July 17 – 2007
Questions and comments for this issue:
+ Parkinson’s Disease
+ What kind of conditions don’t respond to cranio sacral therapy?
+ How often do you see people?
+ What does a shudder in the cranio sacral rhythm mean?
Quite a bit of news to pass on today so do pay
attention as I will be asking questions later.
Harvard medical school’s department of
continuing education will be running three classes
on complementary medicine in psychiatry over the
next year, which is up from one a year since the
class was introduced in 2003. Cranio sacral
therapy is one of the modalities that will be
included in these classes.
The increase is due to the publics growing
disenchantment with antidepressants. David
Mischoulon, an assistant professor of psychiatry
at Harvard, says doctors who have attended the
class report that more patients are asking for
alternative treatments — due to the side effects
of antidepressants, as well as a lack of response
to the medication. “It is time to broaden the
horizons,” he says.
Always one for broader horizons myself, I say
hats off to Harvard medical school’s department of
continuing education. Let’s give them 3 hearty
cheers. Hip hip!
A while ago I told you about Michael Moore’s
new movie ‘Sicko’. Well it’s out now and causing
the expected stir in America. Standing ovation at
the Cannes film festival and all that. You can
read a review of it by Patch Adams here
Yes, Patch Adams is the guy from the movie
Well actually the guy from the movie was Robin
Williams but the review is by the guy the movie
Patch Adams. . . which is what I said in the
Let’s move on. I received this letter from a
woman of very discerning taste in New Zealand.
A friend of mine recently sent me the link to your
site. We did a training together in New Zealand
in cranio. I wrote an article about the training
and my experience with the training.
I have posted the article at:
I really like your site. I have searched the web
all over for sites on cranio and most of the ones
I have found just seem to repeat the same
information over and over in them and don’t really
tell you much about cranio, therefore I am very
glad to see your informative and humorous site.
Thanks so much,
The article she refers to is very good and if
you are into cooking, Renee has some readily
accessible videos of her cooking on her site.
And since she brought up how fantastic my web
sites are . . . work with me . . . I have just
listed what I think are the top ten causes of
trauma. Have a look and tell me what you think.
Did I miss anything?
An finally, let me draw your attention to that
pleasant feeling you are experiencing in your body
right now. I know it is there because it comes
about as a result of reading something that didn’t
make one mention of, or reference to,
Harry Bloody Potter.
(That’s a mailbag spell.)
Am loving the newsletter and really appreciate all
the good work and the manner in which it is done.
I am a Chiropractor & Cranio student in South
Africa and have recently started working with a 70
year old man with Parkinsons disease. He seems to
respond positively to the gentle work I am doing
but the shifts are short lived. I would love to
hear if you have worked with people with PD and
hear any insights you wish to share?
My experience of treating people specifically
for Parkinson’s, is limited so I can’t be of much
If someone else, who gets this newsletter, has
some experience or insights I am sure they will
pass them on to me and I will include them in a
I have found that generally as people get older
the treatment program takes longer. Meaning they
take longer to get better.
So the short-lived effects could be simply
because of that. You may just need to see this
person for longer or you may need to see them more
frequently in the beginning to help their system
get some momentum.
Just been checking out your website. I am a RCST
having trained with Paul Vick. I live in Perth WA.
I have had a practise for 3 years now.
I was interested in
1. The information that people would give to you,
to make you decide that you wouldn’t be able to
help them with cst – this has always been a tricky
one for me?
2. You talk about clients coming to see you for
so many weeks- how often would someone see you in
that period? weekly, fortnightly ?
3. I was also wondering if it would be possible
to get my details added to your website ?
Thanks for the time you took in reading this
1. Who I would, or wouldn’t, treat?
As a general rule – If someone thought I could
help them and wanted to have treatment with me, I
would see them.
Having said that, I would explain to them how
much I thought they were asking of their body.
So if someone was blind from birth and wanted to
see again, well that obviously is a big ask.
I have found that if someone is in the middle
of fighting off an infection it is better to wait
until they have recovered so they can have more
resources to deal with the underlying cause of
Yes, Cranio sacral is good for breaking fevers
and helping to get over infections generally, what
I am talking about are the more virulent
infections like meningitis.
There is also the logistics of treating someone
in the middle of an infection which would depend
on whether you do house calls or not.
I have found certain kinds of nerve damage
unresponsive to treatment. For example damage to
the auditory nerve itself or a 20 year old spinal
I have found genetic conditions don’t respond
very well either.
2. How often do I see people?
I find seeing people weekly works best. I would
only see them more often if their system was very
stuck in a pattern and they had a very
short relief from their symptoms after treatment,
like a couple of hours but this, more intensive
treatment would only last for a couple of weeks at
3. How do you get listed on my site?
It couldn’t be simpler. I send you an email.
You fill in the blanks and send it back to me.
Thanks again to you for your always welcome
newsletter with pertinent and humorous comment.
I’ve just started treating a two and a half year
old girl (caesarian birth) for chronic ear
infections. While assessing her cranially I picked
up a ‘shudder’ when her CS rhythm was in extreme
extension; that is, a shudder in the rhythm as
opposed to the body shuddering. I assumed it was
connected to CNS trauma (possibly from drugs
administered, or shock …??). I would be grateful
for any light on the subject.
It sounds like your palpatory skills are
deepening, which is great.
To quote Sammy Davis Junior, ‘The cranio sacral
rhythm is like the great rhythm of life.’ That’s
not an exact quote obviously, I’ve shortened it a
bit because Sammy had a habit of waffling on about
flexion and extension and the reciprocal nature of
the system at the drop of a hat.
And people used to wear a lot more hats back
then so it happened much more frequently.
Hat dropping that is.
Hat-Tricks were popular too but I haven’t got
time to go into that now.
The cranio sacral rhythm is present in all the
people we treat and the more you go into it the
more you begin to pick up the subtle differences
in expression of this rhythm between one person
and the next.
This shudder that you describe is one of those
differences. It is an expression of how this
girls system interacted with her birth and her
life to date. The great thing is that you can
feel it. Remember when feeling extension was
hard? Let me illustrate.
Let’s say that you and I are sitting in the
ballroom of the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in 1966
and we are waiting for the Sammy Davis Junior show
to begin. You haven’t done too well at the gaming
tables and I am feeling sorry for you. The fact
that all the showgirls are hitting on me is not
helping your mood either, but I digress.
I try to change the mood by talking about
Sammy’s music. I say how much I like, ‘The rhythm
of life.’ and particularly how the use of the hi-
hat causes anticipation in the verses and build up
You don’t know what a hi-hat is so I explain
that it is part of the drum kit and consists of 2
cymbals. The lower cymbal remains stationary while
the upper cymbal can be lifted up and down via a
You’re not really getting it and I’m getting a
bit tired of you ruining the party . . . and this
always happens with you . . . and what did I
invite you for anyway . . . Luckily Sammy takes
the stage and conveniently launches into a
stirring rendition of ‘The Rhythm of life.’
I point out the hi-hat to you. You see it and
you can hear what it sounds like. Great. After
the first chorus the booming sound reduces to the
simplicity of just the hi-hat and Sammy’s voice.
You look at me and smile knowingly. You wouldn’t
have noticed it if you weren’t listening for it
but now you can hear it very clearly. The effect
the hi-hat has in the song.
The cranio sacral rhythm is like the hi-hat and
the shudder is like the effect it has in the song.
Now don’t get the idea that there is only one
abnormality to the rhythm, ‘the shudder’. There
are millions of variations.
Right about now I expect you are saying, ‘Well
that’s all great John and thanks for the trip to
Vages but what does the shudder MEAN?’
I could give you a mechanical semi enclosed
hydraulic system kind of answer including cross
currents etc but I don’t think it will help you
Here is the useful thing to know. . . The very
thing that allowed you to feel this shudder will
also allow you to know what it means. It won’t
stop with the shudder.
Next time you are treating this little girl and
you feel the shudder, allow yourself to feel what
it means in the context of her whole system
I would pay close attention to how the shudder
is expressed in her neck and here’s why. . .
With chronic ear infections it is important to
check the integrity of the Eustachian tube, as it
is the main drain for the middle ear.
The Eustachian tube is an unusual shape. In
cross section it’s not circular like a pipe but is
more of an elongated circle shape like a lozenge
As the tube travels up the neck it twists. The
twist acts as a valve to keep foreign bodies from
travelling up the tube into the middle ear. If
there are restrictions in the neck it will have
the effect of inhibiting the tube and so drainage
will be compromised.
Drainage may be very important if the child has
had repeated antibiotics as they kill all the
bacteria in the middle ear and leave a kind of
sludge. It is difficult enough for the body to
drain this sludge, a restriction inhibiting the
Eustachian tube will make it even harder.
So that’s it for this issue.
Cheerio for now.
Till the next time.