Craniosacral Therapy

It is common that a new client will walk in with the main complaint of neck and shoulder discomfort from stress. Although everyone's situation or reason for the stress is different, each body holds patterns of tension in the organs or nervous system and then the muscles tighten in the neck and shoulders after a period of just pushing through to get everything accomplished in life. Breathing becomes shallow, jaw tightens, digestion becomes challenging, inflammation increases as the tissues tighten and restrict lymphatic flow. Toxic build up from inflammatory foods such as dairy, sugar, wheat, corn and tomatoes can weaken our system energetically. Dehydration can be felt in the tissues and the muscles feel stiff. Add the sluggish feeling on top of it, not to mention PTSD, unexpected health concerns and traumas.

These common symptoms associated with neck and shoulder complaints changed the way I work to focus on the underlying causes of muscle tightness. Treating the whole body by releasing the cause of tension in an underlying tissue became a priority for noticeable and longer term success.  I use a combination of manual therapies developed and used by doctors and many types of therapists to help get the body back into balance.

Our bodies need time to integrate changes inbetween sessions. Each session shows a new, deeper, layer. Getting healthy through massage and bodywork is a process, much like losing weight. Layers come off, breathing is improved, hormonesand monthly cycles balance, multiple clients with weight loss is reported, increase in flexibility and able to do daily tasks better like putting on shoes and other physical challenges for some. Organ function and digestion improve, fogginess clears, odd, unexplained physical symptoms disappear, that "invisible heaviness or drag" feeling lifts when the body is aligned and all systems balanced.

This therapy is different from Swedish massage. It is both light pressure in spots to follow your nervous system patterns and deep tissue that is very specific. I use the structure of craniosacral therapy because your nervous system knows what you need. I listen, honor and follow to help take off the layers. This work is complementary to other types of massage, chiropractice and other bodywork therapies.

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is an alternative or complementary healing modality that uses gentle, connective touch to manipulate tissues surrounding the central nervous system to increase and normalize the flow of cerebrospinal fluid through the bones of the head, the spine and the pelvis, thereby restoring health to sufferers of a range of health conditions. Like traditional Chinese medicine, the healing method aims to remove blockages in healthy flow, which result in the manifestation of disease.

Benefits of CST is thought to relieve compression in the head, neck, and back. This can soothe pain and release both emotional and physical stress and tension. It’s also thought to help restore cranial mobility and ease or release restrictions of the head, neck, and nerves.

Craniosacral Therapy is an effective way to reset, rebalance and regroup every time you need it. Schedule regular sessions for preventative care or visit anytime to compliment your current health care routines.

Common Symptoms that are often relieved with Craniosacral Therapy can include:

  • emotional or physical trauma
  • mood disorders such as anxiety or depression
  • feeling overwhelmed or foggy headed
  • fatigue and heaviness from stress
  • migraines and headaches
  • sinus or lymphatic congestion
  • recurrent ear infections or colic in infants
  • neck and throat pain
  • tightness in the face, jaw, TMJ
  • ear and eye pain
  • tooth pain
  • multiple sclerosis
  • fibromyalgia
  • stiffness from protection of emotional self or physical injuries
  • constipation or irritable bowel syndrome

During the treatment, some people experience sensations that include:

  • feeling deep trance-like relaxation or falling asleep
  • daydream-like flashes that are hard to recall afterwards
  • recalling memories that release emotion
  • pulsing sensations when blockages are cleared
  • gentle unwinding from the inside out
  • deeper breath
  • awakening to awareness of the mind/body connection
  • hot or cold sensation
  • feeling of being truly settled in the body

After the treatment, some people experience sensations that include:

  • getting fuller, deeper breaths
  • mental, emotional, spiritual inner peace
  • improved movement from deep inside the body
  • mysterious and undiagnosable pains relieved
  • improved digestion
  • weight loss and more energy
  • hormone regulation improvement
  • reduction in medication per doctor approval
  • ability to feel mind/body connection more clearly
  • less mental static/fear/worry

Lasting effects of Craniosacral therapy can vary depending on multiple factors such as current emotional and physical stress levels, nutrition, movement, hydration and outlook on life. Some symptoms can be immediately relieved and others may take a few days to be noticed. This therapy helps nourish your body's self support system while being assisted back into balance.




Somatic Emotional Release

Somato-emotional release is a therapeutic procedure that uses the concepts of craniosacral therapy  to free the body

and mind of the discomforting side effects of trauma. The therapy focuses on establishing a strong mind-body connection in order for the release of emotional trauma and the resolution of physical symptoms.

Many times, the emotional symptoms that we experience during trauma remain unresolved as the body heals. In order for these remaining symptoms of trauma to heal permanently, a mind-body connection has to be made. Accordingly, somato-emotional release is used as a tool for healing problems that require a mind-body communication.
Tissue memory is one of the important concepts in somato-emotional release. Muscle tissues and cells can store memories that are related to our traumatic experiences. When a particular muscle group is injured during an accident, a memory of that experience is formed in the affected tissue. This usually means that a small, unconscious contraction has formed in the muscle as a protective reminder of the painful experience. If the tissue memory is not appropriately released then the contraction will remain in the muscle as the injury heals, leading to future pain.

When these unconscious contractions are not released, they can spread strain to other parts of the body. Usually your body will adjust to these strain patterns and will begin to feel normal. However, later on in life, these strain patterns can eventually cause chronic pain of which the cause is unknown.

The therapist uses the cranio-sacral technique to engage the muscle contraction in order to evoke the memory associated with the initial trauma. Then the patient can become aware of the memory and deal with it appropriately. Once the release has occurred, the unconscious contraction of the muscle will disappear and the muscle pain will begin to heal. The actual amount of release experienced during therapy will depend on the individual patient.

Somato-emotional release is beneficial to people who are experiencing problems associated with injuries, physical trauma, car accidents, challenging life experiences, and surgery. The release process can be modified to suit the needs of each individual, thereby bringing optimal relief. It can be used as a complimentary therapy to help relieve physical conditions that are intensified by stress, tension, and anxiety. Somato-emotional release is a form of therapy that uses the power of the body-mind connection to facilitate change and the healing process, allowing the body to fully recover from traumatic experiences.

Visceral Manipulation

Visceral Manipulation (VM) was developed by world-renowned French Osteopath and Physical Therapist Jean-Pierre Barral. Comparative Studies found Visceral Manipulation Beneficial for Various Disorders Acute Disorders Whiplash Seatbelt Injuries Chest or Abdominal Sports Injuries Digestive Disorders Bloating and Constipation Nausea and Acid Reflux GERD Swallowing Dysfunctions Women's and Men's Health Issues Chronic Pelvic Pain Endometriosis Fibroids and Cysts Dysmenorrhea Bladder Incontinence Prostate Dysfunction Referred Testicular Pain Effects of Menopause Emotional Issues Anxiety and Depression Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Musculoskeletal Disorders Somatic-Visceral Interactions Chronic Spinal Dysfunction Headaches and Migraines Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Peripheral Joint Pain Sciatica Pain Related to Post-operative Scar Tissue Post-infection Scar Tissue Autonomic Mechanisms Pediatric Issues Constipation and Gastritis Persistent Vomiting Vesicoureteral Reflux Infant Colic VM assists functional and structural imbalances throughout the body including musculoskeletal, vascular, nervous, urogenital, respiratory, digestive and lymphatic dysfunction. It evaluates and treats the dynamics of motion and suspension in relation to organs, membranes, fascia and ligaments. VM increases proprioceptive communication within the body, thereby revitalizing a person and relieving symptoms of pain, dysfunction, and poor posture.


Total Body Balancing

Total Body Balancing (TBB), is based upon the Body Adjustment which was developed by John Wernham D.O.. TBB is a

total body evaluation and a 6-phase osteoarticular treatment approach based on classical osteopathic theory. TBB uses long levers to relax the muscles, fascia, joints, and ligaments to improve circulation, nerve and energy flow, thus normalizing sympathetic and parasympathetic neurological activity with a goal of creating a new homeodynamic state.

TBB will help improve the client's biomechanical structure focusing on reducing muscle tension, fascial tension, increasing joint mobility, and helping to restore proper joint biomechanics, functional ROM, balancing lines of tension and postural alignment. TBB also improves the client's physiological function focusing on balancing organ mobility/motility, blood, lymph, body fluids, nerve, and energy flow while reducing swelling and pain.

You will see immediate changes in your pain and functional level. TBB can be used in the treatment of back pain, sciatica, neck pain, headaches, rib pain, upper and lower extremity orthopedic dysfunctions, swelling, and postural deformities.

Because of the gentleness and effectiveness of TBB, it is appropriate for the following patient populations: pediatrics, geriatrics, sports injuries, auto accidents, general orthopedic conditions, amputees, respiratory, and neurological patients.


Swedish Relaxation Massage

Swedish Relaxation massage is a very relaxing and therapeutic style of bodywork. It combines oils or lotion with an array of strokes such as rolling, kneading, and percussion to help the body improve its circulation. The benefits of this type of bodywork are wide-ranging and include relief from aches and pains, decreased stress levels in the body, enhanced mental clarity, improved appearance, and greater flexibility.


Lymphatic Drainage

Lymphatic Drainage Therapy aims to gently and rhythmically move the lymph through the body, especially swollen areas of the body, relieving pressure and enhancing the functioning of the immune system. As both a preventative and remedial technique, LD can be used for a wide range of purposes including faster recovery from injury, reduction of swelling and discomfort from pregnancy, and strengthened resistance to illness.

Berry Method

If you had asked Lauren Berry what he did for a living, he would have probably responded that he was a mechanic who worked with the innate intelligence of the human body to bring it back into balance. Lauren's education with the human body began at an early age in Oakland, California, where he was born in 1917. His mother had been ill for some time when Lauren made friends with an elderly osteopath from Finland. Since the physician lived down the street, he would have Lauren come over and teach him techniques to use on his mother, who soon recovered.

She began telling her friends of her recovery and several of them wanted to experience her son's work as well. One of these women was the wife of the town coroner. She brought along her son who had been ill for a long time with a nervous system disorder. As the boy started to improve, his father made arrangements to meet with Lauren. That meeting led to a valuable learning opportunity - to work in the autopsy room with the coroner. It was there that Lauren became fascinated with the structure and intelligence of the human body.

As Lauren became a young man, he studied structural engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and was responsible for many buildings in the Oakland area. He then traveled to Asia where he studied other types of body work and taught in several monasteries. Returning home, he studied physical therapy and began incorporating all he had learned. Instrumental in establishing the first physical therapy laws in the state of California, Lauren practiced under the title of Registered Physical Therapist. Thus, he developed a remarkable system of massage (called The Berry MethodTM) that encompasses a wide range of techniques for treating a wide range of ailments.

Although primarily based on bringing balance into soft tissue such as ligament, tendon, and muscle, the Berry Method also includes visceral components as well as extensive lymphatic work. An observer in Berry's office noted that in one day Lauren treated sinus problems, a frozen shoulder, a hernia and a weak bladder.

Tough cases found their way to Lauren, one of which was written up in Somatics (a magazine that focuses on structural bodywork). It involved the case of a seven year old boy who had nearly drowned two years prior. The boy had suffered brain damage, severe muscle spasms and was unable to speak or hold down food very well. After one session with Lauren, the boy's spasms lessened and several weeks later he spoke the word "mine" while trying to get a toy from his brother. One of the great things about Lauren was that he held very little ego - for him, this case involved looking at the boy's mechanics and working accordingly. There were many such events in Lauren's long career, in which he diverted the credtit from himself, stating that he was not a healer, just a mechanic.

Lauren's work did not miss the attention of some of the Bay Area doctors. In an article in the San Francisco Examiner published in 1982, Dr. Ralph Pelligra noted, "Mechanically it was obvious to me that Lauren knew what he was doing on an instinctual level. He not only feels what is going on in the body but he sees it; this ability is what makes him unique."

What is unique to the Berry Method® is the use of muscle or organ positioning. With trauma, tissues such as ligaments or muscle can become displaced (for example, the medial collateral ligament of the knee shifting because of a twisting fall). While rubbing the area might loosen it and cause it to feel better for a while, it would still remain out of position, thus making the knee unstable and prone to further damage. By shifting the ligament back into place, proper mechanics is restored, sometimes immediately. Similar work done very gently can also be applied to the visceral organs, such as a dropped bladder. Lauren believed the body had a memory and, with a litttle encouragement, body organs would want to return to their proper place in the whole of the organism. Lauren also had a good sense of the body as a whole. He likened the pelvis to a keystone in an arch that, if out of balance, affects structures both above and below. Work around a joint could thus not be done without addressing this area in order to give the body a better chance to achieve balance.

After practicing for 55 years, Lauren Berry died of cancer in 1983. Fortunately, he left behind some highly trained students who started the Institute of Integral Health in Berkeley, California, in 1986. Today, the school is still in operation with the original core group now having an average of 25 years of experience each. Lynn Van Norman, who teaches in Anchorage twice a year, is one of the original students.

There are a number of massage students who have taken the weekend workshops that focus on specific injury sites, such as the knee or ankle. The main body of work, however, is taught in Berkeley. It takes a minimum of five years to reach a testing point for certification. There are just a handful of dedicated students in Anchorage and the Valley who are in various stages of completion of the program.

For the client, the Berry Method® offers balance and relief from pain and areas of restriction. For the student, the Berry Method offers a classroom that doesn't end after massage school, but goes on continually as desired. Lauren Berry was truly one of a kind, and his legacy carries on in the great body of work he left behind.


Deep Tissue Massage

Deep Tissue Massage is a form of bodywork that aims to relieve tension in the deeper layers of tissue in the body. Deep Tissue Massage is a highly effective method for releasing chronic stress areas due to misalignment, repetitive motions, and past lingering injuries. Due to the nature of the deep tissue work, open communication during the session is crucial to make sure you don't get too uncomfortable. Keep in mind that soreness is pretty common after the treatment, and that plenty of water should be ingested to aid with the flushing and removal of toxins that will have been released from the deep tissue during the session.