a hang-glider and a windsurfing sale.
You can see my shenanigans, if that’s the sort
of thing that interests you, here . .
Anyhu, let’s get on with the mailbag.
***INVITATION FROM NICA IN BERLIN***
How are you doing?
I am wondering if there would be any possibility,
that I could spend a few weeks, working in another
practice as an idea of exchanging experiences?
Maybe there are people who would love to have -
for a limited period, – another craniosacral-therapist
from abroad in his/her place to be able to grow
What are your thoughts?
Lovely greetings out of berlin! Aswell to your wife!
Nica Berndt – Caccivio
I met up with Nica and her husband in Berlin,
when I was there last year.
She would bring a lot to any practice
or exchange program.
***FOLLOW ON COMMENT FROM MALCOLM HIORT***
Re Odile’s email/your reply:
My experience of clients with shunts is that their
cranial rhythms are compromised.
Specifically, I notice that maximal expansion/flexion
is never reached.
The end-point of movement has a ‘rebound’ quality
to it, without the ‘tapering’ effect normally palpated.
I have felt this characteristic diminished amplitude
throughout the body.
Another consequence of a shunt is that inducing a
still point cannot be achieved, at least in my
It seems that when CSF back-pressure begins to
build within the ventricles, it is vented by the
Again, this is a bodywide occurrence, no matter
where the technique is applied.
I would be interested to get any feedback on my
remarks at email@example.com
www.craniosacralart.com was interesting.
cheers John, keep up the good work.
Malcolm Hiort, Director,
Australian Craniofascial Therapy School
Thanks for that Malcolm.
Shunts certainly compromise the fluid dynamics of the system.
***FOLLOW ON COMMENT FROM AL PELOWSKI***
There’s a good description and pics of shunts in
the Netter Collection of Medical Illustrations,
V.1, the Nervous System, Part II -Neurologic and
In there you’ll see that shunts can be set to
drain into the peritoneal space rather than the jugular v.
Peritoneal drainage is often preferred in babes
and kids because the longer tube allows for growth.
But, either way, shunting tubes have to penetrate
several layers of membrane, muscle and fascia.
This can, and often does lead to chronic infections
Another problem is the silting up of the valve and
the thin cannula–CSF is loaded with salts (electolytes)
that can crystallise out of solution in the margins
of turbulent flows and eddies in the apparatus.
Shunting therefore can require frequent reinsertions
+ drugs (e.g. antibiotics and steroids)
Some of the risk factors are covered in
Toru Fukuhara et al, “Risk factors for Failure of
Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy for Obstructive
Hydrocephalus,” in the journal Neurosurgery, V.46,
No. 5, May 2000, where you will also find
some 40 references.
It might also be useful to see*
*CRANIOSYNOSTOSIS SYNDROMES by **J. Cary Moorhead,
MD, in Grand Round Archives June 24, 1993.
I’ve worked cranially with maybe a dozen babies
and kids with shunts.
It’s vital to know the history of it and to be
aware that tubal irritation and immune suppression
will distort and disempower the child’s responses.
There are loads of cautions in this work, but no
firm contraindications I can think of.
Other practitioners seeing cases of craniosynostosis?
Please get in touch.
I believe it’s a mushrooming problem worldwide.
Thanks for that Al.
For those of you that don’t know, Craniosynostosis,
is a condition where some or all of the sutures in the
skull of an infant or child become fused.
I have treated a few children with it in Australia.
The cranium felt like it was made of marble.
Hardly any movement. In all cases it felt like
a blueprint problem to me. It felt like the
developmental process of the system was accelerated.
It felt like the sutures had met each other with such
force that they fused in a solid way that no adult would.
In all the children I saw, the condition had got to
the point where they needed surgery to separate the
sutures. My sense was that if I had seen them earlier
we could have avoided the surgery.
What have your experiences with Craniosynostosis
Thank you for creating such a helpful website!
I am writing to you in relation to Trigeminal Neuralgia.
I read your response to a fellow CS therapist
and applied these principles to my treatment
of a patient with this diagnosis.
I have seen her for 6 sessions and she tells me
that she experiences 1 or 2days relief from symptoms.
Her response was to make a longer gap between sessions
I wish I had contacted you earlier for feedback
as I am seeing her again tomorrow, but well……
my query is about if no big results after 6 sessions
are you being ineffective?
I doubt my ability as a CS therapist…..frequently…
…but have had some patients with great results
I will say to her tomorrow that it is best to
make the sessions weekly for a few weeks and
work from there, if she is willing to try this.
It is difficult when working with self-doubt
and a general lack of patients (slow pace of clients).
I have been in practice for 2 years and studied
at Craniosacral Therapy Educational Trust in
London with Ged Sumner and Michael Kern.
Any feedback on my dilemma would be gratefully received.
To answer your query, ‘if there are no big
results after 6 sessions are you being ineffective?’
I would need to know how far apart the sessions were.
If your patient was getting 1-2 days relief with
sessions 3 weeks apart, then she would probably
get better results if you saw her every week.
The thing is, it would have saved you both some
grief if you persuaded her to do that from the
beginning. Now you have both lost confidence
in the process.
I always encourage people to come every week
at the beginning of the treatment program.
I explain it in this way: -
(Feel free to borrow it.)
‘Your system is in the habit of being restricted.
When you come for treatment your system begins to
release those restrictions and it starts to ‘remember’
the way it was before it became restricted.
Over the course of the week the habitual pattern
of restriction starts to reassert itself.
Because of this it is very important to come
for treatment every week, particularly at the
beginning of the your treatment program, to help
your system get some momentum.’
With regard to your self-doubt let me refer
you to these previous letters.
Do patients need to believe?
Am I making it up?
I am not sure wether this would be a case for your
I have been working on this young man (17) since
October 2006- originally came for sinusitis,
He has never been in an accident, but had a fall
at school which his parents were not told about??
He scored the highest in 7 out of his 8 subjects
in Grade 12 this year (German), and the matric
exams is a joke for him. He wants to become a doctor.
He was always sickly as a child.
His mother was in labour for 12 hours before he
was born by emergency caesarian because his heart
had stopped beating.
He had bad scoliosis which is a lot better.
The lesion in his lower thoracic Level T8, his scapula
positions, kifosis and lordosis are some of the
things that I am working on, as well as his
‘pinched’ face. It does not matter where I touch him,
he starts unwinding, pulling into all sorts of positions,
and the body sometimes pulls straight up from the bed
with only his head and feet touching, then he would flip,
feet over his head, and then be relaxed and exhausted,
leaving me half dead as well.
His dad is also a client of mine. I got the impression
that they do not have a great relationship.
He has a younger sister.
Any insights from your side that can help both of us PLEASE?
I know that you are the best!
Enjoy your day!
I think you need to reassert your authority
in the situation. From what you are describing
it sounds like his system is like a bucking bronco
and you are trying to hang on. It is an easy
enough mistake to make in unwinding as we can
become so focused on following the persons
system we can cross the line into being pulled
along by it.
The trick is to stop it before it becomes a
problem. You do this at the beginning of the
unwinding. Right at the point where you have
done the articulation and you have taken up a
contact in readiness to begin the unwinding.
When you are at that point, do the following…
Don’t don anything. Don’t allow the persons
system to move you. Simply hold it and . . .
If you don’t wait you will just get pulled
along and it’s very hard to effect any substantial
releases that way.
Waiting conveys your authority in the situation
because the communication from your system to
theirs, while you are holding and waiting is,
‘I choose to follow.’
In that choice lies your authority and once
you establish it the persons system will feel
much more secure with you and reveal very
delicate restrictions because it knows you
can support it through them.
Specifically regarding your patient,
if he continually goes into vigorous unwinding
and you get the feeling that it isn’t productive
then I suggest you direct the energy of his
unwinding back into his system. Basically
this requires you to hold his system and not
let it move around too much while at the
same time using your intention to direct
what releases that are occurring back into
his system. This has an implosive rather
than an explosive quality.
Because his system is used to moving
around a lot it may be difficult in the
beginning but if you persevere you will
find that you will get to deeper levels
Death and Rebirth:
Winter will soon bring our energies inwards
and with the Winter Solstice approaching,
here in the North, I find that many of my
clients are suffering with melancholy and
How can CST help?
Rathfeigh Tara Ireland
Don’t get me started on the winters in
Ireland. They are SOOO depressing.
Getting up in the morning in darkness,
going to work in darkness, coming home
in darkness and in between, grayness
- if you’re lucky!
If you’re not lucky it will be raining
gray sheets of liquid concrete.
No wonder the pagans used to throw a
big party at the winter solstice.
Can you blame them?
Even though they knew they were in for
another couple of months of depressing
weather, just the knowledge that the
days were getting a little longer,
even if it was only by a couple of
minutes each day, was cause enough
Having said all that I have found
that while the weather can get a person
down, it won’t cause depression.
Now before you start quoting me all
the statistics on SAD’s, [Seasonally
Affected Depression] I’m not saying
it doesn’t exist or that it isn’t
linked to the weather. What I am
saying is that I haven’t found the
weather to be the root cause.
When I used to live in Australia
I treated just as many people for
depression and they were up to their
armpits in sunshine.
The sense of being a ‘lost soul’
is something that goes deeper and
will surface regardless of the
It is where a person feels like
their life has lost its meaning.
Where the joy has gone and they
are ‘off track’. Day to day feels
like just going through the motions
and nothing has any real meaning.
They feel their life doesn’t represent
them at all. It is often described to
me as waking up one morning and realizing
that they are not living the life they
thought they would or know they should.
If you’re feeling like that and the
weather is awful it will amplify the
feeling for sure but as I said it’s
not the cause.
Cranio sacral work is particularly good
at helping with this kind of lost soul
feeling because it works with the deeper
disharmonies that lead to this kind of
So that’s it for this issue.
Let me wish you all the very best for 2009.
Till the next time.