Hi, I’m Sarah. My first experience of Craniosacral Therapy (CST) was when I took my my newborn baby to get help for her colic and reflux many years ago. It was amazing to watch! I could ‘see’ the tension build up in her body and then disappear, as if like magic and I knew I needed to know more. After doing some research, I decided to change career and I started the three year training at the Craniosacral Therapy Educational Trust (CTET) in London.
At the time, I had no idea of the full potential of the therapy. All I really knew was that it helped newborns, but my eyes were soon opened to the profound and powerful effect it often has on people of all ages.
We all hold unresolved survival energy, or trauma in our bodies. This often has a fundamental effect on our ability to function in a balanced, healthy way and can have far reaching consequences on our physical and mental health. CST was originally developed from osteopathy and therapists are trained to create a listening, neutral, supportive, nurturing, resourced space for their client. Then, using a very gentle hands on approach, they work with the inherent treatment plan of their client’s system in order to facilitate the shifting and ultimately the release of the unresolved trauma / tension held in the body. People often say that having Craniosacral Therapy is like being listened to and held like never before.
My three year training was transformative for me, although it wasn’t always easy. To see such a powerful therapy working all around me was enthralling, but I soon discovered that I was uncomfortable accessing my own needs. This was unfamiliar to me, I had spent most of life nursing other people and I was really scared about how ugly / scary / monstrous releasing my ‘unresolved stuff’ would be! I mean seriously, what if I had a nervous breakdown or I couldn’t stop crying for a month!? I had buried all that stuff away for good reason!
Of course, if I wanted to practice CST authentically (which seemed the only way with a therapy built on such deep trust and safety), I had to be prepared to do the work on myself.
What I then discovered through receiving CST myself was that a qualified and experienced practitioner is practiced at helping the client access their resources and will support them through the process of trauma release, whilst ensuring that it takes place at a pace that feels okay for them. Safety, safety, safety. To allow the system to be overwhelmed would be counter productive. When the client feels safe and held by their therapist, they make great progress. That is to say, I discovered that even my stuff wasn’t scary when released little by little, with support.
So, I graduated in 2011 and set up Cranio Kent. I really love every day of my work and I’m proud to say that my practice is now one of the busiest and most well respected in Kent. The core of my practice is my hands on work (clinics are in East Malling village and Kings Hill), but in 2019, I was registered as a supervisor which means that I mentor and support other therapists now also. I have always been a registered member of the Craniosacral Therapy Association (CSTA) and work within their code of ethics and I also spent a number of years working as a tutor at the CTET’s teaching clinic in London.
Whilst of course I work with physical pain a lot and I love working with babies, I find that I am drawn most to work with anxiety.
It is my firm belief that as human beings, we all have the natural capacity to recover from overwhelming experiences. CST encourages the system to do just that. As your therapist, we are not the wounded and the healed, we are equals. I continue on my journey too, I may just be a little further down the road than you are.
If you’d like to understand more or have chat about whether CST is likely to help you, then please give me a call (07956 390419) / or email me email@example.com
I am so excited that as of today, I am seeing clients face to face! Its been very frustrating knowing that so many people were in need of help but not able to get it but here we are at last!
If you’re on my waiting list, thank you for being patient all this time, I’ll be in touch as soon as I can to book you in. If you’re not on my waiting list but you’d like to be, please do get in touch. I’m so excited to be back!
Be prepared to GET WEIRDED OUT BY THIS, because I was a couple of months ago, when it was first suggested to me!
One or two of my existing clients asked me if I would continue to see them into the lockdown by giving them virtual Craniosacral Therapy sessions. I knew other people who’d practiced this way in the past, but I had always cringed at the term ‘distance healing’….the very idea makes me squirm still now – how ‘woo woo’ can you get and anyway, how could it possibly work!!? It was certainly nothing that I had tried before.
However, leaving people midway through their process is bloomin’ horrible and not in their best interests, so it made me consider if it possible that I could help on some level….
For someone who has always relied heavily upon the information that my hands give me during sessions, I was very tentative in my approach and explained to the clients in question that this was all new to me, I had no idea if or how it would work, but that they could pay a much reduced rate for the first ‘trial’ session and we would both see how things went, no pressure to continue from either side.
Now, I must point out that there is currently great debate and disagreement within the CST world about whether virtual CST can be called CST at all, because obviously some of the main elements of traditional CST are not there (eg hands on touch!), so this therapy literally does not yet have a name, but one thing is for sure, we are not allowed to call it CST (which I agree is right).
Having now done quite a few virtual sessions with various clients, I can say that working without my hands, and discovering for the first time what I can sense without physical touch is obscure to say the least and I’m not sure I can explain it! And I honestly never would have believed that it could work like it does. Its not the same, it clearly is not the same, but I am seeing really amazing results (even with pain)!
I should add that I have a foundation in Core Process Psychotherapy, so whilst talking therapy isn’t usually my focus, it is a skill that I have and one that obviously can and should be utilised at the moment, and this is a lot more transferable to online sessions (!) it is also an option.
So, the long and short of it is, that virtual sessions are available and I am opening them up to more people.My priority as always is to ensure that I am putting my clients best interests first, so the offer of virtual sessions is limited…..
– The first criteria is that you must have been to see me for therapy before.
– Secondly, I need to genuinely feel that you are likely to benefit from the session. What I mean by this is that I need to be confident that I can ‘hold’ you safely throughout, that we are able to ‘connect’ and therefore that it is possible for me to either facilitate change through our mutual ability to tune into your body (I will help you to do this) or provide you with psychotherapy (or a mixture of the two).
Some people would rather wait until I can see them face to face again and of course that is completely fine (I seriously cannot WAIT to get back to that, there is no substitute for hands on therapy), but if you think you would benefit from some help in the meantime, please do give me a call on 07956 390419, I’d love to hear from you. You can tell me how you’re doing, I’ll explain more about how virtual sessions work and we’ll discuss your best way forward. Help is here!
AND, I am offering the first virtual session at the much reduced trial price of £30, so why not give it a go!
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’.
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.
1) What conditions does Craniosacral Therapy (CST) help with?
The effects of CST are far reaching, so it would be impossible to draw up an exhaustive list of symptoms than can be helped by CST. However, to summarise, I specialise in the following three areas:
Stress and Anxiety. Craniosacral Therapy is unique in its ability to treat the source of symptoms on every level, mental, physical or emotional. Letting go of tension and fear held in the body enables it to settle into calmness.
Pain Management. People may come for Craniosacral Therapy because they have acute physical symptoms like headaches or back pain, or long standing issues with pain.
Babies & Children. Craniosacral Therapy can offer support for colic, reflux, sleeplessness, irritability in babies and many common behavioural, social and learning difficulties in children respond well
2) There’s nothing actually ‘wrong’, can I still come along for a session?
There doesn’t need to be anything ‘wrong’ as such for you to benefit from a session. Many people use it simply to maintain their sense of well being and calm. I actually still have regular sessions myself for this reason.
3) So how does CST actually WORK?
It took me 3 years to train in CST. It works on many different levels and different approaches are used depending on the needs of the individual. To summarise:
“Craniosacral Therapy is a subtle yet profound and powerful hands-on technique, developed from osteopathy, which identifies pain and tensions held in the body. It supports the body’s natural tendency to find health and optimum balance by relieving the body of these restrictions and allowing it to realign. Craniosacral Therapy can often effect structural change, but also has much wider implications, both physically and psychologically. Craniosacral Therapists are trained to feel motions in the body which are more subtle than the heart beat and lung breathing that we are all familiar with.”
The best way of understanding the treatment is to experience it yourself. You don’t have to believe its going to work for it to work and you certainly don’t have to understand how it works for it to work. But it does take at least a little bit of hope on the part of the client (I always have hope).
4) I’ve had this insomnia / back pain / depression for 20 years. Can you resolve it in one session?
I have actually had people ask me this. One lady even said that even though there wasn’t a doctor in the land who could help her, she still expected me to resolve her long standing symptoms in one session!
It’s only right that I manage people’s expectations the best that I can. Generally speaking, fresh / recent trauma / restriction in the body tends to resolve very quickly (new born babies suffering with birth trauma are a good example of this). When symptoms have been there for decades (or the tension has been gradually building over this time), it’s likely that it will take longer to resolve. I usually recommend a short course of treatments (maybe 5 or 6) and then a review to see how much progress has been made.
It is true to say also that there might be other issues that your system needs to resolve before the specific issue that you want me to address is able to come to the fore (that is, your body has its own sense of priority and since I am working with your body’s own innate ability to heal itself, the ‘inherent treatment plan’ of your body will dictate the order of things).
Amazing things happen in my clinic but I am not a magician!
5) So……what are you actually DOING?
This is a question I often get asked either when someone is watching someone else have a treatment or when they are having a treatment themselves but have not been able to ‘feel’ much changing.
In Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (CST), there will be no physical manipulation ever. I am working at a much deeper, more fundamental level. For various reasons, some people are able to notice a lot of the changes that are happening in their body during a session and some will notice fewer or maybe even none (this does not mean that nothing is happening!).
Somebody watching a session may observe jerky movements, changes in the clients breathing, movement and so on but obviously they will not see all of the changes that are happening inside the body (again this does mean that nothing is happening!).
If you want someone to ‘click’, ‘crunch’ or otherwise manipulate your body you need to seek a different kind of therapy!
6) Are you being honest with me (Will you tell me that I need more sessions than I actually do for example)?
One of the reasons that my practice is a successful one is because I get good results. Another is that I take pride in running it with honesty and integrity. I have a firm belief that a therapeutic relationship built on mutual trust and respect gives you the best chance of getting the results that you want.
This said, I cannot fix everything for everyone! I also cannot guarantee in advance how your system will respond to treatment. However, I am a highly experienced practitioner and my advice to you will be based upon the successes that I have seen in the past. I know what tends to work best and I will be honest with you about how I think we can achieve the best results possible. We will discuss this in order to ensure that your treatment plan is a good fit for you.
7) Can something so gentle make me better?
YES! I am working with your body’s innate ability to heal itself. I will be listening with my hands to what your body needs and facilitating the process of release and restoration. When we are working at the level of the mid-tide, changes are gentle but profound.
8) Can CST work even when many other avenues can be exhausted and the doctor says nothing can be done or that my condition will only get worse as the years progress?
That is very possible yes, I have seen it many many times!
9) How long have you been practising for / how well qualified are you?
I graduated from the Craniosacral Therapy Education Trust (CTET) in 2011 after a three year training. For over two years, I have worked as a tutor in CTET’s teaching clinic, supporting final year students. My practice is very busy. I will soon be qualified to work as a supervisor (mentor) to other CSTs.
10) I’m sure I must be the worst case you’ve ever seen?
People say this a lot. There can be a lot of shame and embarrassment over our condition. Rest assured that I have worked with a lot of trauma (military, road traffic accidents, abuse, violence, the list goes on). I am not here to judge you or your situation. I am here to create a safe, listening, neutral and supported space for your system to express what is going on and then I will facilitate the processes that need to take place in order for you to recover, at a pace that feels okay for you. You are getting help and that is what’s important.
11) Your life must be really perfect! / You must be really sorted!?
Often people see their practitioner as being someone who is ‘shiny’; someone who sets a good example and they assume that the practitioner must have a pretty perfect life. Typical things that people often assume about me are that: I am vegetarian (probably vegan), that I meditate daily, that I have a VERY happy marriage, that I never shout, that my children are completely zen, that I am super healthy and fit, that I never take prescription drugs and that I probably don’t drink. It is true to say that my focus is very much on my own health first (otherwise how can I help anyone else), but I am far from perfect.
Honestly, I am on a journey just like you are. I have suffered a fair few traumas in my life, more than I care to recall. I have a belief that often therapists are people who have ‘been through the mill’ themselves. Hence why you tend not to get therapists in their 20s. I have worked very very hard on myself over the years (receiving CST has been a big part of that but not all by any means) and I will continue to do that always. Not because I aspire to be shiny, but because I know I still have a lot of growing to do and growth brings me better health, a better understanding of myself and others and the result of that is that I feel happier, make wiser decisions and I enjoy life more – yay!
...the pain in my neck is a lot better, I haven't had nearly as many waves of anxiety and I feel a lot happier!"
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