Imagine a pile of Jenga bricks, all piled neatly on top of one another and ready for a nail-biting game of trial and error. The tower is straight, tall and strong. Now imagine that you’re about five moves in to the game. The bricks have shifted, you’ve lost a few pieces and there’s been the odd wobble. Several tentative pokes have been tried by your opponent to test for areas of weakness and suddenly things don’t look or feel quite so strong anymore.
Now imagine that your body is that Jenga game. You may not have lost any pieces but I can bet you’ve taken the odd knock, felt the odd wobble and felt – at times – that it would be good to regain your strength so you can avoid the pokes that target your areas of weakness and just get, well, ‘straightened out’ again.
With two children, a heavy laptop to carry, a dodgy shoulder and a very odd way of sitting at my desk, I decided that my time for ‘straightening out’ had come. And so it was that I found myself lying on a couch in a treatment room in Gosforth and feeling, in the nicest way possible, surprised that I was about to roll straight off the couch and onto the floor. Just like a well-poked Jenga piece.
When I opened my eyes and found that I was in exactly the same position that I had started in I was stunned.
‘Is everything alright?’ the therapist, Eleanor, asked.
‘Ridiculously so, thank you.’
Eleanor had one hand under the back of my head and one hand under the base of my spine and was very gently rocking her hands back and forth. It was an extraordinarily relaxing feeling.
Cranio-sacral therapy or CST is a holistic therapy that works directly on the central and autonomic nervous systems. The therapist works on these systems through a series of gentle movements that affect the control systems for the entire body and the mind. It involves being touched on the feet, the legs, the tummy, neck and head. You remain fully clothed during the treatment.
CST has intrigued me for years, having first heard it suggested as a remedy for colic in babies. Eleanor used to be a midwife and health visitor and so she is well used to working with babies and children who struggle with sleep issues or colic but she has seen wonderful results with clients of all ages.
‘It’s not magic but it really is very effective’ she told me ‘and it’s good for everything from stress to migraines and painful scar tissue to physical and emotional pains’. On hearing this I showed her a scar I have on my ankle from a wound that involves waiting outside a boy’s house, a playground roundabout and a lovesick best friend when I was fourteen. Eleanor looked at the lines of scar tissue that sometimes ache and throb with pain, held her hands over my ankle and I can say here – in writing – the pain has completely gone.
CST works on the basis that the therapist is merely a facilitator for the body’s own healing and the body knows where the healing needs to happen. All I know is that my shoulder has stopped hurting, my ankle no longer throbs and I have slept like an un-colicky baby ever since!
by Katherine Wildman © 2012
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