Cranio Sacral Therapist and Student Newsletter 20

January  18 – 2007

Questions and comments for this issue:

+ Talking during treatment.
+ How the face reflects the cranial rhythm.
+ Why is the ventricular system so important?


Let me just put my Hula Hoop down for a second
so I can talk to you.  You don’t Hula?
Why, it’s the latest re-fad.  You know, a fad
that makes a comeback.

In America, “hip hooping” classes, videos and
Hoopster clothing lines are springing up across
the country. Beyonce and Charlize Theron are huge
fans.  They are always pestering me to join them
at hip hooping class.

I can see I’m wasting my time talking to you
about this.  You just want to hear about cranio.

Fair enough, let’s get on with the mailbag.


Dear John,

Thank you for your newsletters they are wonderful.

Here is my question.
I would like to get some of my patients more
involved in their process when we are working
together but I don’t want to do a full somato-
emotional release type thing with them.
Do you have any suggestions for an intermediary
type approach I could do?

Thanks again.


Okey dokey.  Here’s something you can do.

Once the person is on the table and you are
settling in and chit chatting and generally
entraining with them.

No, not entertaining them, I said ENTRAINING
with them. Now take that clown suit off and lets
get back to the session.

Tell the person that you are going to do
something a bit different this week.  Keep your
tone light.

Take up a contact that allows you a good sense
of the whole cranio sacral system.  Ask the person
to close their eyes and begin to see themselves
shrinking on the inside until they are small
enough to walk around, inside the structures of
their body.

Whenever you are talking with a patient choose
your words carefully.  I used the word ‘see’ on
purpose.   ‘I want you to see yourself shrinking
on the inside until you are small enough to be
able to walk around inside the structure of your

Don’t say visualise or imagine as I have found
these words can short circuit the process before
it even gets started.


Well, because some people are convinced they
have no imagination and others have tried
visualisation before and are, ‘just no good at

Start off with a relatively restriction free
area.  Ask the person to describe what it looks
like.  Get them to describe the area in as much
detail as possible.  Encourage them to tell you
what they see, even though they may be inhibited
by their lack of anatomical knowledge.

They can shrink themselves to whatever size
they need to be to pass between structures or see
something in detail.  Ask them if everything looks
okay in the area.  If it is, move on to another
area, one where you sense a restriction, though
you don’t need to tell them you think it is

If they tell you that everything is NOT okay in
an area, ask them to describe what it is that
looks unnatural.  Encourage them to be as specific
as possible.  You may need to move your hands
closer to the area they are describing.

Ask them what needs to happen for the area to
return to a more natural state.

Wait for their answer.

If they are having difficulty seeing a way to
correct the situation you can suggest solutions to
them using the symbols they have communicated to
you. Make full use of their size in the area.

They can climb in between bones and push them
apart.  They can pull and push things with their
hands in very specific ways. You can suggest
little tools that may help them, but avoid
frightening tools like hammers and saws etc.

You can suggest light beam machines to warm
cold areas.  Ice guns for cold.  Muscle oil
aerosol cans for tight or stiff muscles and so on.

All the time you will be monitoring and
following the changes they are making on the
inside with your hands.

This is generally an enjoyable technique for
you and the person.  It seldom has a huge
emotional aspect and is particularly good with
patients who are very out of touch with their

Most people don’t find it threatening and are
amused by what they find in their bodies. They can
be surprised at the clarity of the images they
see. This is because the following of your hands
enables the person to see more clearly the
restriction in their bodies.

This technique is a very useful way to involve
the person and use their attention as an extension
of yours, to check things out and correct them
from the inside.

As you get more experience with it you will get
a sense of who this technique is appropriate for.
It is a good introduction for other forms of
therapeutic conversation which you may intend to
use in future treatment sessions with the person.


Dear John,
I am currently studying the face and the way it
moves with the cranial rhythm.  Frankly I find it
confusing and hard to remember.

I’m hopping you have some little analogy or trick
for making it a bit clearer.

Yours Sincerely.



Before I get into the face I need to quickly
run through flexion and extension in the cranium.

Think of the cranium as a balloon.

During extension the balloon narrows and
elongates and during flexion it expands and
becomes squat.  Long and thin in extension, short
and squat in flexion.

To understand the way the face moves with the
cranial rhythm, take the balloon and add a small
box.  Attach it to the balloon roughly where the
face hangs off the cranium.

Now, lets look at how the box moves with the

In extension the balloon will become long and
thin.  The box will arc inferiorly and narrow as
the whole balloon elongates

During flexion the balloon will become short
and squat.  The box will arc superiorly and
broaden as the balloon shortens and broadens.

So what does this feel like in practice?

Sit at the head of the person.  With their
permission, place your hands on their face, thumbs
on their forehead and fingers on their mandible.

During flexion you will feel your thumbs and
fingers move closer together while in extension
they will move further apart.

Once you get this overall movement you can work
out the specifics of each bone relatively easily.

Here are some other things to consider.  The
mandible and the frontal bone moving towards each
other in flexion could put stress on the bones of
the face but this compressive movement is
naturally absorbed by the orbits.

This makes the orbits particularly vulnerable
to any restriction patterns present in the face or
cranium, especially the posterior aspect of the

Certain bones of the face are designed to
reduce the amplitude of the movement of some of
the larger bones they articulate with. These bones
are the palatines, the zygomae, the vomer and the

You can think of them like ‘washers’ between
two larger bones.  William Sutherland called these
bones the ‘speed reducers’ but they do not
actually reduce the frequency of the rhythm, they
reduce the amount of movement or amplitude.  So a
40 micron movement of the frontal can be reduced
to a 10 micron movement in the Zygomae. [Remember
a sheet of writing paper is 100 microns thick.]


Hi John,
I am being repeatedly told that the ventricles are
very important but I am not sure why.  I have
asked this question of my tutors repeatedly but
never got a satisfactory answer.

I would be grateful to hear your explanation.
Thanking you in anticipation.
South Africa


It may be easier for you to think of the whole
system in terms of plumbing, which it is in a way.
It’s a very important and significant plumbing

The ventricular system, is a collection of
cavities and canals deep within the brain and
spinal cord. It consists of 4 ventricles connected
by various channels.  It always looks to me like a
model of a space ship.  Think Star Trek.

The four ventricles are made up of the 2
lateral Ventricles located within the two cerebral
hemispheres, each of which connect via an inter-
ventricular foramen to the 3rd ventricle which is
located between the two thalami of the brain.

The 3rd ventricle connects inferiorly through
the cerebral aqueduct (or aqueduct of Sylvius as
you will see it in some books) to the 4th
ventricle which is located between the cerebellum,
posteriorly and the pons and medulla, anteriorly.

The 4th ventricle continues inferiorly as the
central canal passing down the centre of the
spinal cord.

The whole ventricular System is filled with
Cerebrospinal Fluid.

So that’s the plumbing.  Now let’s look at
inlet and outlet valves.

The INLET valves are located in the roof of
each of the four ventricles and are called Choroid
Plexi.  These are filter like structures through
which cerebrospinal fluid is formed as a filtrate
from arterial blood.  Arterial blood enters the
choroid plexi from the cerebral arteries; then
blood cells, proteins and other large particles
are filtered out.  The pure colourless fluid that
filters through this choroid plexi into the
ventricular system is cerebrospinal fluid.

I will get to the outlet valves in a minute.
First I want to focus on something that is very
easy to get confused about.
We know that the membrane system contains
cerebrospinal fluid, right?

Just nod.

And now we have a good idea of how
cerebrospinal fluid enters the ventricular system.
And we also know the ventricular system is
contained within the membrane system.  The thing
is the ventricular system is, for the most part,
So how does cerebrospinal fluid get out of the
ventricular system into the membrane system?

Very good question.  It all happens in the 4th
ventricle.  In the posterior and lateral walls of
the 4th ventricle there are three foramina,  – the
foramen of Magendie which is in the middle
posteriorly and the 2 foramina of Luschka,

It is through these 3 foramina that
cerebrospinal fluid passes out into the sub-
arachnoid space where it circulates around the
brain and spinal Cord.

Now back to the OUTLET valves.
Cerebrospinal fluid is eventually returned to
the blood via the Arachnoid Villi which protrude
from the sub-arachnoid space through to the
superior sagittal sinus of the Brain.  It re-joins
the venous blood which then drains from the venous
sinuses via the internal jugular Vein to be
returned to the heart.

So that’s the plumbing, the general flow and
the inlet and outlet valves.   The significance is
that this system is in continuous use which means
it has to be in working order all the time.  If
any one of the valves or canals of foramina are
not working properly the effects are serious.

Just think of the person having a spinal tap.
Only a tiny amount of cerebrospinal fluid is
removed yet the person will have to lie horizontal
for 24 hours to avoid severe headaches.

Also if there is a problem in this system it’s
not like you can just shut it down while repairs
are made.

So that’s it for this issue.

Cheerio for now.

Till the next time.

Your Mate,

John D.