The Occipital Bone – A Nod to the Body’s Total Health

Occipital BoneThe Occipital Bone is a part of your cranium, located in the lower, back portion of your skull.  Your occipital bone joins with the 1st vertebra (C1), also called the “atlas,” forming the atlanto-occipital joint.  This is how you can nod your head YES and shake your head NO to the many questions you face throughout your day, and this joining of the occipital bone with the vertebrae is the direct link between your skull and your spine. 

 In addition, the occipital bone plays a part in Continue reading

 protecting your body’s most valuable asset – your brain.  The occipital bone specifically protects your brain’s visual processing center.  It also houses the connecting pathway that connects the brain to the spine.

 Based on its location, the occipital bone can influence the body’s movements, flexibility, stability, and balance, as well as its sense of sight.  CranioSacral Therapists recognize the importance of the occipital bone as it relates to the body’s overall physical function and a person’s ability to see and interact with the world.

 When you are born, the occipital bone is not completely ossified.  It takes almost six years before the occipital bone becomes fully ossified.  Any problems with the development of this bone may lead to health issues that can, fortunately, benefit from the skilled hands of a CranioSacral Therapist. 

 If the occipital bone and the spine are misaligned, resulting in pain, CranioSacral Therapy can correct and eliminate your discomfort and restore fluid communication and movement to your body.  Additionally, if the occipital bone has not properly developed, CranioSacral Therapy can resolve many resulting vision defects you may be experiencing.

When your Occipital Bone is not functioning or moving optimally, a number of mental and physical symptoms can develop, including (but not limited to):

 

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Neck and Back Pain
  • Painful and/or Limited Neck Movement
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Balance and Coordination Problems
  • Vision Defects
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Inability to see and/or discriminate between colors
  • Hallucinations
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Lowered Immune Functioning
  • Sensory Processing Disorders
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Nervous System Problems

Much like the frontal bone, the occipital bone is sensitive to the birthing process and can also be damaged from trauma resulting from accidents and injurites, resulting in chronic health and mental problems. Modern medicine often recommends spinal surgery for pain and other conditions resulting from dysfunction of your occipital bone.  While surgery may be a necessity in some extreme cases, surgical procedures can potentially cause stress and dis-ease in your body. 

However, a skilled and experienced CranioSacral Therapist can, in many cases, offer a far safer and more effective alternative to surgical procedures and other, more invasive, therapies.

As a protector of the brain, the Occipital Bone plays an important role in your overall health and quality of life.  Investigating the cause of pain and other health issues beyond the normal medical paradigm could provide you with benefits far beyond the typical limitations and side effects of prescription drugs and surgery.

Live Life Fully,

Sandy Schell, ACST, LWC 

The Frontal Bone – Your Brain’s Protector

frontal boneThe Frontal Bone is a part of your skull’s cranium, extending from the top of your forehead to the tops of your eyes.  As a part of your skull’s cranial bones, the frontal bone gives your face the shape that you see in the mirror and present to the world.  The frontal bone also protects your body’s most valuable asset – your brain.  It connects to the parietal bone and occipital bone to provide full protective coverage of the brain.  Based on its location, the frontal bone can have an influence on Continue reading

your body’s energy and emotions, as well as your sinuses and vision.  Because the sensitive organ the frontal bone protects, it can also influence the development of mental disorders. CranioSacral Therapists recognize the importance of the frontal bone as it relates to one’s mental and physical well-being

 

When you are born, your frontal bone is not completely developed.  It takes almost two years before the frontal bone is fully ossified. The birth process is known to sometimes cause injury to a baby’s frontal membranes and cartilage in this fragile area, and this can manifest into a number of health issues if not addressed.   Studies have shown that even young children respond well to CranioSacral Therapy, which can help to reshape the frontal bone and act as a preventative measure from future health issues. If you did not have CranioSacral Therapy to repair any maternal injury when you were a baby, it is not too late to seek healing treatment.

 

When your Frontal Bone is misaligned or dysfunctional, a number of mental and physical symptoms can develop, including but not limited to:

 

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Neck and Back Pain
  • Balance and Coordination Problems
  • Immune System Issues
  • Bladder Problems
  • Stomach Pain
  • Sinus Issues
  • Anxiety
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Frequent Frustration
  • Inability to Focus
  • Insomnia
  • Autism (rare but increasing)
  • Seizures (rare but increasing)
  • Sensory Processing Disorders

 

You may have suffered from these issues for a very long time and not known that damage to your frontal bone during your birth could explain your symptoms.  Damage to your frontal bone may not have been recorded into your medical record during birth.  A CranioSacral Therapist will be able to assess any dysfunction of your frontal bone. Managing and possibly eliminating the dysfunctions of the frontal bone involve gentle pressure using CranioSacral Therapy.  If you are experiencing any of the above health issues, and your current plan of treatment is not helping as much as you’d like, consider CranioSacral Therapy as a complimentary healing alternative.

 

What Does Pain Mean?

What Is PainHave you ever owned a dog?

Think about a time that your dog was trying to communicate with you.  Did your dog pace back and forth?  Or did he bark?  Maybe he brought you his toy when he wanted to play?

Dogs can’t speak English, but they know how to get very creative when they’re trying to get our attention, right?

Well, what if our body is doing the same thing?

Take a moment to think back on your day.  Did you notice any pain or discomfort in your body?

Did you ignore that discomfort (like most people do)?

What if the pain and discomfort we feel in our body Continue reading

is like a dog pacing back and forth to the door?  What if discomfort is the body’s way of communicating with us…its way of trying to get our attention about something that needs attending to, just like our dog?

If we look at discomfort being a sign of something amiss in the body, then when pain comes up in our body, we could take a moment to try to determine what our body is trying to communicate to us.

What would your body be saying to you?

Take a moment now and close your eyes.  Go back to a time when you were experiencing discomfort in your body.  Then ask your body, “Body, what were you trying to tell me?”

And just remain quiet until you get some sort of response.  Let your quiet awareness be your guide.  You may have a vision, or a memory of some sort, or a flash from your intuition. Or you might even remember a conversation, or something you saw on TV.

The response you receive may or may not make any logical sense to you right now.  Let that be ok.  What came to your awareness is connected to what your body was trying to communicate to you via the discomfort that you were having.  It will make sense, given time.

Our body is a sensing organism.  Our body is an incredibly intelligent tool that exists to give us, the Being, feedback about all that is going on in our surroundings.  Our mind (a data filtering tool) plays a big part in what actually gets through to our conscious awareness and what doesn’t.  If the mind has been programmed to filter out the signals coming from our body, then signals like pain, hunger, thirst, etc. get blocked from coming to our conscious awareness.

Many of us have stress-filled lives.  We have too many things to do, and not enough time.

When our minds get programmed to delete or dim down signals coming from the body, then we become disconnected from these signals.  And just like our pets, if the body can’t get our attention right away, what is the body then going to do?

It’s going to speak more loudly.

Pain and discomfort arise for many reasons.  Maybe you’ve been pushing too hard, and your body needs more rest or more frequent breaks.
Maybe you’re not feeding your body enough nurturing foods, and instead eating too much comfort food to detach from stress or other emotions.
Maybe your body is dehydrated and would like more water to replenish its resources.

Or you may be experiencing your body communicating with you about other imbalances:

Is your career path creating happiness and fulfillment for you?
Are there negative emotions or thoughts that keep circling through you?
Are there important needs and desires that you have not allowed yourself to express?
Is your outlook positive and hopeful?
Are you hanging on to the past, or do you frequently worry about the future?
Are your relationships fulfilling and nurturing, or are there people that drain you of energy?
Are you confident about meeting your goals, or do you feel stressed out about them?

Our thoughts and emotions are stored in our body.  If there are many negative thoughts or emotions going through us, the body may be trying to communicate that to you through signals of pain and discomfort.

Here’s a simple Self-Awareness tool that takes 30 seconds:

When you have a quiet moment (lock yourself in the restroom if you need to),
Sit comfortably, and close your eyes.
Begin scanning your body from your feet upwards.
When you get to a spot on your body that is uncomfortable, ask that part of your body, “What one small thing can I do to help you be more comfortable?”
Pay attention to the very first thing that your quiet awareness shares with you.  This information will be what you’re seeking.
After you’ve obtained a response, pay very close attention to any negative thoughts about the response, such as, “I can’t do that.  I’m too busy right now.”
Allow any negative thoughts to pass on by, and instead ask your body, “What is the easiest way for me to _____________.” (fill in the response you got from the previous question).
And wait quietly for the answer.
Follow this answer and implement it.

By using this Self-Awareness Tool regularly, you will be learning how to interpret your body’s signals, much as we do with our pets.  You’ll develop a 2-way communication with your body.  And the result will be that you will experience much less pain and discomfort in your body.

Let your body’s wisdom be your guide.

Live Life Fully,
Sandy Schell, ACST, LWC

The Sphenoid Bone, A Cornerstone of Health

sphenoid boneThe Sphenoid Bone is located behind the eyes, forming part of the eye socket.  It is shaped somewhat like a butterfly, and connects with all the other bones in the head.  The sphenoid bone’s importance as it pertains to one’s health is widely recognized by CranioSacral Therapists and those involved in Osteopathic Medicine.  Based on its location, the sphenoid bone can have an influence on the hormones, the glandular system via the pituitary gland, the flow of blood and nutrients to and from the brain, and the entire nervous system.

One of the bones with which the sphenoid bone connects is the Occiput.  The occiput forms part of the floor of the skull at the back of the head, just above where the head meets the neck.  The Sphenoid bone, together with the Occiput, form the SphenoBasilar Joint or “SBJ”.  The rhythmic movement of the SBJ is considered integral to Continue reading

health, as it is the SphenoBasilar Joint that supports the movement of fluids, nutrients, and information to and from the brain and spinal cord.

The SBJ can become dysfunctional from a variety of life experiences, such as head trauma (even minor bumps on the head can throw the SBJ functioning off), jaw imbalances, braces, tmj dysfunction, tooth malocclusion, falls, sports injuries, and accidents.

When there is a dysfunction of the SphenoBasilar Joint (SBJ), a variety of symptoms can arise, including:

● Headaches
● Migraines
● Neck Pain
● Back Pain
● Pain Syndromes
● Sensory issues (imbalances related to vision, hearing, touch, speech, taste, or smell)
● Allergies
● Sinus issues
● TMJ Dysfunction (Jaw Issues and Pain)
● Endocrine and Hormonal Imbalances (thyroid, adrenals, reproductive organs)
● Learning Disabilities
● Reading Problems
● Personality Disorders
● OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)
● ADHD
● Emotional Imbalances
● Memory Issues
● Tremors, tics
● Tinnitus
● Scoliosis
● Depression
● Anxiety
● Insomnia and other Sleep Imbalances

In some cases, after an accident, one could have a vague sense that “something isn’t quite right”, yet scans and tests by your doctor come back inconclusive.  This vague feeling that defies detection and diagnosis of the underlying problem, could very well be related to a SphenoBasilar Joint dysfunction.

Addressing and releasing dysfunctions of the Sphenoid and SphenoBasilar Joint is gentle, non-invasive, and relaxing.  If you are experiencing any of the above health concerns, and your current method of treatment(s) is not helping as much as you’d like, CranioSacral Therapy may be of benefit to you.

Live Life Fully,

Sandy Schell, ACST, LWC

Migraines and Dehydration

WaterThe holidays are on the horizon, with the related “to-do” lists forming in the back of most people’s heads.  Though for most people , the holiday season means family, parties, friends, and celebrations, for some this time of year works out to be much more stressful than fun.

What I’ve noticed over the years is that Migraine sufferers end up having an increase in the frequency and intensity of their suffering during the holidays.  There are, undoubtedly, many factors involved, but one factor in particular, stands out above the others. Continue reading

Dehydration –   a/k/a less than adequate daily water intake.

While dehydration may sound like an extreme term for someone who just doesn’t drink enough water, the importance of adequate water intake cannot be understated.   Our brains consist of about 80% water.  Our muscles are more than 75% water.  Even our bones are comprised of 50% water.

So, why else is water so important?  Water is involved to some degree or another in everything the body does.  Water promotes, provides, and supports innumerable functions in our body including the following:

Water helps our bodies digest the foods we eat, and absorb & assimilate nutrients.  Water helps remove toxins from our cells and organs;  it supports the regulation of our blood pressure.  Water is necessary for our bodies to form new blood cells, and water is a transport medium for communication from the Central Nervous System to the rest of the body.  It even supports our having an effective immune system, so if you find yourself having frequent colds and illnesses…you may want to take a closer look to see if you’re drinking enough water every day.  I could go on and on, but I wont.  Needless to say, water is a fundamental necessity for our body’s well-being.

During the holiday season, we all tend to drink less water, and indulge in food and drinks that dehydrate the body even further, including coffee, sugary items, and alcohol.  To add to that, many do not sleep as well, what with all the activities, parties, commitments, traveling, etc., which compounds the dehydration in our bodies.

Migraine sufferers have it particularly bad this time of year, and one way to mitigate some of the suffering is to get enough water into your body every day.  I recommend to clients that they keep a 16oz bottle of water in the car, one on their desks at work, and one by the TV remotes at home.  These act as visual reminders to drink water throughout the day.

Wishing You Well,

Sandy Schell

Just Cut Off My Head!

migraineThere are close to 30 million reported Migraine sufferers, and they have it pretty bad.  The pain is described as booming and all-consuming.  Add severe nausea, extreme sensitivity to light and sound (a whisper sounds like someone is shouting), balance issues, visual disturbances and feeling “sick beyond sick” to the debilitating pain.  It then becomes easy to understand why Migraine sufferers would be willing to have their heads cut off to escape from their pain and suffering.

Then imagine having to go through this Continue reading

 once every month for 3-5 days at a time.  And worse yet, some people have 2 or even 3 Migraines each and every month!

While debates continue about what causes them, many of the people I’ve worked with who suffer from Migraines seemingly have some things in common:

1.  They have tension in their low back or tailbone area

2.  They have tension in their upper chest and upper back areas.

3.  They have tension in their neck.

4.  They have tension where their head meets their spine, otherwise known as the Cranial Base.

5.  Much of the tensions outlined in #1 -4 above are present in the dural membranes along the spinal canal and/or  in the membranes inside the head.

6.  They tend to have tight jaw muscles.

Though not all of these are present in every person that suffers from Migraines that I’ve met or worked with, these are some areas, that once released, give way to less frequency and less intensity of Migraine suffering.

For those of you who suffer from Migraines and are reading this, know there is hope.

The vast majority of clients that I’ve worked with over the years have reported the following:

a.  Their Migraines don’t occur as often.  (And many report being migraine-free.)

b.  If they do occur, the intensity and pain are much less, and the symptoms do not last nearly as long.

c.  Many who came in for CranioSacral Therapy while suffering a full-on Migraine reported their symptoms being markedly decreased or nearly gone by the end of the session.

d.  The vast majority reported that their quality of life has greatly improved in many ways, from having better overall health, more energy and stamina, improved relationships with family and friends, more satisfied with their  jobs, more enjoyment of daily life, better sleep, more freedom to live their lives as they desire, without the disabling pain and sickness of Migraine headaches.

So, before you opt for cutting off your head, you may want to consider CranioSacral Therapy as a way out of Migraine pain and suffering.

Live Life Fully,

Sandy Schell