Cranio Sacral Therapist and Student Newsletter 33

April 5 – 2008

Questions and comments for this issue:

+ Report from Al Pelowski about the role cranio is playing in the Boikarabelo Orphans Eco-Village Cranio Project in South Africa.
+ CST and orthodontic work?


I was sent a very interesting video recently.
It is of a talk given by neuroanatomist, Jill
Bolte Tatlor.  In the video she describes her
experience of having a stroke and how it changed
the way she viewed the brain, how it works and who
we are.

It was obviously a powerful experience for her
and at times she is quite emotional.  You can see
it here.
I am very interested to know what you think of it.

I also want to let you know about an update
over at the Wellness Detective Agency, about money and going broke doing
what you love.  It’s not like there are any cranio
sacral therapists going broke . . . but I thought
you might be interested.

If you’re not subscribed to the Updates already
you can subscribe on that page too.  Audio updates
are in the works and should be out within the next

And finally, I was heartened to see that Dr.
Darlene Ertha gave a talk last month to The
American Holistic Nurses Association.  The title
of her talk was,  ‘Exploring Nature’s Blueprint:
Fractals, Pathways, Meridians, and the Collective
Unconscious.  Bringing It All Together In Hands-On

Quite a lot to fit on a poster, I know.  In her
talk she described how cranio sacral therapy,
among others, made use of universal patterns to
alleviate intractable pain and heal body, mind,
and spirit.

Now that we’re feeling all warm and fuzzy,
let’s get on with the mailbag.


Hello John,
An idea for linking the Boikarabelo Orphans Eco-
Village Cranio Project

The Boikarabelo orphans village is located about
100km NW of Joburg in the Magaliesburg.  I was
wondering if it might be a good test site for your
idea of getting cranio into the world’s villages.
Just thinking really…

There are 90+ children in a surrounding
‘informal village’ of some 1000 people (refugees,
the displaced and isolated).  All of them are
orphaned or abandoned, most are severely
truamatised (e.g., nearly all the girls have been
raped; maybe half the kids are or were
malnourished; many are burdened with HIV and other
opportunists; and most carry unresolved alarm or
shock survival behaviours–ADHD, anorexia,
learning disorders, autisms–compounded by
toxicity from vaccinations and pollution).

We are fortunate to have 3 student practitioners
living there, and cranio is a crucial part of a
therapeutic mix including homeopathy, nutrition &
chelation, counselling and lots of patience &

Today, Sunday 30 March, there were 8 of us
practitioners working, and we saw about 30 of the
kids, most of whom have had several sessions and
settle into it quickly.  Quite a few end up in
deep sleep so we leave them on the table at one
end and bring on the next at the other end.  The
kids literally queue up for treatment, even if
they are not scheduled for it.

Being held cranially is a big hit out there,
thanks to the regular sessions they get with our
resident practitioners.  When a child is lost in
shock or fighting all the time in alarm we find
that cranio holding works best to re-establish a
secure bond and thus initiate their healing,
gradually bringing in the other modalities.

Some time ago a visiting woman from Europe went
away inspired and then sent the community 20 new
desktop computers.  They are ready to be linked
into a server and used in the school they run on
the premises.

In SA far more people live in ‘informal
settlements’ on the fringe of cities than in
traditional countryside villages.  The challenge
here as well as in Africa as a whole is to make
entirely new homes/communities for millions of
kids with nowhere else to grow.

The Malawi Children’s Village (with which I am
also involved) is one way this is being
approached, and Boikarabelo is another.  I plan to
visit Malawi in the dry, July perhaps.  I’ll
report on MCV after that visit.

Boikarabelo does have more problems but also
more going for it than almost any other village I
can think of in all Africa.  So much goes on
there, births, deaths, new arrivals all the time,
crisis after crisis as you can imagine.  But
despite all the challenges, the aim is not only to
provide a basic home and identity for the kids,
but to give them the very best in life skills and
turn the situation into an educational advantage..

I could go on..and on..what do you think?



What do I think?

I think you’re a bloody legend!

I think the therapists working with you are
bloody legends!

I think the people who run the place are bloody

If ever somewhere needed more cranio sacral
therapists it would be there.  It’s the sort of
place my Open Source Cranio idea is all about.
Getting cranio sacral training information to
where it is desperately needed.


Hi John,

Thanks for your reply to my letter regarding
cancer in the New Years Newsletter.
As to what to call you how about the “enlightened
Your reply to my question made me laugh but if I
had received it a few weeks earlier I would have
cried, can I remind you of your words

“the chances of you giving yourself a major
fright and setting you palpatory skills back years
is very high.

For example, let’s say you go against your
teachers/mentors recommendation and start treating
someone who is in the middle of dealing with
And let’s say they have a major episode the day
after you treat them and end up in hospital.

Take a minute and think about how you would
feel.  Can you imagine how difficult it would be
to stay objective about your contribution to their
being in hospital.  Can you imagine how hard it
would be to avoid putting yourself through the
wringer wondering if your intention was too heavy
or too light, how you could have missed what was
coming and so on.”

Well I can tell you how I felt !!, my Aunt had
been given the all clear following Non hodgkinson
and all the horror that the treatments entailed,
bald and full of life she stayed with us for a
week over xmas on the day she was leaving I asked
if she would like to try some cranio (are you
wincing?) her system did not react and as I had
not practiced for some weeks thought it was me so
pushed the intention a bit harder but all she got
was a nice still point and a vision of a being in
a crater looking at the blue sky (that made me
wince!). She phoned me 3 days later to say she had
not been out of bed since she got home she could
not stay awake (but she felt good) I told her to
go to the Drs asap! she had no white cells and was
very close to dying.

So how did I feel! all of the above! my teacher
was on holidays but when I finally contacted her
she believed the cranio probably brought it to the
surface alot faster. My Aunt is doing alot better
they think she is one of the rare ones that get a
reaction to some injection they give post Chemo,
but they also discovered her heart and lungs are
stuffed from the Chemo! I offered her Cranio and
we both laughed (but I don’t think either of us
will go there!)

I have been going through all your archives a
couple at a time as it makes my head hurt! so many

So I will start with; I read about your case
study, the girl you helped with facial disorders,
my 18yr old son has a protruding lower Jaw they
have done one lot of orthodontic work and are now
waiting until he stops growing to operate on the
lower jaw to pull it back ( a nasty sounding
operation) and then a couple more years of braces
to correct the bite. Do you believe that cranio
could stop the jaw coming forward anymore and even
better bring it back slightly? and my daughter 15
has had two years of braces but because she had to
a have a baby tooth removed that had no adult
tooth to replace it they expect she will have
braces for two more years! Do you believe cranio
can really help in these situations, I have read
in some of the Cranio books to seek out a
orthodontist that works with Cranio but I don’t
think there is such a person in Australia? I asked
my orthodontist and he was very “polite” “what

Many thanks
God opps John


Hello Karen,
Thanks for sharing your experience about your
Aunt.  It must have been awful for you.  Our
palpatory skill is a wonderful but fragile thing.

I’ve had a few emails from different people
asking about orthodontic work and cranio sacral
therapy and since both your questions are about
that too, I’ll kill the few birds, humanely of
course, with one stone and answer them all

Can cranio sacral therapy really help in these

Hell, yes.

Let’s start with the basics. Teeth are
basically bone and contrary to common perception,
bones ain’t bone china.  Bone is plastic and wet
and it grows and most importantly responds to the
pressure it is placed under and adapts.

Wolf’s law and all that, don’t you know.

What’s Wolf’s law?

Wolf’s law states that the son of two wolves is
equal to the son of the bears on the other two
hides. . . or . . something . . like . .that.

It basically means that bone will adapt to the
loads it is placed under.

That is how they can dig up someone from a
thousand years ago and from a careful study of the
shape of the bones of their forearm, work out that
the person used to be a charioteer.

The fact they were buried in a chariot helped
but it was the bones, Jim, the bones.

So just because our teeth are sitting in bone
and our bite is essentially made of bone that
doesn’t mean that it is fixed for all eternity.

When you think about, that’s what Orthodontists
are kind of banking on.

From our perspective, you could think of braces
as being like a form of direct technique, carried
out over a numbers months or years.

When I think of our ‘bite’, and this is
probably because I used to be a carpenter, I
always think of the mandible as being like a door
and the temporo mandibular joints as being like
the hinges of the door, with the temporals and the
maxillae making up the doorframe.

Thinking of it like this helps keep all the
different parts in their rightful place.

The mandible is roughly solid.  Yes, I know it
used to be in two parts and in some ways still
behaves as if it is but compared to everything
else involved that still ARE in separate parts, it
helps to think of it as solid. . . like a door.

So if a person’s bite is off it is probably not
the mandible itself but the temporals or the

Because if the doorframe is not straight the
door will keep banging on the frame and never
close properly.

Now let’s look at the two examples you gave.

You write that your son’s lower jaw is
protruding.  The first thing I would ask myself is
why is it doing that? Is the mandible sticking out
or is the face pushed in? or is a bit of both.

I would palpate his whole face and try and get
a sense of what the overall pattern was.

Once you do that you can begin to look at the
hinges and the doorframe.   For example: There
could be a pattern where his temporals are
torsioned anteriorly and inferiorly in a kind of
temporal nose dive and this in turn could have the
knock-on effect of pushing his mandible

Or both his maxillae could be driven

If it is in the temporals I would treat it with
indirect technique.

If it is his maxillae I would treat it with a
combination of indirect and then direct technique.
Indirect to follow into the pattern and help it
release then direct because the influence of the
cranial rhythm is weaker in the maxillae and they
can need a little help getting where they want to

If the maxillae are driven posteriorly you will
need to assess the palatines and help them release
too if the pattern goes back that far.  You will
also need to look at how the sphenoid is affected
by this pattern, particularly the pterygoid

With your daughter, it sounds like they are
trying to even out the gap left by the extraction.

Again, I would palpate her whole face and try
and get a sense of an underlying pattern that
might have caused the situation.

If nothing major presents itself, it may be a
case that her body doesn’t register the situation
in her mouth as being a problem.  This would make
you work a lot more difficult and require a lot
more direct technique.

Assuming that your daughter’s braces are not
fixed, you can work on the teeth individually.
You can take each tooth and ‘unwind’ it.  That in
itself may begin to even out the gaps.

And finally, as a general note about working
with the mouth, the bite and teeth, it’s important
to rely on the fact that our body is NOT
predisposed to have a banging, jarring,
disharmonious bite. It wants to bite right.

All you have to do is help it. Having said that
I have found as a general rule that while bone is
responsive it can take a while for it to grow in
new directions and by a while I mean 2 to 4

So that’s it for this issue.

Cheerio for now.

Till the next time.

Your Mate,

John D.


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