Update from MaryAnn

It’s been a while. A long strange while.

I’m staying safe, going out only for walks and groceries masked.

I hope and pray that you are well too.

Some updates, in lieu of a summer newsletter:

HeartMath is a great program that focuses on stress reduction. It’s been around for decades. You use a sensor that monitors your heart rate variability, which indicates how coherently (healthy) your body-mind system is functioning, which you can see on the companion Inner Balance app.

You can learn some simple techniques to increase coherence and reduce stress. With the sensor, you get accurate feedback so that with practice, you can learn the “sensory signature” of the state of coherence and induce it in yourself without the sensor when needed.

So… it’s like a brief meditation on the fly, switching from stressed to calm and together — who couldn’t use more of that?

Here’s more about it. If you’re interested, please call me at 512-507-4184. As a trainer, I can get you 25% off on a sensor and help you get started.

Once again, I’ve changed the name of my phone sessions/distance healing. I’m calling it Conversational Self-Healing, which more accurately reflects what happens and how it works.

I do ask you if you’d like me to place my “energy hands” around the area where you are experiencing some discomfort. I feel strong energy in my hands, and so far, every receiver has been able to discern a change in sensation in that area.

Mostly what we do is tune into your sensations, which are signals, and we listen to them deeply, which allows them to transform. This is how the body communicates and how we hold a conversation, between you and me, between you and your body, between my body and your body.

Schedule here.

I’m working on creating a 5-class series, Self-Help for Jaw Pain, of online learning that I hope to have ready in September. It will be offered on Zoom.

Participants will learn life-long skills that will enable reducing current jaw pain and nipping it in the bud should it return. We’ll work on reducing co-factors that are common in those experiencing jaw pain. We’ll work on self-massage skills — on the shoulders, neck, and head, and inside the mouth.

The class will include a self-evaluation form and a private session with me on Zoom.

This first round will be small (8 people max) and discounted (still working on pricing), since online teaching is new to me.

If you have any interest, please get in touch. I’ll post more here as I progress.

Working on creating something new is very satisfying. I would not have done this if it weren’t for COVID. Teaching brings the possibility of reaching many more people with jaw issues who don’t live in this area, and I can share what I’ve learned since I began learning to work in the mouth in 2013.

I offer free 15-minute phone consultations that you can schedule here, and I call you at the appointed time. We can talk about anything. Bring your questions!

Other interesting things I’ve found to do while staying in more than ever. Get in touch if you’re interested in joining in.

  • I’ve been doing ecstatic dance on Zoom with Tribal Joy, Essential Soul Sessions, Source in Motion, and Step into Yes! (the latter for women only).
  • I’ve been doing Gyrokinesis on Zoom.
  • I’ve been doing yoga on Zoom.
  • I enjoyed the poet David Whyte’s recent online series. He’s offering another one in September.
  • I have gotten hooked on watching a British detective series starring Brenda Blethyn. It’s called Vera. There are 10 seasons, so lots to binge, although I just do one episode a day.

What are you up to? What inspires and entertains you?

News from MaryAnn

Love in the time of coronavirus

Dear readers, I hope you are staying grounded during this time of uncertainty and fear. I recommend going outside in your bare feet and walking around on some grass, as often as you need.

Feel your feet sink slightly into the grass atop soil, perhaps softened by recent rains, with each step. Enjoy the coolness, the textures, and the sensations in your feet.

Imagine this connection with Mother Earth moving up your legs, into your torso, touching all of your tissues, permeating all of your cells, and leaving your body through the crown of your head.

You are connecting to earth and to heaven! This energetic experience is about being fully alive in the present moment. It’s a renewing and restorative experience to counter upsetting news, conflict on social media, fears for ourselves and our loved ones, uncertain futures.

Texas bluebonnets in my yard…

Integrative tele-healing sessions

I’m changing the name of my new online service to Integrative Tele-Healing Sessions. Bear with me as I navigate my way through this rapid change…as I’m sure you’re doing as well.

Quite a few CST practitioners are adamant that working remotely is not craniosacral therapy. (Plus the words “remote” and “distance” run counter to the connection we make with our voices, intentions, and energy fields, even when we’re not in each other’s physical presence.)

This stance is coming both from those who are Upledger-trained and those who are biodynamics trained.

I’ve trained in both, and I’ve trained in Reiki, which can be done at a distance. Current conditions make this the perfect time for me hone these skills, and if you are in need of caring attention to your body-mind system, it’s also the perfect time to try a session for yourself.

In my ninth year of offering bodywork, I can only say that when I work, everything I’ve ever trained in and experienced informs my work. What I’m using at any given moment is what comes into my awareness as the most appropriate

That could be what I’m sensing in your body, what you’re sensing in your body, shifts in our blended fields, where your system leads me, the changes we notice as our session unfolds. “The work” flows through us both.

Years ago, it became clear to me that I could not do bodywork without also being aware of my energy, your energy, the energy in the room, and the power of our intent to influence energy. For experienced massage therapists, especially those who are also yogis or Qi gong practitioners, bodywork is also energy work.

The shortest distance between two points is intent.

~ Dr. John Upledger, founder of Craniosacral Therapy

This may sound woo-woo to some, but for me, energy is real and can be sensed, usually as subtle sensations but sometimes not so subtle. This energy is described in the ancient traditions of shamanism, yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, Qi gong, and Chinese medicine.

If you’re a doubter, rub your palms together briskly for about 30 seconds. They will feel warm. Now hold them a few inches apart. Can you sense something between your hands? Perhaps a field that joins them? Practice moving your hands apart and together. Notice. What you sense between your hands is energy.

We have energy centers and channels in our bodies. We have awareness. We have intent. We have our senses, our speech, our imaginations, our discernment, our intuition, and we have technology that minimizes physical distance. We’ll put these to use in our sessions.

Anyway. Other practitioners are calling it energy work, remote healing, distance sessions, shamanic energetics, virtual healing, long distance healing, etc.

I prefer Integrative Tele-Healing Sessions. Clear and simple and not too woo-woo.

Here’s how it works: You schedule your session online when you will have some uninterrupted time for a session. (You could call first, but it’s not required.) You make yourself comfortable in your home (seated or lying down), and open yourself to relaxation and receiving. We bring awareness to your system, and we explore what wants attention, what shifts, what emerges.

I stay connected with you during sessions, including during periods of silence that allow “the work” to go deeper.

I want you to feel free to share what’s coming up for you in real time, if you wish.

At the end of the session, you can schedule another session if you would like.

Schedule 90 minutes

Schedule 60 minutes

You can pay me through Venmo or PayPal.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Call 512-507-4184 or schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation.

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.

Treating TMJ issues: an upper-body yoga sequence

Often neck and shoulder tension accompanies jaw pain. I’m enjoying this seated yoga sequence for neck and shoulder tension, recommended in a FB conversation about what people with TMJ do for self-care. It’s 8:29 in length.

Yoga for Neck & Shoulder Tension

I’m a big fan of yoga, having practiced it since 1982. It’s definitely helped with stress, tension, flexibility, energy, body awareness. I’ve taken yoga teacher training and taught restorative yoga and one-on-one classes for yoga newbies.

My yoga orientation is alignment-oriented hatha yoga like Iyengar and Anusara, which I combine in my home practice with sun salutation vinyasas and balance poses to meet the needs of my body. I notice I’m becoming more and more attracted to kundalini yoga.

If you do yoga, do you have any favorite asanas or breath work practices for jaw pain?

Treating TMJ issues: what various professions do to help

I’m going to write about what various healing professions do to treat TMJ issues to help you be good consumers and know what to expect in terms of results. I am a massage therapist who specializes in TMJ work, including intra-oral (inside the mouth) work, in which I’ve had special training.

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 have the skills to release tension in the external jaw and neck muscles. Maybe that’s all you need, if your jaw pain isn’t severe and it comes and goes. You will feel better after such sessions.

But if you are really suffering from chronic or severe jaw pain and dysfunction, you probably want a lot more than that. You will 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 and uses gloves or finger cots.

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

These are the major results that help with TMJ symptoms, along with the professional training that can provide them:

  • 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 (any kind of therapist with trigger point release training)
  • releasing your neck tension (massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor)
  • getting your pelvis aligned and balanced (massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor)
  • preventing your teeth from cracking due to bruxism (dentist)
  • reducing tension in your internal jaw muscles (massage therapist with special training, physical therapist with special training, Rolfer)
  • getting craniosacral therapy to restore alignment in the external cranial bones (craniosacral therapist)
  • getting craniosacral therapy to restore alignment in the internal cranial bones (craniosacral therapist)
  • repairing a torn or perforated articular disk (oral surgeon — get reviews first)
  • getting whole-body therapy to help with alignment and release strain patterns (craniosacral therapist, Rolfer, Zero Balancer, yoga teacher, yoga therapist)

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