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.
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.
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.
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 hips to see if they’re level comes next.
I ask about scoliosis if it’s not already apparent. Same with pelvic floor issues.
Then 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 feet flat/knees bent. I can also see whether their feet point up symmetrically.
I place the pads of my fingers over their TMJs right in front of their ears and ask them to open and close repeatedly.
Usually 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 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?
Have you ever had a foot, ankle, leg, or hip injury? Can you still tell the difference between the injured side and the uninjured one?
Does your physical activity work your body evenly, left and right sides, front and back, upper, lower?
Do you have a full range of movement in your joints?
How’s your posture?
How about your sleep posture?
It’s not my main business to start correcting these asymmetries (except in the upper body/jaw when I can). Becoming more symmetrical can take a while, years in some cases, so I consider it a long-term project for people with jaw pain to find relief, as well as more ease and functionality in their bodies.
Symmetry is also an ideal, like perfection. Most of us are doing the best we can. There’s probably always going to be some asymmetry in the body, but we can definitely address the 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 if it’s alignment-oriented like Iyengar and Anusara
dance, especially free-form dancing like ecstatic dance
The type of bodywork that 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.
There are a lot of tools that you can use on yourself to improve posture and sleep posture, release muscle tension, help remove strain from the neck and the sacrum. Some of them are included in this post on self-care tools.
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.