Cranio Sacral Therapist and Student Newsletter 21

February 26 – 2007

Questions and comments for this issue:

+ The CST steak knives set.
+ Facial bone movement revisited (how knowing how to describe it could save your life)
+ Why do we need to learn anatomy and technique if the work is fundamentally energetic?

Hello John,

I’m feeling a bit like a steak knife salesman
in an infomercial because I’m excited!!
I’m excited about all the great stuff I’ve
added to my web sites. . . and it’s all just for
No, don’t thank me, just call the number at the
bottom of your screen now.

In the ‘Patient Resources’ section of my sites
I have added Free downloadable Articles and Books!

There is a great article by Al Pelowski about
treating a new born baby that won’t stop having
seizures and another one by Trish Banks about how
to address the emotional needs of the family,
particularly the children, when going through
separation and divorce.  It’s basically a mine
field map and excellent stuff.
There are the Wallace D Wattle books.  That’s
right all three of them.  The science of getting
rich, being well and being great.

As you might have noticed, it is giving me a
lot of pleasure to finally get around to making
all this great information available.
You can direct your patients to the page and
let them get whatever article they want or you can
print out the article you feel is relevant and
then give it to them.
John Upledger, Peter Levine, Jim Jealous, there
all here at

But wait there’s more!

I have finished the ‘CST Therapist and Student
Resources’ section.  So now you can find all those
cranio sacral books you have been looking for, all
in the one place.
Edward Muntinga’s excellent 3D Cranio sacral
DVD is there too.  It is such an excellent tool
for getting your head around the way the cranio
sacral system moves.

And it just gets better!!

Etienne and Neeto Peirsman have just brought
out a book about Craniosacral Therapy for Babies
and Small Children.  It has heaps of very cute
pictures of Etienne treating babies.
Get a warm glow here.
Now I know where Geppetto ended up.
Pinocchio will be so pleased.

But that’s not all!!

I’ve been keeping the best till last!!!
I finally managed to do something I’ve wanted to do
for ages.
No, not combine roller balding and hang gliding,
though I am getting closer on that one.
No, what I’ve finally managed to do is set it up so
you can now download Free Anatomical Animations from my
You can see a fetus and a developing embryo here

Phew! I think I need a lie down after all that
excitement.  So while I’m doing that
let’s have a look at the mail bag.
Okay, there’s no bag really.
It just sounds better than saying, ‘Let’s have
a look in the Inbox.’


Hi John,
Just a quick question on your last issue about the
face.  I didn’t get the box on the balloon thing
for the face.  It sounded good but I just didn’t
get it.  The movement of the facial bones is
something I had given up on being able to
I can feel it but couldn’t describe it to save my
life.  I do know if I could get my left brain
involved it would good.
Any (other) ideas?

Berkeley, CA.


Man, your letter made me laugh.  I immediately
had this mental image of you having to describe
the movement of the facial bones to save your

There you are with a gun to your head and the
villain whispering menacingly in your ear, ‘Just
tell me the way the vomer moves in flexion and no
one needs to get hurt.’

What a hoot.
Far be it from me to get in the way of you
living to a ripe old age so I’ll do my best to get
you out of danger.

Let me explain why you may be having trouble.
We all have a predominance in the sense that we
receive information through.  The common
descriptors for this are visual, auditory and
kinaesthetic.  Smell and taste are included under
Visual people will receive information by
seeing.  Auditory people will receive information
by hearing and kinaesthetic people will receive
information by feeling.

Our predominance shows itself in the way we
A visual person will say, ‘I SEE what you
An auditory person will say,  ‘It SOUNDS like
you understand.’
And a kinaesthetic person will say, ‘I FEEL
like you both missed the point.’

Learning styles is a large field and well worth
knowing about so you can adapt your language to
you improve your communication.   If you know what
type of person you are talking to, visual,
auditory or kinaesthetic, you can adjust your
language to the way they will best receive what
you are saying.
You can find out more about it here.

So I hope you see what I mean and you are now
feeling like you will be able to really hear me on
this facial bone thing.  (That should cover all my

I am guessing you are predominantly
kinaesthetic.  So my description of the cranium
and face being like a balloon with a box stuck on
the front didn’t really hit the mark with you
because it is a visual metaphor.

Here’s the good news.
Once you know about these learning styles you
can translate one style into another or more
importantly into your own style.
So in this case I suggest you get a balloon and
inflate it but not too much.  Then draw a face on
it. Then pull it into extension and squash it into
flexion.  Do it a few times until you can really
feel it.  Then get a little box and tape it to the
balloon.  Then make the balloon go through flexion
and extension a few more times. Watch the way the
box moves as you do this.

Taking my visual metaphor and turning it into
something you can actually feel should make it
instantly understandable to you.

You can translate anything you are having
difficulty learning into your own learning style.
Kinaesthetic people can make models of everything.
Visual people can translate everything to
pictures, graphs and diagrams.  Auditory people
can translate everything to sound, musical if

Another really powerful thing that kinaesthetic
people can do is include smell and taste wherever
possible and practical.  These are very powerful
senses and will really lock it in.

You are right about getting your left brain
involved.  It is very important.   I am going to
talk about it more in my response to the next
letter so I won’t go on about it here.

One last tip, stay away from medically
inquisitive villains that carry guns – it will end
in tears.  Probably obvious but someone had to say


Dear John,

I am a year into my cranial studies and very
excited and captivated by the beauty of this work.

I avidly consume everything I can about cranio
sacral and have read most of the major works.

In Hugh Milne’s books he talks about this work
being fundamentally energetic yet goes into great
detail about anatomy and technique.  John
Upledger’s earlier books are very technical and
mechanical but his later books are more spiritual.
Franklyn Sills books are mostly spiritual and
philosophical with some mechanical stuff and
William Sutherland’s writing is very spiritual.

You haven’t written a book but the topics you
cover in your newsletters (Thanks by the way,
they’re great.) range form very specific and
technical to very ‘out there.’

What I am trying to understand is if this work is
fundamentally energetic then why do we need to
learn all this anatomy and technique?  If it is
all so fluid why so much structure?

Looking forward to your answer and your book if
you ever write one.



Well Joe, I HAVE written a book (sniff, sniff,
pout, pout) it’s just not about cranio sacral per

Anyway I’ll pull in my bottom lip for a minute
and answer your question.

Yes, this work is fundamentally energetic but
it doesn’t follow that we don’t need to learn
technique or to know about anatomy and physiology.

That would be like saying that playing a
musical instrument is basically about passion and
expression so why do we need to practice the
scales or learn how to read music.

Learning technique is like learning the scales
on a musical instrument or the mastering brush
strokes in painting.   Learning physiology and
anatomy is like learning to read music or the
rules of perspective in drawing.

Once these skills are mastered and the
knowledge becomes part of you then you are into
the expression and passion side of things.  At
that point your craniosacral work will be very

Got it?

Not really.

Okay, here are a couple of stories to
illustrate the point.

I have been roller blading for about 7 years
now.  In the beginning I just got it into my head
that I wanted to learn so I bought myself some
skates and went to the nearest bike track and just
. .  started.

I fell over a lot but with practice got the
hang of it.  Within a couple of weeks I was able
to go forward without falling over and was very
pleased with myself.

If you had asked me back then if I could roller
blade I would have said yes and I would have been
right, to a point.

I skated like that for 4 years.  Then I
befriended someone who was a roller blading
instructor.  I thought the idea of having lessons
was a bit below me, I was self taught after all,
but I gave it a go.

The difference was remarkable.  With a few
simple lessons and practicing some simple drills I
was skating better, faster, for far greater
distances, with greater ease and confidence going
up and down hills I would never have dreamed of
and all with a lot more safety.

4 years of skating hadn’t actually improved my
skating.  I discovered that practice doesn’t make
perfect it just makes permanent.  It wasn’t until
I had those lessons and practiced the right things
and yes, some of the drills I had to practice were
boring, that I really began to skate.

When I am out skating now, I sometimes pass
someone who reminds me of what I must have looked
like before I had those lessons.  Sweating a lot,
working very hard but inefficiently and with very
little grace or control.

Here’s my second story.

One day a Zen master cam upon a group of men.
A large boulder had become dislodged in a
landslide and the men were trying to shift it out
of the road.  They had obviously been at it for a
while because they were covered in sweat.  It was
also obvious that they weren’t having any success
because the boulder hadn’t moved an inch.

The men recognised the Zen master and asked him
if he could help.  He told them to have a rest
while he reviewed the situation.  The men sat on
the grass and watched the master closely.

He walked around the boulder once and then came
to a stop at a point that seemed significant to
him but didn’t look any different to the men.

He placed his two hands on the boulder and
began to apply gentle pressure to the boulder.
The men looked at each other thinking the master
had gone a bit soft in the noggin.

Suddenly the boulder began to move and rolled
off the road.  The men were astonished.  They
rushed forward cheering and congratulating the

When they asked him how he did it, he replied
that the difficult part was seeing which way the
boulder wanted to go.  Once he saw that he simply
helped it go the way it wanted to go.

I love that story.  I read it about 18 years
ago and I’ve never forgotten it.  The thing about
it is that if you took the master aside and asked
him how he ‘saw’ which way the boulder wanted to
go he would have told you that it took him years
to get to the point where he could see it.

He would tell you that when he started out
years beforehand he was just like the men
struggling.  He would then tell you how he had
gone through a series of learning steps to get to
the point where he could see.

But you never get that kind of ‘behind the
scenes’ with those Zen stories you just get the
wisdom.  Which is great but it can make you feel
like you will never be as cool and have ‘moving
really big boulders’ as your party trick.

Cranio sacral teachers are faced with a
dilemma.  They have had the dazzling insight that
it is, as you say, all energetic but they also
know that they did a lot of ground work to get to
the insight.

Good teachers manage to convey both aspects.
The need to learn good techniques so it can lead
to the fluidity of expression.

My experience of teaching students who had been
through trainings that focused on the end result
and left out the steps to get there was that they
were very broad spectrum in their approach.

Lots of very colourful descriptions about how
they and the patients body were feeling but very
little specific information about what the root
cause was physically and mechanically.  And when
questioned more closely, had a very shaky grasp on
the anatomy of the region they were describing.

Here’s another reason to know the anatomy and
physiology.  Once you start to become competent in
cranio sacral work the word of mouth builds
quickly.  But the word of mouth won’t be about how
cranio sacral therapy works it will be just that
you were able to help someone.   When people come
to see you they will often be doing so against the
consensus of their friends and family.

The fact that you can understand the language
their doctor uses and can explain the physical
aspect of their symptoms to them in language that
is familiar and similar to the language their
doctor uses goes a long way to soothing their

Which explanation do you think sounds most

‘Your head feels very tight and heavy and I’m
sensing a lot of tension on the left side.  It
feels very red and angry.’


‘Your head feels to me like it is overfull with
cerebrospinal fluid.  The reason for this is that
one of the bones that forms the floor of you skull
on the left hand side, the particular bone is
called your temporal bone, is being pulled inwards
by the membrane that attaches to it.

This has the effect of pinching your jugular
vein because the hole that your jugular vein goes
through is actually formed in the junction of your
temporal bone and another bone called your
occipital bone.

Blood is pumped into your head by your heart
but there is nothing in your head pumping the
blood back out again.  So it’s really important
that the channels of drainage out of your head
are clear and unrestricted.

One of those channels of drainage is your
jugular vein.  So you can see that if it is
pinched then the blood being pumped into your head
can’t drain out as quickly as it needs to.  So you
get the sort of pressure build up that can cause
the sorts of headaches you are getting.’

Learn the physiology and anatomy Joe and master
all the techniques.  They will lead you to mastery
of the energetic work at the heart of cranio

So that’s it for this issue.  Your
steak knives are in the mail.

Cheerio for now.

Till the next time.

Your Mate,

John D.


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