Cranio Sacral Therapist and Student Newsletter 18

November  14 – 2006

Questions and comments for this issue:

+ Where I bang on about Jet Lag and treating yourself.
+ Chronic Fatigue – looking for the meaning of symptoms.
+ Palpation broken down into Symmetry, Amplitude and Quality.
+ Is bone ‘set’?

Hello ,
I have some very important findings to share
with you about jet lag.  As you know I’ve just
moved back to Ireland.  The night we arrived here,
my wife Mege said she had a backache and asked me
to have a look at it.

Now here’s the interesting bit.  When I tuned
into her system, I found that her cerebro spinal
fluid was all over the place.

No, I don’t mean in an ‘Aliens’ sort of way.  I
mean her system felt like one of those snow domes
that had been shaken.

What’s a snow dome?

You know, one of those little glass domes
filled with water that you shake and it looks like
snow falling on the inside.

Why was her CSF so disturbed?

Well, as I stayed with her system, it revealed
that the source of the disturbance was, and this
is from her CSF’s perspective, the sudden movement
across a huge distance.


I know,
but there was a really strong sense that the
connection between her CSF and it’s external
environment had been disturbed greatly by the
change in location. It was in turmoil because it
had nothing to orient itself with.

Orient itself?

Yes, there was definitely a sense of her CSF
sloshing around trying to find reference points to
attune with.

And in that effort to orient itself, it was
very clear to me how linked our CSF is to it’s
environment on a local and global level.

It reminded me of the way bats use sonar for
navigation in the dark.  They emit a high pitched
sound which bounces off the surrounding terrain.
The bat can tell where it is by how long it takes
the sound to bounce back to it.

It doesn’t feel like our CSF emits something,
it feels more like the sort of connection that we
as therapists make when we entrain with a patients

It’s the same with our CSF, it entrains with
the energetic rhythms of it’s environment.

This is probably obvious but I’ll mention it at
this point, the moon stood out as the main point
of triangulation for our systems.

The moon?

Yeah, it felt like the moon was crucial to
orientation.  It worked something like this.

The first point of orientation was the system
itself.  The second point was the systems position
on earth.  These two reference points, while
crucial didn’t seem to provide enough dimension.
It felt like the moon provided a third point of
dimensional reference and so triangulated the
system in space.

The disturbance in Mege’s system felt like it
was caused by the sudden change in two of the
reference points.

So what did I do about it?

Well, like most things, seeing what the problem
is is 90% of the solution.
I acted as a sort of conduit for her system.  I
consciously attuned to the locality.
As soon as I started to do this her system
paused.  It felt like it was listening to a rhythm
my system was drawing its attention to.

Then I consciously attuned to the location of
the moon.  Within minutes her system had settled
into deep harmony with itself, and its current
location.  Mege popped off into a deep sleep.

I was able to partially orient my own system
but not completely.  As to why that is I can only
include it with all my other experiences of trying
to treat myself.  Never with much success.

It could be just me but I suspect it’s the same
for everyone.  A classic example is in the release
process, which as you know, involves the
practitioner holding as the patient’s system
encounters its restrictions.

The patient needs to let go, the therapist
needs to hold.  It doesn’t make sense to me that
you can do both at the same time.  None the less,
never being one to allow good sense to get in the
way of having a go, I tried it anyway, a few
times.  Always the same result.

Just when I was about to release, one of two
things would happen.  The part of me that was
releasing would take over and my whole system
would go into letting go, including the part that
was supposed to be holding.
End result = No release.

Or the part of me that was holding would stay
in charge so my system would never let go.
End result = No release.

So as I said I didn’t have as much success
attuning myself to the new time zone.

Mege, on the other hand, woke up the next
morning feeling FANTASTIC!  Over the next few days
she commented, more than once, on how everyone had
greatly exaggerated the effects of jet lag.  She
couldn’t see what the big deal was.

If you get a chance to treat someone who has
moved time zones recently, can you include what I
have described in your treatment and let me know
if you find something similar.  I suspect you

There is a great opportunity there for someone
who is interested in pursuing the commercial
applications of treating jet lag.  Think of all
the business people who travel through time zones
regularly.  You could set up in an airport, nay
airports around the world and help all these
people deal with their jet lag in a more painless

No, don’t thank me, it’s the least I could do,
what are chums for.  Royalty cheques accepted

Also, I finally got the therapist listing up.
Have a look at it here.

If you have sent me your details, have a look at
your listing to make sure I spelled your name
correctly etc.  Have a look at some of the other
listings also to see what you could add to yours
to make it more representative of you.

If you haven’t already sent me your details
have a look at the others and see what you are
missing out on.

If I had any doubts about whether it was worth
my while to go to the trouble of creating this
resource, I got an email last week that clinched
it for me.


Hello John,

On Sunday, I spoke to the cranio therapist who is
listed for Ipswich, Queensland. From one
conversation I have regained some hope that my
daughter can be healed. I am a healer, although an
untrained one, but all the symptoms have baffled
me for a long time. I have decided on how to
manage her pains but have had no idea how to
remove them altogether.

When my daughter colours in those body pictures
doctors have that let them know where pain is
located, she colours in every little bit then
darkens the areas that hurt most. It often brings
a smile or chuckle to the doctor but it always
brings such sadness to me. None of them believe
she could possibly be in that much pain.

Since speaking to this practitioner I am daring to
hope that we may be on to something that will
work. My daughter is afraid to hope; there’s just
been one too many times of trying. But we will
start treatments next week. I am reassured after
reading your website. I like how you think and I
like that it matches my philosophies about health
and wellness. Thankyou J

Warmest regards,


Get your listing up now and get it as good as
you can.  It WILL make a difference.

Alright, on with the mailbag.


Hi John,
I have a question for your newsletter: Chronic
Fatigue. Do you have any pointers for what to
check or work on with patients with this syndrome?

Best regards,

Eva Kuhl Bornefelt
Central Coast


That’s a great question as always Eva and
thanks for asking it.

Talking about chronic fatigue gives me an
opportunity to go into the sort of process I go
through when I look at any set of symptoms.

I ask myself what is this condition trying to
communicate to the person.  What is it saying?

Why this condition and not another?  Why
chronic fatigue and not fibromyalgia or arthritis
or irritable bowel?

Of all the conditions this person could have,
why do they have this one?

Each set of symptoms add up to a very specific

So don’t worry about the physical

Not at all.  It’s very important to deal with
them but dealing with them alone won’t necessarily
solve the problem.  Looking at the condition in
this way points you towards the deepest reason for
the condition.

You may not know what the deepest reason is but
at least you will be looking in the right

Then getting a sense of what the deepest cause
of the condition is will inform you how to deal
with the physical manifestations.

So let’s put it into practice. What is chronic
fatigue communicating?

It’s a syndrome so it contains lots of
different symptoms and few people exhibit all the
symptoms all the time.

The main symptom is in the name – fatigue.  The
person has no energy to do anything.  Sometimes
they will need to sleep a lot, other people are
tried but can’t sleep.

Generally they will have to stop working, stop
their hobbies, significantly reduce their social

So what does this all add up to?
In short the person’s life grinds to a halt.

What is this aspect of the condition


Stop what?

Stop everything.

Why do we communicate, ‘stop’ to someone?

Generally it’s because there is something about
what the person is doing that we don’t like and we
want them to stop doing it.

No kidding Sherlock.  Is this what chronic
fatigue is communicating?

Generally speaking I’ve found that it’s a main
part of the communication.

For example, if a person has a condition that
is annoying but doesn’t give them too much
discomfort, the communication is generally about
getting their own attention.

‘This is bothering us and we
need our attention about it.’

But it has a, ‘When you can get to it.’ sort of

Whereas Chronic fatigue has a, ‘Stop everything
and deal with this NOW!’ sort of vibe.

So look for what is so important to the person,
that when it is in disharmony, they will put their
whole lives on hold until it is resolved.

Another thing to consider when treating someone
with chronic fatigue is their capacity to stay

Let me explain.  The amount of energy required
to create chronic fatigue is huge.  The people I
have treated for chronic fatigue have usually worn
out about 5 or 6 therapists by the time they get
to me.

If you are very attached to quick results then
maybe you shouldn’t take them on because these
people have huge endurance.  It’s a little
paradoxical. Someone with chronic fatigue having
huge endurance.  But don’t be fooled by the lack
of energy issues.  I have found they have lots of
energy for keeping their lives on hold.

I have found it most helpful to see my role as
facilitating them to discover what the disharmony
that is causing them to press the ‘Pause’ button
on their life is.  And no I don’t necessarily mean
having long, probing, regressive, conversations
with them about it.

The other useful thing when actually working
with their systems is to sit very comfortably in
the timeless aspect of our work.
By that I mean, the depth at which we work.
All going well when you work with someone you will
be in a very meditative state and in that state,
time pauses.  We descend into the moment and in
that, it is eternal.

This is a very handy space to be in with a
condition that has therapists for breakfast.  As
you sit with the person and your system entrains
with theirs.  Your system conveys a quality of
timelessness.  The subtle communication from your
system is,  ‘I could stay here forever.’

You can’t fake this.  It has to be real for
you.  If it’s not you need to meditate more until
it is.

I have found that when someone with chronic
fatigue comes to see me and our systems entrain and
their system gets this, ‘I can wait forever.’
Quality from mine it gives up on the endurance
test and starts to avail of the support to deal
with the underlying disharmony.


Dear John,
Thanks for your great newsletters.  I really
appreciate the different areas you talk about.

I’m still struggling with the nuts and bolts of

Can you give me some pointers on how to filter out
all the different things I feel when I try to tune
into someone.



No worries Pete and thanks for the feedback.

Placing your hands on another person’s body for
the purpose of assisting in their healing process
is a privilege.  Approach each person as if they
were a baby.  In many ways our bodies relate to
touch as babies.

The majority of people you treat will have had
at least one traumatic medical experience.  The
memory of that trauma is locked in their body.

The person may be your best friend or lover but
once they lie down their body will become
cautious, running a dialogue something along the
lines of,

“Hang on a minute. The last time I lay down on
a bench like this and there was another person in
the room who was standing up, IT HURT! WARNING!

It’s not like the person is going to jump off
the table and run away, but they will be
defensive.  Don’t take it personally.

From the time you opened the door of your
treatment room, the patient’s body has been
checking you out to see if you are safe.  That
scanning process continues throughout treatment.

The patient’s body will test you to see if you
are there to ‘DO’ something or to be available to
assist it in what it is trying to do.

When you contact a patient’s body it is good to
hold the following intention in your communication
to their body.

‘What are you trying to do?
How can I help you?’

As you know, the contact of the hands on the
body in cranio sacral therapy is exceptionally
light, often described as a Butterfly Touch.  Like
the touch of a butterfly alighting upon the body.

A butterfly is not a moth.  A moth has an
agitated almost frantic quality.  In trying to get
the Butterfly touch happening it is easy to
develop the touch of the moth which is as bad as a
heavy touch.

Now lets break up what you are feeling when you
tune in.  Think of it like this.  As you listen to
a piece of music, many different dimensions of the
music are conveyed to you.  Volume, stereo
balance, tempo, mood etc. Describing the music in
words won’t duplicate the music; it will merely be
words following an experience.

Tuning in to a person’s cranio sacral system is
like listening to music, something is conveyed in
the contact with their body.  In refining your
cranio sacral palpation it’s necessary to identify
each aspect of what you’re feeling with your
hands.  This serves the purpose of highlighting
aspects of the communication that you may not have

Sounds hard. Why bother? Why not just go with
the feeling?

Well, the more you can interpret the rhythm the
more you will get a sense of the whole Cranio
Sacral System and where the restrictions are.

It also helps you note subtle changes in the
patient’s body.

It also helps you communicate your palpation to
other Cranio Sacral therapists.

One way to help refine cranio sacral palpation
is to divide it into three aspects; Symmetry,
Amplitude and Quality.


Symmetry relates to whether the rhythm is
stronger on one side than the other.  Like the
stereo balance of the music.  With your hands on
the person’s feet you may feel the rhythm stronger
in one foot than the other.  That is called an
asymmetry.  Taking note of symmetry can help you
build a total picture of the whole Cranio Sacral


Amplitude refers to the power and frequency of
the Cranial rhythm. It is described with words
* Strong or weak
* Powerful or faint
* Steady or erratic
* Fast or slow

Amplitude can indicate the location of a
restriction in localised areas.  If the general
amplitude in the body is strong yet very weak in
one leg, palpation of that leg will reveal a point
at which the amplitude will change from weak to
strong.  This can indicate the site of

Amplitude also includes how the power and speed
of the rhythm relate to each other.  A very slow
rhythm in the whole body can indicate a weak
system.  A very fast local rhythm can indicate a
restriction in the system in this area.  A fast
rhythm manifests in areas that are cut off from
the rest of the Cranio Sacral rhythm through
direct injury or restriction.  A very fast and
powerful amplitude will be more ready to release
than a faint slow rhythm.


Quality refers to the mood, atmosphere or
feeling of the rhythm.  Like music, this aspect of
palpation is quite subjective.  One person’s
passionate song of freedom is another’s anarchic
scream from hell.  When you first palpate for
quality it may present itself to you as having a
predominant attribute like :

* tight or loose
* active or passive
* tense or relaxed
* hard or soft
* solid or fluid
* warm or cool
* agitated or calm
* dynamic or lethargic
* powerful or weak

Usually a cranio sacral system will have a
combination of attributes.  For example it may be
like a dense, liquid softness.

How poetic.

Start waxing lyrical because your job is then
to refine these attributes making them as specific
as possible.  A way of doing this is to relate the
attributes to something that is in your
experience.  You do this by asking yourself the
question, ‘Like what?’  In the above example you
would be asking yourself
‘A dense, liquid softness like what?’

The answer to the question ‘Like what?’ can
take many forms.

* Objects – chair, engine, cage, sponge,
* Elements – fire, earth, air, water
* Substances – wood, metal, wool, lava
* Sound – bells, boom, lullaby, scream
* Fragrance – mildewed, putrid, flowery, fresh
* Light – bright, dark, mottled, pulsating
* Taste –  bitter, sweet, sour, tangy

Keep refining the quality until it is as
specific as possible.  Using the same example your
conversation with yourself should go something

‘A dense, liquid softness like what?’
‘What kind of honey?’
‘Honey that has been mixed with milk, but not
watery milk.’
‘What kind of milk?’
‘Condensed milk.’
‘How has it mixed with the honey?’
‘With a barmix.’

This may seem pedantic but it’s important to be
this specific so that you will be able to sense
the beginning of a release.  This may be signaled
by something as subtle as a feeling that the
condensed milk is becoming more viscous as it then
transforms into fresh milk.


Each Cranio Sacral System will have an overall
or general quality but within that bigger picture
there will be local areas of different quality.

In a strong solid system, one leg may feel weak
and fragile.  This inconsistency highlights a
possible restriction.  The difference between
general and local quality can take the form of a
general quality of, for example wood and a local
quality in the neck of metal.  This communicates a
disharmony to you.


It is rare that a patient will be aware of
their own quality. Regardless of how dramatically
it presents itself to you, do not describe it to
them in the terms above.  We use this form of
description to help us focus our attention and in
that it has purpose.  But it won’t mean the same
to a patient and is likely to disturb them.

Telling your patient that their brain feels
like a fungus covered soft cheese is not going to
go down well.  Trust me.

Symmetry, amplitude and quality inter-relate to
give you a comprehensive sense of the cranio
sacral system under your hands.


Hello John,
I got your book last week and found it incredible!
What a velvet hammer.  Those innocent little
questions at the end of each chapter really got
Very well done.
I am recommending it to all my patients.

Now here is my question. If a pattern of
restriction has ossified in the cranium, is that
it?  Is it set for good or is it worth treating?

Best wishes.


Most of our experience of bone is of dead bone.
The sort of stuff that looks like bone china –
dry, brittle, fragile.  As cranio sacral
therapists we are involved in communication with
the body.  It’s therefore most effective to
communicate with bone as it is, which is alive.
Live bone has some qualities which are not
immediately apparent.

For example, live bone is WET.  It’s full of

Also, it behaves like PLASTIC.  Meaning it
responds to the pressure put upon it.  Wolf’s law
and all that.  Consider the mastoid processes of
your temporal bones.  You didn’t have them when
you were born.  They were pulled out by the
sternocleidomastoid muscle as you were learning to
hold your head erect.

Bone is not stone; it is renewing itself all
the time.  You can use this knowledge to help it
renew itself in a new direction.

There’s a good example of this in one of the
case histories here.

Here’s another thing, bone doesn’t become
restricted in isolation.  This is particularly
relevant in the cranium.  If a bone is restricted,
99 times out of 100, it’s because there is
something pulling it into a restricted state,
often membrane.  The bone doesn’t become
restricted in isolation.  Always look for the
pattern of restriction.

That’s all for now Kate,

If you still haven’t got your copy of my book,
‘Why Do We Get Sick?  Why Do We Get  Better? –  A
Wellness Detective Manual.’ then do yourself a big
favour and get it.  It’s taken me years to learn
and refine the material in that book.
It will help you become a better therapist and
it will make your job easier when your patients
read it.
Read about it here.

You can be reading it in just a few minutes and
discovering the sorts of conversations I have with
patients everyday.

Till the next time.

Your Mate,

John D.


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