The cranium of the skull has long been regarded by Taoists as a major pump for the circulation of energy from the lower centers to the higher centers. Medical research has recently confirmed that minute movements of the joints of the eight cranial bones occur during breathing. (Fig. 2.17) Cranial movement is responsible for the production and function of the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, which fluid is necessary for normal brain, nerve and energy patterns in the entire body.
Improper cranial respiratory function develops for many reasons. It may have been present from birth. At this time the skull is soft and moveable and the trip down the birth canal could jam a baby's skull, or it may be the result of a difficult birth in which forceps were used. It may also occur later in life. A bump on the head coming from a certain direction while the person is breathing in the specific manner that allows the bone to move can cause improper cranial respiratory function. Auto accidents causing whiplash very often are the cause of cranial faults. Since cranial faults affect the flow of the fluid and the brain, nerve and energy patterns of the entire body, symptoms can develop anyplace. Strengthening the cranial joints can increase energy and alleviate symptoms, such as headaches, sinus problems, visual disturbances and neck problems.
In Taoism, cultivation of the movement of the pelvis, perineum, urogenital diaphragm, anus, and the sacrum and cranial pumps is very important in helping to move the life-force and sexual energy up to the higher center. The Iron Shirt Chi Kung Packing Process activates these pumps using various methods, e.g. mind control, muscle action, clenching of the teeth and tightening of the neck, and pressing the tongue to the palate. All of these methods will help to activate the eight pieces of cranial bone.
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