What is Gua Sha?

Gua sha is a technique that scrapes the skin using a tool such as a coin, spoon, or specialized gua sha tools. Originally used as a folk remedy in Traditional Chinese Medicine to relieve cold and respiratory symptoms, the current offerings for gua sha with a quick Google search bring up hits for facials, lymph drainage, beauty treatments, reducing inflammation, and the list goes on.

I was first introduced to gua sha in massage school back in 2006. We applied massage lotion to an area of the back that was tight and sore, then used the edge of a tiger balm lid to scrape the sore spot. The affected area produced a bright rosy patch which calmed down after several days. After the session, we were told that the client shouldn’t remove their shirt or allow the area to get cold for 24 hours.

In my practice, I recommend gua sha for muscle adhesions, areas that lack blood flow, and stubborn knots. Small red marks called petichiae may appear after scraping but after several days the redness will subside. The scraping creates a small bruise and the body responds by sending fresh blood and lymph to the area, along with assisting in moving and loosening up tissue.

Gua sha is the older sister of the Graston Technique® used by many Physical Therapists and Chiropractors. Graston practitioners focus on explaining the technique through anatomical and physiological terms, while gua sha is explained by moving “qi” or life energy. They are both techniques that involve scraping the skin to improve movement within the body.

While I don’t offer gua sha as an exclusive treatment, it may be included in any length of massage scheduled.

To book your massage, go to:


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Craniosacral therapy after a car accident

Have you had the unfortunate experience of having a car accident? Are you still experiencing lingering pain even though you “checked out okay” at the scene? Consider CranioSacral Therapy (CST) as part of your recovery.

When you have a Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) your body can experience the effects of the shock for months or even years afterwards. The MVA can introduce new injuries, patterns of restriction, pain, and emotional trauma, that are layered on top of previous ones. These traumas restrict the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, which is our body’s way of healing the brain and nervous system.

Additionally, when we experience an event, like a car accident, our sympathetic nervous system is engaged. This is the body’s fight or flight response. Adrenaline and cortisol get released, your heart rate increases, your breathing is faster. These effects typically subside within 30 minutes but sometimes they don’t. When they don’t subside it starts to put strain on the body. Craniosacral therapy activates the parasympathetic nervous system, your rest and digest response, and provides your body the opportunity to deeply relax so restrictions can be released.

Through CranioSacral Therapy, energy from the accident is released, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, and new and old injuries and patterns of restriction can be resolved.

To book an appointment follow the link for online booking:


Note, HSA is accepted at Trillium Bodywork but I do not bill insurance. I can easily provide receipts for treatments.

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Reopening Trillium Bodywork

Many of us have had a wild ride since March.  I hope you’ve been weathering the storm as well as can be expected. Trillium Bodywork has been closed since March 13th and I have mostly focused on the needs of my family since then.

Over the last month I have started to begin the process of opening back up.  My plan is to reopen August 5th.  If you would like to reserve a spot now, my online schedule is now available for scheduling.  


As with everything now, it is subject to change if MCCSC shuts down or there is a major spike in infections in our area. 

I am implementing a number of changes in my office to protect both myself and the client:

-Each massage client will get their own blanket, in addition to the single use sheets, that will be washed through my laundry service
-Upon arrival to the office I will be taking temperatures with a forehead thermometer and doing a brief health screening
-I will be using a face mask and I am requiring clients use them too except when they are face down.  I will have masks available if you arrive without one
-Adding 15 more minutes between clients to sanitize all surfaces and air out the room
-Both of us will sanitize our hands before starting the session
-I will wear a clean apron for each client
-I will be doing away with clients touching my phone, and I will be adjusting my credit card processing settings

There is still a cancellation policy but if you are not feeling well or have been recently exposed to a person with COVID, please cancel, you will not be charged!  Illness has and always will be exempt from the cancellation policy. 

In an attempt to diversify my skill set, I am starting bookkeeping and accounting classes this fall at Ivy Tech.  My work schedule will shift with my school schedule.  This is the tentative office schedule for the remainder of 2020:
August 5th-October 25th
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:30am-4:30pm
October 26th – December 20th 
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:30am-4:30pm

Finally, with an increase in laundry costs, purchasing equipment and PPE, and increased time between clients, my rates will be increasing in August.  60 minute appointments will be $90 and 90 minute appointments will be $125. 

Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions or concerns.  I look forward to the opportunity to work with you again.  Thank you for your support!

Stay Healthy!


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Self care for chronic depletion 2.1: sleep anxiety

I wrote so much about sleep in my previous post that I decided to divide it into two different blog posts.

In my previous post I talked about sleep hygiene and gave you 8 points to consider. https://trilliumbodywork.com/self-care-for-chronic-depletion-sleep/ Here I will briefly go over medical conditions, anxiety around sleep, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for sleep.

Do you have a medical condition which is keeping you awake? If you are being kept awake at night from pain, inflammation, breathing problems, or other medical conditions, it is important to see your medical professional to address these issues. No amount of sleep hygiene is going to do much if there is an underlying medical cause. Here are just a few medical conditions to take into consideration which might be affecting your sleep:

  • Nasal/sinus allergies
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as reflux
  • Endocrine problems such as hyperthyroidism
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease
  • Chronic pain
  • Low back pain
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sleep apnea 

Sometimes a sleep study through your local medical institution might be necessary to delve deeper into what is going on with you. A sleep study is much more accurate because, than consumer products that measure sleep. Sleep studies measure brain activity while fancy rings and wrist bands measure body temperature, movement, and blood volume but won’t have the same level of accuracy.


The anxiety around poor sleep is a huge part of perpetuating insomnia.  I also found this to be the case for myself. I tried so many things to get better sleep and in the end, I’ve found that relaxation techniques have been the most effective.  According to sleep Doctor Chris Winter, sleep hygiene is 20% of insomnia and the performance anxiety around sleep is about 80%. Once I found that out, I started a mindfulness meditation practice and it has helped me stop fretting so much about sleep.  I have not read his book but I enjoyed his outlook as a sleep doctor on this podcast:


He had a more balanced approach towards life and getting good sleep.  At times I have listened to interviews or read articles from authors that really went on about the dangers of not getting enough sleep.  You know what those sources did for me? THEY MADE ME WORRY MORE ABOUT SLEEP!!!! While it is important to find out what sleep does for us, if you are trying to get more sleep, please don’t read more articles about how you will shrivel up and die if you have poor sleep.  Just don’t.


What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? “CBT focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions (e.g. thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes) and behaviors, improving emotional regulation,[2][4] and the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems.” source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_behavioral_therapy 

So in regards to sleep, it can help you put in perspective the actual amount of hours you are sleeping, what effects it is having on you, and address your fears and anxiety around sleep.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is highly recommended by the American College of Physicians as an effective tool for insomnia.https://www.acponline.org/acp-newsroom/acp-recommends-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-as-initial-treatment-for-chronic-insomnia

While it might be difficult to find a local therapist, there are books and online programs. I’ve only used books but here are online programs you can buy:


While this book is a little out of date and there could be a better layout, I found the cognitive behavioral therapy approach very helpful and he also doesn’t go on and on about how horrible it is to not get sleep. 

In conclusion, not sleeping well can have huge impacts on how well our bodies heal, especially when we are in a depleted state. Getting better sleep will involve changing habits that might be deeply seated. While sleeping pills can provide some much needed relief, long term usage is not generally recommended. Finding a drug free solution will provide you with more restorative sleep in the long run.

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Self care for chronic depletion part 2.0: sleep hygiene

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

This is the second blog post in my 4 part series on self care for clients receiving CranioSacral treatments for chronic depletion. Clients receiving regular CST for depletion, trauma, complex medical conditions, will really want to make sure they’re taking care of themselves between sessions so they can fully heal.

Sleep.  We all know how important it is for healing and recovery.  If you are working towards bringing yourself out of a depleted state, obtaining good sleep is muy importante.  In our modern world sleep has become more elusive and this can become a vicious cycle of poor sleep, causing anxiety due to lack of sleep, then the anxiety creates more sleep problems.  https://www.sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/what-causes-insomnia

Reading about and listening to podcasts about sleep has become an interest of mine.  I never had sleep issues until my daughter was born in 2014. She started sleeping through the night around 18 months and that’s when I realized I had insomnia.  The constant wakings, combined with other life stressors, threw my sleep rhythm off and it hasn’t been the same since. However, I have learned a great deal in the last 5 years and I am here to share some resources and tips about better sleep and insomnia.


Sleep hygiene, does that mean you make sure everything in your bedroom is really squeaky clean? No. Sleep hygiene is creating the right environment for your body to shift into nighty night mode. Here are some sleep hygiene tips to consider:

1. Associate your bed with sleep.

-keep your bed for sleep and sex, that’s it. Put that Iphone away!  In fact, charge it away from your bedside so you won’t be tempted. 

-If you are laying wide awake for more than 20 minutes, get up and go to another room.  If you live in a tiny place, at least sit in a chair, not in your bed. 

2. Turn down the lights. 

-Not all lighting is created equal.  Invest in some lamps that you can replace with the old fashioned incandescent bulbs.  These do not mimic daylight the way flourescent and LED lights do. While these lighting systems are more energy efficient, they are telling your brain that it is still daylight and it can be inhibiting the production of melatonin.  Put night lights with incandescent bulbs in your bathrooms so you aren’t blasted by a ray of sunlight when you go to brush your teeth before bed. 

-If you absolutely must be on a screen an hour or 2 before bed, buy some goofy blue blocker glasses.  Those screens emit blue light which also make your brain think it’s daylight.  

3. Create a mindful and regular pre sleep routine.

-After you’ve gotten some new lamps, make it part of your routine an hour before bed to turn down the lights and choose a calming activity to transition your mind to sleepy town.  You can “train” your body to become sleepier and calm your nervous system before bed. 

4. Keep a consistent schedule. 

-You will be training your internal clock to get sleepy and awake well if you keep consistent bedtimes and rise times. Even if you have poor sleep the night before, wake up at your normal rise time, your body will crave the sleep the next night.

5. Exercise regularly.

-Voluntary cardiovascular exercise 5-6 times per week for at least 40 minutes is shown to also be good for your brain and to successfully combat feelings of depression in addition to helping your sleep.  

-For many people, exercising 3-6 hours before bedtime will allow for a natural rise then fall for body temperature. 

6. Avoid heavy meals late into the evening.  However a light carb snack, like pretzels or crackers, will create a seratonin surge and might help with falling asleep. 

7. Avoid substances that disrupt sleep, especially within several hours of bedtime

-Caffeine has a half life of 5-6 hours.  So if you have a double latte at 4pm, there is still 1 shot of espresso in your system at 10 pm.  My husband is one of those people that can drink coffee and be able to fall asleep right away, so is his mom.  I can’t even eat chocolate after dinner because the caffeine from a few squares gets me wired before bed time! 

-Alcohol and pot might help you pass out but being sedated is not sleep.  Still go have fun with your friends but just know, that is not the same quality of sleep. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-alcohol-affects-quality-and-quantity-sleep


8. Use natural light to your advantage.  No amount of indoor light is going to mimic the sun, even on a cloudy day.  This will help regulate your circadian rhythm. 

Read on in my next blog post about more tips and information about sleep.

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Self care for chronic depletion: Mindfulness

photo credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/yoga-outdoor-woman-pose-young-2176668/

This is the first in a series of 4 posts about self care for chronically depleted individuals.

Receiving CranioSacral Therapy is one road for building resilience when you are depleted. The benefits of regular CranioSacral sessions will be extended when the client undertakes self care between sessions. One way that state of calm that happens during a session can be extended, is through mindfulness meditation.

The ability to focus one’s mind, as in a practice like mindfulness meditation, is associated with greater feelings of peace, relaxation, meaning, purpose, and emotional and mental health. A regular mindfulness practice can help one respond, not react, and feel more in control of their emotions. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/09/7-ways-meditation-can-actually-change-the-brain/#4afd26371465

There are so many resources out there for meditation. I will list some reputable sources, but at the end of the article I will include a framework for you to follow, no smart phone apps or classes are necessary to just get started.

Apps or online resources:

https://www.tenpercent.com. (This is the app I use and I really like the variety of meditations available. There are beginner courses if you are new to mindfulness.) Paid subscription

https://www.headspace.com Paid subscription

https://www.calm.com Paid subscription

https://www.uclahealth.org/marc/mindful-meditations Free!

Local classes:



Find a comfortable seated position that you can hold for 10 minutes. Find a single focus for your meditation. Common suggestions might be one of the following:

-The sensation of air passing through your nostrils

-The physical sensation of your chest expanding and contracting during your breath

-Counting your breaths

Choose only one of the suggestions and stir with it for the full 10 minutes. Notice when your awareness shifts away from your focus and then gently bring your mind back. Be gentle on yourself when you catch your mind wandering and when bringing yourself back to your focus. Noticing your distraction IS mindfulness.

Do this twice a day. After 1 month, increase your time to 15 minutes.

Meditation can seem intimidating if you’ve never tried it. If you have and felt like you were failing because of the monkey chatter in your brain, you are not alone. Straying thoughts are completely normal! No one is a seasoned, mind like a steel trap yogi, when they begin. Be easy on yourself.

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CranioSacral Therapy for Fibromyalgia pain

Frida Kahlo lived in chronic pain. Some think she may have suffered from Fibromyalgia.

Are you looking for relief from Fibromyalgia symptoms? Have you tried certain techniques but still found them to be too rough or overstimulating and so they were not effective? Maybe CranioSacral Therapy would be a good fit for you!

Fibromyalgia is now believed to be a result of pain sensing system that is hypersensitive. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-causes-fibromyalgia/ 

When the central nervous system (CNS) is highly sensitized, the brain is getting more messages for potential harm and fewer messages to filter pain. This results in more sensations being perceived as painful and amplified senses that are difficult to filter. Often, individuals with Fibromyalgia will be able to tolerate gentle work better than deep bodywork. This is where CranioSacral Therapy can be of great value.

Gentle touch is less likely to be perceived as a threat to a highly sensitive nervous system. CranioSacral Therapy stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system so the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system isn’t constantly engaged. Regular CranioSacral Therapy sessions can reduce the pain and agitation that accompanies Fibromyalgia. https://www.massagemag.com/new-research-shows-craniosacral-therapy-reduces-fibromyalgia-patients-pain-7755/

There are also indications that some individuals with Fibromyalgia have endured traumatic events that has eventually led to the it’s onset. The Somato Emotional Release component of CranioSacral Therapy can facilitate healing and integration of these events that may be causing the CNS to be hyper vigilant.

Ultimately, only you can know what is right for you. While a therapy like CranioSacral may seem like an indulgence it can manifest positive change. I recommend trying 5 sessions, weekly, to really see how CranioSacral Therapy cab make a positive impact in your pain levels, sleep, and cognitive functioning.

Ready to start? Click here to book: https://www.genbook.com/bookings/slot/reservation/30184413?bookingSourceId=1000

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Complex presentations and Chronic Depletion

Do you have several body related concerns occurring at once? For example, your right hip hurts, you have fibromyalgia, and a constant ringing in your ears. Don’t forget the mood swings.

In the chronic depletion and CranioSacral framework, we would look at all of your concerns as if they are connected. Have you found that certain therapies that should have been helpful were “too much”? An individual with a complex presentation, having several seemingly unconnected concerns, may require very gentle work to receive effective results and make progress.

Let’s use these mobiles for an analogy. Pick one mobile. How would you get it to move? Now imagine it represents you and each string of objects is one of your health concerns. If we just remove or pick it up by one strand, the mobile will be off balance and move around all wacky or perhaps flip over. If we slowly lift at the top, we will create movement but also maintain overall balance.

This is exactly what CranioSacral for chronic depletion and complex presentations can achieve. By working with the connections and patterns, rather than an attack and destroy methodology, a gentle overall easing within the body can occur.

Ready to get started? Book today!


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Are you chronically depleted?

Do you feeling like you’re burning the candle at both ends? Are you not able to show up for yourself the way you would like? Does any additional stress, no matter how small, seem monumental and overwhelming? Are you in constant pain and agitation? Is your health a rollercoaster?

We all ebb and flow through being depleted and resilient in life, that’s natural. When we are unable to flow into a state of resilience anymore, we become chronically depleted. Chronic depletion is a not a diagnosis but rather a state of exhaustion your body, mind, and spirit are in.

Imagine a campfire with both healthy glowing embers and orange and white flames. The white and orange flames are the quick bursts of energy you can get from day to day. However, the embers are the slow burning life energy. Even when those orange flames are gone, if the embers are hot enough, the fire can restart after being out for quite awhile. When we have resilience, we can restart the fire after a stressful work week with our healthy glowing embers. When we are chronically depleted and have very few embers, a stressful work week can knock us down and keep the fire from coming back.

We all feel fatigued or depleted at times but ongoing fatigue is an entirely different story and can have real implications on your quality of life. Here is a short article from the Mayo Clinic about the effects and causes of fatigue: https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/fatigue/basics/definition/sym-20050894

How do you emerge from chronic depletion? Get adequate sleep, exercise, unplug from technology and give your brain a break. Pay attention to what triggers you to have good and bad days. Begin to recognize the interplay of contributing psychological, social, environmental, biological, lifestyle, and spiritual factors that affect you. Recognizing these connections will help you identify patterns of stress and make necessary changes.

CranioSacral Therapy can help a chronically depleted person build resilience by supporting and integrating the nervous system, listening to the body, and restoring a sense of calm. Stimulating the parasympathetic, or “rest and digest” nervous system will enable the body’s self healing capacities to strengthen and over time increase resilience.

Ready to build resilience? Click here to book online.


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CranioSacral and Rolfing Clinic

Some of the advice massage therapists get after doing this for years is “You should teach, it’s a great way to expand your practice.” I’ve never had much interest in teaching but earlier this year I switched to CranioSacral Therapy and the best way to get people interested in it is to educate them.

Rolfer, Allison Distler, and myself started tossing around the idea of a clinic when we were both at a writing workshop for female business owners. Both Rolfing and CranioSacral Therapy are a little more on the edge of people’s knowledge and we wanted to put together a class for people to really experience what we do and have the chance to ask questions.

When received over a series of treatments, both modalities have the ability to offer deep and lasting unwinding and change in the fascia network, physiology, and emotional healing.

We are excited to offer this clinic to the public and look forward to offering it several times a year. Feel free to email sarah@trilliumbodywork.com or allison.dist@gmail.com with any questions.


Are you interested in our CranioSacral and Rolfing SI clinic on June 2nd? Check out the video we made to find out more!

Posted by Trillium Bodywork on Monday, April 22, 2019
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Appointments are available Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9:30-4:30.

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