Brain and Cranial Nerves

Supporting the Brain — Concussion, Centralized Pain and Select Pathologies

Securely nested within the cranium, the brain is a delicate structure of keen importance for health. The membranes and bones that protect the brain also become doorways for us to contact the brain through subtle perception and skilled touch. We review the structure of the brain and related structures, as well as dural membranes and cranial base, which provide openings for the 12 cranial nerves.

Learn foundational assessment and treatment methods for the soft tissue of the brain, each of the four ventricles, and each of the cranial nerves. Methods range from indirect enhancement of fluid movement, balancing autonomic function through motility (cranial rhythmic impulse as well as mid-tide), and direct mobilization of neurofascial tissue and bony passages.

Following osteopathic principles, we focus primarily on enhancing health — particularly healthy sleep and breathing patterns, however we will consider certain conditions, particular for concussion, migraines, vertigo and centralized pain. Self-care strategies that enhance neuroplasticity are provided in handouts, and are explored in class as time allows.

Consistent palpation and attention to motility (CRI or mid-tide) is a requirement for this class. Please contact Lauren if you have questions about your readiness for the course.

Cranial Nerve Mobilization — Freeing the Tethers

Take a tour of the cranial nerves, identifying their connections central brain structures, passages through the cranial base and their pathway around the cranium and torso. You learn gentle balancing techniques — both for neural motility as well as mobility of the cranial base and fascial movement along the length of the nerve.

To gauge the need for this work, we review simple strategies to reveal the functionality of each nerve. Where applicable, we’ll discuss common neural challenges such as Bell’s Palsy, vertigo, tinnitus, trigeminal neuralgia and various eye problems. 

  • Olfactory Nerve: smell and its relation to sinusitis
  • The eye complex: vision, pressure, and movement
  • Trigeminal nerve: eyes, sinuses, muscles of mastication
  • Facial nerve: sense and motor to the face, as well as review of Bell’s Palsy care
  • Hearing & Vestibular function, including discussion of tinnitus and vertigo
  • Suck, swallow, breathe: coordination of the mouth, tongue and throat
  • Vagus nerve — structural approach as well as review of Polyvagal theory
  • Accessory Nerve: movement and sensation from SCM and trapezius muscles

Throughout the territory, we weave perception of cranial motility (either cranial wave or mid-tide level) with freedom in the fascia and bony structures (cranial base and vertebrae). Consistent perception of motility is recommended.

If you have current or previous injury to cranial nerves, it’s recommended to receive individualized care before coming to class, to foster the resilience required for classroom activities.

Please contact Lauren if you have questions about your readiness for this course.