Is parenting quite literally sucking the life out of you?

I’m here today to talk about the role CranioSacral Therapy (CST) can play in supporting parents and guardians of infants and young children.  As a new parent, I came to realize there was little support for extended support for moms of babies and toddlers.  The medical system releases you 6 weeks after the baby is born and then you’re kind of own your own to heal. The entrance of a new little bundle of joy can be an equally joyful and exhausting experience.  Some parents weather that exhaustion well, while others seem to really struggle with the sleepless nights and constant care an infant requires.  I’m going to talk specifically about the biological mothers of babies and children but fathers and guardians can also find benefit from CST.  

First, we need to address you, mama, the uniquely individual person you are, with your own history, your own birth, your own triumphs and struggles.  Did you know that the nervous system of the mother gets imprinted on the baby she is carrying?  That means that even you, new mama, were once a tiny baby and the events that happened surrounding the conception, pregnancy, and birth of you, were imprinted on your teeny tiny nervous system.  Was your mother in a relatively low stress situation while she was pregnant with you or was she in an unsafe or high stress situation?  These events and memories were imprinted onto you, whether you were aware of it or not.   If those traumas weren’t resolved, they carried forward and are still with you today.   When traumas aren’t resolved, we are positioned to repeat them until the cycle is broken.   That being said, not every mom, dad, or guardian needs to go this far back but this is a crucial aspect to begin to wrap your mind around when addressing the deep needs of the nervous system, trauma, and healing the whole person. 

So now you have this baby, toddler, or rambunctious kid.  Do you still not have your energy back?  Perhaps you need to consult your Doctor and see an Endocrinologist to have your thyroid levels checked.  Moms of babies and young children are chronically wiped out in this regard.  Parenting is so hard!  It takes a lot of your mental, physical, and emotional resources.  Not to mention time.  Life will never be the same.

Are you already low energy but when any additional stress gets thrown your way, you can’t handle it? Do you frequently  get sick or are in constant pain?  You likely have a nervous system that isn’t able to handle the stress of what comes next because your resources are so low. This is where CST can enter the picture. 

CST will reduce strain on the nervous system, which is housed within the spine and cranium.  Our bodies create tripwires in the nervous system.  Let me explain what I mean about tripwires.  Our primal ancestors had this evolutionary trait because they needed to be able to quickly respond to a stressful situation, like an attack from a predator, and the quick stress response allowed humans to enter fight or flight mode, without having to think the situation through.  However, our modern lives are much different.  When our body senses a stress but no action is taken, the energy from that stressful occurrence stays in our body and nervous system.  When nervous system tripwires are created but not resolved, they only serve to keep us in a heightened fight or flight state, not dissolving the reaction and causing strain and dysfunction. 

As a new parent, you are primally wired for survival of the species, ie, the precious new baby.  Personal needs get pushed to the side, which is natural and to be expected.  Mama Bear and Papa Bear comes out. However, if the body becomes so depleted it can no longer respond to stress, parents can develop insomnia, become frequently sick, be in chronic pain, or develop other conditions. 

With CST, your body will be able to reach that parasympathetic, rest and digest, state. With a more relaxed and resilient nervous system, you will be able to bounce back from illness faster and reduce the aches and pains of carrying children all day. CST can restore healthy responses to stress so you can get back to chasing kids!

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Why didn’t you fix me in one session?

True healing takes time. There I said it. I’m not pussyfooting the issue anymore. While I would never suggest someone not follow their medical professional’s advice, there is more we can do to heal ourselves. People need hip replacements, emergency surgery, life saving medication, etc. Doctors are great, I see mine at least once a year, I vaccinated my daughter, I am not a complete drop out from modern Western Medicine. I am, however, a fierce proponent of taking charge of your life to the best of your ability.

From the CranioSacral Therapy (CST) perspective, too much interference with medications and surgeries can slow the body’s own ability to heal. CST frees up restrictions in the nervous system so the body can effectively respond to stress, facilitating healing.

The path to healing with CranioSacral is also not always one people are ready to embark upon. How did you get to where you are seeking this work? CST isn’t a one-hit wonder therapy. Trigger points aren’t magically pushed on and released.

What will you notice? After your first session, I encourage you to write observations about how you feel and your emotional state. What was the frequency and/or severity of your pain before and the days after? How has your anxiety or mental health changed? Did you notice shifts in another prevailing issue we weren’t necessarily focused on?

CranioSacral is like the zinnias I planted in late May that didn’t start blooming until mid July. Popping up out of the ground, growing leaves, reaching for the sun, creating a bud, and slowly but surely opening the bud to become a beautiful vibrantly colored flower. Imagine the shifts that occur over each CranioSacral session like a stage in growing a flower. I like plant analogies. You can also visualize it like an onion. Peel away the outer skin and leaves before you finally get to the part you are trying access.

Why isn’t your headache gone in one session? Well, there is underlying stress, tension in the fascia, possible movement in the cranium that needs to happen, before they can completely resolve. Perhaps there is a little emotional stuff in there too. We’re talking about a macrocosmic perspective of the body, not a microcosmic perspective.

Healing takes time.


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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.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/craniosacral-and-rolfing-si-clinic-tickets-60104933474?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

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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Creating space for stillness

It’s not news that our modern lives are so full of noise and interruptions that finding space for stillness can be difficult.   I consider absolute silence a luxury, that isn’t what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about allowing space for quietness, away from expectations of conversations, emails, demands of our daily lives, etc.

What I tell first time CranioSacral Therapy (CST) clients is that they are welcome to be chatty, or if they would prefer quiet, that is fine too.  I will check in periodically to see what they are noticing or experiencing.  I start at the feet, holding the heels, feeling for the movement of the CranioSacral Rhythm (CSR).  The CSR is a pulse that can be felt throughout the entire body.  Where it is not present, or disrupted, is an area where CST can be applied.   What I do is listen.  I listen to the body and what it is telling me.  I listen to you, the client.  Our bodies have wisdom.  We are the culmination of our own experiences from before we were even born. Our bodies have the ability to heal themselves when the nervous system is properly functioning.

What I do is allow space for stillness.  Allowing the conscious awareness of the mind and body to slow down so that our core being can be heard.  Whatever you want to call it, soul, inner wisdom, God, Gaia, Travis, that is the part of us that knows what we need to heal.

 

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Transitioning to a new way of approaching bodywork

As I prepare to transition my practice away from solely deep tissue work, I want to take a moment to reflect on how I got to this point.  I have been practicing massage therapy since 2006 and have acquired skills, wisdom, intuition, and professionalism along the way.  I started out wanting to do nearly bone crushing massage, giving as much at each session as I could.  Pressing on a knot or muscle group can have that “hurt so good” feel and there are plenty of benefits from getting relief from deep tissue massage.

What I want to do is look beyond the pressing and the rubbing and really listen to the body of the client that is on the table.  I have learned that you can push on the same knots each time a client comes in but until a deeper correction is made in the fascia and nervous system, those issues will likely continue.  Maybe what your leg needs to feel better is to rest in a comfortable position for 2 minutes while I subtly allow the muscle spindle fibers to reset.  Perhaps using deep pressure to release trapezius trigger points actually activates a fight or flight response for you and makes the work counterproductive.   Is there a major stressor or change in your life that has coincided with the onset of pain?  Let’s explore that connection.

Combining all of my skills in each session can really produce a remarkable outcome.  There is more than one path to healing.  Shifting away from the “deep tissue only” paradigm is something that I’m excited about.  Including CranioSacral Therapy in all of my sessions will allow clients to feel more connected to their bodies and also allow for deep relaxation.

Come with me on this new journey, you will be glad you did!

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Frequently asked CranioSacral Therapy questions

 

As I slowly shift my practice to focus more on CranioSacral Therapy, I am getting more clients asking me questions about what it is.  Here are a few frequently asked questions:

FAQ CranioSacral Therapy (CST)

What is CranioSacral Therapy?

CranioSacral Therapy is hands-on therapy that uses precise contact and palpation in helping to reduce interference and structural strains at the level of the nervous system and its surrounding craniosacral system

What should I expect from a CranioSacral session?

You will remain clothed during the session.  Many people feel a sense of deep relaxation.  Some people start feeling sensations in parts of their body that weren’t previously accessible.  Their body is starting to come back “online”.  Often people will notice where the practitioner is working and another part of the body will “light up” with sensation.  

How will I feel afterwards?

Everyone has a different experience with CST.  CST releases long held physical and emotional patterns that have been held in the body and the nervous system.  Our bodies need to reorganize from the chaos so sometimes clients will feel “off”, have a slight headache, or sleep worse for a couple of nights while their body reorganizes and integrates the work. 

Is it magic?

No, not at all.  When structural movement is restricted, especially around the brain and spinal cord, it can have a powerful impact on the way the rest of the body functions.  When those restrictions are released the body reorganizes. 

Is CranioSacral Therapy right for me?

At times,  physical and emotional traumas may bubble to the surface to be released, these are “trip wires” for the nervous system.  I work with clients that are hoping to gain better body awareness, are seeking relief from chronic pain, have anxiety, and are looking to reorganize their system for better function.  

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Rotator Cuff Injuries

Dealing With Rotator Cuff Injuries

You’ve been doing Olympic lifting for a while. Or stocking tall shelves. Or cheerleading, throwing your partners overhead. Everything was great! Until suddenly, it wasn’t. Ice and ibuprofen didn’t quite do the trick, so you visited the doctor. And lo and behold, you’ve got a rotator cuff injury and two questions:

How the heck did this happen?

and

What on earth do I do now?

You and your shoulder: it’s complicated!

Dem bones

Despite all falling under one general name, the “shoulder” actually consists of four (or maybe five) different joints. The sternoclavicular joint is where your collar bone connects to your breastbone. The acromioclavicular joint (which even doctors just call the AC joint, because nobody has time for all that) is where the very top of your shoulder blade connects to the far end of your collarbone. The glenohumeral joint is where the ball of your humerus fits into the bowl of your shoulder blade. And then there is another joint (or maybe two, depending on who you ask) that is a “false joint” as well.

The meat of the matter

Into this complicated mechanical mess go a host of muscles. There are chest muscles that move the shoulder. There are back muscles that move the shoulder. And there are even muscles of the arm that help move the shoulder, even though that sounds weirdly like trying to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.

But not everything is about movement, which is why you have a rotator cuff. These are the muscles that keep your shoulder stable. These four muscles (Yes, four. I told you it was complicated.) include supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor. If you feel like those all sound like fun spells you might learn at Hogwarts, you’re not alone. If they all sound very sensible to you, optime bene! Write your high school Latin teacher a thank-you note. These four muscles keep your arm from dislocating when you lift it over your head or move it around. Which is kind of magical, if you think about it.

How rotator cuff injuries develop.

If you are building strength in the muscles that lift and move your arms at the shoulder, this allows you to lift more. But when this is done in a way that is very fast, with poor technique, when already tired, or without a corresponding amount of attention given to strengthening the stabilizers of the shoulder, this puts a lot of extra stress on those rotator cuff muscles. This can cause them to fail in their job, allowing the shoulder capsule to stretch (not good), the head of the humerus to start to migrate out of its spot in the shoulder (kind of bad), or the muscles of the shoulder literally shearing off from their bony attachment (DEFINITELY bad). Other injuries caused by overloaded rotator cuff muscles include tendonitis and nerve impingement.

So … I messed up my shoulder.

Go see your doctor.

For real. Ice and ibuprofen will get you some relief, but as mentioned earlier, shoulders are incredibly complicated. The chances of your being able to accurately self-diagnose your specific problem are slim to none. And if you’ve got a serious tear going on, waiting to have it repaired will only lead to further degradation of the joint. If you don’t have arthritis yet, that’s like begging for it to start. Nobody’s excited about a trip to see their physician, but that’s what adults do. Sorry!

Okay, okay. But then what?

It totally depends on what kind of injury you have going on. It might be the sort of thing that taking a break from Crossfit for a while can fix. You might need injections. You might need surgery. There will probably be physical therapy involved, to strengthen your shoulder stabilizers and correct any outsized range of motion you’ve developed from lifting/gymnastics/swimming/pitching/etc. But regardless, you’ll need to be more mindful of how you use (and abuse) your shoulders in the future.

Actually, it turns out my shoulder is fine. But how can I prevent rotator cuff injuries in the future?

Get serious about form.

Yes, if you work out, it’s fun to see if you can do things as quickly as possible (I’m looking at you, Crossfitters), but that’s also the fastest path towards injury. Working with a trainer or coach and really nailing down the details of form before increasing the intensity and speed of your exercise will help keep your shoulders working properly.

If you don’t really need to be reaching overhead, don’t do it.

Climb up on a stool when you’re pulling down boxes in the garage. Get a good stepladder when you’re painting your dining room. Reaching overhead is the toughest movement on your shoulder muscles, and adding weight or resistance to that only increases the strain. It only takes a minute to be kinder to your poor shoulder joint.

If you’re working out your arms, make sure to address your shoulder stabilizers too.

Working with a personal trainer (or, if you’re already experiencing problems, a physical therapist) can help you get on the right track with a routine to gradually build up more stability in your shoulders.

Can massage help with rotator cuff injuries?

Well, it’s not going to fix your shoulder.

BUT, there is a small but growing body of research that shows massage can help with shoulder pain, especially in conjunction with physical therapy. So if you’re already recovering from your injury, getting a massage can help you to feel better while you regain your range of motion and strength.

If you’re an athlete or work in a field requiring a large amount of physical labor, it’s also natural to feel some degree of anxiety about being injured. This is an area where massage really shines, helping you relax and cope with the stress that comes along with injury.

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Fads, Fixes, and Fakes: dealing with health hype around the new year


“New year, new you!”

Is there any time of year more obsessed with health habits than the new year? Even the “beach body” craze of late May doesn’t reach the same level of hype. Every time you turn the corner, somebody else is trying to get you to try a class, a supplement, a shake, a piece of equipment, a diet, a lifestyle … and it can be exhausting trying to figure out what’s bona fide and what’s bogus. It’s perfectly normal to look forward to a fresh start in January (or not!), but here’s a little guidance on whether to put money down on that hot new habit after the holidays.

Is it promising a quick fix?

If whatever you’re thinking of trying swears you’ll get the desired result in no time at all, you can be pretty sure you’re entering into scam territory. The human body is based on homeostasis. It can change, and it does, but most of those changes occur over time. There’s a reason why most things that cause fast changes in the body (like surgery and drugs) require a physician to administer them; they can be dangerous if not used carefully. If you’ve been out of shape for five years, don’t expect to get back in shape in five weeks. That’s just not how the body works.

Does it promise a panacea?

There are diets that can help you lose weight. There are exercise routines that can help you gain muscle and strength. There are massages that can help you relax and manage your stress levels. (Might want to get on that one soon.) But if someone is selling One Amazing Thing that will evaporate your fat, increase your happiness, straighten your posture, whiten your teeth, cure your cancer, and send your sex drive through the roof? You can be pretty sure it’s not worth your money. No, that essential oil will not prevent ebola, but it does smell nice and could help improve your mood if you like it. Don’t pay a Magical Thinking Tax for exaggerated claims.

Is it relying on conspiracy theories for marketing?

Conspiracies can be fun to read about, but if the main selling point is that “doctors hate it” or “Big Pharma doesn’t want you to know about this,” it’s probably not the best addition to your life. Why? Because you and your physician (and your dentist, your massage therapist, your counselor, your personal trainer, your nutritionist …) are part of your health and wellness team. If any one of them refuses to be a team player, they’re not doing what’s best for you. Casting aspersions on some of your VIPs? Not cool. If you haven’t heard much about a particular tool, it’s probably not because your health team is trying desperately to get you to stick to being sick. It’s much more likely that the thing just doesn’t work at all.

Does it fit your life, your budget, your goals, and your understanding of reality?

If yes, then this is something worth looking into, whether it’s a gym membership, a cookbook of heart-healthy meals, or a habit tracking app. Ultimately, we try things out and see how they work for us over the long haul. Not everything will be a perfect fit, but at least we can weed out some of the resolutionist marketing malarkey and move forward with our best efforts into the new year.

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What to expect during a massage

What to expect at your massage

When you arrive at the office for your massage, I’ll have a brief intake form  for you to complete. We’ll talk about why you’re coming in for a massage and what you your goals are for the session. Are you having pain or need to relax? Would you like more than one modality, like a massage and CranioSacral Therapy combination?

 

Once we have finished the intake, I’ll leave the room so you may undress, get on the massage table, and get comfortable under the draping sheet & blanket.

Most massage techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed; however, what you wear it is entirely up to you. Simply put: bottom undergarment can be left on or taken off. You will be properly draped throughout the massage.  For a session that is only CranioSacral Therapy you will remain clothed but take off your shoes.

Depending on the issues we’re planning to address, I may start the massage on your face, neck and shoulders, or maybe on your back.  While I have scented essential oils, I will never use them without your prior permission.

During the massage

It’s great if you can let your body relax and sink into the table. If I need to move your arms or legs, etc, I’ll do the work! This takes practice.

It’s really important for you to tell me if any massage techniques I use cause pain. Pain is not okay. There may be a certain level of discomfort and ‘good ache’ if we’re working on a problem area. It’s important that you tell me about that, too, so we can tailor the massage to be most effective without causing injury.

I’ll check in with you as we go, but please speak up if you become too warm or too cool, if you are not comfortable on the table, or need another pillow, or if you just hate the music!

After the massage

You should expect to feel mellow and relaxed after your massage. If we addressed pain issues, you may immediately feel a reduction in pain, or it may take a day or two before you feel that relief. If you are ever very sore following a massage, (it’s rare, but it can happen) please call me so we can discuss the best course of action, and so that I can make notes to adjust your next massage.

I hope you enjoy your massage! You can schedule online here anytime.

http://www.genbook.com/bookings/slot/reservation/30184413?bookingSourceId=1000

 

 

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CranioSacral Therapy and massage

“What type of massage and bodywork do I need?”  This is an excellent question that I get quite a bit.  First off, I listen to my clients and what their bodies are telling me.  I base the majority of sessions around a deep tissue Swedish massage style but mix it up through out the treatment based on what the client has discussed with me.  Quite often I mix in CranioSacral therapy (CST).  This is a light touch therapy and I find that it helps the client to relax and “melt” which in turn makes my job easier.  CST has become my go to addition for anyone coming in talking about being anxious, not being able to relax, needing grounding, experiencing both tension and migraine headaches, or recovering from a physical or emotional trauma.  Really, the CST and deep tissue massage combo is my jam.  It’s where I excel.   It is becoming my passion.  What I like about CST is that I can help a client resolve a physical or emotional trauma without having to talk about the traumatic event.  CST can facilitate healing on a deep level without activating the fight or flight response that can happen with some people receiving deep tissue massage.   I know my limits and don’t pretend to be a talk therapist.  If you need one I have some great referrals for you!

I also do Gua Sha for areas of the back and neck that feel like there is little circulation but a lot of tension.  Just getting over an illness or in the midst of allergies?  I would suggest some Lymph Drainage Therapy.  I also will do trigger point massage on needed areas, abdominal massage, Pfrimmer Deep Muscle Therapy, or some assisted and unassisted stretching.  I’m big on communication so if I’m ever doing something that I don’t like, please tell me.  It’s your massage and you should never endure something that you aren’t comfortable with!

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News

Cashing in your Groupon voucher?  You’re in the right place! You can book your appointment online, simply follow the online booking link and select the Groupon service.

CranioSacral Therapy packages (for CST only):

3-1 hour sessions $225, save $15

5-1 hour sessions $370, save $30

Referral discount: Have you loved your CranioSacral Therapy sessions?  Send in a friend and receive 15% off of your next treatment.

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