Part 2 — Keep Your Brain as Sharp as a Samurai Sword


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.


chimp in space suit

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 for more infor­ma­tion.



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About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods.

His website,, provides more information about his approach.

Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.

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