Cranialsacral therapy pt.2

My feelings about bodywork changed after studying cranialsacral therapy. I took two Upledger courses as they were more easily available than those of Hugh Milne but I knew now, there was more out there. Healing came in many forms and most cultures have their own healing practices that we as westerners can preserve.

I read Milne’s book and knew that this would be a life long practice. There was no end to the depth that you could deal with in helping heal yourself and others. Without being over the top or seeming abstract Milne laid all of the work out in front of me. The therapist who worked on me did most of what was needed in that single session. I had a few more but nothing ever happened like that again. My body rebalanced itself.

As I read Milne’s book I became aware of the fact that cranial bones are not fused. There is a slight give to the sutures and a pulsation of the cerebrospinal fluid inside the dura, a tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. If one develops skill and practices you use it as a sort of diagnostic. You place hands on someone, feel what’s moving and where and knowing anatomy in depth start to discern what may be imbalanced.

It all seems complex but in the end, you’re just listening to someone. When people say, “but cranial bones don’t move, there is no pulsation of cerebrospinal fluid that can be felt” I simply ask if they’ve ever tried, while smiling. This bodywork feels to me much like meditating while your hands are on someone. Over the years I believe my bodywork has gained more depth as I practice. Predominantly it’s due to an active yoga practice which allows me to quiet my own nervous system, from this calm place it’s easier to listen.

The first time I put my hands on someones sacrum and became still, I just sat. I’d never felt this before but I’d never looked either. All of the sudden my hand swayed toward the tailbone. It was such a solid, deep, long swing that I took my hand off in near shock. Is it true? Since then everyone I do it to, feels completely different. One sacrum is full of swing, dance and sway another is creaky like an old door on hinges. Each gives you a little information about people, their bodies and their being.

Predominantly the work seems good for TMJ dysfunction, migraines, chronic headaches, trauma, PTSD, lingering sexual trauma and children with austism. Most people who search for it are at the end of their rope. They’ve tried everything and then boom, it’s the thing that helps. I was in that category.

Cranialsacral therapy pt.1

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.