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About CranioSomatic Therapy

CranioSomatics®is the concept that both functions and dysfunctions of the cranial mechanism are reflected in musculoskeletal responses throughout the body. The muscle changes are predictable, and can be demonstrated. These CranioSomatic concepts provide a new understanding of the structural and functional relationships between the head and the body.

CranioSomatic Therapy is the therapeutic application of CranioSomatic concepts. It is an integrative and holistic approach to treating many common dysfunctional and painful conditions involving muscles and joints. ‘Cranio’ refers to the head, and ‘Somatic’ refers to the muscles of the body. CranioSomatic therapies primarily use cranial techniques to facilitate changes in the function of muscles, which helps the body’s whole structure shift into a more balanced and comfortable alignment. A practitioner uses his or her hands to gently improve the ranges of motion of the bones of the head and its very important attachments to your neck. The benefits can be demonstrated by evaluating the function of your muscles before and after treatment.

CranioSomatic Therapy differs from craniosacral therapy in several important ways.

  • First, CranioSomatic therapy is a structural approach.  The treatment focus is on improving movement in fascia, muscles and tendons, from the top of your head to your toes.
  • Second, CranioSomatic therapy is outcome-oriented.  The primary objective is to relieve the pain and limitations you experience when your joints and muscles are restricted or do not function comfortably. Results that patients can see and feel very soon after treatment are always the goal.
  • Third, CranioSomatic evaluations include the use of several techniques from Applied Kinesiology (manual muscle testing, therapy localization and challenge) for both pre-treatment evaluation and confirmation of results.
  • Finally, the benefits are usually long-lasting.  Improvements typically result in increased range of motion, improved performance, and a reduction in pain and other symptoms, whether you are a competitive athlete or simply going about your typical work and recreational activities.

Who can benefit from CranioSomatic Therapy?

  • Almost anyone who has aches and pains in muscles or joints
  • Individuals with headaches or TMJ problems
  • People with limited joint range-of-motion
  • Athletes seeking to improve their performance
  • Children with functional problems or developmental delays
  • Any age group, from infants to super-seniors
  • Individuals with a functional or idiopathic scoliosis
  • People with a functional short leg and/or a tipped and rotated pelvis

CranioSomatic Therapy is composed of several innovative and highly effective treatment procedures that can be used individually or in combination.  They are: Functional CranioSomaticsCranioStructural Integration; and Facilitated Pathways Intervention.

‘Functional’ CranioSomatics is the use of numerous CranioSomatic cranial techniques, joint mobilization, and other manual therapy techniques. This approach can usually correct simple day-to-day and short-term problems fairly quickly, restoring comfort and function. Longer-term or chronic symptoms often require CranioStructural Integration or Facilitated Pathways Intervention.

CranioStructural Integration (CSI) is a series of cranial techniques that provides long-term corrections for the head and body.  This treatment allows the body to achieve new levels of postural balance and musculoskeletal relaxation not generally attainable by other therapies.  This cranial approach was developed by Dr. Hancock to treat chronic cranial patterns which have resulted in long-term musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction.

The structural improvements are especially effective in reducing or eliminating sciatica, TMJ, and many other chronic problems. The unique structural approach of CSI also provides substantially greater range of motion (ROM) to the craniosacral mechanism. This improvement further enhances the benefits typically associated with craniosacral techniques, and also improves the effectiveness of many other therapies. Read more about CSI.

Facilitated Pathways Intervention (FPI) is especially effective in reducing or eliminating pain and dysfunction that is the result of trauma, stress, or repetitive motion.  It is an innovative manual therapy developed by  Dr. Flo Barber-Hancock, and treatment is based on the relationships she has identified between superficial soft tissue areas of the head and related joint and muscle functions throughout the body.

The gentle techniques of FPI work indirectly to reduce pain and improve mobility throughout the body. This therapy can provide effective treatment for areas that are too painful for direct touch, because FPI therapy is performed on a related area of the head, neck or collarbone. FPI is usually very relaxing, so it can be effective even for patients with low energy levels. Read more about FPI Therapy.