Cranialsacral therapy was the first outside of the box bodywork I ever received. Towards the end of my schooling in massage I knew I’d never get my teachers help releasing whatever was going on with my jaw related to TMJ dysfunction. My basic knowledge base had me know that there were muscles chronically contracting, I was having low level bruxism when I slept and for whatever reason my body couldn’t just let the muscles relax completely.
I pleaded with my dentist and my teachers and both said, “we’ve heard of something called cranialsacral therapy.” A woman came to our student clinic and one of my friends in school introduced her as she said she practiced this healing art. I got a card, made an appointment and showed up for my session.
After a brief conversation I remember being distraught, explaining to her near my wits and emotional end that I don’t know why my body is fighting. She had me slide off my shoes and I lay on a massage table completely clothed. My first thought was, how are you going to massage me with my clothes on? Her being the expert I just let her do her thing. She placed her hands on me and didn’t move. First my feet, then my legs and hips then my head. She’d sit for long periods of time and I just remember feeling calm and relaxed to have someone make contact.
She slid on gloves and told me she was going to do some work on muscles inside my mouth. I was instructed to breathe through my mouth gently and try to relax into what she was doing. Using her pinky she performed what’s basically a deep tissue stripping of a muscle connected to my jaw. She did one side and I remember feeling, “Oh boy! This is doing something…it hurts down in there.” She did the other side and my jaw felt like it was a mile wide. My head felt expansive in a way that it was previously in a vice grip.
She placed both hands on my mandible and unwound it. With a skill and grace I’ve never found again she gently allowed me to let go for the first time in forever. There was what felt like a tissue release and near popping of the muscles in my jaw. The fibers slid past each other for the first time. I had a small amount of drool on either side of my mouth which I wiped and she placed her hands on my head again.
As she finished she said, “I think we got it, it was your sphenoid.” I was elsewhere mentally. I’d been entranced in what she’d done. The work was gentle but it felt SO deep. It wasn’t like massage at all. This was other. I sat up, got my bearings and felt completely different. All this emotion flooded forward as I noticed that I felt clear, in my head. I was stunned and looked at her and said, “It feels like you straightened out my head.” My focus, intensity and then near anger had me stand up and almost corner the therapist. “What did you do?” I was stern, I wasn’t leaving her office until she explained what she’d done. It was as close to miracle as I’ve ever personally experienced.
She wrote down a name and a book. Hugh Milne: The Heart of Listening.
I haven’t had TMJ problems since.