Most of us are familiar with chiropractic care, where a trained and educated specialist uses their hands or small instrument to adjust the spine in order to reduce nerve interference, relieve pain, and improve body function. But how many of you have heard of Cranial Facial Release (CFR) – a chiropractic adjustment “Above the neck” specifically targeting the cranium?
Enlightening us on this topic is chiropractor Dr. Adam Del Torto, who specializes in this unique and interesting “balloon-assisted” cranial adjusting technique. Del Torto is actually the founder and developer of this specialized procedure, which he has used successfully on difficult conditions for over 25 years. He is an international speaker and has been featured on several major news outlets, including the E-Channel, Celebrity News Magazine, and the Randy Alverez Wellness Hour.
He has treated many celebrities and pro athletes with CFR cranial technique for a wide variety of disorders – often on last-resort patients who have not responded favorably to other conventional forms of treatment – for things like:
- Breathing disorders
- Sleep apnea
- Deviated septum
- Post-concussion syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Bell’s Palsy
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Migraine headaches
- Chronic neurological disorders
- Visual disturbances
- Hearing disorders
- Failed nasal surgeries
Which includes quite a chunk of the population.
Why is CFR so under-represented in media? Possibly because it is such an unusual concept that many people discredit it without giving it objective consideration. But CFR is not as bizarre as you think and it is not a new technique. It has been around since the early 1900s and was pioneered by chiropractor/naturopath, Dr. Richard Stober, back in the 60’s and 70’s.
The primary objective of CFR is “to open up the breathing passageways and mobilize the bones of the face and cranium with the intention of increasing oxygen capacity to the brain facilitating the proper flow of cerebrospinal fluid – an intricate component of normal brain function. What people need to realize is that the skull is not one solid bone. It is made up of 22 individual bones that actually move every time you breathe – or at least they are supposed to. Every time you inhale, the cranium expands. Every time you exhale the cranium relaxes and contracts with the purpose of pumping cerebrospinal fluid throughout the brain and spinal cord. This is imperative to normal brain function.
Thus, if the individual cranial bones are fixated or “stuck” and do not move like they’re supposed to, it causes torque on the dura (the outer meningeal covering of the brain) and impediment of cerebrospinal fluid to that part of your brain – thus, whatever part of your body that section of your brain controls will be directly affected and compromised by that dysfunction of the nervous system at that level.
CFR is typically performed in series of four days of treatment, each appointment taking an average of 20-30 minutes. The actual balloon procedure itself only takes about 2 seconds –it’s very quick and according to Del Torto, “Doesn’t really hurt.” It’s more like “intense pressure,” similar to jumping in a swimming pool and having water shoot up your nose.
“The encouraging thing is that it gets exponentially easier as you go,” says Del Torto, “Going from a discomfort level of like a 7-8 to a level of 2-3 in just five to six treatments.” He states that it is common for patients to sometimes feel worse after the first 1-2 days of treatment – like they are actually going backwards with their symptoms. But by the 3-4 day of the treatment (end of the first series), most patients experience the true benefit of the treatment and are ready to do more, often reporting, “I just want to feel like this all the time. I feel clear as a bell, my senses are heightened, my hearing is better, my vision is more acute, everything just tastes better.”
“It just enhance[s] all of your senses,” according to Del Torto. “It’s like rebooting your entire nervous system – just an amazing feeling.”
The treatment can be done in four consecutive days or with 1-2 days in between. When asked how long it takes to receive relief from CFR treatment, Del Torto said, “In my experience it typically takes approximately three to four series of inflations to receive optimal benefit – somewhere around 13-15 individual days of treatment.” But CFR technique is more than just inflating balloons – it is a comprehensive technique where “We clear everything below the occiput using SOT protocol (a chiropractic technique) before even addressing the cranium. Then we follow it up with a whole series of post-inflation manual cranial adjusting procedures as taught by the early craniopaths,” he explained.
Del Torto has personally undergone CFR treatment himself many times over – but when first introduced to it, he was as skeptical as you are. “When I first heard about this technique, I thought it was the most bizarre thing ever … I actually got up and walked out of the seminar. I couldn’t even conceive of the idea of having someone put a balloon up my nose and inflating it.” But the results are life-changing, and he has dedicated his career to helping his patients achieve better health through this remarkable modality.
When asked if there was anything else he would like to add, his response was, “Most things in your body are ‘functional disorders’ caused by nerve interference or impediment of proper nerve flow.” Everything in our body is controlled by our nervous system. So, in chiropractic, instead of treating the symptoms, we focus on the cause of the problem, which often times circles back to nerve interference or nervous system dysfunction. The tough part can be finding the specific location of the nerve blockage, which Del Torto says is frequently “Above the neck, in the cranium, which houses brain – the primary control center of your body.”
As he puts it, “Chiropractors get 80% of their patients well by adjusting 20% of the nervous system, primarily focusing on how that nerve impulse is transmitted versus how that nerve impulse is generated, at the source of the impulse – in the brain. Just imagine what happens when we tap into that other 80%.”
So if you have last-resort health issues and have only tried resolving health matters through traditional western medical doctors, who primarily use medication to target symptoms, consider taking a more natural approach and consulting a chiropractor who works with the body’s innate ability to heal itself and improve your health. You might just be surprised with the endless possibilities!
It is important to differentiate CFR from a sinuplasty, both procedurally and in terms of objective.
“Sinuplasty is a procedure that is usually done under anesthesia where they insert the balloon (it’s actually more of rod) into the sinus cavities,” Del Torto explained. It is “primarily directed at treating people with sinus infections that just won’t drain. It’s an amazing procedure for what it does.”
With CFR, “We are not going into the sinus cavities. We are going into the nasopharynx or the turbinate area, which is the opening between the nose and throat. We have a lot of success treating patients with sinus conditions, same as sinuplasty, but we are not entering the sinus cavities,” he explained.
To understand the difference, the nasopharynx is divided up into 3 sections or turbinates on each side – lower, middle, and upper – total of 6, also called the nasal conchae. The balloon is inserted as far back into the appropriate turbinate as possible, then quickly inflated to open up the breathing passageways and mobilize the bones of the face and cranium. It is a completely different procedure than sinuplasty. No anesthesia is required.
Del Torto knows first-hand that it’s common for an individual to lose hope of ever feeling better or improving their health. He sees it almost every day in his office.
He wants you to keep the hope alive. As he tells his patients, “Just remember why you started.”
It’s crystal clear that Del Torto really wants help people get well. He is dedicated to his patients and the health & wellness of the public.
For more information on CFR, you can visit: http://www.cranialfacialrelease.com/home.html.
*Endonasal “Balloon Assisted” Cranial Adjusting, in the December issue of the American Chiropractor Magazine, Volume 44, December 12, 2022.
Watch for more from Dr. Adam Del Torto in “Chiropractic care: Allowing the body to heal itself” on March 9, 2023