What is Functional Cranial Release ?

Functional Cranial Release (FCR) is a relatively new endonasal procedure to help with the alignment of the internal cranial bones – specifically the spheniod, maxilla and ethmoid bones.  The spheniod is one of the deepest and largest bones of the skull.  It’s a butterfly shaped bone that sits behind the nose with the upper edge of the ‘butterfly wings’ extending to the temples and the lower ‘legs’ of the bone forming the back of the mouth and jaw.  It’s the ONLY bone of the skull that connects with every other bone.   Therefore, the position of the sphenoid affects the alignment of the entire skull.

FCR therapy uses a small balloon apparatus to mobilize and adjust the internal cranial bones into alignment.  Specific neurological and palpation tests are performed prior to the procedure to determine the location of restriction (subluxation).  The procedure is relatively quick as a small cot is positioned in a specific location and gently inflated to correct the misalignment and restore proper cranial – sacral rhythm and neural tone to the nervous system.

Why is cranial alignment so important?

Restoring health is less about trying to fix a ‘broken’ part and more to do with removing the ‘interference’ in the system.  When it comes to neuro-physiological conditions of the ears, eyes, nose, throat (EENT) which extends to breathing, balance, and immune function, the first place to look for interference is in the cranium and spinal column.  Why?  Because the structural integrity of the head and spine have a direct effect on the function of the nervous system.  The same way the spokes of a wheel (structure) effect how the wheel spins (function). Structure determines how something moves, how it operates, how it functions.   The cranium or skull is made up of various bones that expand and contract at the joints (sutures) with each breath.  This acts as a pump mechanism to circulate cerebral-spinal fluid (CSF) throughout the brain and spinal cord – referred to as the cranial-sacral rhythm.   CSF bathes the brain and nervous system providing nutrients – especially oxygen uptake – to all the neural cells. 

Chronic cranial misalignments cause abnormal cranial-sacral rhythm.  This leads to poor CSF flow and inadequate fuel and nutrient delivery to the brain.  Subsequently, the ability of the brain and nervous system to communicate with the cells of the body is compromised. Since the nervous system provides the power source to each and every cell, this translates to a decreased rate of cellular regeneration.  Poor regeneration leads to poor function and this is the stage when symptoms are recurrent and frequent.  Ongoing migraine headaches, chronic sinus infections, restricted nasal breathing, sleep apnea, grinding and clicking of the jaw, ringing(tinnitus) or pressure in the ears.  Are you starting to see how it’s all connected ?  Everything has a cause and effect.  Symptoms are the effect.  They are the body’s way of telling you the system is under strain.  Remember, symptoms are the messenger, not the problem.  

Is FCR a Chiropractic treatment ?

Yes,  FCR falls under the scope of Chiropractic care and is billed as a Chiropractic adjustment.  If you are covered for Chiropractic care under your health insurance plan, then your FCR procedure will also be covered.

Dr. John combines FCR therapy with sacro-occipital technique and spinal adjustments as needed.   Subluxations of the sphenoid and other internal bones of the cranium are rarely isolated.  Particularly in chronic cases, the misalignment will cause compensatory changes in the TMJ (jaw) and spinal vertebrae (neck and low back).   For this reason, FCR is part of a complete corrective care plan.

What is involved in an FCR procedure?

The procedure involves the insertion of a small latex balloon into a specific position inside the nasal cavity and slowly inflated to release chronic cranial bone misalignment. A series of inflations are performed over a period of 7-10 days to slowly release the chronic cranial adhesions or scar tissue.  As adhesions are released, cranial-sacral rhythm is restored which results in proper flow of cerebral spinal fluid throughout the brain and spinal cord.   This means optimal healing and regeneration.

​The procedure begins with an initial examination including spinal and cranial assessment.  Specific neurological and breathing tests are performed to check overall vestibular balance and air flow.  The initial procedure may last up to an hour.  Each FCR treatment is approximately 20-30 min.

No drugs and no surgery are involved.  This is a 100% natural and holistic based treatment that removes obstruction and restores balance to the nervous system.

Is FCR safe ?

FCR is a natural procedure that does not use any drugs, injections or surgery.  In some instances, patients may experience a short duration of nose bleeding or spotting immediately after the procedure.  This is expected due to the stretching of the soft tissue inside the nasal cavity.  Individuals on blood thinner medication may be prone to a longer period of nose bleeding following the procedure.  Please discuss this with the doctor during your initial evaluation.

Do I need a referral from my medical doctor ?

No, a referral is not required to see a Chiropractor.  If any prior tests or imaging has been done for your condition, please bring a copy of the report(s) with you to your initial exam.  The doctor will review your results during your exam.

Is it painful ?

Some patients have described it as an intense feeling of expansion or opening inside the nasal cavity. Other patients have described it as a feeling of an unlocking or release followed by a sense of immediate relief.  It is common to hear popping or cracking noises as the cranial bones shift and re-align.  The first thing many patients will report is a sudden increase in breathing capacity through both nostrils, followed by a discharge of sinuses and an increased sense of alertness and focus.

How many procedures will I need  ?

This is entirely dependent on the chronicity of your condition – the length of time you have been suffering from symptoms –  and other underlying factors.  One procedure involved a minimum of 4 treatments to a maximum of 6 over a period of 7-10 days.  Other underlying factors include; increased levels of stress, chronic inflammatory conditions due to diet and sensitivities or pre-existing structural limitations ( severe deviated septum, cranial deformity, congenital defects etc. ).

What is the cost and is FCR covered under my health insurance ?

The fee for the initial assessment is $70 CAD.  Each FCR treatment is $500 CAD.  A complete procedure (4 treatments) is $2000 CAD.  Functional Cranial Release falls under Chiropractic benefits. Please contact your insurance provider to inquire about your specific coverage.

What are patients saying….

My migraine headaches have completely gone away and the ringing in my ears are much much less since getting FCR treatments.  I can’t believe how much my facial symmetry has come back to normal and my jaw can open up again without clicking and grinding !!  Thank you Dr. Filo !  – Jason M. – Burlington, ON                                                                                

 I began getting FCR because i had a cranial misalignment from childhood.  Since staring FCR with Dr. Filo the left side of the my face feels alive again and doesn’t feel so droopy and weak.  I can sleep better and breath better.   I feel more relaxed and less stressed too.  –  Sabrina L.  –  Thunder Bay, ON

I came from Vancouver because I heard about the amazing benefits of FCR.  My sinus congestion cleared up after the first FCR and I haven’t had any sinus headaches since my last treatment – over 6 months now.  Dr. John Filo is very professional and knowledgeable, the clinic is top notch.  – Debra Z. – Vancouver, BC.

I was looking all over for a procedure that restores facial symmetry.  FCR is it !  wow ! I can’t believe how much my face has changed.  Dr. Filo is amazing !! – Tristan C.  –  L.A., California