NASA astronauts were having problems with headache, nausea, and vomiting. Up to 40% of the astronauts were experiencing these symptoms of “Space Adaptation Syndrome” within a few days of launch.
NASA’s medical team went to work to try to understand what was happening. What they learned can help you back here on earth.
Your brain cells are very, very finicky
Brain cells are more metabolically active than practically any other cell in your body. That’s why, more than any other organ, your brain needs a precisely controlled inner environment in order to work right. The concentration of sodium, calcium, glucose, and every other chemical substance has to be exactly regulated.
The pressure inside your skull has to be precisely controlled too.
Out in space, without gravity, the job of controlling skull pressure is a lot harder. It turns out that the astronauts with space adaptation syndrome had more rigid skulls, less able to adapt to pressure changes. When the pressure built up inside their cranium, their brain function deteriorated.
Their skulls lacked compliance. It turns out that having too hard of a head isn’t a good thing.
Meanwhile, back on planet earth
A sharp increase in cranial pressure is a serious medical condition requiring immediate attention.
But the more subtle phenomenon of poor compliance of the skull bones is a controversial concept. There’s no routine medical test for it. And it’s unlikely your medical doctor will send you for the expensive high-tech tests that NASA uses to measure skull movement down to the micrometer.
However, an entire method of manual therapy – craniosacral therapy – focuses on palpating the slight movements of the skull bones as they accommodate to changes in intracranial fluid pressure. With highly developed skills in palpation (obtaining diagnostic information through the sense of touch) an experienced craniosacral practitioner can form an opinion whether poor skull compliance is contributing to your problems.
Craniosacral therapy uses the gentlest possible treatment methods to restore normal skull adaptability and reverse the effects of poor adaptation to pressure changes. Anyone who’s had a blow to the head is at risk. And in some people, poor skull compliance begins in infancy or childhood when the brain is growing at a phenomenal rate. When these adaptive movements are blocked, various flavors of health havoc result.
Practitioners of craniosacral therapy believe it can be effective for health problems ranging from chronic pain to balance problems. Migraine, TMJ syndrome, brain trauma. Depression and anxiety. Tremors and Tourette syndrome. And perhaps more.
Find a craniosacral therapist in your community. Or contact Dr. Lavine at [email protected] for more information.