Jun

21

By megfiddler

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Categories: Uncategorized

Less can be more

One of the requirements to retain a massage license in the state of Missouri, as well as national certification is to pursue continuing education. A couple of weeks ago I attended the Craniosacral I class presented by the Upledger Institute. My experience of craniosacral therapy dates back to my early days at massage school in the 90’s. At that time I was taking many classes to complete my 500 hour massage program. I was exploring the many different realms of massage and energy therapy; craniosacral was one of the classes offered in the curriculum. I was fascinated by this gentle and relaxing technique and while I believed it to be very powerful in its ability to bring about change in the body and mind, it wasn’t massage and I wanted to be a “massage therapist”; that is why I was going to school after all. Over the years I would see an amazing craniosacral therapist for an occasional tune-up to just kind of balance things out. It wasn’t until I started experiencing what I call “barometric pressure headaches” that would become migraine like that I decided to take action that would address the cause, not just the symptoms. I could take medications to relieve the pain, nausea and sensitivity to light, but what I really wanted was not to be at the mercy of a weather front. I was constantly watching the weather to see if there was a storm moving in or if it was going to be too hot or too humid. I was on a mission. My therapist ‘Chris Jorgensen initially saw me every other week for about two months. We then went to monthly sessions. Chris feels that we could probably go to every other month at this point, but why mess with a good thing. I consider my monthly sessions a form of health care maintenance, that just happens to be relaxing and feel good. It can’t get much better than that in my opinion.
So for four days in June I sat in a hotel conference room with close to thirty other professionals ranging from fellow massage therapists to physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, chiropractors and energy therapists. We learned about the history of craniosacral therapy; physician and osteopath Dr. John Upledger is considered the father of craniosacral therapy and it is his institute that has researched and for the most part developed this modality. We learned the techniques that are so gentle and minimal in movement, that to an observer it would appear that nothing is happening. And we practiced on each other. We learned to be still within ourselves and to listen on a deeper level with our hands.
So what is this thing called craniosacral therapy? It is a soft tissue modality that seeks to identify and release restrictions in the connective tissue. There is rhythm in the body called the cranial rhythm. It is separate and distinct from the breathing and heart rate. A therapist will gently place their hands on the body in various places to feel the rhythm and in particular will look for a lack of rhythm. The pressure used is usually in the area of 5 grams or the weight of a nickel; less is more. When those areas are treated not only are the symptoms addressed, but more importantly the source is too.
I believe that craniosacral therapy demonstrates how the human body is so capable of contributing to its own healing and that if given the chance it will embrace the opportunity to do so.
To learn more about Dr. John Upledger I recommend his book The Inner Physician and You. I also recommend Working Wonders:Changing Lives with Crniosacral Therapy. These are case studies from practitioners of CST submitted to The Upledger Institute.

Jun

5

By megfiddler

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Categories: Uncategorized

Quiet the mind

Relax the body, quiet the mind.  That is the tag line for Quiet Moments Massage Therapy.   It is what I strive to help my clients achieve during a massage session, yet a quiet mind is seldom the real quest of a client.  A relaxed pain free body is the most requested outcome.  A mind at peace is a little like a lovely dessert;  if it happens to come with the meal, great, but we seldom order it.  That is hard for me to understand.   I myself have a busy mind.  I am always in “thinking mode”.  I think and worry about the future, the present and often live in the past, rehashing over and over an event.   I have to  make a conscious effort to allow my mind to be at rest.  I do this in many ways.  I practice throughout my day deep breathing techniques, such as a 4-7-8 breath.  I breathe in through the nose for a comfortable count of 4.   I hold the breath for a count of 7 and exhale the breath through my lips, as if blowing through a flute,  for the count of 8.  I do this for a couple of cycles and then breath normally, or sometimes I just take a deep cleansing breath and exhale.  I try to allocate time daily for a little meditation.   I also seek craniosacral therapy,   acupuncture and massage therapy on a regular basis.  I enjoy these different modalities not just for a reduction in pain or to help maintain my health, but because I know that each of these sessions will  bring with them the opportunity for my mind to be quiet and at peace.   I will also experience a refreshing sense of clarity.

When our minds are constantly busy, moving from thought to thought, but not in a mindful or deliberate manner, then our minds are basically in  a state of chaos.  When the mind is chaotic the body will follow.  Thoughts and emotions have energy that is interpreted and acted out in the body in the form of clenched jaws and hands, elevated and rounded shoulders, headaches, anxiety, digestive disorders and disrupted sleep.   We readily address those poor aching shoulders, but we give little attention to how we exhaust and overwhelm our minds with constant stimulation.  There are also passive forms of exercise such as tai chi and qi gong.  These are gentle traditional Chinese movement exercises that help reduce stress and offer other health benefits.  Yoga helps keep the body flexible, but also teaches many breathing techniques.   So turn off the television,  talk radio programs, computer and cellphone, close your eyes, take a deep breath in and exhale, your mind will thank you.