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

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