The longer I dedicate myself to the art of healing, the softer I become. My hands, my words, the herbs I work with – all are softer.
In medical school, I was trained in osseous manipulation (cracking backs), but due to my arthritis this was never accessible. I thought I would remain in the realm of biochemistry, diagnostic testing, and juggling complex medical cases – primary care.
Then three years in, reality hit.
I live with a chronic pain condition. It is magnified by stress and demands a level of self care previously unknown to me. Even the act of receiving a massage or chiropractic adjustment could put me in bed for days. I began to question whether I would be able to continue being a doctor or even work as the pain and fatigue were so severe. Then, I found Craniosacral Therapy.
Craniosacral therapy can feel like being held, like being stretched, like currents of energy flowing through your body, muscle twitches, warmth, pulsations, or pretty much nothing at all. We are all unique in our visceral sensitivity.
The premise is working with the body using the hands as tools of communication – this means both guiding and listening. It requires feeling – deeply. It also means slowing down and waiting – lots of waiting.
I practice and receive Upledger Craniosacral Therapy which is very much anatomy based – we trace the connections of your bones, joints, muscles, and soft tissues. We even follow blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatic vessels. I like to explain what I’m feeling to more curious patients. During a recent encounter a 10 year old asked if I have x-ray vision. While my eyes don’t, my hands do.
The best thing about Craniosacral therapy is that you do your own healing with the support of a trained professional. We facilitate your healing; we don’t heal you – talk about a blow to a doctor’s ego!
Another aspect of Craniosacral therapy is Somatoemotional Release (realization). Somato = Body
This brings words into play. Have you ever heard phrases like: “she is a pain in the neck”, “I’ve got a gut feeling”, or “listen to your heart”? These are all examples of feeling emotions in our tissues. Expanding on this concept, we explore emotions and the associated memories that are wrapped up in pain and tension patterns.
For Example: When I was a baby, I almost died. There was an object stuck in my throat. I was rushed to the hospital and was saved by the medical staff. Surrounding this incident was a lie told by the person taking care of me about what I had choked on. That individual insisted that I was choking on one of my little baby fingernails – she pushed the blame from herself to me – an infant.
Fast forward to my adult life, I regularly feel as if there is something caught in my throat. Often I feel as if I can’t communicate exactly what I want to say. I love to sing, but will at times get a catch in my throat that causes a pain that will make me stop. There is nothing physically wrong with my throat; nevertheless, this sensation has persisted for as long as I can remember especially when I’m under stress.
During a craniosacral therapy session, I re-lived the incident and experienced it in a new way. In the end, I had the sensation of removing the object from my throat. The sensation of restriction is no longer there, and communication has come a bit easier for me. With practice, I think it will get even better. This is just one example of a Somatoemotional release process I’ve experienced personally. Many of my patients have had their own experiences on my table.
My Healing Process
Remember the fear that I couldn’t continue being a doctor? That worry was very evident for me in 2016. To cope, I slowed things down at work, ate healthier, slept more, moved my body more, and took all the supplements – I walked my talk. My car was even stolen – talk about a signal to slow down! All of this wasn’t enough.
Then I started really exploring Craniosacral therapy in 2017. I had taken all the classes offered by a local therapist in 2016, but I wanted to go deeper. I took my first Upledger class, and off I went never looking back.
I went from constant pain and weakness in most of my joints to mild discomfort that comes and goes. My hands went from looking and feeling like Mickey Mouse Gloves to looking almost normal. I can once again sit down and read textbooks and retain information. My extreme fatigue and bouts of anxiety and depression shifted to being in-love with my life. Ask me about chocolate cake sometime!
All this without an arsenal of pharmaceutical drugs, supplements, fancy exercise programs, or super restrictive eating.
I’m going to keep on loving life and gently sharing that love with you, the people who turn to me for aid, relief, and support. I’ll continue my work with the Upledger Institute assisting in two courses in 2020. I will to continue to teach herbal medicine making classes in the community for donations. I’m going to continue to support the Portland, Oregon Craniosacral community by holding practice groups and mentoring other therapists who seek my aid.
And, I’m going to move my practice closer to home. This means Troutdale. My Milwaukie office will remain open until the end of May 2020, but the transition has begun. I may even switch from an insurance based model to a cash practice lowering my rates to help more people for whom the insurance model isn’t working.
What’s next for you?
If you would like my soft words, soft herbs, and soft hands to help along the way – you know where to find me.
To our health!