This week I met with Dr John Hughes at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine to discuss providing taster treatments to clinicians at the Hospital's Self-Care Space in order to raise awareness of Craniosacral Therapy as part of the CSTA’s Awareness Week campaign, and to encourage patient referrals. We’ll be based there during the week and there is also potential for future collaborations and further research into its effectiveness for a variety of health issues. Groundbreaking and exciting times where the worlds of conventional and complementary healthcare are merging. 💜
CST & Breastfeeding:
One afternoon I was called to do a Craniosacral sessions at home with a new mum who was having difficulty feeding her baby, and her friend, a breastfeeding expert and midwife at Ealing Council sat in on the session.
Slightly apprehensive at being watched by an ‘official’ NHS employee who was curious about the process, I began working with the baby and holding the space and soon we witnessed the baby transforming into a calmer, happier being whose rigid body started to soften and release. The following day feeding became easier and it wasn’t long before latching on was no longer a problem and the baby was putting on weight.
The pressure new mums feel to breastfeed successfully is immense. The stigma attached to being a bad mum, the feeling of being clueless and the fear that there is something wrong with either their baby or their body can be agonising. Feeding problems are incredibly common, and can be due to tongue tie, misplaced jaws, the skull bones being contorted during the birth process (particularly with forceps or a ventouse) consequently effecting the upper palate and making it hard to suck or swallow. The neck might be twisted trapping the vagus nerve and making digestion uncomfortable, and even the pelvis being out of alignment can effect the jaw, gut and oesophageal tract. Not to mention the emotional trauma of being born! And some mums just can’t produce enough milk and need to mix or change to formula just to fill their babies up. So new mums know that you’re doing a fantastic job!
Great review from the lovely @thefatgirlsguidetorunning who came for a taster treatment with me at our pop-up today with her gorgeous daughter. Wishing you lots of luck for the NYC Marathon!
I'm delighted to invite you to the Craniosacral Therapy Association's pop-up event that I'm organising on Saturday 20th October 10am-5pm. Myself and other experienced practitioners will be giving restorative taster treatments as part of our Awareness Week at the beautiful 19 Greek St, W1D 4DT gallery space in the heart of Soho. We'll be giving away goody bags filled with tasty treats from Ombar raw chocolate plus essential oil mixes. Message me for details, or pop down and say hello on the day!
We’re incredibly proud to announce that today we (the CSTA) won ‘Best Complementary Therapy Research’ category at the Complementary Therapy Awards held by the FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists). Huge congratulations to Dr Nicola Brough PHD and thank you for all your hard work! Exciting times ahead - stay tuned!
I was invited to the House of Commons as part of the CSTA PR Team once again last week, where Dr Michael Dixon, current Chair of the College of Medicine (and former chair of the NHS Alliance /former President of the NHS Clinical Commissioners) gave an engaging talk about how he views the future of medicine to be on the path to becoming more integrated.
He proposed that with new doctors beginning to advocate nutritional advice (doctors currently receive hardly any training), and ‘social prescription’ (community-based support, yoga and mindfulness) over the use of drugs, recommendations for complementary therapies will inevitably follow. Dr Dixon said a few years ago he would have been hunted down and ridiculed for making such statements (his Wikipedia page used to be altered up to 3 times a day), but things now seem to be changing. The NHS have already expressed interest in 'social prescription' following recent studies in Rotherham, West London and Gloucester which demonstrate its effectiveness in reducing doctors visits by 25% and 50% in older patients. This is significant as using local resources then opens the door for complementary therapies to come into play. Dr Dixon also spoke about how scientific evidence is not necessarily the right kind of evidence with which to measure complementary therapies, and how it largely ignores patient experiences.
Overall there was a sense of excitement for the future of complementary therapies, with new doors opening for integrated medicine.
We were privileged to work with Sophie and Matthew whose twins were born at just 26 weeks, and went on to receive a diagnosis of Autism. Here's their story of how Craniosacral Therapy helped support their boys:
Here's our Craniosacral and Meningitis film made in association with the charity Meningitis Now. In the film Dillon tells his story of how Craniosacral Therapy helped support his recovery after he was left with debilitating headaches and sensitivity:
The CSTA were represented at the House of Commons today by Amal and Beatrice, discussing the potential threat to all complementary therapies that recent and ill thought-through proposals from the NHS and Charity Commission may bring about on an international scale.
Herbal and homeopathic medicines are specifically being examined, closely followed by acupuncture, but the impact will be felt by all complementary therapies. Sign the petition here:
Craniosacral Therapy and its effectiveness for migraines got a mention in the Sunday Telegraph's Stella Magazine!:
"Craniosacral therapy, which uses gentle touch to manipulate the body, does exactly that. ‘Craniosacral therapy improves the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid and movement of fascia, the sheath of fibrous tissue that encloses the muscle. It also greatly benefits the central nervous system, which controls every system in the body from hormones to muscles,’ O’Connor explained.
I headed for a treatment three months ago. Far from being painful, I nearly dozed off. It didn’t wipe out my symptoms completely but I found was able to join in with my children’s One Direction warbling on the way to and from school, rather than demanding we travel in silence."
In CST we often work with the naval centre. The belly button, made up of scar tissue is a reminder of our greatest battle: being born. Once tethering us to our mother, it is the portal through which we manifest into material existence. Supplying nutrients between bodies, it is our lifeline, and if cut too soon after birth, the shock can leave its mark. Consisting of reflex points that affect the health of the whole body, it is surrounded by neurons igniting communication through the gut and onto the brain. The original seat of consciousness, although for most deflected via the heart to the head; an anchor for our primary life force centre.
When I treat a stressed person during CST, their system often feels as if it is bubbling or fizzing, as if something is preparing to implode. Sometimes the body starts to lightly shake as releases begin to happen, or sometimes the system and body tissues can feel quite frozen or contracted. Emotions may surface, or there can simply be a deep sense of relief and relaxation. As the treatment progresses the breath deepens, fluidity returns and there is a sense of expansion and peace.
When our bodies are constantly in 'flight or fight' mode, for example when we're anxious, working too hard or under any kind of pressure, our 'rest or digest' mode is compromised and our body can't carry out its normal functions properly, or heal. We can become tense, run down, disconnected and overwhelmed. CST works directly with nervous system to re-connect us to a state of calmness, clarity and renewed energy.
As Above, So Below. The cranium and the pelvis are 'bowls' in the body that reflect distortions in one another and down the spine, affecting the whole system. In CST we can affect the whole body by working with the bones in the skull. Even misalignments in the jaw discovered during dental work can be reflected in the pelvis and vice versa. Picture taken in The Wellcome Collection.
I'm deeply touched by this beautiful poem from a client about her experiences of CST. Often, Craniosacral Therapy can assist past stresses and emotions to emerge and release, creating a sense of space and enabling us to move forward.
THIS THING YOU DO......
What is this thing you do - could you heal the world -
give your life up to that? Not die for but live for
The baby, plugged in for her short life, tiny chest rises and falls
at the behest of a machine, could you have saved her
Day-lily buds rose-tipped wait for tomorrow
to fulfil themselves. One glorious day.
She is beautiful, her soft cheeks faintly flushed
rounded, well-nourished in the womb, as if robust.
Jasmine, beside itself with blossom and scent
never so lush, never this heady this heavenly.
This babe has not learned to smile yet if smiling is learned,
she has little to smile for, but neither does she cry out.
Bindweed wreaks it's havoc, Convolvulos, fragile
white trumpets bely habit, choke sweetness.
The baby, enclosed, out of reach, no tender finger
to soothe her day. Nothing now to hold on to.
Looking up, sunlit splendour of a weeping Plane tree
reminds me, life is magnificent........
this thing you do is love, does the baby remember love
could that love have saved her......
could I have set her free if I had loved her more
if her fate had not been sealed by medical decree........
Fay Avsec 7.2015