NCR-Frequently Asked Questions
The main job of the spine is to hold the body upright. This is particularly true of the neck and upper back. Holding the head in a stable position is the job of the neck bones and muscles and is especially important because most of the nervous system is housed inside the head. An unstable skull means that the center of the nervous system is unstable too. The chronic positions of the spine and its related muscles are determined by the nervous system's need to maintain skull stability. When the positions of the bones of the skull are changed, the balancing pattern of the head is changed. This causes alterations in the postural patterns of the spine and the paraspinal muscles.
Nervous system functions are determined by the flow of blood and cerebrospinal fluid. When we use mood-altering drugs, they cause shifts in the flow of blood and especially cerebrospinal fluid, changing the amounts of neurotransmitters received by specific neurons (in the brain) and altering nervous system function. The shape of the skull and spine help determine the flow of blood and cerebrospinal fluid and thereby control nervous system function.
So when the shape of the skull is changed, the shape of the spine and pelvis are changed too, and through this the function of the nervous system is different as well. When the structural shape is improved (or even optimized) the nervous system functions are improved (optimized) too.
Your cranial bones are not unbalanced, but their asymmetrical structural alignment can cause difficulties for the function of the brain and nervous system as well as the musculoskeletal structure. The bones are in their stable, asymmetrical alignment pattern because of the body's reaction to the physical, biochemical and emotional traumas it has been subjected to. The most obvious, common traumatic events that most people experience are a normal vaginal birth. The intense squeezing of the head during birth, known as cranial molding, almost always leaves its mark on the adult skull. This affects both skeletal growth patterns and nervous system function for the life of the individual unless it is removed from the system. Similarly, falls, beatings, sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, surgeries, dental work and the like all have long-lasting impact on the nervous system and musculoskeletal system.
In the cranial structure, the sphenoid bone sits in the center. It is in contact with almost all the other bones of the skull, which interlock. It is impossible to move any single bone of the skull without moving the bones adjoining it, eventually affecting them all. The sphenoid bone is the strongest, the most difficult to get manual contact with, the most difficult to move, the most resistant to change. Without moving the sphenoid bone, no other cranial bone movement can last. It is only by moving the sphenoid bone that all the bones of the head can be moved because of the sphenoid bone's central location. And it is only by moving the sphenoid bone in a pattern that is proprioceptively correct, that the sphenoid bone can be moved in a lasting way.
Bone is not rigid when it is alive, having instead plasticity that allows a small amount of bending under stress. Additionally, when functioning properly, a skull will have some movement capability in all the joints of the skull. In an ideal head there are no truly fused joints, despite what you may read in old anatomy books. The bones of the head are in constant motion. Dr. Viola Fryman, D.O. proved this beyond a doubt in 1962 when she measured the motions of the skull during breathing and chewing with many small sensors place across the bones of the head.
Neurotransmitters, an essential part of nervous system functioning, are chemicals that allow nerves to send signals amongst themselves. These chemicals flow across the gap between adjacent nerves as well as circulating through the cerebrospinal fluid, allowing distant nerves to communicate with one another.
Drugs used to treat depression, like Prozac and Elavil, work by changing the amount of a neurotransmitter, serotonin, throughout the nervous system. Researchers find that increased levels of serotonin decrease feelings of depression. The problems with antidepressant drugs are the side effects on most people, including decrease in sex drive, increase in anxiety and other symptoms that were previously not found in the patient. My clinical observation is that these patients had poor distribution of the neurotransmitter rather than deficiencies (lack of secretion) of serotonin. If the distribution problems in the nervous system were solved, the depression would decrease or stop.
When I treat depressed people with NCR, their depression gradually goes away. NCR optimizes the shape of the nervous system support structures, the bones of the skull and spine. With optimal shape, fluid flow characteristics of the blood and cerebrospinal fluid are idealized as well. The distribution of neurotransmitters gradually equalizes with NCR, becoming the distribution pattern we were designed to have instead of the distribution pattern our trauma histories have created. This is why I have good treatment results with depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, seizures, learning disabilities, hyperactivity, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and others. All of these conditions have significant structural problems in the skull contributing to the severity of the disease.
Yes. Even though the stooping posture is considered to be a consequence of osteoporosis, age-related stooping is actually a simple change in posture. As the posture worsens, there is also bone loss. This is because bone grows most strongly in areas where the gravitational force is greatest and does not grow where there is no gravitational force. When posture is poor, there is less gravitational force in the bone because the musculature is helping to support the body. The means that there is less stimulation of bone growth when posture is poor. With NCR, posture improves and the bones grow stronger again.
Posture changes because most postural problems are created from the spine's difficulty in supporting the skull. As the head is positioned more forward on top of the neck, the head tips slightly forward and the body is pulled forward by the weight of the head, leading to a stooped posture. The role of NCR in this situation, then, is to change the position of the head relative to the neck, allowing a more balanced position of the head and greater ease of support by the neck. When this occurs, the spine is no longer in the poor posture.
The brain is very sensitive to these balance patterns which create posture. The balance process is part of proprioception, a crucial part of the theories underlying NCR. The entire pattern of musculoskeletal posture is determined by proprioceptionthe awareness of the body's position in space, and the semicircular canals of the ears are an important part of this process. When the semicircular canals are stimulated frequently, the brain must work harder. The nervous system doesn't like this, and it responds by moving the musculoskeletal system into a position where less head movement occurs. This stable position of the head is known as our postural pattern. For many people, the postural pattern remains the same throughout their life. This is because the bones of the head are very stable, and these persons had no therapy or trauma that changes this cranial balancing pattern.
Your postural pattern is determined by your balance pattern. Subtle movements of the semicircular canals are very perceivable by the brain. The brain wishes to be stable, and will change the position of the spine and muscles to insure stable positioning of the skull. It is only by changing the shape of the skull that the body's balancing patterns can be changed, and in this way change the pattern of posture.