Facial Torment – and resolution

In this second blog post by Thomas Attlee, author of Face to Face with the Face, Attlee expands on his previous blog post ‘Essentials of Cranio-Sacral Integration‘, by expanding on the key points, and again providing the following three case studies: Tooth, Jaw and TMJ Pain; Hearing Loss and  Trigeminal Neuralgia. 

Fiona was forty-seven and had suffered a lifetime of countless recurrent ear infections, glue ear, severe deafness, extreme pain, burst ear drums, and inability to travel by air. She had been through countless courses of antibiotics, grommets, operations and other treatments without benefit – until she discovered cranio-sacral integration, and her life was transformed – able to hear again, free of pain, able to fly (by aeroplane, that is, not independently – cranio-sacral integration is not quite that miraculous).

Ninety percent of babies and children suffer middle ear infections¹, often leading to glue ear, with potential repercussions on speech and language. Like Fiona, they may receive frequent prescriptions of antibiotics, sometimes grommets and possibly operations, none of which addresses the underlying cause and which may consequently lead to repeated episodes of the condition.

Trigeminal neuralgia is widely regarded as the most excruciatingly painful condition known to the medical world², with no clearly identified cause and limited means of treatment or management. Bell’s palsy is a common cause of frustrating facial disturbance. Ménière’s disease can be severely debilitating, with recurrent vertigo, tinnitus and deafness. Tinnitus itself is an interminable source of irritation, driving many people to distraction. Vertigo and labyrinthitis can be extremely disorientating. Eyes are subject to squints, astigmatism, lazy eye, infections, and dry eye. In every day cranio-sacral practice, we repeatedly see that in many cases these conditions can be alleviated and resolved.

Obscure underlying facial sources can also be the undiagnosed cause of repeated headaches, recurrent migraines, neck pain, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, learning difficulties, reduced academic ability, loss of mental clarity, poor motor function, asthma, eczema, depression, exhaustion, chronic fatigue, and severe debilitation.

So many conditions affecting the face – rhinitis, allergy, hypersensitivity, nasal congestion, and the agony of sinusitis are so common that they are often taken for granted, accepted as normal. We live with these conditions, suffer in silence, manage them to some degree through constant medication – but they do not need to be merely managed, they can often be relieved to a large extent – and quality of life can be substantially enhanced. Through cranio-sacral integration, we often see profound transformation in so many persistent and apparently intractable conditions.

An integrative approach:

For the most part, such conditions are treated locally and symptomatically.

Cranio-sacral integration offers a different approach – by looking at the whole person, understanding that every part of the body affects and is affected by every other part, that local health is dependent on overall integration and fundamental vitality, and that underlying patterns of trauma arising from birth, childhood injury, accidents, and traumatic incidents can predispose to a wide range of disturbances and dysfunctions later in life.

The cranio-sacral approach also recognizes that the body has an inherent potential for resolving health disturbances and restoring health, and engages with this inherent potential in order to help the body to re-establish its natural free mobility and fluent function.

This book explores the eyes, ears, nose, sinuses, mouth, teeth, jaw – the whole face, in the context of the whole person – gaining a clear understanding of each part, and most significantly, providing a practical means of resolving the many conditions affecting these areas – in an exceptionally gentle, non-invasive, integrative manner, without the use of medication or surgery.


Dentists are undoubtedly a very valuable and welcome asset to society, saving us from a great deal of tooth pain, but there are also many conditions affecting the teeth and jaw which are not resolved through conventional dentistry and orthodontics. The integration of whole-person dentistry and cranio-sacral therapy is a rapidly developing field with great significance for the future of dental health care.

Margaret suffered persistent pain in her jaw and in several teeth, often accompanied by severe headaches. Years of extensive dentistry had not helped. Her orthodontist wanted to embark on a comprehensive programme to restructure her jaw. Hoping to find an easier solution, Margaret tried cranio-sacral integration. Her symptoms were relieved very quickly and never recurred. The source of the condition was not in the teeth or jaw at all.

Facial injury:

Cranio-sacral integration can also be valuable in the re-integration of the face after injury or operations, and in resolving persistent pain, imbalance and discomfort following severe facial trauma from a car accident or an attack.

Early origins:

Many conditions affecting the face can arise from birth, childhood injury, and long-forgotten accidents and incidents, such as a fall on the face at an early age – a factor which is seldom recognized, identified or addressed. Trauma, tension and stress are also held in the tissues and their accumulation can be the factor that predisposes to many conditions.

Profound whole person cranio-sacral integration:

Cranio-sacral integration is a profound process. It engages with deep levels of health – quantum levels – releasing the deeply ingrained effects of trauma and injury held throughout the system, in body and mind, integrating the whole person, and establishing an underlying level of health and vitality, so that specific conditions, whether affecting the face or anywhere else, can resolve in response to the body’s inherent treatment potential.

In order to work with the face, we need to look closely at its structure, function and dysfunction. We need to come face to face with the face.1-1

Case Study 1: Caroline, Tooth, jaw and TMJ pain

Case Study 2: Catriona, Hearing Loss

Case Study 3: Milosz, Trigeminal Neuralgia


Thomas Attlee’s new book Face to Face with the Face explains how Cranio-Sacral Integration can help a wide range of persistent and painful conditions involving the face and the cranial nerves – from trigeminal neuralgia, sinusitis, hearing loss and TMJ syndrome to autism, chronic fatigue and polyvagal disturbance – through a deeper understanding of quantum levels of health and the biodynamic forces which underlie the body’s inherent healing potential. 

Thomas Attlee is founder and principal of the College of Cranio-Sacral Therapy, London, the first and most established college of Cranio-Sacral Therapy in Europe, now in its 31st year.  He is the author of Cranio-Sacral Integration – Foundation and the newly published Face to Face with the Face. www.ccst.co.uk

Essentials of Cranio-Sacral Integration (and case studies)

In this blog post by Thomas Attlee, author of Face to Face with the Face, Attlee explains the ‘Essentials of Cranio-Sacral Integration’, providing an overview of the key points, and providing three case studies: Tooth, Jaw and TMJ Pain; Hearing Loss and  Trigeminal Neuralgia. 


In 2013 Professor Peter Higgs received the Nobel prize for a concept he first proposed in 1964 and for which the experimental proof was finally provided at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland in 2012. Professor Higgs postulated that there is an invisible field pervading the whole universe.

Within quantum physics it has now been established that there is a universal field, a unifying matrix within which everything exists and interacts – every galaxy, star, planet, solid object, living being, molecule, atom, subatomic particle – a field from which particles take their mass.

In the quantum model of cranio-sacral integration, we also perceive a universal field or matrix, within which life on earth has come into being, and each one of us exists as an individual matrix within this wider matrix. We are formed embryologically, developed, maintained and sustained by the biodynamic forces within that field, and every cell, atom, and subatomic particle within our body is an integral part of that wider field.

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Inside the Mouse’s House…

by Susan Quayle, author of Mouse’s Best Day Ever

Sitting at the kitchen table were my two children and my daughter’s two friends, who had come over to play. They were having lunch and chattering away as children do, when I heard, “Poppy’s got a reward chart,” after which there was a brief silence, followed by, “for going to the toilet.” I have to admit that this was not exactly what I was expecting to hear. I turned around to join in the conversation, asking “how does that work then?”

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A Day in the Life of… an Intern at Singing Dragon

by James Safford

James SaffordAs both Emma and Jane have mentioned in previous posts, our work patterns at Singing Dragon/JKP can rarely be neatly packaged into what you might call a normal routine, and over the past few months I would say that routine has featured less for myself than any other member of staff. I have worked as a general intern here since the end of December, and because this entails assisting the full range of departments, I very rarely find myself doing the same work from one day to the next.

The day usually starts with a mug of coffee whilst I check through my e-mails. My e-mail account looks a little different to that of a full-time employee; whilst staff usually spend their time communicating with people outside the company – the freelance copyeditors and proofreaders managed by the production editorial department, the publications and journals who work closely with marketing, the printers who work with the production department, to name a few – I usually receive a steady stream of messages from people within the company. Editors may need a hand with research for a certain side of the list they wish to add to, which they will come to me for; marketing may need blog posts proofread, or copies of our books sent to reviewers; sales may ask for customer account information to be updated; or editorial assistants may ask for advance information materials, which contain blurbs, market information and author biographies, to be composed. After I’ve seen what I will be doing over the course of the day I can begin to set myself timeframes for each task.

I usually work on these tasks as and when they come in, but I also have a range of projects that I keep ticking over in the background. When I am based in the production department, there are always corrections to be made to InDesign files (the software we use to make our books look like actual books); this might include working on improving the quality of images used in the book, correcting text as marked up by proofreaders, or formatting the references. This has been particularly valuable for me, as someone who is interested in learning about editing, as it gives me a front-row seat to see how copyeditors and proofreaders work on books, how our house styles work, and what shape our commissioning editors want these books to take. Otherwise, I’ve been working with our production director, Octavia, to update a programme we use to catalogue our book data, called Biblio, and make it more user friendly. As there is no deadline for this task – the process will continue until the programme is fully tailored to what we do at Singing Dragon/JKP – we try to work on these projects whenever we have the time to spare.

When coming into publishing I had a fairly simple idea in my head as to how it all might work. I had imagined an industry which pined lethargically for its golden past, and what I found was one that is always thinking of new ways to be innovative with print, and that is trying to figure out how best to utilise digital. I enjoy the variety that being able to work across departments has afforded me, and I think that it is precisely because there isn’t, so to speak, a ‘day in the life’ of an intern here, that we are able to do so much interesting stuff. I get to see how our designers are working on the aesthetic of the Singing Dragon and JKP books, I get to see how the acquisitions department are building a diverse and award-winning list of books across the two imprints, I get to see how the company is planning to adapt to digital and how the marketing team are getting our books out.

So I suppose that’s how my day ends at 5.30, having done such a variety of stuff throughout the course of the day I spend the last few minutes summarising what I have done – I try to think, more precisely, about how I might do it better and quicker next time. Before arriving, I had been interested in experiencing the full spectrum of opportunities that this industry can offer, and to try and see what form those opportunities might take in ten years. This internship has given me the freedom to spend my days learning about the industry as a whole, and ensures that two days very rarely resemble one another. There are great opportunities to learn a large amount in a short space of time in publishing – I’m lucky enough to be able to spend my days asking people with big brains lots of questions and not be made to feel silly for it.


A Feminine Approach to Bodywork?


by Liz Kalinowska and Daška Hatton

A feminine approach to therapeutic bodywork has interested me since I took my first tentative steps along this path sometime in the mid 1990’s.  I noticed that in my field (Alexander Technique / Craniosacral Therapy) most of the practitioners are women and yet most of the courses and books on the subject are written by men.  The feminine viewpoint is and always has been different, with a distinctive voice and function.  Although a massive over-simplification, the masculine approach tends to focus on techniques and results, while the feminine may naturally relate more intuitively and compassionately. Continue reading

Writing about Living with Crohn’s Disease

By Kathleen Nicholls, author of Go Your Crohn Way

Living as I do with Crohn’s Disease and a myriad of other chronic illnesses, it can be exhausting just getting up in the morning. Without meaning to sound melodramatic, often everything is a struggle. Life is exhausting.

So when I can I like to do things to make it easier. Better. Less ‘all-about-illness’. Continue reading

The Story Behind ‘Embroidered Cancer Comic’ by Sima Elizabeth Shefrin


Here I am looking at my book, still holding the packaging.


It’s April 2016 here on Gabriola Island, British Columbia. The flowers are blooming, and I am looking for the first time at my new book, Embroidered Cancer Comic

“How did I come to write a comic?” I’m glad you asked. As soon as my husband Bob Bossin was diagnosed in 2011 with prostate cancer, we started making cancer jokes. Every time we could laugh about the situation, one of us would say, “That goes in the comic”.  At this stage the comic was completely imaginary.  But eventually I picked up my needle and stitched and stitched until I had over sixty embroidered squares… Continue reading