Melting the Body: Suboccipital Release and the Stillpoint

Honestly we saw someone bring a girlfriend on friday and he hadn’t even registered her and the guy said, just put her Honestly we saw someone bring a girlfriend on friday and he hadn’t even registered her and the guy said, just put her

Let's talk about suboccipital muscle release and the Stillpoint technique!

If you've been in my office for a treatment, you have very likely had this treatment done (and for many of you, it's one of your absolute favorite parts of the session if not favorite part altogether). There's good reason for that! 

I combine suboccipital muscle release with the Stillpoint treatment for most of my patients, usually when they are laying on pelvic blocks (a twofer if you will).

Lets start with the suboccipital muscles. These are the muscles that attach into the base of our skull at a bone called the occiput. There are four paired muscles in all, and when they need release, they often feel like taught bands at the base of the skull. When tight, these muscles can cause headaches often in the base of the skull and into the head including behind the eyes, neck pain, shoulder/upper trap pain, congested sinuses, vision issues, and more. These muscles are also highly interconnected with our stress response. Whenever we experience stress, our suboccipital muscles tighten down. Notice when you are under stress how "scrunched" your upper neck is. 

The first thing I do is to release the suboccipital muscles with my fingertips by practically balancing the base of the skull into my fingertips. This is often tender or even painful to the patient but also feels very good and relieving (if you're a patient, you know what I am saying!). This immediately helps to relax the muscles and take the body out of the sympathetic nervous system stress response. Also, many patients report their sinuses draining immediately, while we are holding the points. There are so many other benefits as well.

Near the center of the suboccipital muscles, there are two points known as the Stillpoint. With a prolonged holding and gentle rocking of these points, we achieve an even further relaxation that is often described as an absolute MELTING of the entire body. These are powerful points. With treatment, the nervous system goes into a temporary suspension. Cerebrospinal fluid flow is increased, and tension is released within the connective tissue of the brain itself. This may be why patients truly love this technique.

While it is not the same as having another treat these for you, you can treat both of these at home! I often tell patients to use a tennis ball to try to treat this points. Simply roll and hold the ball at points along the base of your skull. See picture below!