Understanding Craniofacial Release: A Beginner’s Guide


Craniofacial release is a therapeutic nasal ballooning technique that has been gaining popularity amongst high performance athletes such as MMA fighters, Boxers and NFL (American) football players particularly within the United States. Dr. Rizwhan is currently one of only 4 UK based doctors who have gained certification to practice this technique, learning directly from its founder Dr. Adam Del Torto D.C who delivered a workshop to leading Chiropractic Doctors from around the globe during his visit to Dusseldorf Germany in March of this year. See here for the article on this.   

Understanding the Basics:

So what exactly is Craniofacial Release often abbreviated to CFR? Let’s start with the basics. The term consists of two components: “cranio” referring to the skull (cranium) and “fascial” referring to the fascia, which is a connective tissue that surrounds muscles, bones, and organs throughout the body. So, in essence, craniofacial release involves techniques aimed at relieving tension and restrictions in the fascia around the skull and face as well as playing a role in manipulating and adjusting the cranial bones and joints themselves.

How Does It Work?

Put simply the technique involves placing a small inflatable balloon into the nasal passage and directing it specifically into one of the 6 nasal cavities that are divided up by nasal concha into the upper, mid and lower nasal cavities. The balloon is then inflated which not only opens up the nasal cavity in question but the balloon also extends all the way back into the nasopharynx creating an expansive pressure that effects on only the soft tissues of the cavity but also the bony structures too.

These bony structures make up the maxilla, which forms the roof of the mouth, the cribriform plate, which is the neurological center of scent and smell perception, the sphenoid bone which is neurologically very significant as it houses the pituitary (mother) gland and the palatine bones. 

Benefits of Craniofacial Release:

The effects of Craniofacial release are far reaching as they not only physically stimulate and open up the breathing passages and facilitate better flow to the airways, but they are also believed to have significant effects on the nervous system and brain function by creating significant movement and improvement of flow of the Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) the specialized fluid that our brain bathes in and receives all its nutrient and waste exchange through.   

It’s important to note that CFR is considered an alternative therapy and has not had any investment from pharmaceutical companies or research organizations to prove its effectiveness. This does not mean that it does not hold the benefits it claims but it does lack the scientific research to be considered evidence based.   

People resort to using Craniofacial release technique for a number of different reasons including health optimization and wellness (in the absence of any illness or disease) however some of the reasons or indications of care include: 

Craniofacial release has been reported to help alleviate various types of pain, including headaches, facial pain, and even chronic conditions like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, sinusitis & rhinitis. It has gained particular popularity with individuals who have suffered post concussion syndromes that can include, dizziness, tinnitus, brain fog and memory issues. 

One of the most common and obvious indications for Craniofacial release is nasal obstruction and breathing occlusions. These can range from the sensation of constantly having one or both nostrils blocked, a nasal sounding voice or septal defects as a result of past trauma, brakes or injury. A side effect of some of these occlusions is also snoring and or sleep apnea which are two other reasons many people seek craniofacial release. Although craniofacial release is not a cure all for every type of snoring or sleep apnea if the cause of the issue is occlusion the technique could prove to be very useful in helping such individuals.     

As mentioned above the technique is also used for health optimization by athletes, high performers, health enthusiasts and practitioners of natural medicine. 

Final Thoughts:

Craniofacial release is a fascinating therapeutic technique that holds promise for improving various aspects of health and wellbeing. By understanding the basics of how it works and its potential benefits, you can make informed decisions about whether it’s right for you. If you’re curious about craniofacial release and eager to experience its effects firsthand, we invite you to visit one of the ICAHT clinics. There, Dr. Rizwhan Suleman, who is a chiropractic & naturopathic doctor, can guide you through the process and help you discover its potential benefits for yourself.

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