Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most commonly asked questions from patients. 

Does it hurt? People experience NCR in different ways. Some people report it feels like water going up the nose, others report mild discomfort, and some people say it is quite uncomfortable. It can hurt. Most people report feelings of buildup and release of pressure. I find with my clients, the anticipation of it is worse than the actual treatment. Luckily, the treatment is so brief that even if it is uncomfortable, it is only for a matter of seconds. Typically the first series is the most intense and subsequent series are easier. It is important to note that people with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and related syndromes may experience increased discomfort from NCR due to the nature of FM and CFS. 

Why haven’t I heard of NCR before? A whole book could be written on this question! There are several interconnected reasons. The first is that the natural healing arts, and naturopathic physicians are on the fringe of society and not yet integrated into the mainstream. Of the few naturopathic doctors, even fewer yet practice NCR. Additionally, due to the nature of our current political medical climate, there is a strong bias against wellness and prevention of disease. This is why it can be difficult to get insurance coverage. Also, NCR can reverse many structural issues, such as scoliosis, that normally would be managed with surgery. Surgery costs far more money than NCR, and generates more income for big industries, so the preference is to keep doing surgery, rather than correcting the problem by other, cheaper means. Another reason you may have not heard of NCR is because it is relatively new. Although cranial medicine has been around since the time of Hippocrates, NCR was developed only about 20 years ago. 

What conditions can NCR treat? NCR can treat a variety of acquired and congenital structural problems and pain secondary to structural dysfunction, injury, trauma or accident. Please see this to “conditions treated” 

Is it safe? Absolutely. I want to point out the two tragic cases that are floating around on the internet about the safety of balloon-assisted therapies. The first case involved the death of a child by inhalation of the endonasal balloon. A lot of fear has been generated by that case. This is one death in the several-decade long history of balloon assisted therapy. The practitioner was not practicing NCR, was not using the correct instrument or procedure nor taking appropriate safety measures. My entire clinical experience and training has revolved around creating a safe environment, and my NCR work supports this as well. There have been no injuries as a result of a doctor using NCR. Let’s contrast this to daily deaths of people in hospitals and on operating tables - dying at the hands of people who blast the safety of alternative methods. Appropriately prescribed medication is the 4th leading cause of death in this nation. I challenge anyone to say that this therapy is not safe.            The second case involved an elderly woman having her turbinate bones broken. My response to this is that the practitioner should have screened this client for osteoporosis and declined to treat her if it was found.

What are the side effects? The bad side effects of NCR are all short term. Typical reactions that may occur after treatment include lightheadedness, headache, runny and stuffy nose, fever, nosebleed, tearfulness and flashbacks of past events. The only bad long-term effect is the possible temporary reoccurrence of pain symptoms. Even though this is unpleasant, this is not a bad sign for the body. It is just a movement of the skeleton that is parallel to a position that the body had in the past. With continued treatment, these situations have always reversed. The  good side effects: Many people seek NCR treatment because of a specific complaint, like headaches, scoliosis or neck pain. But NCR cannot be focused towards a specific complaint but is instead a generalized treatment that corrects the causes of many symptoms. People report that they feel more energetic, happy, athletic, clear-headed, smart, creative and (of course) beautiful. After undergoing NCR, people have better nasal breathing, smoother action of the TMJ, better posture, improved vision, better balance, decreased muscle tension, decreased emotional tension and less pain. 

What are the contraindications for NCR? Acute fracture of the nose, face or spine, severe osteoporosis, severe bleeding disorders, suspected or confirmed aneurysm, suspected or confirmed brain tumor. What qualifications do you have to have to practice NCR? You must hold a medical license or have a doctorate degree in the healing arts from an accredited, 4-year, postgraduate university.        

Who can benefit from NCR? The most basic, simple answer to this question is: everyone, to a degree. NCR is a general treatment used to optimize structure, and as such, anyone with a less than optimally aligned and balanced structure will have benefits from the therapy. Benefits can be subtle, such as the changing of the head shape or a lift in mood or energy, or they can be quite dramatic, such as the elimination of pain or the reversal of scoliosis.    

How many treatments will I need? This is not an easy question to answer for the following two reasons: people have different reasons for seeking therapy - some have a very specific reason, such as headaches, and will stop treatment when their symptoms stop. Other people have more open-ended goals, like wanting to maximize the function of their body, and as such will come in for more treatment. Yet others will come in on a yearly basis for a tune-up. The other reason it is hard to predict how much treatment any individual will need is that people’s bodies change at different rates. Some people (especially children and adolescents who are still growing) respond remarkably quickly to the therapy. Other people respond more slowly. In my clinical experience, there are several things that happen consistently with just a single 4-day series: the posture improves with the shoulders and head set back and the sternum raised, the pelvis feels more stable with you feeling as though you are standing squarely on your feet and the jaw moves into a more symmetrical position.    

Do a lot of people return for further treatment? Absolutely. Some people, after having undergone the therapy once, notice that they feel connected to their bodies and can tell when something slips a bit and will return for a tune up. Other people feel amazing and want to keep that feeling and so return. Yet others have more complex structures and need to return so they can be further “unwound”.    

* How long does each treatment take? When I meet you for the first time, our initial first day can take up to an hour and a half for me to gather history about you and get to know you. Subsequent days take anywhere from 45-60 minutes.     

Why are treatments scheduled four days in a row? Through many years of trial and error, it has been determined that 4 days is the amount of time it takes to get maximal benefits from the therapy and create the most momentum for permanent, lasting change without getting “diminishing returns” on the therapy or over-treating.  How long should I wait between series? The minimum time for you wait between series is 4 weeks. During this time, your body is still moving quite readily and we want to allow that to unfold. After this time, depending on your symptoms and goals you may reschedule.     

Why do you take pictures before and after each series? Pictures are taken before and after each series to quantify and qualify changes in shape and symmetry of the head, face, spine and pelvic and shoulder girdles. Many people are amazed at the change they see. The pictures also serve as a visual record of these changes.       

What are the youngest and the oldest ages you can treat with NCR? Newborns can be treated with NCR. In fact, I think if every child were given NCR after delivery there would be far less pain and dysfunction in the world! People of all ages can be treated with NCR, even the elderly. It is important to note, however, in a severely osteoporotic person, there is the potential of breaking the nasal turbinates (the bones that line the nasal passage). There is a case out there on the internet of an elderly woman having her turbinates broken by a balloon-assisted device; it is worth noting that the technique was not NCR nor was it and NCR physician conducting the treatment.     

Will I feel okay to go out to eat/do homework/drive after a treatment?             Yes,most of the time. You may feel spacey or disoriented after treatment for several minutes but this readily passes. I invite clients to remain in the office and sip water if they are feeling this way and I also use homeopathics when indicated.       

What is NCR? NeuroCranial Restructuring is a manipulation process used to unwind the body toward its original and optimal design. It utilizes careful analysis of the body's proprioception (patterns of balance) to determine the precise areas of the skull needing to be unlocked. This unlocking allows the connective tissues (including the meningeal system) to release their residual tensions and move the bony structures incrementally back towards the body's original design.              

Why aren't good diet, exercise and rest enough to correct all my health problems and to optimize my structure? The body has emotional, mechanical and biochemical functions. The nature of your biochemical lifestyle does not make much difference to your mechanical operation. It is similar to a car. If you have an accident with your car, it can't function normally until you fix the body and chassis. Just replacing fuel filters and oil or adding gasoline will not repair the car after an accident. Thinking positive thoughts will not take the dents out of our cars or our bodies - though it may help us to deal with them better. We have had many accidents during our lifetimes. We also need the structural repairs. This is what NCR does.       

Why does my spine and whole nervous system shift from moving my head? The main job of the spine (and especially the neck and upper back) is to hold the body upright. Keeping the head in a position that is stable is the job of the bones and muscles of the neck and is quite important because an important portion of the nervous system is located inside the head (brain and cranial nerves). An unstable skull can mean that the center of the nervous system is unstable too. The chronic biomechanical positions of the spine and its related muscles are determined by the nervous system's need to maintain 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, pelvic and shoulder girdles and the associated muscles.     

What causes my cranial bones to get out of optimal alignment in the first place? The most common trauma we all share is birth. Suction cups, forceps, manual traction and even unassisted births all squeeze the head to some degree. Some people recover from this and some don’t. Some infants retain their plagiocephaly, or misshapen skull, for years and years. Additionally, any sports injury, car accident, fall, chronic biomechanical or postural pattern, falls, slips, dental or orthodontic work and emotional stress and trauma can all cause the cranial bones to lose their optimal alignment.    

How can moving the sphenoid move all the other cranial bones? The sphenoid bone sits in the center of the skull. There are 28 bones in the skull and face, and the sphenoid is in contact with and forms a joint with almost all the other bones of the skull. One can think of it as comparable to a keystone on a bridge. Due to the roughly circular shape of the skull, 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.      

How can the skull, which is made of bone, expand, contract and move? Your skull is not just one large bone. The skull and face are made up of 28 different bones, forming over 30 joints. All of the joints of the skull share traits with the rest of the joints in the body: they can move, they can become locked, they can become hypermobile (move too much), and they are innervated with pain fibers. It is these joints combined with the inherent “aliveness”  (bone is continuously being broken down and rebuilt as a dynamic structure) of bone which allow the skull to move. There is a body of work which demonstrates the mobility of the skull. Follow research link      

Can NCR prevent or reverse age-related stooping?  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, or we begin to stoop forward, those bones are not subject to the right amount of gravitational force. The means that there is less stimulation of bone growth when posture is poor. With NCR, posture improves and the bones are able to be subject to gravitational forces 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.  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 proprioception—the 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.  IV. NCR Technique     

What happens when the balloons are inflated? The endonasal balloons are inserted through the nostril into the top of the throat through one of the six passageways that are available. The inflating bulb is squeezed, pumping air into the balloon, and it puffs up in the nostril. As the air pressure in the balloon becomes greater, it presses outward against the bones inside the nose and upper throat. Eventually the pressure becomes great enough that the balloon forces its way into the top of the throat. At that instant the bony joints of the head are opened for a moment, and the tensions stored in the connective tissues are released. The bone structures of the head now shift.        

Why is there special bodywork before the treatment? Quite simply, because the bodywork will help the treatment to be more comfortable and effective. NCR is a therapy technique that changes the entire structural system, including the bones and muscles. By doing targeted bodywork, the general muscular structure can be changed to allow a simpler skeletal alignment pattern. This alone, however, is not enough to create long-lasting changes.     

Why do you place my body in a special position during treatment? Inside the skull and connecting through the spinal column and connecting with the pelvis is the meningeal system. It is comprised primarily of very strong and long, elastic connective tissue fibers. Eighty-five per cent of the meninges are found inside the skull. The remaining fifteen per cent surround the spinal cord and connect to the pelvis. The specialized bodily positions used during NCR place additional stress on the meningeal fibers from the pelvis through the spine and into the skull. This allows a greater and more complete shift of the entire system at the time the balloon is inflated.    

Is there anything I can do to accelerate my progress with NCR? Keeping up with your normal daily activities is quite important. Activities such as walking, swimming and tai chi are all highly beneficial. If you are undergoing treatment and are experiencing stress or anxiety related to treatment, it would be beneficial to use homeopathy or herbs to help to deal with your anxiety, and I am happy to assist you with that.    

Is there anything that impedes my progress with NCR? What should I avoid? Absolutely - please avoid potentially traumatic activities and extremes in emotions or fatigue. Any activity that stresses the muscles or bones in an unusual way can change the postural pattern, and before stability is achieved (after a treatment sequence) damage can occur. You are going to want to avoid injury. Also, it is quite important to avoid “personal bests” after treatment. Don’t try to lift heavier weight if you do resistance training and don’t add time or distance to your running or walking routine for at least three weeks after treatment - even though you may feel like you can! It is during this time that injury or re-injury can occur or you could introduce dysfunction into the musculoskeletal system again. If you're feeling good after receiving NCR, don't return to your therapist for massage or manipulation because it is your normal appointment time. Massage, bone manipulations, dental work, working or exercising to extreme limits, great fatigue or getting highly emotional can be detrimental to your NCR results. Please wait at least three weeks before beginning these types of activities. If you are still aware of movement going on, delay these activities even longer. After stability is achieved, such activities will be no problem - in fact, there will be fewer difficulties in activity or mobility than there were before receiving NCR.   

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