Craniosacral therapy helps with insomnia

I’ve been giving a lot of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy sessions since returning from an advanced training at the beginning of October. 

I’ve also done a few trades with other Biodynamics practitioners and received sessions. 

I love this modality of bodywork/energywork. It seems to me to be a natural extension of both bodywork and meditation: practicing it exercises light touch, expanded awareness, deeper perception, intention, stillness. 

Receivers benefit.

I’ve found it especially helpful for insomnia. I’ve been monitoring my sleep for awhile now, and I definitely experience better sleep after I receive a Biodynamics session. My sleep scores are seeing a slow, steady improvement.

I love this quote from Dr. Andrew Huberman, director of the neurobiology lab at Stanford University who is on Instagram and also offers geeky, fascinating podcasts.

He considers sleep even more important than diet and exercise for its effects on human health.

My clients report sleeping better after a Biodynamics session, including those who experience difficulty falling asleep as well as those with difficulty staying asleep. 

It helps with both. 

Biodynamic craniosacral helps when your body-mind system is holding on to a dysfunctional pattern, such as insomnia or poor sleep quality.

If you are feeling stuck in a pattern of insomnia, consider scheduling a Biodynamics session, or (even more reinforcing) consider opting for a package of 3 sessions.

Your future quality of life may reach back and thank you.


Treating TMJ issues: de-stress quickly with these breathing techniques

Learning how to de-stress yourself is huge. Everyone experiences stress. It’s just part of life.

Stress becomes an issue when there’s too much of it, and your system has trouble rebounding resiliently to a calm, alert state.

How is this relevant to TMJ issues? So much TMJ misery is related to chronic and acute stress. It’s one of the major contributors to TMJ issues. People clench and grind due to stress, and stress is always accompanied by muscle tension, which causes a lot of jaw issues. 

Staying stressed for too long is bad for your well-being. It affects your digestion (including absorption of nutrients and detoxification) and creates unnecessary wear and tear on your vital organs.

I’m talking about bad stress as opposed to good stress, such as the anxiety before a performance that makes you a better performer, or the adrenaline you feel when a bad driver nearly hits you that helps you react quickly and successfully avoid being hit.

In my opinion, bad stress includes most news about politics (just donate money and volunteer for candidates you like) and traumatic events (there’s always something awful happening in the world).

Also, the desire to control others’ behavior can bring about bad stress. Better to focus on accepting them as they are and work on a healthy path for yourself.

Maybe they’ll witness you and want to change themselves.

You can still care and have a constructive strategy to manage stressors.

You can do these things from a calm, alert state. Imagine that.

The beauty of using a little breathwork to get yourself out of an unhelpful state of stress (any stressor that does not require immediate action) is that breathwork bypasses your mind.

Has “you need to calm down” ever helped anyone to actually calm down, whether it’s yourself or someone else telling you this?

Breathwork is also quick. You can simply do a little breathwork when stressed, and your system starts shifting into parasympathetic mode.

A note to the chronically stressed: here’s how to tell when you’re in a parasympathetic state. Your whole body starts to feel a softness and relaxation because you have let your guard down. You notice your that breathing has changed, to becoming slower, deeper, with longer pauses. 

If this is hard, because maybe you’ve been carrying the guarding that often occurs after a trauma, try this: Imagine yourself in a completely safe environment where you don’t have to be guarded against anything. Maybe you are surrounded by softness, or floating in body-temperature water. You may have any objects (real or imaginary) that bring you comfort. 

Let go of your thoughts and just be. 

The more you practice breathwork and conscious relaxation, even when not stressed, the more it gets wired into your neurology.

The physiological sigh

The physiological sigh is breathwork technique that’s getting a lot of attention now. It’s been recognized for 80 years as a behavior people do automatically when claustrophobic and in other stressful situations.

Now you can put it to work for yourself when you need to de-stress yourself.

I learned about it from Dr. Andrew Huberman, a Stanford University professor who runs a neurobiology lab and has a podcast.

In brief, it’s two inhalations through the nose, and one longer exhalation through the mouth. (I think of it as the “sniff sniff ahhhhh” breath.)

Here’s a video demonstrating technique.

Dr. Huberman says sometimes people fall asleep if they do it 15 times in a row, but just three of these physiological sighs are enough to start slowing your heartbeat down in 20-30 seconds.

I nearly always yawn when I start doing physiological sighs.

4-7-8 breathing

Another fairly quick breathwork technique for reducing stress is the 4-7-8 breathing (the Relaxing Breath). Dr. Andrew Weil, who has been practicing and writing about holistic health and integrative medicine for 30 years, came up with it.

Dr. Weil recommends doing four of these breath cycles at least twice a day for two months to get the benefits. This wires it into your neurology.

He recommends slowing the cycle down, with the limiting factor being how long you can comfortably hold your breath.

It can also help with cravings and falling asleep.

In essense, you are retraining your nervous system to be more relaxed.

You may become less stressed from using either or both of these techniques and still benefit from receiving a TMJ Relief session to retrain your jaw muscles into relaxation. The breathwork will help your body retrain itself more quickly and prevent relapses.

If you’re ready to have that conversation with me, please connect. I’d love to hear from you.


What to do if you have jaw issues? I offer a 30-minute in-person TMJ consultation to gather information and evaluate your issues. I also teach clenchers an alternative to clenching and provide known ways to stop grinding, from those who succeeded.

These habits are major contributors to TMJ issues, and you can change them.

If you’re not in Austin, I can do the above as well as help you learn what to ask about when seeking TMJ relief near you. Just let me know if you need a phone or Zoom consultation.

I offer a combination TMJ Consultation plus TMJ Relief session in person in Austin, Texas, and in Taos, NM, in sumemrs. The consultation serves as an intake, so I have a better idea of what your issues are and how we’ll measure progress. Your consultation is free when combined with your first TMJ Relief session. This is a two-hour session.

To be fair, when you’ve had TMJ issues for a long time, or they are acute, you may need multiple sessions to retrain your system to retain the ease and alignment, along with doing your homework to stop clenching or grinding your teeth.

I offer a package of four TMJ Relief sessions for 10 percent off single sessions, best done a week or two apart. These sessions are 90 minutes and integrate various bodywork modalities — including work in your mouth — so that you feel great when you get off the table. They are best done over 4 to 6 weeks.

If you’re really adventurous, you can schedule a 75-minute Self-Treatment for TMJ Issues session on Zoom where we’ll do an intake and I will teach you how to work on releasing the tension patterns that cause problems, including working in your own mouth. You’ll need clean hands and short nails. It’s really not that hard! Learn more about it here.

Treating TMJ issues: music and meditation to heal the throat chakra

Previously I shared two links to YouTube recordings of music to heal the throat chakra in this post, in case you missed it.

Today, I want to share more about this.

Keep in mind that the throat chakra includes the throat, jaw, chin, mouth, lips, cheeks, nose, and ears — basically from the clavicles to the eyes. 

Sound penetrates our bodies. We’ve probably all felt the vibration in our bodies when we’ve been near a large bell being rung or a gong being struck or loud music coming through a speaker.

Since sound travels in waves, and we are made of waves as well as particles, of course it enters our tissue, fluid, and energy fields and influences us.

The human love of rhythm and music must go way back, long before writing and probably before language. Harmonic sound is pleasing, and we are immersed in natural rhythms: our heartbeats, breath, deeper rhythms within us, circadian and celestial rhythms, life cycles. 

I believe sound can harmonize our bodies at a cellular level, creating higher coherence, which means our various systems coordinate with each other better.

Can sound cure cancer? I haven’t heard of that, but I believe it’s possible.

In my experience, sound can definitely create a sense of inner peace.

Insight Timer

I use the free smart phone app Insight Timer for meditation. It has a timer for silent meditation, chanting, and breathing among other practices, and thousands of guided meditations and music for meditation.

In the app, you can do a search on “throat” to find guided meditations and music for the throat chakra. There are many! 

I found seven musical meditations, ranging from 4 to 35 minutes in length. The one I’ve listened to most is Throat Chakra Singing Bowls, by Sonic Yogi (29 minutes).

(If you don’t want to use the app, that meditation is also available on Bandcamp here.)

Self-Healing

Healing takes place when we are relaxed, when our parasympathetic nervous systems (rest and digest) are dominant.

If music can help get us there, our bodies can work on healing.

To take your self-healing further, while you listen, visualize sky blue or turquoise light surrounding your neck and jaws.

Imagine a sense of spaciousness.

Deliberately relax the tight muscles with each exhalation.

If you are suffering from TMJ pain and discomfort, I hope you will find some relief from listening to music designed to clear and heal the throat chakra.


What to do if you have jaw issues? I offer a 30-minute in-person TMJ consultation to gather information and evaluate your issues. I also teach clenchers an alternative to clenching and provide known ways to stop grinding, from those who succeeded.

These habits are major contributors to TMJ issues, and you can change them.

If you’re not in Austin, I can do the above as well as help you learn what to ask about when seeking TMJ relief near you. Just let me know if you need a phone or Zoom consultation.

I offer a combination TMJ Consultation plus TMJ Relief session in person in Austin, Texas, and in Taos, NM, in sumemrs. The consultation serves as an intake, so I have a better idea of what your issues are and how we’ll measure progress. Your consultation is free when combined with your first TMJ Relief session. This is a two-hour session.

To be fair, when you’ve had TMJ issues for a long time, or they are acute, you may need multiple sessions to retrain your system to retain the ease and alignment, along with doing your homework to stop clenching or grinding your teeth.

I offer a package of four TMJ Relief sessions for 10 percent off single sessions, best done a week or two apart. These sessions are 90 minutes and integrate various bodywork modalities — including work in your mouth — so that you feel great when you get off the table. They are best done over 4 to 6 weeks.

If you’re really adventurous, you can schedule a 75-minute Self-Treatment for TMJ Issues session on Zoom where we’ll do an intake and I will teach you how to work on releasing the tension patterns that cause problems, including working in your own mouth. You’ll need clean hands and short nails. It’s really not that hard! Learn more about it here.

Treating TMJ issues: what various professions do to help

What do various healing professions do to treat TMJ issues?

I’m going to try to answer that, to help you be better health-care consumers and know what to expect in terms of results.

By the way, I am a massage therapist who specializes in TMJ work, including intra-oral (inside the mouth) work, in which I’ve had advanced training from three teachers and experience since 2013. I admit, I am biased!

I want to say up front that most massage therapists do not work inside the mouth, which is where the jaw muscles most likely to be causing TMJ pain are located.

Most massage therapists do have the skills to release tension in the external jaw and neck muscles. Maybe that’s all you need, if your jaw pain is mild and intermittent. You will feel better after such sessions.

But if you are really suffering from long-term jaw pain and dysfunction, you definitely need more than that to get relief. You could greatly benefit from intra-oral work, which takes special training and experience to do effectively.

Do not hesitate to ask whether a therapist you are considering working with is trained in releasing tension in the internal jaw muscles.

Whole-body work can also help, when the TMJ pain is related to your posture (for instance, head forward posture) or to muscle tension due to stress.

Here’s a look at results you might expect from working with practitioners in different professions:

  • reducing stress (massage therapist, acupuncturist, yoga teacher, meditation teacher)
  • reducing tension in your external jaw muscles (massage therapist)
  • releasing trigger points in your external jaw muscles (massage therapist)
  • doing myofascial release on your external jaw muscles (massage therapist)
  • releasing neck tension (massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor)
  • getting your pelvis aligned and balanced (massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor)
  • getting your head aligned on top of your spine (chiropractor)
  • preventing your teeth from cracking due to grinding (dentist or over-the-counter night guard)
  • reducing tension in your internal jaw muscles (massage therapist with special training, physical therapist with special training, Rolfer as part of 10-series)
  • restoring alignment in the cranial bones (craniosacral therapist)
  • repairing or replacing a dysfunctional articular disk (oral surgeon)
  • getting whole-body therapy to help with alignment issues and release strain patterns (craniosacral therapist, Rolfer, Zero Balancer, yoga teacher, yoga therapist)

There is one major caveat here: these are generalities based on my own knowledge and experience. Each profession has its specialties. Not all physical therapists work on the jaw or pelvis — in fact, not many do.

Do not hesitate to ask questions and do your own research.

This is a brief and imperfect overview to help you get the results you want, and there are many fine points not mentioned here.


What to do if you have jaw issues? I offer a 30-minute in-person TMJ consultation to gather information and evaluate your issues. I also teach clenchers an alternative to clenching and provide known ways to stop grinding, from those who succeeded.

These habits are major contributors to TMJ issues, and you can change them.

If you’re not in Austin, I can do the above as well as help you learn what to ask about when seeking TMJ relief near you. Just let me know if you need a phone or Zoom consultation.

I offer a combination TMJ Consultation plus TMJ Relief session in person in Austin, Texas, and in Taos, NM, in sumemrs. The consultation serves as an intake, so I have a better idea of what your issues are and how we’ll measure progress. Your consultation is free when combined with your first TMJ Relief session. This is a two-hour session.

To be fair, when you’ve had TMJ issues for a long time, or they are acute, you may need multiple sessions to retrain your system to retain the ease and alignment, along with doing your homework to stop clenching or grinding your teeth.

I offer a package of four TMJ Relief sessions for 10 percent off single sessions, best done a week or two apart. These sessions are 90 minutes and integrate various bodywork modalities — including work in your mouth — so that you feel great when you get off the table. They are best done over 4 to 6 weeks.

If you’re really adventurous, you can schedule a 75-minute Self-Treatment for TMJ Issues session on Zoom where we’ll do an intake and I will teach you how to work on releasing the tension patterns that cause problems, including working in your own mouth. You’ll need clean hands and short nails. It’s really not that hard! Learn more about it here.

The free flow of the universe

If you are quiet enough, you will hear the flow of the universe. You will feel its rhythm. Go with this flow. Happiness lies ahead. Meditation is key. ~ Buddha

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On Saturday, April 7, 2018, I will be Investigating the Power of Silence with attendees at the annual Free Day of NLP, held at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. My presentation is at 1 pm.

To RSVP, please click here, which will help with planning for the free breakfast and lunch and free parking.