resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Don't Turn a 2 Into a 10
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale1 is so useful because it can be used by almost anyone. Patients can use the numbers associated with the faces depicted on the scale or select the face that demonstrates their current level of pain from 0-10.
Waking Up the Gluteus Maximus
In previous articles in this series, we expounded on the importance of the gluteus maximus (GM) in athletic performance and protecting the knee from injury. We also know there is a link between iliotibial band syndrome and GM weakness.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
CCE Finally Takes a "Baby Step" Toward Reform
During a 16-month period from October 2010 to February 2012, I devoted four separate columns to the heavy-handed attempt by the Council on Chiropractic Education to radically change the chiropractic profession through the accreditation process.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
A Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
April, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 04
Putting Insomnia to Sleep: Using Cranial Techniques
By Sharon Desjarlais, CC
Have you ever been home alone late at night when a tiny creak in a floorboard suddenly becomes a gunman breaking in? That's your reticular activating system (RAS) triggering an adrenal response that's preparing you to fight or flee.
The RAS helps the body instinctively deal with issues of fear and survival. Unfortunately, it can't always distinguish between real and imagined threats. And according to Amy Lewis, LMT, an Upledger-trained CranioSacral Therapist, that dynamic is at the heart of much of the insomnia she's seeing now in her clients.
Insomnia, which means "no sleep" in Latin, is one of the most common sleep complaints among Americans. According to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health, some 30 percent to 40 percent of adults report symptoms of insomnia within a given year, while about 10 percent to 15 percent report chronic insomnia lasting months or years.
"Insomnia comes in cycles that line up with our stress levels," Amy says. "I see it a lot in clients who present with complex pain patterns. But look at the stress that's happening worldwide. Then take that down to the level of the state, the county, the city, the neighborhood, the family and the individual. Add all that up and you've got recurring cycles of insomnia."
While individual cycles and sources of insomnia may vary, Amy believes it ultimately comes down to the RAS, which Dr. John Upledger referred to as the "reticular alarm system." Located in the ventricular area of the brain responsible for regulating arousal and sleep-wake transitions, the RAS is the filter for everything in our lives that's "coming at us," she says. That's why, with her insomnia clients, she focuses on cranial techniques that are known to affect the RAS.
Three Cranial Techniques That Relax the RAS
One of Amy's favorite techniques for relaxing the RAS is the "CV4." Named for its ability to compress the fourth ventricle, the CV4 is performed at the occiput to subtly stifle the expansion of the craniosacral system as it cycles through the phases of filling and emptying cerebrospinal fluid, which therapists can palpate as the cranial rhythm.
When you bring this rhythm to a "still point," fluid pressure builds in the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. By stretching these membranes ever so slightly, the fluid gently flushes the craniosacral system and moves the autonomic nervous system from a highly aroused sympathetic-dominant state to a relaxed parasympathetic-dominant state.
"What's different about using cranial work this way is its gentle, non-invasive nature," Amy says. "If I don't plow in there with my hands, I don't create a backlash or a rebound effect in the tissues, muscles or brain. I'm simply amplifying the parasympathetic nervous system. So we're moving from the adrenal fight-or-flight response to a parasympathetic response. We're just slightly moving that little diode on the scale."
Another technique Amy uses to address insomnia symptoms is called "cranial pumping." To perform this technique, you find a place on the client's body where you're comfortable feeling the cranial rhythm. The rhythm reflects the motion of flexion and extension, which signals the filling and emptying of cerebrospinal fluid as it cycles through the craniosacral system.
Amy likes to palpate at all the cranial listening stations, which are areas of the body that can quickly give you a general evaluation of the cranial motion: the heels, dorsa of the feet, anterior thighs, ASIS, ribs, shoulders and several holds at the cranium.
After feeling the rhythm for about three to five cycles, you begin to gently "nudge" the rhythm a bit further. "But you do it so subtly," Amy says. "There's not even any physical movement. You're really doing it with your thoughts and intention to create what feels like a ripple of Saran wrap over water."
By then tuning into changes in the symmetry, quality, amplitude and rate of the craniosacral rhythm, you can bring the body into greater balance. And that helps expand the internal stress threshold so the RAS is less likely to leap into hyper vigilance.
The Rock and Glide
The third cranial technique Amy recommends for insomnia is called the "Rock and Glide." With the client lying supine, place one hand under the sacrum and one under the occiput. Then tune into the rocking motion the dural tube makes to see how it feels. "I'll follow it for a few cycles and then give it a very gentle nudge, about 1 to 5 grams, with my intention again. This helps release the transverse fascial rings of the dural fascia."
For the "gliding" aspect, place your hands in the same position and focus on the longitudinal glide of the occiput and sacrum as it moves in flexion toward the feet and then back toward the head. "As I tune into the gliding motion and it reaches the sacrum, I begin to nudge with 1 to 5 grams of traction toward the feet while I hold the occiput in neutral. Then as the motion glides toward the occiput, I give another little nudge toward the occiput with slight traction while I hold the sacrum in neutral." You may do this for several cycles.
"The glide helps with nerve roots and lengthening of the dural tube, but I think of it as a relaxing cosmic cradle," Amy says. What a soothing way to help your clients get a good night's sleep!
Click here for more information about Sharon Desjarlais, CC.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.