M.E., Depression and Craniosacral Therapy

M.E., Depression and Craniosacral Therapy

This is a short CASE STUDY of a lady who came to see me suffering with M.E. and DEPRESSION (we’ll call her Karen).

Karen came to see me having been suffering with ME for about 12 years. During that time her symptoms had steadily got worse, despite trying lots of different ways to help herself. She had also during this time become very DEPRESSED. She was often bedbound with fatigue and would ‘crash’ frequently after relatively little activity – she described the fatigue as a 7 out of 10 (10 being the worst she could possibly imagine). She said the depression was a 10 out of 10 and she was experiencing back pain which felt like a ‘ripping’ and she scored that as a 6.5 out of 10. Her main goal was “to feel alive / happy / healthy again”, which she said hadn’t for at least 6 years.

Improvements came after just one session and after she’d had five, she said the depression was a 1/10 and the fatigue just 3/10. The pain was improving a lot also.

It was clear to both Karen and myself that further improvement was almost inevitable so she maintained her sessions with me, although they became more spread out. Karen found that having a CST session every 6 weeks needed to be part of her “care plan” and would “keep her on a level”, even to the point where she continues to see further improvements even now.

The last time I saw her, she got tearful telling me how CST had “changed her life” and how she had gone from “being largely bed-bound to LIVING A FULLER AND HAPPIER LIFE’.

Just think what CST could do for you!

Help with anxiety and stress

Help with anxiety and stress

Here at Cranio Kent, we are acutely aware that OUR SERVICES ARE NEEDED NOW MORE THAN EVER!

I am desperately sad that because of COVID-19, many of you are having to suspend your hands-on therapy sessions for the time being. Especially knowing what important work was taking place, so many people making leaps and bounds towards where they wanted to be, not to mention those clients who rely on their maintenance sessions in order to manage pain and keep well mentally.

In addition to all of this, the current situation is challenging for everyone’s mental health and many of us need to put additional support in place right now.

I am a VERY EXPERIENCED AND WELL RESPECTED TRAUMA THERAPIST and I although I am primarily a body worker, I do have psychotherapy training and many of my clients swear by the talking therapy which I have always provided as a key part of their session.

Therefore, I have put together a PLAN OF ACTION! This is for existing clients, those in acute need, those who need ongoing support and even those who’ve never had therapy before (adults and children aged 8 and above).

I am offering UNIQUE THERAPY SESSIONS ONLINE and BY PHONE (first appointments Wednesday). I will be using a combination of specialist techniques according to the needs of you as an individual e.g. guided relaxation, talking therapy, grounding and helping you to tune in to your physiology safely (most of which is very similar to a hands-on therapy session).

The aim of these sessions will be for your nervous system to down-regulate, for you to release tension and stress that is held in your body and gain more clarity.

If you would like to give this a go, I am offering FIRST SESSIONS FOR £25 DURING MARCH * (1 hr long). This first session will allow me to assess your needs and a treatment plan will be discussed if I feel that I am able to help you going forward.

For the first time ever, you can work with me without even getting in your car! I am so excited about this new chapter and being able to help you!

Spaces are limited *, so please don’t delay, call / text me on 07956 390419 (Sarah).

Anxiety over COVID-19

Anxiety over COVID-19

Feeling STRESSED OR ANXIOUS about COVID-19? Is all this talk of COVID-19 GETTING TO YOU? Or are you more worried about self-isolating and all its implications?

It is normal to feel some ANXIETY over recent developments (and very common, look at all the panic buying). After all, we know that being vigilant about hygiene etc will slow down the spread of what to a small proportion of the population will be life threatening.

But be clear that STRESS is known to be linked to a diverse range of DISEASES. Higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is secreted by the adrenal glands inhibits the activity of the immune system, making us prone to ILLNESS.

So, if you find that your WORRIES are getting out of control and its hard to KEEP PERSPECTIVE, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH, as Craniosacral Therapy is known to be often highly effective at DOWN-REGULATING THE NERVOUS SYSTEM (I see it all the time) and bringing stress levels down. And that in turn will help your IMMUNE SYSTEM.

And rest assured, HYGIENE is of tip top importance here at Cranio Kent.

Sarah – 07956 390419.

Fighting Fatigue with the Powerful Effects of Craniosacral Therapy

Fighting Fatigue with the Powerful Effects of Craniosacral Therapy

I often see people suffering with extreme and chronic fatigue.  It can even be progressive.  They have usually tried a lot of other things before they come and see me and are desperate.  They are unable to work, sometimes not even able to drive to come and see me and are relying on other people to look after them.

Of course there are fundamental things to look at first where these is fatigue. 

For example:

Are you getting enough sleep?

How is your diet?

Is there an underlying medical cause eg thyroid issues, hemochromatosis etc (seek blood tests to be sure).

I still have fatigue, so how does Craniosacral Therapy help?

What I am really talking about though is people who are suffering with fatigue as part of a bigger diagnosis such as M.E or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or who have simply got gradually more and more run down for whatever reason.

Let’s look at the unique way that CST can help, at a very deep and profound level to build the resources of the system and alleviate fatigue – I have seen it many times!

When I tune into your system during a session, I will be tuning into the ‘tidal rhythms’ which are present in your body.  This tells me a lot about the resources that you have and how well you are generally.  Almost inevitably, where there is fatigue, the quality of these tidal rhythms is quiet or lacking potency.  I will then look to carry out certain procedures (not manipulative) which have the effect of ‘recharging your batteries’.  Over time (and this process will often take several sessions), the resources of the system build and the effects of that are profound. 

It is quite common for someone to get back to leading a much more active life, getting back to work and so on as a result of the improvements made.

Pain and How to Turn the Volume Down

Pain and How to Turn the Volume Down

We all know what pain is like.  Acute pain is defined as short lived, the term chronic pain is used when pain has lasted for 3-6 months or more.

In a Lancet study carried out in 2014 (Michaleff et al), it was found that reading about how pain works for 30 months plus two telephone conversations, worked as well as twenty, yes TWENTY sessions of physiotherapy!!! 

Therefore, understanding how pain works is key to recovering from it.

So here, and in my clinic, I teach people why they still have pain and help them out of it.

Its important to recognise that initial pain is often an indicator of danger.  It tells us to react and can save us from further injury or death e.g. if your finger is burning on the oven for example, you will automatically withdraw your hand from the heat (without even thinking).  When we have just injured our back, pain is helpful, because it warns us against further injury.

However (and this is the important bit) what we now know, is that after 3-6 months, pain is rarely in the tissues but in our nervous system.  That is, pain has caused our nervous system to change.  Our nervous system has become too sensitive!

“Sensitization means we turn the volume up on our alarm system, but are very poor at turning the volume down.”, Steve Haines, Pain Is Really Strange.

The medical profession used to believe that chronic pain was held in the tissues of the body, now we know that it rarely is.  The answer to resolving the pain issue is to show the system how to down-regulate / desensitize / ‘turn the volume down’.

I should also say at this point that unresolved emotional trauma is held in the physiology and in the limbic system, not the cognitive (thinking part of the brain) as previously thought.  It often shows itself as physical pain.  So whilst we may be looking for the cause of our pain by having MRI scans for example, there may well not be a structural cause.

So…..hopefully all of this goes some way to explain why Craniosacral Therapy (in my experience) is so effective in terms of reducing or eliminating pain from the body.

I could go and on about this subject, but I am passionate about helping people with pain.  The people I see in my clinic have often been in pain for decades.  They may have limited mobility and their quality of life / ability to work may be seriously affected.

In a treatment, bringing the system into safety is key.  Safety may be a completely new experience or one that has been forgotten.  Once this has been established, I teach the system to notice sensations other than the pain.  This is all HUGE in terms of down-regulating the nervous system (turning the volume down).

Gradually, trauma, whether that be physical or emotional will come to the surface and release and the pain gets less or goes.  This is an amazing experience for someone when the pain has been there for a long time!

So, hopefully that gives you a brief summary of why I see so many people’s pain levels reduce or disappear.  These steps seem counter-intuitive I know and how can something so simple be so effective??  If you would like to understand more or see if this therapy can help you, please do get in touch.

Anxiety and Craniosacral Therapy

Anxiety and Craniosacral Therapy

The word anxiety gets bandied around a lot these days doesn’t it and we have all experienced it to some degree. From the ‘normal’ anxious feelings we have when we are waiting for important news, to the crippling and irrational fear that takes over our whole world.

Anxiety is something that I see at least daily in my clinic and it affects people in different ways. 

Often it’s early trauma that puts us into ‘fight, flight or freeze’ (a healthy coping strategy in the short term) and we stay there (feeling anxious), not knowing how to find the ‘off switch’.  Sometimes its ongoing stress that gradually takes its toll without us realising particularly, or we try and carry on as if we are okay, until we are debilitated (either by the anxiety itself or by a physical symptom which has been caused by the anxiety).  The body has a habit of saying, STOP, TAKE NOTICE and if you ignore it, it will SHOUT LOUDER!  At some point, we are forced to take a look at our lives and take steps to address things.

It’s a big subject so here, I am going to give an overview of how Craniosacral Therapy can help you if you are feeling anxious or have symptoms that you think may be related to anxiety and also what you can do at home to help yourself.  Because however bad things are, there are things you can do that will help.

So how does Craniosacral Therapy help a stressed nervous system?

I can tell a lot about a person’s system by listening to it with my hands.  A system which is in ‘fight, flight or freeze’ can feel revved up, tight, it often feels quivery and ‘slowing down’ is a challenge.  The body can be very dissociated, a sense that parts (or all) of the body are missing, or parts of the body are a different shape or size to how you know they are, are common.  The system sometimes feels ‘shut down’, the potency is very low and / or the client feels it is impossible to find anywhere in the body that feels ‘okay’ (these are all symptoms of trauma / stress / fear). 

Step 1 is for me to work with the nervous system according to how it is presenting.  Transforming a system from that which I have described, to one which is whole, present moment, grounded and feels safe and calm is MAJOR.  So simple eh!  Not always easy (!) but it is a simple concept.  Gosh how I love this work!  Because really that is a transformation and then with the newly down regulated nervous system, a new world of clarity, coping and calm becomes clear and in the stillness and resource that the system now has, is the ability to process and release specific tensions and unresolved restrictions (I won’t go into this process right now).

Now a short list of things that you can do to help yourself:

  • See how it is to allow the possibility that things will get better,  Having hope will help you.
  • The first and probably the most important thing to do is feel your feet on the ground. I mean REALLY feel them on the ground. Take your shoes and socks off and go and walk on the grass or barefoot in the earth. Ooo, the beach would be lovely! Make this a daily thing and really notice the sensations you feel through your feet.  This is what it is to be in the present moment.
  • Notice that in this exact moment (truly being present), 99% of your worries are gone. There is no anxiety.
  • Be interested in the intense sensations that you feel, rather than going into panic – you have a choice here.  Practice curiosity and notice how your physiology prepares you for action.  Notice what is around you and that you are actually safe in this moment. This will often help the feelings to change or ease.
  • Recognise that in anxiety, we often imagine the worst case scenario (predicting the future). Our brains want to protect us, but by imagining the worst, we are sent into panic mode.  Recogising that you are doing this is fabulous progress. Consider that this is not rational thought.  There is a choice here.
  • Surrounding yourself with people who are good for you is great for anxiety. Who do you feel safe with?  Conversely, who do you need to avoid? Is that possible?
  • A hug or a listening ear can really help anxiety. Tell someone close how you are feeling, else they won’t know.
  • Its always important to do the basics, but especially when you are struggling with anxiety. Eat as healthily as you can and prioritise sleep. Try and spend some time outside, preferably moving / doing exercise. Treat yourself (i.e. something that’s good for you).
  • The more we do all of this, the more automatic it becomes (our default in other words). Otherwise anxiety can feel like a trap that we can’t get out of.
  • But you can get out of it. By understanding more about what is happening in your brain, you can show yourself how to respond differently.

Remember, you are not alone.  I can help you with all of this and guide you to a more relaxed way of living.  Support from a professional can really make the world of difference. Your mental health matters!