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Quarantine Q&A

1. How can craniosacral therapy help my overall health/immune system/anxiety during this pandemic? 

Craniosacral therapy helps overall health primarily through its effects on the parasympathetic nervous system.  A state of relaxation is not only comforting, it is literally healing. It allows your brain to change states of brainwaves into a sort of mental reboot, the type of heaing that deep sleep includes. It allows cells throughout the body to redistribute fluid and release toxins.

Craniosacral therapy affects the immune system primarily through the endocrine system. A technique included in craniosacral therapy, as taught by Dr. John Upledger, is diaphragm releases. Most of the fascia, or connective tissue, in our body runs longitudinally. The locations where fascia runs transversely we call fascial diaphragms. The thymus, the primary endocrine gland of the immune system, sits within one of these diaphragms. By releasing the fascia around the thymus, we allow the hormones from that gland to distribute more fluidly. Equally, it allows nutrients required by the thymus to reach the gland thereby making the thymus more functional. In addition, SomatoEmotional Release, a group of techniques included in craniosacral therapy, can use visualization and dialoguing to connect you with your own inner physician. Using this technique you can direct your own immune system to fight an invader.

Craniosacral therapy reduces anxiety by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system.

I’m not currently offering sessions due to the “stay at home” plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. As soon as we’re free to roam and interact again, contact me, I can help you recover from the stress of this difficult time.

2. Can you help TMJ and pain from grinding my teeth?

Yes. This is a common disorder we see improve with craniosacral therapy. We do this by using the cranial bones like handles, to stretch the membranes that connect the cranial bones underneath. For example, we release restrictions in the temporal bones which relieves pressure on the facial nerve. This can immediately reduce the pain associated with TMJ dysfunction. We also gently decompress the TMJ joint itself. Complete relief may require a series of sessions but each session will show improvement.

I also work inside the mouth with a gloved hand. By releasing the hard palate and facial bones, most of the pressure in the jaw is alleviated.

3. Do I have to disrobe for treatment?

No. You will remain fully clothed, wearing comfortable clothing but not denim, when lying face up on the massage table.

4. Do you offer a package deal or a rate for scheduling a series of sessions?

I do not. My rate is $70 per hour session in your home. This rate is intended to be accommodating and affordable for most. At this already discounted rate, I cannot afford a further discount.

5. Can craniosacral therapy relieve back pain?

Yes. This is another common ailment we treat. By decompressing the spinal bones themselves and stretching the membranes around the spinal cord, most pain can be alleviated over a series of sessions.

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what is stress reduction?

We have two nervous systems: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The sympathetic is “fight, flight, or freeze.” These are our natural responses to danger. The parasympathetic is “feed and breed.” This should be our normal, relaxed state.

The sympathetic nervous system helps us cope with a tiger who wants to eat us chasing after us. It doesn’t help at work. Yet our body creates feedback loops that allow the stress to continue to manifest as increasing the activity of our sympathetic nervous system. What is best at work, in “normal” stressful situations, is to be calm, relaxed, and focused. In this state of our parasympathetic nervous system in the lead, we can perform at our best, even in the stressful situations that we face every day.

Craniosacral therapy assists your body’s own healing mechanisms in slowing down the hormones of the sympathetic nervous system and activating feedback loops that allow the parasympathetic nervous system to resume control. Symptoms of the parasympathetic nervous system include deeper breaths, such as your belly moving up and down as you lie on the massage table, tummy sounds, which indicate normal digestion resuming, and the relaxation of muscle and tissues throughout the body.

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coming out 2019

At the age of 12, I tried to slit my wrists with a disposable razor. It was right around the time I started my first period. That was the first of many suicide attempts in my life. Every few years I would end up at the bottom of the same spiral. After each attempt, I woke up with dread and called my mom crying.

Now, 43 years old, I am disabled by mental illness. I know now that I am full-fledged crazy. The kind of crazy that makes people homeless and happier outside than stuck in a studio apartment alone. I don’t know what happened for about 4 years of my adult life. I was psychotic, experiencing auditory hallucinations but not comprehending that this is what was happening, and on the cycle of a brain with a mood disorder.

For the last three years I have been stable on medication with no symptoms of mental illness. I looked for a part-time job for a couple of months when I realized I wanted to go back to my own skill set, my talent, my heart’s work: craniosacral therapy. Meeting people now and marketing my private practice, I’ve been embarrassed or awkward when asked what I’ve been doing for the past ten years. That is the catalyst for my decision to come out as mentally ill. Mental illness is in the news so much right now and at the center of great debates. There is so much press, much needed, about gun control in the aftermath of mass shootings.

My last suicide attempt occurred when I was 24 years old. Craniosacral therapy healed me a great deal. My illness is serious enough, and was progressing, that I will have to be on psychiatric medications for the rest of my life. But craniosacral therapy continues to release trauma and restrictions in my tissues, freeing my body to move easier and my mind to relax.

For information about my practice in Palm Beach County, Florida, visit ladybug4852.com. For information about CranioSacral Therapy internationally, visit upledger.com.

 

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fasciae (how it works)

A fascia (/ˈfæʃ(i)ə/; plural fasciae /ˈfæʃii/; adjective fascial; from Latin: “band”) is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.


Everything in our body has a layer of connective tissue, or fasciae, wrapped around it. Everything is connected, quite literally. Fascia wraps around every layer of muscle. For example, when a craniosacral therapist manipulates fascia in the dura mater surrounding the cervical spine, it connects to the tissue surrounding tendons, muscles, organs, and our brain. The meninges are the three layers of fasciae that encase the brain. The dura mater, to toughest outer layer gets restrictions in the form of scar tissue that pull on muscular fasciae, creating tightness. The arachnoid mater, the middle layer is spread like cobwebs throughout the cerebrospinal fluid. The pia mater, the innermost layer, is thin and lines every cravice of our brain.

When you are rear-ended in a car crash and get whiplash, your dura mater, fascia around your cervical spine and brain stem think, “Oh no, if we have to deal with this kind of force now, we’re going to need to become stronger.” The cells produce more elastin and less collagen, which makes them more rigid. That rigidity then strains the vertebrae and other structures in the body. This is what we mean by “tension.” Trauma, physical, psychological, or spiritual trauma creates tension. Craniosacral therapy bodywork relieves tension.

 

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Are you just starting this?

I’ve been focused on growing my practice for about a year now. I met someone at the Compass Pride Business Social recently who asked if I am new to craniosacral therapy. I explained that my trainings were from 2002-2005. (I am registered for the Advanced I training in 2020.) He asked me what has been happening since my trainings.

I fumbled for words and didn’t know how to explain. I live my truth with a commitment to personal and spiritual growth, so here it is.

I practiced craniosacral therapy in Portland, Oregon from 2004 – 2009. My wife and I tried to have a baby and instead I ended up with a hysterectomy. That triggered a healing crisis that disabled me and I stopped working completely. A few years later my wife, unexpectedly, divorced me. I moved back home to south Florida to the support of my family. As I told the gentleman who asked the question, I had some personal time off.

I am now healthy enough to return to work part-time and this is my process. Thank you for your support, in every way. I pray I can be productive and successful doing something I love.

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SomatoEmotional Release (SER)

A method of SomatoEmotional Release (SER) is included in the CranioSacral Therapy (CST) playbook. The basic principle is that we have emotional energy stuck in the soma, or muscle and soft tissue. When the emotion releases, it often has to be felt in the process. As the emotion releases from the body, other energy from the original trauma, or injury, is released with it.

Dialoguing is used to explore, discover, and resolve the emotion connected to the trauma or energy. When trauma, an impact – either physical, or energetic, enters into the tissue, the body dissipates as much as possible. Often when an emotion is involved, the trauma seems to be more difficult to dissipate. What the body cannot resolve itself is walled off into energy cysts.

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just me thinking

I love the voices, the thought patterns, the routine rumination. I finally am willing to concede to the idea that it’s not in my best interest. It makes me less competent. Sobriety keeps me sharp, untwisted. One keeps me lifted and the other allows me to relax deeply. There’s a time and a place for everything, so why not moderate? It’s an obvious solution and my lack of ability to achieve it as a goal has been obvious for a couple of years now.

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tell me more about craniosacral therapy

Using low back pain as an example, the pain is caused by weakness in muscles. The muscles recruit more muscles due to weakness and a strain develops around the joint. It could be weakness on one side or on both sides of the body. We take two Advil. The inflammation subsides and the pain is alleviated. The strain is only relieved until you activate the cycle again with simple movements.

Fascia is the connective tissue that runs throughout the body, wrapping around each muscle and each group of muscle fibers. It also wraps sheaths around the central nervous system and around all of our organs. Fascia tightens as a result of trauma, to prevent movement in order to prevent further injury. Craniosacral therapy engages the body’s own healing abilities to release the tensions in the fascia and muscles.

Once the tensions are relieved, you will be able to remap your body’s movements and work to strengthen the muscles.

Trauma carried in the body as a tension or as an energy cyst, often contains an emotional component. As the bodyworker has her hands in that area, you may feel the related emotion. Often, talking about the feelings facilitate the tensions and energy cysts releasing. This simple dialogue that emerges is the core of somato-emotional release.

For me personally and intimately, receiving bodywork changed my life. Years of therapy unleashed into vivid releases when on the massage table. As my body released tensions and unblocked energy centers, my posture improved and my muscles relaxed, allowing me to shift energetically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. All the years of working for self-improvement and seeking happiness while in deep depression were finally in the past.

As Dr. John Upledger, the developer of CranioSacral Therapy said “The secret something that is shared by all effective healing methods is the process of leading the patient to an honest and truthful self-discovery. This self-discovery is required for the initiation and continuation of self-healing; for it is only through self-healing- in contrast to curing- that patients can experience both permanent recovery and spiritual growth…the closer our perception of self approaches, the deeper our capacity for self-healing becomes. When there is a very close correspondence between self-image and truth, our self-healing powers may be virtually unlimited.”

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fat

I feel like I’m wearing fifty pounds of sausage hanging off the front of me. I hate it. Its not new or anything. About three years ago, I started hating my body again. I don’t know what triggered it for sure but two things happened around that time. First, I found myself on a new cocktail of psychiatric medications. Second, I moved back in with my parents and began spending time with my family of origin after several years of estrangement.

I accuse them of upholding society’s impossible ideals about weight. They insist it’s the health issues that are important. When you lose the weight, annual bloodwork seems to clear up miraculously. No more high cholesterol. When we see each other we say, “Have you lost weight? You look fantastic!”

I’ve been shopping at Lane Bryant, the plus size women’s clothing store, since high school. I’ve always been big boned. The models back then were thin. The models now come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. I sit and stare at them and wonder, “Is it okay for me to be fat? What am I fighting and why?”