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.
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.
If you were building a tower, and one of the floors wasn’t level, it would affect the floors above it — unless you somehow compensated.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is kind of like that, only it’s because it settled unevenly on the ground beneath it. As they built it over the years, it would sink, stabilize, sink more…
The structure of the body is like that too — even when standing on level solid ground.
Because the jaw is near the top of the skeleton, imbalances below can affect the alignment and functionality of the temporomandibular joints (TMJs).
The primary cause of most jaw pain is asymmetrical hypertonicity. Thanks, TMJ Mastery teacher John Corry! That means that some of the muscles that affect the jaw are tighter than others.
I include a basic structural evaluation in my free TMJ consultations. It’s pretty cursory. I’m just looking for asymmetries. Here’s how I do it.
The patient stands with their shoes off.
I feel the space under theIr arches and check whether their feet (or one foot) are pronating or supinating.
Checking the points on the tops of the hip bones to see if they’re level comes next.
I ask about scoliosis and pelvic floor issues.
I check their shoulders to see if they’re level.
I look at the patient from each side to see if they have a pelvic tilt toward the front or the back and view their spinal curves.
When they are lying on my massage table, I can check for a leg length discrepancy with their legs flat, and then with knees bent. I can also see whether their feet point up symmetrically, which usually indicates asymmetry in the hip joints.
I also feel the space beneath the ears between the bones to see if it’s symmetrical.
When the skull and spine are out of alignment, it can contribute to multiple dysfunctions, with TMJ issues being one of them. (Ask me — I experienced intermittent right jaw clicking and my face drifting slightly to the left in meditation until my chiropractor realigned my AO joint, which also resolved issues that were all on my left side.)
For more on this, including exercises you can do starting at 5:25, watch this video.
The last part of my evaluation for symmetry is to place the pads of my fingers over the TMJs right in front of the ears and ask my client to open and close repeatedly.
Often one side moves first.
Often one side feels closer to the ear than the other.
Sometimes one side sticks out more than the other.
Try it on yourself. What do you notice?
None of this is super precise. I’m just getting a basic read on asymmetries in the structure of the patient that may affect the jaw.
Have you noticed that you have a dominant side? A side that feels stronger than the other? Most of your issues occurring on one side only?
Have you ever had a foot, ankle, leg, or hip injury? Can you still tell a difference between the injured side and the uninjured one? Can you balance easily on each foot?
How’s your posture? How about your sleep posture?
Also, do you primarily chew on one side of your mouth?
Becoming more symmetrical can be a good long-term project that can pay off with more ease of movement, less discomfort, better balance, injury prevention.
Symmetry is an ideal, like perfection. Most of us are doing the best we can. There’s always going to be some asymmetry in the body (our abdominal organs are asymmetric), but we can definitely address our most dysfunctional areas.
The functional movement screen is a set of 7 movements you do with a trainer, who scores you and can prescribe workouts that strengthen your weaknesses. FMS was developed to identify athletes who were prone to injury before they got injured. It can work for ordinary people too.
Practices of non-linear movement can help if done regularly over a long period. These movements work both sides of the body. They increase flexibility and balance and fluidity. And they are fun! Examples:
yoga, especially alignment-oriented types like Iyengar and Anusara
The type of bodywork that directly addresses asymmetries is called structural bodywork. There are two main schools of training: Rolfing Structural Integration and Anatomy Trains Structural Integration. Neuromuscular therapy also assesses posture and gait pattern and can address imbalances.
I don’t know if it works for everyone, but it’s soothing — I always fall asleep before it ends. Less stress is always desirable.
As mentioned above, dopamine agonists are prescribed for low dopamine levels.
Dopamine is released when your brain is expecting a reward — when you anticipate a pleasurable activity such as eating a delicious meal, spending time with someone you love, or receiving a big check.
It’s sometimes called “the happy hormone” because it affects your enthusiasm, motivation, and focus.
If you suffer from bruxism, before going the pharmaceutical route with dopamine agonist drugs, you may want to consider nutrition — consuming foods or taking supplements that raise your dopamine levels.
In particular the amino acid tyrosine increases dopamine.