DO NOT USE if you have osteoporosis, osteopenia, or a fracture. If in question, always check with your medical provider to make sure that these exercises are appropriate for you. When using the CranioCradle you should NEVER feel a sharp or intense pain. Any self-care exercises should always feel like a good pressure.

The CranioCradle is a versatile tool. Many of our clients utilize the tool to help eliminate neck pain, headaches, or sinus/head pressure. It can also be used along your spine to help eliminate tension or tightness. As with any self-care exercise you should be feeling releases. If you aren’t feeling releases then you should STOP the exercise immediately and ask your therapist to review the technique with you.

What does a release feel like? A release may feel like taffy lengthening, or butter melting. There may be a burning or ripping sensation, pulsing, tingling or a release of heat. There may be an increase of tension followed by a sense of slack. The sensations often intensify as the release is occurring and then you will feel a decrease when it is complete.

Give these two CranioCradle exercises a try:
CranioCradle along back (diaphragm and below): Lie on back with knees bent. Place CranioCradle under back (cradle should be on muscle and not spine). If you feel too much arch in your back try placing a rolled up pillowcase under your pelvis. Allow yourself to soften into the cradle. It may hurt at first; that’s a fascial restriction and what you want to release. BREATHE!! Start softening by imagining that the tops of your feet are sinking towards the floor, then your thighs sinking towards you hips, then your abdomen sinking towards your spine, and then your breast bone sinking towards your spine. After going through the softening you should have felt a change in sensation (less intense, more ease). If so, keep softening more deeply onto the CranioCradle. If not, STOP the exercise. If you continue to feel softening and releases stay on the tool for a minimum of 90 – 120 seconds. Move the cradle to find different areas of tightness or restriction.

CranioCradle in midback: Lie on back with knees bent. Place cradle under back between shoulder blades (cradle should be on muscle and not spine). If you feel too much tension in your neck try placing a rolled up pillowcase under the base of your skull. It may hurt at first; that’s a fascial restriction and what you want to release. BREATHE!! Start softening by imagining that the tops of your feet are sinking towards the floor, then your thighs sinking towards you hips, then your abdomen sinking towards your spine, and then your breast bone sinking towards your spine. After going through the softening you should have felt a change in sensation (less intense, more ease). If so, keep softening more deeply onto the CranioCradle. If not, STOP the exercise. If you continue to feel softening and releases stay on the tool for a minimum of 90 – 120 seconds. Move the cradle to find different areas of tightness or restriction.

Want to give these exercises a try? Ask your therapist if you can check out a CranioCradle from the NBT library.

Reminder: All of these exercises should feel good. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have discomfort, but it should feel like a good discomfort. If it doesn’t feel good, STOP, and consult with your therapist.