How are you doing, my friends?

How are you doing at this point in the pandemic/recession? I’m enjoying more downtime. Planted a garden, making nourishing soups for cold days, connecting with a few friends, dancing on Zoom, doing the MELT Method to help my body recover from a low-back injury in October.

I have a hunch that a few people are thriving, most people are muddling through the “new normal” that may never really feel normal, and quite a few have been hit hard with losses of loved ones, jobs, homes, security. Bless.

Where are you?

I’m so grateful that during this pandemic, taking good precautions, I am able to work in my office one day a week (Tuesdays), offering private sessions.

I didn’t work for six months except for some long distance healing sessions and consultations over the phone or Zoom. I’ve been working now since mid-September, so nearly 5 months.

I work one day a week to minimize spreading COVID. I figure that if a client or I comes down with it, we’ll know within a week, and I at least won’t have exposed other clients before I figure that out.

It’s not perfect but it (and pre-screening, masks, my face shield, and air purifier) make it safer.

I taught a Self-Help for Jaw Pain course over Zoom last fall that I spent a lot of time developing, and I may offer it again when demand is sufficient. I had developed a busy clientele for TMJ Relief sessions, but COVID has made it unsafe to work in people’s mouths.

I’m considering offering private TMJ Relief sessions over Zoom, teaching people to do their own intra-oral work. It’s not hard. You just have to know where to touch. I’m not sure what the demand is for that, however.

The subtleties of doing craniosacral therapy require practice. The ability to sense subtle motions and patterns in a receiver’s body is developed through training and maintained and augmented through practice.

It took a few weeks to get my palpation skills back to my previous level. I appreciate everyone who has come in over the past few months for allowing me to deepen my abilities.

The swirly state when your body actively heals itself.

Since I’ve been working on my essay exam for getting certified by the Upledger Institute in craniosacral therapy techniques, I’ve developed more sensitivity and awareness of energetic and physiological processes.

I’ve come to appreciate even more the biodynamic branch of craniosacral therapy and sometimes integrate it into sessions, especially for repeat clients. I seem to be one of those people who learns how to “go by the book” and then experiments with integrating whatever is in my toolbox that my intuition tells me will help a receiver release something that no longer serves.

I’ve been receiving biodynamic sessions regularly from my officemate Christian Current. It’s whetting my desire for more training in the biodynamics field. I also had a great Upledger-style session from ou officemate Liz Baker that helped me release some dural tube restrictions after I injured my low back in October.

I recommend that people new to cranial work receive 3 sessions, because with bodywork this subtle, your innate healing processes strengthen with familiarity with the work and with me as a practitioner.

I offer a package of 3 sessions for $250 and a package of 6 for $500. This works out to $83.33 each. A single craniosacral session is $100, so you still save $20 from my regular session price.

If you’re feeling stale or stressed, craniosacral therapy can help restore your resilience. I’m interested in working with people who have had COVID and are suffering aftereffects.

Anyway, this is a little note to you to share what’s up with my practice and stay in touch. I’m available on Tuesdays. I have openings at noon, 1:30, 3, 4:30, and 6 pm. You can check my online scheduling page for availability. I would love to see you. I would love to hear from you.

Discount on craniosacral therapy sessions and packages

I’ve dropped my price for 75-minute craniosacral therapy sessions, from $120 to $100.

I’m also offering two packages: three CST sessions for $250, or six for $500.

I’m doing this to make it more affordable. Because I love practicing this modality so much, I decided to work toward getting certified, and giving more sessions are in order.

craniosacral therapy

Why three sessions?

I recommend getting three sessions for people who are trying craniosacral therapy for the first time. It’s very different from other methods of bodywork in several ways.

Craniosacral therapy is subtle. The touch is gentle. I’m connecting with the craniosacral rhythm produced by the pulsing of cerebrospinal fluid around the brain and spinal cord — yet palpable all over the body, with training.

Qualities of this rhythm indicate areas of restriction in tissues, fluids, energy flow. The restriction comes from old injuries, strains, accidents, habits, traumas. We all have restrictions, from birth or even earlier.

Each restriction once served a positive purpose, to contain an injured or dysfunctional area to keep it from spreading and disrupting your health even more.

The restriction may be nearly imperceptible because you’ve become used to it.

CST helps your system relax enough to release these restrictions and find a more natural flow, integrating the previously-restricted area back into the larger body-mind system.

In a way, you become more yourself — a healthier, more integrated, functional self.

Most people can feel at least some of these releases, as if something is dissolving or unwinding.

Yes, dramatic things can happen in a CST session, but mostly the changes are fairly subtle.

The work is also incremental. As your body gains more experience releasing restrictions, it gets better at it.

With repeat sessions, you can relax and release more deeply.

Why six sessions?

Long-term recipients (I’m one) can attest that CST works incrementally to shift your body-mind system toward a deeper experience of wellness. Three years of monthly sessions helped me get calmer, more centered, and have more clarity about living my life.

I still get regular sessions.

To really get the most out of craniosacral therapy for your money and your health, I recommend starting with a six-session package. Come in weekly for four weeks, and then twice the following month to jump-start the relax-and-release process.

Then, if you like what craniosacral therapy does for you, get another six-session package and come in monthly for six months (or as needed).

You can keep coming regularly as long as you’re benefitting to take advantage of this low package rate.

If this appeals to you, you can book online here. I would love to see you in my office.

Coming attraction: yoga for the jaw

I’m announcing now that I intend to create a “yoga for the jaw” class by the end of this year. There’s a sweet overlap of demographics: women of child-bearing age are nine times more likely than men to have severe or chronic TMJ issues, and this group also tends to take yoga (and Pilates) classes.

My plan is in the seedling stage right now. I have so much to learn and discern.

It feels good to get back into teaching yoga. I completed teacher training 10 years ago and taught restorative classes for a while. I’ve been practicing since 1982 and have been especially devoted since 1996 after a car wreck. I’m drawn to alignment-oriented classes and teachers, both for my own issues and as a bodyworker.

To this end, I will be taking a workshop from a highly-regarded yoga teacher in Dallas in late September. Embodied Dharma: Yoga, Connective Tissue, and Inter-Being is being offered at the Dallas Yoga Center by Tias Little, who created and teaches Prajna yoga.

Learning from Tias has been on my bucket list for a decade, and I’m finally doing it! Prajna means wisdom in Sanskrit, and Prajna yoga is more comprehensive than most yoga, including more of the eight limbs of Patanjali’s yoga into practice, as well as anatomy and somatic awareness. Tias includes aspects of Buddhism and craniosacral therapy — interests we share — into his teachings.

I am especially looking forward to learning more about yoga for the cranium, jaw, and ear from him.

Thank you, Anna Gieselman, a Prajna teacher at Castle Hill Fitness in Austin, for letting me know about this workshop!

If you’re interested, Anna is teaching a free Prajna yoga class on Labor Day, Free Day of Yoga, at Castle Hill’s downtown location. You can reserve your spot here.

TMJ Relief: Some medications cause jaw clenching

I have recently become aware that some widely used pharmaceutical medications cause jaw clenching and grinding as side effects.

The best known are in a class called SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, commonly prescribed for depression. I’m sure you’ve heard of Prozac (fluoxetine). Here are some other SSRIs:

  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • Paxil and Pexeva (paroxetine and paroxetine CR)
  • Viibryd (vilazodone)
  • Luvox (fluvoxamine and fluvoxamine CR)

In addition, antipsychotics like Haldol are said to cause bruxism. Symbyax, which is Prozac plus the antipsychotic Zyprexa (fluoxetine + olanzapine), is also on the list.

In general, if you take any medications in these categories and you are clenching or grinding your teeth, talk to your doctor about alternatives: psychotropics, dopamine agonists, antihistaminergics, and psychostimulants.

Cigarette smoking, caffeine, alcohol, and recreational drugs all may increase the risk of bruxism, studies have found. 

I recently learned that there’s an alternative to pharmaceuticals for treating depression and other mental disorders. It’s called TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and it works with your brain waves (rather than the chemical approach using particles).

I know one integrative MD in Austin who offers it, and your insurance may cover it for depression. To learn more, please connect with Oak Hill Wellness Center. They even offer a free TMS consultation.

It’s been approved by the FDA to treat depression and migraines, and it’s also being used to treat anxiety, OCD, PTSD, Asperger syndrome, TBI, ADHD, and more.

One more bit of info: I had a new TMJ Relief patient who was taking an SSRI for depression. I treated her and gave her the info above, but unlike others I’ve treated, she didn’t notice a difference at the end of the session.

However, she emailed me the next day to tell me that for the first time in a while, she woke up without severe jaw pain and headache.

So even if you are taking an SSRI and have jaw pain, one of my TMJ Relief sessions (or even better, the 5-sessions-in-4-weeks program) can help, and meanwhile you can be investigating alternatives.

Join our class, Relaxed Jaw: Learn How to Unwind Tension, Pain, and Grinding

Siri Scull, certified hypnotist, coach, and nutritionist, and I (MaryAnn Reynolds, LMT, board certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork, provider of TMJ relief sessions) are offering a free class on April 1, 7:30-8:45 pm at Soma Vida.

This first class is free, and we ask that you claim a ticket on Eventbrite so we can be sure to have enough seating for everyone.

This (optional) class serves as an introduction to our 4-class series offered remotely via Zoom on April 8, 15, 22, and 29 at the same time period.

This 4-class series includes:
~ Hypnotic visualizations to help you unwind tightness
~ Specialized exercises and techniques to soften the jaw
~ Nutritional & supplement suggestions to promote relaxation
~ Best sleep practices to promote a relaxed jaw
~ Ongoing support as you change habits on a conscious and unconscious level

The tuition is $149 for the 4-class series taught over Zoom. Save $25 if you bring a friend! You may pay MaryAnn via PayPal (paypal.me/maryannreynolds) or Venmo (www.venmo.com/MaryAnn-Reynolds-1) at the April 1st meeting or before April 8 to secure your spot.

Class is taught by Mary Ann Reynolds, MS, LMT, board certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork, providing TMJ Relief sessions and packages, AND Siri Scull, NC CHt, certified Hypnotherapist, Coach, and Nutritional Counselor specializing in habit change.

Learn more about the instructors at maryannreynolds.com and siriwellness.com

Contact me, MaryAnn Reynolds, at mareynolds27@gmail.com or (512)-507-4184 (leave VM or text) if you have any questions.

We hope to see you at our informational meeting on April 1, or via Zoom for the class series, or both!