Add as bookmark

History & Development of NeuroCranial Restructuring®

by Dr Dean Howell(more info)

listed in bodywork, originally published in issue 233 - October 2016

It seems obvious that rehabilitation of injured patients should include physical medicine treatments. If a soldier has had a broken leg, a bullet wound, a concussion, or other injuries, then we cannot depend entirely on surgery and oral/injected medicines to completely improve their condition. Simple occupational therapy is generally insufficient as well. If the patient is in pain, so that he/she cannot move comfortably, then the occupational therapy cannot progress. But which treatments should be chosen?  Are there any treatments that consistently, permanently improve the functional capacities of the body and give relief of pain and dysfunction as well? While there is such a treatment, the answer is no, because there is no such treatment generally available.

The unfortunate truth is that physical medicine treatments are performed on patients only to give them temporary relief from pain and dysfunction while we wait for the underlying problems to go away with time and exercise.  In the medical literature, only exercise has consistently shown to improve the status of the patient.


NeuroCranial Restructuring


Studies of chiropractic, traditional osteopathy, and drugs have all proven to be of little benefit for patients in their underlying, long-term conditions. There generally produce relief of symptoms at best. This is not to say, however, that relief of symptoms is a bad thing! Nevertheless, it is imperative to recognize the limitations of these physical medicine treatments. When chiropractic claims to restore spinal curvatures after an injury, the literature indicates that the chiropractic treatment is helpful in mobilization of the spine so that weight-bearing exercise can be performed to restore the curves. Parallel descriptions could be drawn for traditional osteopathic treatment, physical therapy, and massage.

The use of dental orthotics to give relief of Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) has similar limitations. If the dental orthotic is successful in giving relief, it will create dependence on the device, since the underlying bone and tooth positions will not be changed. Even the use of orthodontia for the cases will eventually finish with the installation of permanent retainers to maintain the comfortable structural alignment that is, somehow, impermanent.

The first, modern physical medicine therapy is osteopathy, with its first school opened by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still in 1892. The basic idea of osteopathy is to restore circulation of bodily fluids to allow innate healing; so that once ‘mechanical blockages’ to the free flow of fluids were removed, then free circulation of all the fluids of the body would naturally return, and health would follow.

Chiropractic was the next physical medicine technique, with its first school opening in 1898. The basic tenets of chiropractic are to correct vertebral subluxations in order to remove nerve interference, and with properly functioning nerves, health will follow.

Physical therapy followed many years later. In the 1940s, under the Surgeon General, Merritte W Ireland, MD, the Medical Department of the US Army had two divisions that influenced the development of physical therapy: the Division of Orthopedic Surgery and a newly created Division of Physical Reconstruction. A report from the Division of Orthopedic Surgery, which was headed by Elliott Brackett MD, called for the establishment of hospitals for the reconstruction of soldiers with disabilities. The physiotherapy section of the report indicated the need for massage and mechanical hydrotherapy, and more importantly, for a national training corps for personnel (therapists). The report suggested that the personnel be drawn from schools of physical training and allied therapies. So there is no underlying, philosophical basis for physical therapy, only the need for pain relief that lasts long enough for the patient to be re-trained by the therapist.

Yet there are many people who remain dependent upon pain medications and palliative therapy in order to function, or sometimes, just to experience relief from pain during their total disability.

Osteopathy was concerned with removal of mechanical blockages to the circulation of fluids. When osteopathic treatment was performed, the circulation of fluids would be temporarily restored, but the body frequently returned to its pre-treatment position, creating a situation of repetitive, symptomatic treatment. Chiropractic focused on manipulation of bones to create nerve flow. Correction of the bone misalignments (subluxations) gives relief of symptoms, but generally the body reverts to its pre-treatment alignment in hours or days. Physical therapy focused on relief of pain so that exercises could be performed, restoring function. But if sufficient relief was not created, then no exercise could be performed, so no real improvement occurred. Much of the time, then, all of these techniques ultimately fail to give more than short term results. 

A naturopathic physician in Washington State, Dean Howell ND was greatly disturbed by this picture with his initial realization of this in the 1980s. What problem, he mused, is not addressed by these physical medicine procedures?  When Howell looked over physical medicine, he realized that none of these techniques actually utilized the knowledge of anatomy and physiology that he had been taught in medical school. Bones, muscles, tendons, connective tissues, and nerves are integrated by the brain to create posture and movement, in a gravitational environment. Yet these treatments were each ignoring some of these anatomical/physiological elements.

Howell realized that he needed to create a new, clinical model that encompassed all of these factors. First, he thought, he must remove the bias his education had created within him. One day he looked at anatomy charts on his office wall, and he recognized that none of his patients resembled these diagrams. None of his patients were symmetrical. None of his patients had perfect posture. Yet, only with perfect posture and perfect symmetry, could the musculoskeletal system would work as designed.

The muscles that anatomists call “postural muscles” are incapable of fatigue, with no lactic acid metabolites! However, these muscles are the muscles that attach to and around the spine - the paraspinal muscles. The leg, foot, arm, hand, and head movement muscles are all fatigue-susceptible muscles and are classified for voluntary movement. The body must be able to determine posture with only the usage of the postural muscles. How, Howell mused, can the skeleton support the body without the use of the voluntary movement muscles? He realized that it can only be accomplished with perfect skeletal alignment: When the bones are symmetrically and perfectly positioned, the bones and ligaments lock into the alignment of perfect posture, and no voluntary musculature is necessary to stand. Essentially, with perfect posture, the skeleton supports all of the body’s weight without muscular assistance. It is only then that the body is functioning normally.

What is missing from chiropractic, osteopathic, and physical therapy so that bodies are not restored to optimal, normal function? Howell’s clinically-derived solution is called NeuroCranial Restructuring (NCR).  The missing pieces of information, symmetry and gravity, are added to the treatment picture. Treatment with NCR utilizes the bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, nerves, and the brain. Treatments are performed by a team of two therapists working about 30 minutes per day in a four-day therapy series. Each day the therapy team works deeply into the body to release energetic blockages, asymmetrical muscle and bone patterns, and fluid imbalances. The therapists also work with the patient’s mental state to keep them involved with the changes that their brains and bodies are going through.

Each treatment day finishes with movement of the sphenoid bone, which serves as the central link-pin to the interlocking bones of the cranium. It is accessible behind the nose at the top of the nasopharynx. Since using the finger in this area is too painful to consider, a small, inflated balloon is used. The endonasal balloon is inserted through the nostril, between the turbinate bones, and into the top of the throat.

There are six passages (meati) that can be utilized to go from the nostrils into the nasopharynx. The choice of passageway for the balloon to push against the sphenoid is determined through reflex testing that can be accomplished standing, seated, or supine. 95% of the time, the endonasal balloon is used only once a day. The inflation of the balloon lasts less than two seconds, and usually requires less than five pounds of actual force. The inflation of the balloon, however, is performed by a small, pneumatic bulb that is about 20% efficient. The endonasal balloon experience resembles getting pool water up the nose.

Benefits Experienced with NeuroCranial Restructuring

First and foremost, symmetry is incrementally restored. This means that the body symmetry pattern is improved in a manner that is gravitationally stable. Howell has found that the body has no reason to revert to its pre-treatment status if the body’s stability pattern is better after treatment than it was before treatment. So treatments are permanent and accumulative. Each day more improvements are created, more functions are restored.

As the joints move into more symmetrical positions, joint motions normalize, and the muscles creating those motions become more efficient, improving functional strength. In these improved anatomical positions, the posture improves, so more and more weight is carried by the bones, and in a stable fashion. This requires less work by the voluntary muscles, so chronically tight muscles work less and get softer.

The improved symmetry means that conditions such as military spine (whiplash syndrome), kyphosis (hunch-back), lordosis (sway-back), and scoliosis (cork-screw back) routinely improve. With the improvement in weight-bearing patterns in the body, conditions like IDS, knee pain, and bunions are relieved. With the improvement in postural patterns, then assorted conditions such as neuritis and neuralgia are eliminated as well.

One of the areas of quickest success with NCR is the treatment of headaches and migraines. One unpublished study of non-hormonal migraines showed a 92% decrease in headache symptoms six months after two four-day treatment series.

With improved symmetry, the position of the mandible normalizes, removing the initiating cause of TMD. With the use of NCR, the need for tooth extraction for orthodontic purposes is greatly decreased. This prevents the frequent facial collapse that the dental extractions create. When NCR is combined with orthodontia, the need for permanent retainers at the end of orthodontic treatment is greatly reduced. After all, when the connective tissues inside the head do not retain excessive tension, how can the head revert to its pre-treatment status? Similarly, the other facial bones move towards symmetry as well, opening nasal airways, helping sinuses to drain, reducing eye pressure, improving vision, and removing wrinkles.

Brain function depends on the flow of blood and cerebrospinal fluid. Therefore it is a hydraulic system. The shape of the hydraulic vessel determines how and where the fluids inside the vessel are distributed. NeuroCranial Restructuring changes brain functions permanently, changing blood flow patterns and the distribution of cerebrospinal fluid. Anytime a drug is used to change neurotransmitter levels, careful analysis of the therapeutic intent must be performed. If the drug is changing neurotransmitter levels because of hydraulic difficulties, then NCR is a long-term alternative and solution to the permanent prescription of a drug that can only control the symptoms, never curing. NCR routinely improves all conditions that are actually hydraulic brain problems - anxiety, depression, dystonia, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, OCD, PTSD, seizure disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury and Tourette’s syndrome.

This Simple but Powerful Revolutionary Therapy with its Multivariate Healing propensities can be truly termed  as the biggest invention of the 21st Century in Physical Medicine.


  1. No Article Comments available

Post Your Comments:

About Dr Dean Howell

Dr Dean Howell ND is an Internationally Renowned Naturopathic Physician and the inventor & developer of the globally acclaimed NeuroCranialRestructuring® Therapy. Dr Dean Howell is also the inventor of FaceMax®, considered the best Facial remodeling alternative to costly facial surgery and cosmetic beautification treatments. Dean Howell ND was born and raised in Everett, Washington. He graduated from Bastyr University with his naturopathic medical degree in 1982, after completing a mathematics degree from the University of Washington in 1978. He divides his time between his home office in Los Angeles and his satellite offices in San Diego, Seattle, New York City, Boulder, Washington and London .He also travels internationally teaching NeuroCranial Restructuring and treating patients in Australia, Venezuela and England Dr. Howell is a widower and has four children and may be contacted on Tel: 1-888-252-0411 (Toll Free );

  • health & fitness books

    Massage, sports injury, holistic, healthcare and specialists books written by leaders in their field

  • College of Ayurveda UK

    Diploma in Āyurvedic Medicine, 4-year self-paced distant learning program in Āyurvedic medicine.


    The FLEXXICORE exercise revolution: transform your fitness regime with 2 exhilarating exercisers

top of the page