As I was making the rounds of the village last week, I ran into two of our local registered massage therapists, Melinda Millard and Tarynn Gray.
It seemed about time for the Blackfly to do an article about alternative health practices, so I asked Tarynn and Melinda for a suggestion as to which of their various therapies I could focus on for the article.
CranioSacral Therapy, was their reply. I didn’t know much about this form of therapy. From both the name and various photos I have seen…including the one of Melinda and me in this article, it looks as if the therapist is merely holding the client’s head. It sounds like it would be some kind of scalp and skull massage.
I was pretty sure there was more than that going on however, so I began a bit of internet research. In the meantime, Melinda contacted me and suggested that in order to truly understand the process I should actually experience a CranioSacral Therapy session.
As it turned out, as with many things, reading about something and actually doing it are two entirely different things!
CranioSacral Therapy is a controversial subject. Many mainstream physicians and corporate medicine types scoff at this therapy, and insist that any benefits are purely imaginary.
But then, our current mainstream and corporate medical providers posit that the human body is nothing more than a meat suit, a biological envelope for our personas, a flesh and blood machine that can be sliced and diced and tuned up like an automobile engine.
Alternative and natural therapies (which ironically used to be how all people took care of their health until our medicine became corporatized….) recognize that our bodies are much more than just biological suits.
When I came for my own CST appointment Melinda had me lay down on an air cushion atop her massage table. She uses this so she can more easily slide her hands under her clients’ bodies.
Normally Melinda would have a new client fill out a detailed medical history before she begins a session, but in my case she did not, so when she began to work on my body she had absolutely no conscious knowledge of what health issues I might have.
She began at my feet, and immediately as she gently clasped my heels she commented that my left leg had very little energy flow.
This was very impressive! She was absolutely correct in this intuition. This leg has some sort of nerve damage that occurred when I had surgery last year. The leg is numb, frequently quite weak, and the hip and knee joints in that leg can be very stiff and painful.
My left foot is always very numb, and at the same time it has a painful burning and pins and needles sensation going on that frequently keeps me awake at night.
Melinda made some small adjustments and the numbness was immediately and noticeably reduced. This was amazing!
She then moved up my body, touching various points, commenting on what she was finding as she went. My body was completely relaxed, and I would occasionally heave a big, spontaneous sigh.
Melinda was aware, without seeing it, that my abdomen has a lot of scar tissue from the surgeries. Scar tissue is tough, inelastic and can cause adhesions. She could feel that the energy was blocked.
At one point I got an emotional rush and felt a sob welling up, which took me by surprise as I was laying there feeling quite cheerful and engaged in the process.
Melinda said she had released an emotion that I was holding clenched in my tissues, something I had been hanging onto.
As she worked, she explained how CST had helped her. When she was 5 years old, she was in a serious accident. She and her sister were riding a bike and a passing motorcycle struck their front tire as they swerved to miss something on the road.
Melinda and her sister both recovered from their injuries, but for the next 16 years Melinda suffered from frequent excruciating and debilitating migraine headaches. She learned to live with them as nothing she tried over the years brought relief, but they were a constant challenge.
Ten years ago, as she began Massage Therapy School, she was introduced to CranioSacral Therapy. After undergoing this therapy herself, her headaches are now infrequent and are manageable when they do occur.
At the end of my session I felt energized and bubbly, although many people feel exhausted and need to sleep to process the energy shifts they have just experienced. I bounced up, however, and realized that not only was my left foot less numb, but the hip joint was now much more limber and the leg felt stronger overall.
It has now been about 3 days since I had this treatment, and my leg is still much improved. It had been especially pesky when I’d go up and down steps for the past year, as my leg was both weak and kind of dead feeling, so I would frequently just take one step at a time.
I have been going up the stairs in my house normally since the treatment, and my leg hasn’t wobbled or threatened to buckle.
So how does it work, anyway? CranioSacral Therapy is a form of bodywork that focuses on the concept of “primary respiration” and regulating the flow of cerebrospinal fluid that is encased within the dura mater membrane that lies inside our spinal canals.
The practitioner will use therapeutic touch as it is lightly applied to a client’s skull, face, spine and pelvis.
The therapy was developed by a Doctor of Osteopathic medicine, John Upledger, in the 1970’s. After my own experience, I was even more curious about this therapy, so Melinda kindly loaned me a copy of Upledger’s book, “Your Inner Physician and You”.
Dr. Upledger posits that we all have innate inner wisdom that can be accessed to tell us what is going on with our bodies and our physical health.
Mainstream medical thought dismisses this idea as quackery and pseudoscience, but thousands of patients have found relief.
Dr. Upledger says that CranioSacral Therapy sets the wheels of self healing in motion, and the therapist is a facilitator in the patient’s own healing process.
The only limitations imposed upon our self healing abilities are those that we ourselves construct out of the negative beliefs that we hold about our health and our ability to heal.
With CST, the therapist tries very hard to get the patient’s body to correct itself. As the therapist does the work, the tissues relax and obtain a therapeutic release. This gentle work makes it very safe to use on anybody.
It is safe even for newborn infants, and is used to correct birth trauma in some cases. We all know that having a baby is hard on the mother, but what about what the little baby goes through?
Right off the bat, it’s leaving that nice, warm and cushy home it has had in the mother’s womb. Its little head is used as a battering ram to open up the cervix, then it gets squashed through the birth canal. Maybe the wee tyke gets grabbed and twisted, perhaps by hard forceps.
There are plenty of ways for a newborn baby to start out with maladjustments in their spines and heads because of birth trauma, and CST can be used right away to soothe the infant and correct any physical issues.
Mainstream medical dogma also holds that all memory is in the brain, but alternative researchers have discovered that our organs and tissues have their own consciousness and memory functions.
When an injury or accident occurs, the energy of the event enters the body. The Laws of Thermodynamics state that energy cannot be created or destroyed, so the energy from the injury can become trapped within a person’s body as an “energy cyst”. This will stay locked within the body’s tissues.
An energy cyst that is trapped can cause effects elsewhere in the body. Say you have an old forgotten injury to your thigh muscle, that happened when you were a kid. It was so long ago you have completely forgotten about it.
But that energy cyst hasn’t forgotten about you! It has been subtly affecting the way you walk and move for years, until all of a sudden you have chronic back pain that seems to have come out of nowhere.
So, by releasing the energy of that old trauma that is locked within the tissues of the leg, the patient can experience miraculous relief from their back pain.
Everything is connected, and nowhere is this more true than in our own bodies.
Contact Melinda or Tarynn to find out more about CranioSacral Therapy, or to make an appointment for any of the therapies that they offer.