Advanced Level Therapies

Upledger's CranioSacral Therapy
Vodder's Lymphatic Drainage
JP Barral's Visceral Manipulation
My Own Version of Healing Touch Therapy

CranioSacral Therapy

What is Cranial-Sacral Therapy?

CranioSacral Therapy is a very relaxing light touch bodywork. The goal is to palpate & explore the craniosacral system (bones, nerves, fluid, & fascia of the cranium and core), encourage homeostasis (balance and symmetry) in the craniosacral rhythm, release restrictions in the central nervous system hindering motility, and bear witness to any transformation that occurs. 

The Cranial-Sacral wave is the ebb and flow created by the hydraulic pump of cerebral spinal fluid as it is produced & absorbed in the brain, then flows down the Dural tube (in spine) into the sacrum (the triangular bone on the back of the pelvis). It is also connected with the movement of the myofascial tissues in and around the skull, spine, abdomen and pelvis that flow in relation to breathing, circulation, abdominal motility, etc. The CS wave moves every bone in the cranium and can be observed in almost any part of the body if you know how to listen to it. The CS wave is generally 6-12 times a minute, but can vary in each individual. It can be affected by medical and psychological conditions, skeletal displacements, stress & anxiety levels, energy deficiencies, abdominal dysfunctions, etc.

Is It Energy Work?

It utilizes some energy work –every work includes energy transfer, and it may feel to the client similar to energy work, but it is not energy work. Energy work’s main goal is to restore energy flow in the body. CST’s main goal is to release restrictions in a biomechanical system. It is hands on (touch is applied) and small manipulations are done with the skeletal, nervous, and myofascial systems. 

Touch

Touch is generally applied to the bones of the skull, including intra-oral work, sacrum, spine, abdomen & feet, but may include other areas of the body. Small manipulations of the bones and tissues are done in order to assess and release restrictions.

Unwinding

One of the most awesome techniques in Cranial Sacral Therapy is Myofascial unwinding. This unwinding can occur anywhere in the body. Fascia is the tissue that connects every part of the body- skeletal, muscular, visceral, vascular, & nervous systems together. It’s that sticky translucent stuff. Restrictions (physical, energetic & psychological) can build up in the fascial system causing pain and a decrease in movement, breath, and function. Unwinding is a process of releasing restrictions in the fascia through gentle movements.

Benefits of Cranial-Sacral Work

Facilitates healing for conditions like: TMJD, Headaches, Migraines, Head, Neck, & Sacral Pain, Disoriented Feelings, Dyslexia, Disgraphia, Dizziness, Insomnia, Anxiety, Stress, and many more. It has even been demonstrated to help improve mood and physical calmness for kids with Cerebral Palsy.    

Other Effects

New perceptions or insights, increased sleep, increased dream activity or more vivid imagery, nostalgia, long forgotten memories may surface, acute and chronic conditions are likely to shift, emotional release, integration of mind & body.

Cranial-Sacral Development

CranioSacral Therapy has been around since the 1800s. It was first developed by Dr. William G. Sutherland, an cranial osteopath and student of Dr. Still, the founder of osteopathy in 1892.  It was further developed by Dr. John E. Upledger and his team at the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University, 1970s, in an effort to solve the controversy about whether cranial bones are able to move or whether they are fully fused in adults. 

While there he led a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists and bioengineers who performed and published clinical research that formed the basis for the approach he named CranioSacral Therapy.

You can learn more at the Upledger Institute. 

www.upledger.com

* photo courtesy of ABMP

Vodder Technique Lymphatic Drainage

What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage?

Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a light touch relaxing bodywork. The goal is to wake up the lymphatic system, encourage the uptake and flow of lymph fluid, clear congested areas, release restrictions hindering that flow, and encourage homeostasis and efficiency. 

The Lymphatic System is our body’s  protection and filtration.  It is correlative and parallel to the arterial and venous system. It’s primary job is to pick up all the water, proteins, nutrition, waste, and toxins from the interstitial space that is not picked up by the veins and to carry that to the lymph nodes that filter it, fight off toxins, and recycle the water. It get sent further up the lymphatic chain and eventually the purified water and proteins and usable materials flow back into the heart and reenter the blood supply. The lymph system does not have its own pump but relies on body movement, the suction effect of the heart, arterial pulse, muscle contraction, etc., to move lymph. 

Pathology

Sometimes the lymph system can get overwhelmed. This happens when there is abnormal swelling (edema) and the lymph system working at its maximum cannot handle the amount of lymph being produced. Also, it happens when the lymph system has been damaged or compromised  (Lymphedema). The lymph system can no longer process a normal amount of lymph. This can be congenital, caused by trauma, caused by cancer surgery in which lymph nodes have been removed, etc.. Some edema, mostly temporary conditions like after surgery or trauma, monthly bloating, and edema caused by sedentary lifestyle, high altitudes, sickness, increased body temperature, etc., can be benefitted by MLD. And most Lymphedema is benefitted by MLD. MLD encourages the lymph system to be more productive and manually increases lymph production. Other conditions may not be helped by MLD because MLD cannot make a maxed out system work any harder. 

Lymphatic Drainage Techniques

The Vodder technique works with the superficial lymph system that lies right under the skin. This is where most of the lymph accumulates. It is a gentle massage like treatment but is considered manual manipulation therapy and not massage. Other techniques address deeper lymph (lymph from muscles and organs) or just address lymph a little differently. They including massage, cupping, craniosacral therapy, visceral manipulation, do-at-home skin treatments, dry brushing, compression garments, and others. Passive and active Lymph Pumping encourages lymph with gentle exercises.

Benefits of MLD

Facilitates healing for conditions like: migraines, bloating, stress, lymphedema, post-surgery recovery, post trauma recovery and swelling, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, cellulite, and more!

MLD Development

Manual Lymphatic Drainage was begun by Dr. Alexander Von Winiwarter (1848-197), an Austrian surgeon. It was continued and enhanced by Dr. Emil Vodder (1896-1986) a manual therapist who successfully treated patients with colds and swollen lymph nodes including his wife who chronically suffered from illnesses. In the 1960s-1970s Dr. Michael Foldi coined the type of special massage treatment taught by Vodder as  “Vodder Technique”, and added the treatment into his Complete Decongestive Therapy. Though the lymph system was first discovered in the 1600s, little is known about the system. Only recently has there been a way to actually see the lymph system in action with the advancement of MRIs, CTs, NRI florescence and the like. As our understanding grows, Vodder and other techniques, including do-at-home treatments, have begun to emerge and take root into the mainstream.

You can learn more at the Academy of Lymphatic Studies, www.acols.com. 

*photo courtesy of ABMP

JP Barral's Visceral Manipulation

What is Visceral Manipulation?

Visceral Manipulation (VM) is the process of “waking a little something up in the body” to stimulate the body into its own healing processes. It is a gentle, light touch, manual therapy that aids your body at releasing restrictions in and around your viscera (organs), and encourages normal mobility, tone and inherent tissue motion. VM evaluates your whole body to find the source of the problems causing unhealthy compensations, pain, and dysfunction.

Touch

Touch is generally applied onto the abdomen, pelvis, back, & skull, but may include other parts of the body. The VM therapist feels for altered or decreased mobility and motility within the viscera and surrounding Myofascia system and uses gentle movements and holding to reestablish the body’s ability to adapt and restore itself to health.

How Do Organs Contribute to Pain & Dysfunction?

Your organs are in constant motion. When you breathe, walk, stretch, etc. your organs move in your chest and abdomen.  For example, when you breathe, your kidneys move one to four inches. Over the course of the day, that’s 1/2 mile! 

When you are healthy, all the organs and tissues move with interconnected fluidity.  Restrictions can occur from trauma, surgery, stress, inflammation,  sedentary lifestyle, etc. When this happens, the organs and surrounding tissues can adhere to other structures, and each other, and the body is forced to compensate giving way to problems throughout the body such as musculoskeletal, vascular, nervous, respiratory, & digestive pain. 

Small dysfunctions magnified by thousands of repetitions each day can create poor biomechanics, structural misalignment, inflexibility, abnormal rhythms, and big aches and pains.

Benefits of Visceral Manipulation

Facilitates healing in: Acute disorders like whiplash, seatbelt injuries & sports injuries.  Musculoskeletal pains like headaches, hip pain, knee pain, & sciatica. Digestive disorders like bloating, constipation, gastritis, vomiting, & acid reflux. Post operative and post inflection scar tissue and pain.Women’s and men’s health issues. Emotional issues like anxiety, depression, & PTSD.And MUCH MORE!

Emotions of the Organs

Thoughts and emotions have a great impact on how our body functions. Organs can store emotions and cause emotions. You may experience after effects of emotional output, more lucid dreaming, nostalgia, etc., as well as physical sensations, as your body tries to integrate and process through the work.

Suggested Attire

It is recommended that you wear sports bras or swimsuits, & wear loose fitting pants that can be lowered to the pubis, with no buckles, belts, nor heavy waist bands.

Development of VM

Jean Pierre Barral is an osteopathic physician from France. He became interested in biomechanics while working at the Lung Disease Hospital in Grenoble. Barral was able to follow patterns of stress in the tissues of cadavers as he studied biomechanics in living patients. This led him to the visceral system, its potential to promote lines of tension within the body, and the notion that tissues have memories.  Barral’s clinical work with the viscera led to his gentle manual therapy that focuses on internal organs and the surrounding fascia, and its influence over structural, physiological, and emotional dysfunctions. Barral began to teach VM in 1985.  He continues to train practitioners world wide and has authored several books.

For more information see www.barralinstitute.com

 *photo courtesy of ABMP

Healing Touch Therapy

What is My Version of Healing Touch Therapy?

It is a bodywork designed to meet the needs of clients who have things they want to work on, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. It is a combination of all and any modalities in my toolbox, but most especially craniosacral therapy, somatic emotional release, visceral manipulation, myofascial release, and lymph drainage. It can even incorporate art, play, breath & movement - all with a body-centered focus. The intent is to allow the body to heal itself. We work on the premise that the body is an intelligent body that knows how to self-heal ad self-regulate to seek homeostasis. It is not something "done", nor is it a method of "fixing". Our goal is to remove barriers that interfere with the self-healing processes. Secondary to this, we can gain new insights, heal from past trauma or injury, explore healthy touch, investigate sensation and feeling in the body, learn to sense and feel without dissociating, and encourage self-empowerment. Of prime importance is the degree to which you remain present with the touch because dissociation can lead to re-traumatization. 

I try to encourage and engage our collective inner wisdom to navigate your complex interconnected fascial system. I let your body speak to my hands. Together we collaborate on the healing process. My work, as therapist, is to form an equal partnership with you, the client, to discover a place that wants attention in the body and to simply be with that area and wait until something presents itself and trust that something will happen. The client has complete control to the degree that any area is explored. We are both there to hold the space, to witness, to use insight, and to track what's happening in the body. This aids you in accessing your somatic issues in a safe and nurturing environment. 

In my typical session I start with a general or local listening to see if anything jumps out at me as a place to start. Or I may take us through a progressive body scan until something emerges. Or I may just start with craniosacral therapy which is a good interface with this work. Then using simple touch and hold we listen to the body. For clients with trauma self-empowerment and choice is key to staying safe, so you would direct me as to whether we need to do massage, continue to touch, breathe, withdraw, move to another area, etc. For others, I may go where I hear a call, but you still have control to direct me as needed. We progress like this until our time is up or until we feel a sense of completion for the session.

This work is done on a vary individual basis and almost always interfaces with the pyschotherapeutic process. Clients need to be willing to connect deeply with themselves and take responsibility for their own experience and healing. 

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