The ALF (Advanced Lightwire Functional) appliance was developed by Dr. Darick Nordstrom about 40 years ago. In working with an osteopath (bone doctor), it was developed with the principles of osteopathy in mind. Principles include promoting movement of the fluids within the skull especially, but these devices will also re-align distorted bones within the skull as well.
Our bodies require symmetry and balance in order to work effectively. A good example of this is when your hips are not in alignment – this can cause legs to be of different lengths, thus walking becomes difficult and painful. The same can be said for the bones inside your skull. When the cranial bones are distorted, this can cause nerve impingement, which can lead to head and neck pain.
Many patients treated with ALF appliances have originally sought treatment for migraines, tremors, vertigo, neck pain and seizures. The principle of the ALF is that it will re-align the distorted cranial bones so that the structures within the skull can function more efficiently. Think of it like if your car has been in an accident and the frame has been bent. If you continue driving the car, the ride is rough – the car vibrates and simply does not run well.
With distorted bones in the skull, blood does not pump well, cerebral spinal fluid does not move well, and lymph cannot drain as well. When cranial bones are distorted, oftentimes eyes are not level so the patient learns to tilt their head to make their eyes line up with the horizon, causing the effect of pulling on their neck. Any distortion to the cranial bones will pull the neck to the side and this is where dystonia comes from.
With children, the ALF is a valuable tool in preventing future problems. Research confirms that 95% of all children are born with skull distortions from birth trauma. As years progress, their faces including the ears, eyes, eyebrows become uneven. ALF appliances work to make the bones in the skull more even, more balanced, over time.
Most children these days have very narrow dental arches and have crowded teeth. The ALF can also help expand the upper and lower arches to make more room for teeth, preventing the need for extractions. Instead of pulling teeth out, more room can be gained for teeth thus avoiding bigger problems later on.
One of the hottest dental topics these days is dental sleep medicine. Research now links sleep disordered breathing (waking up at night, snoring, sleep walking, etc) to heart disease, diabetes, and now cancer. Many dentists recommend dental sleep appliances, which open the airway and reduce snoring.
These appliances help, but there may be an underlying cause that needs to be addressed. An experienced ALF practitioner can widen the dental arches and make more room for the tongue, promoting better breathing and will stop snoring in most cases. As you can see, the ALF is an amazing little appliance that is designed for better health – for all ages.