How Peak Experiences Are Made of Small Joys


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                                                                                   Is Self-Regulation The Key?

We have just had a peak experience and we are ecstatic. Why is it wise to steer our effulgent emotions into modest expressions? How would we benefit from understanding our own irrationality or our sticky nature? In craniosacral healing the accent is on learning new or additional skills to self regulate. Not just our positive feelings, most definitely our unpleasant ones.

We can express irrational behavior, arising from eventual disappointment, post the intensity of a peak experience. Because our hopes and expectations are tied up with desires to experience life consistently at a peak level. Which perhaps translates into wanting heightened involvement in all aspects of living. This is resourceful for obvious reasons and bad as it could be driving our cortisol levels to unmanageable highs, but so what; experience is everything (sic).

The problem arises when we can’t get past the monumental pressure we put on ourselves to live life on this edge constantly. Another setback occurs when people don’t repeat a peak experience. Or when they experience it not at all. They fall short of their projected reality (what they expect or want) and suffer thereof.

Is Self Actualization Only For Some?

Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model describes what could be a peak experience. Everyone would want to be on top of his pyramid having self actualized and reached human potential. An experience that’s “joyous and exciting” is peak, he says, and moreover it may introduce us to an expanded way of experiencing reality. We are then no longer the same person. We have different eyes and ears to withhold our world. That’s the good part.

While striving to reach top place, they also discover the difficulty of sustaining euphoria, as also the loss of their closest relationships.

In spite of everything, many clients that seek craniosacral healing consider themselves furthest from this self-actualization. They struggle with the notion that a peak experience – something of profound significance is not for them, and they are born to mediocrity. They hold scant recollection of moments in their life that were/are filled with joy, wonder or value. In therapeutic terms they are under resourced.

How May we Re-define a Peak Experience?

Chasing a need for experiencing life other than what is, keeps us looking for what’s not there, and missing what’s there. So-called psychosomatic illnesses translate from this profound discontent, in the way of negative thought patterns and irrational emotions turning into idiopathic dis-ease. So, does one need the familiarity of only a peak experience to sense ones connectedness with life? Not at all!

When crushed by experience of physical pain, for instance, it’s difficult to recall the most wonderful memories, from our bank. The default negative bias of our brain makes us remember the worst. In this healing touch therapy – craniosacral therapy – some clients for the first time tumble against a buried memory of having been happy, excited, deeply moved, or even feeling blessed. It is true then, in therapy clients begin to perceive reality differently.

I invite my clients to find within themselves or outside of themselves memories of smaller realistic representations of a peak experience. These remembered events should excite and inspire us; raise our HRV (heart rate variability); spike our vagal tone, (a term coined by Stephen Porges). A friendly face we regularly encounter, being on a nature walk, waking up to a feeling of ‘all is well’, sunburst sunsets, deriving satisfaction from watching our kids grow, stroking our pet, smelling sweetened rain-washed mud, letting a million expressions of sand particles on a beach explode on our feet…

Self-Acceptance Leads to Self Discovery

There are many ways to experience joy. There are other ways to have a peak experience rather than The Ultimate One.

Developing a new skillful relationship with our breath can also bring about a peak experience. It takes us closer to our heart space, where original joy resides. You can’t get any closer to the truth of who we are. In the succinct words of Rumi, “when you feel a peaceful joy, that’s when you are near truth.”

Similarly what we do in sessions is keeping it simple. Inviting the smallest of joyous, healthy, and steady places in our body to lead us to our truth. Connecting to our biology – our every cell – brings us to a place of self-acceptance, for in every cell are laid our happy and sad memories. We can choose to align with both and use the happy ones to release the grip of the sad ones, instead of pushing the latter away.

Fleeting Moments Offer Peak Involvement

For a client, felt-sensing joy or pleasure in the body versus it being a mind related activity, for the very first time, is indeed a peak experience. And this, unlike a peak experience from life, isn’t clung to, as these sensations are transitory in nature. We learn to enjoy them fully. Then we release them.

Keeping it simple also means to forget our fascination with form, to re-experience the same joy again and yet again like a novice. Only then can we fill up with awe each time – and truly experience the awesomeness around us. In the words of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow, “The self expands through acts of self forgetfulness.”

3 Ways to Define Your Experience as Peak

An event is life changing and significant, when it brings with it, heightened self-awareness.

The event is complete unto itself, and generates a positive inclination in us towards all things.

At a moment like this, the experiencer orients to collective consciousness – at one with all.

3 Ways to Align Yourself to ‘The Peak Value’ of Your Experience

Find ways to ascertain the feeling that arises. Observe its emergence and decline. Its usefulness is your reward.

Live the peak moment as if it were your last. Nothing is gained from creating pain from remorse of its passing. Its short life is a gift.

Retain your ability to be in constant awe. You will be richly compensated for seeking out the smaller joys of life.








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Healing Personal Trauma

When we are born, science now says, we are an outcome of not just our genetic material, but also our in-utero experience. Our fetal-time engagement with life, whether soothing or disruptive, could have arisen from our mother’s state of mind and body. Our first taste of cortisol (the stress hormone) may come via the placenta; our second at our time of arrival based on the reception from our caregivers.

Relational stress in our adult life then becomes a reflection of all that went before. We are molded in life even before we become conscious of it. Epigenetics infers that our environment changes the way our DNA expresses.

Is all of the above enough reason to see a therapist? Absolutely!

Resolution Via Therapy

Let’s consider the different reasons a client seeks and finds recovery via therapy. Sadly, it’s the last bastion of help. My wish is that people find it sooner than later and learn to have more fulfilling relationships.

Applicable to All Ages

We are never too old for therapy, nor too young. Whether an adolescent, introduced to therapy by caregivers or a 50-year-old struggling to make sense of an embittered past and stumbling upon help; both types benefit from the understanding of a skilled therapist. The reason being brain cells are plastic and therefore can improve/modify cognitive function at any age.

The Mess in Emotions

Emotions are messy most people might agree. And that’s because as children we couldn’t develop healthy ways to encounter and integrate them, as a natural consequence of our life experiences. As adults we shun those emotions we have little practice of handling. We favor those that make us feel safe.

The Rise of Emotions

The subconscious doesn’t rest easy when there are all these unexpressed emotions stuffing its underbelly. For a long time though, the subconscious plays along with our relational patterns. In time however, it evicts what’s reprehensible to it.

The Battle With Emotions

The brain is a relational organ. It has neural pathways carved inside that pertain to our relationship with self, with others, and in general with the world. And we, without much thought, strengthen these pathways by working within unconscious relationship patterns. Until the time these very patterns cause us to fall into a relationship crises such as a breakup or a divorce.

Choosing Healthier Emotions

We can never be truly free individuals (free from stress and illness) until we actually become free. Till the time we only talk about wanting to be free, we haven’t yet befriended change. When we start to think, emote and behave differently only then do our neural pathways change to include new ones. And we are free to make new choices.

The ‘Unbearableness’ of Emotions

Previously we called it short-term gratification, when we could not wait another second, to satisfy our needs in the present moment. Now, we call it intolerance. We are intolerant of the experience we are having and want it to be anything but what it is. The experience could include a relationship with a person, a thing, or/and a situation. Our intolerance levels make us sick, in the mind and the body, and often enough in the spirit.

From Attachment Arises Emotions

We develop an attachment style from the time we get attached at birth to our primary caregivers. Humans thrive on attachment. Yet, our biggest misses, messes and losses are because of this ingrained pattern of relating to other humans. Should we stop to evaluate why our relationships suck, if not all times, sometimes, we would identify our style that needs a revamp?

Emotional Outcomes

All said and done, a few therapeutic relationships fail and a lot survive the negotiated pathways of trauma and healing, in a client. When a client sticks around for the time it takes new established neural pathways to form steady grooves, a lot of good can happen. Here’s what change can follow the directives of safe intervention.

Becoming tolerant of the whims of our life plan. Is changing our attitude towards suffering.

Having healthy self-reliance. Is knowing when to seek help.

Building inner forces of resilience. Is surfing everyday storms successfully.

Choosing relationships that strengthen intimacy. Is sharing vulnerable moments with significant others.

Trust is a multifaceted feeling. Is letting others in to share our innermost space.

Choosing a work environment to sustain daily wellbeing. Is knowing the importance of self-care.

Healing the trauma that comes from impaired attachment to caregivers. Is learning to relate to self, others, and the world differently.




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Feeling States (of Experiences)

                                                                                                          Photo Courtesy: Dipika Belapurkar

The Way it All Begins

At birth I didn’t sign up for being an emotional human. (This is for you too). I signed up for being, simply, a human baby. Yet, starting from the moment of my birth I encounter the feeling states of all these strange people hanging out with the one comforting person I know, dearest to my existence. My mother. And she’s not feeling entirely good herself, going by her pained expression as she strives to look excited and over-the-moon. Later, (on growing up), I am told she had suffered postpartum blues and she had hated the sight of me (nothing personal I assure you). What a downer that was for her.

Of course, my first experience is nothing compared to the emotional dramas of my childhood, adolescence, early working life, the career-scrambling period, midlife crisis, over-the-hill crisis…need I say more?

Is There a Way Out?

Do feeling states go away, ever? Like at 40, 50, 60 years of age? At death maybe. Like do they get transferred to someone else? Apparently not, we may project them on to our family and friends, and yet, being parts of our persona they stay with us, developing, changing, transmuting, diminishing, and showing up in millions of other ways, over time. If we learn to harness their wisdom, then we can grow and mature into people that are good and dependable to be around. Or else, we can by choice or design be swept away by their tidal force, each and every time a stressful experience impacts our life.

What may a therapist do with the feeling states of a client? Beneath the history, stories and significant life experiences, of a client, lies a veritable mine house of undetected and unresolved feelings. As a therapist I can help them put aside their cognitive narration to instead gently delve into what’s happening in their fascia, muscles, organs, and glands.

It’s natural that the soma or body of a client is super-charged with the feeling states of their experiences. Therefore the way is not out but in.

Under Examination

If I can experience, by placing my hands on their bodies, the interior of their being, then they certainly can learn to examine their own inner feeling states. Very simply put, they can begin to feel the effect of their external stressors in their body, in the form of sensations. Once these sensations are perceived, the feelings that go with them begin to lose their formidable grip, are modified, lessen their impact, and can be banished forever.

Anxiety; chronic pain; depression; anger; hopelessness; all forms and kinds of activation, appear as body sensations. I receive my over-activated client in the state they are in and with their help devise creative ways to befriend what were earlier vague and confusing signals sent to their brain by their bodies. Being friends with what is – is crucial to our successful understanding of their feeling states.

Being ok With What is

Our feeling states can reside inside us in the form of misunderstood sensations for the longest time. For instance, we can attribute pain and bloating in the abdomen to the meal we had yesterday in the restaurant. And, not make the connection to our overriding irritation at the houseguests that have overstayed their visit.

Getting familiar with underlying feeling states makes us touch the length and breath of these important markers to inflammation and pain. We come to know of their intensity and insanity, their relationships with other prevailing feeling states. Such as anger and sadness can co-exist. Our observation of them reveals to us the entire range, creating the undercurrents of our life.

I did say, right at the start, that I didn’t sign up (…..). But, now that I am thick in this feeling melee of sorts, I am decided that I have signed up for becoming embodied. As a therapist encountering the feeling states of many wonderful clients, I have witnessed the resolution of so many tears and so much resulting self-acceptance.

Being okay with what is (in our body), what arises, what leaves us is equal to embodiment.

A Parting Exercise

You, my dear reader, may try this technique right away, without meeting me in person.

Sit back and relax into your chair. Shut out any distractions, by closing your eyes. Look inward. Into the inner terrain of your body. Plenty of thoughts will charge in. Corresponding reactions within the body will surface. Pick on one of the latter that seems overly activated – annoyance, irritation, anything that creates discomfort or tension. Be here, at this sweet spot or edge, for 30 seconds. Too little time to be crushed by this experience. Good. Take your attention to another place in your body, where it feels calm, good, even healthy – another 30 seconds.

Travel between these two and observe the changes that ensue. You will be surprised by what your body sensations can do for you. They will bring you insight and self-awareness, two qualities that will help you to become more mindful in your daily life.

If you do the above correctly, chances are the activation will be gone. You will feel light. Sorted for the moment perhaps; no desire then to reach out for alcohol or other substitutions, like social media. What we endeavored here is called pedulation, a term from Somatic Experiencing, coined by Peter Levine.

My clients in time, with perseverance, learn somatic skills like this one to intervene when their stress levels rise.





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Unwinding Places of Discomfort

I am very often drawn into conversations about what role the client plays in their recovery process. How wonderful (debatable!) for a client if they didn’t have to take responsibility for their healing and left it completely to the therapist to wield the magic wand. Healing, however, on rare occasions favors a one-way ticket. Even in therapeutic settings a give and take melody is struck.

The Free Dictionary translates Unwinding as, ‘”to free (someone) of nervous tension or pent up energy.” That’s one of the things a craniosacral healing session can foster, most definitely.

Therapist as Catalyst

In craniosacral treatments, clients feel some amount of relief in the very first session. What makes the therapist a good enough catalyst to provoke a state of near-bliss, just when the client has given up all but hope to get well somehow?

The answer to this is the centering within the mind body of the therapist, his or her sensitive disposition, and refined palpatory skills, beside the client’s progressive attunement to it all. Sounds simplistic, but it isn’t entirely so.

More often than not, clients come to therapy carrying an overload of neuromuscular stress. Their bodies are probably not in the mood to entertain additional or even sudden intervention. That makes craniosacral healing such a huge enactment of slow-paced and gentle changes that begin to take place in the body.

It’s not unlike the unwinding of a spring in a system/s that is high strung and wound up; and the unwinding takes place in the fascia to begin with, for that’s where the stress has over time laid down.

Client as Instinctive Helper

Any kind of immediate release can be linked to the touch of the therapist. In safe, trusting, gentle, and neutral hands. Any kind of release or adjustment in the client’s body or mind can be attributed as well to their willingness to free-fall and let go. Which I mean is a prerequisite to any kind of long-term change. A willingness to handle a different perspective.

Thank heavens for mechanoreceptors embedded in the fascia. They detect gentle cranial touch as mechanical sensation that’s relaxing and that which stimulates a parasympathetic response in the ANS. Lo behold, the therapist has clinical proof that it’s working – swallowing, twitching, REM, and eventually deeper diaphragmatic breathing.

I love cranial work for the very truth that conscious mind succumbs to the no-pressure persuasion of touch. In time, if the client sticks on with commitment towards healing, s/he sees a marked change in their thinking process. They learn a thing or two about mindfulness and living in the present moment. As they begin to observe rising and subsiding phenomena in their mind and body.

CNS as Helpful Co-creator

The CNS (central nervous system) is key participant in cranial treatments. Another clinical observation as a therapist is seeing CNS commands to the musculoskeletal system to let go and relax. So, muscle tone eases up, at times joints, which are areas of compression, throw off stress via movement. Limbs register motion, also numbness and temperature changes, as reaction to old registered trauma seeking release.

Clients observe involuntary muscular movement and are quite taken aback by it. At times, I too am struck by various movements in the client’s body – tremors, jerks, vibrations, and sudden flicks.

Let’s stop here and consider what might be triggered by the client’s thought process or vivid imagination, for these involuntary reflexes to get initiated by the therapist’s touch? Could it be true that muscles get activated by thoughts? I like to think that I have success with helping my clients to unravel theirs. Are those thoughts broken, happy, anxiety provoking, sad, helpless, etc? I have noticed in this work a tendency for muscles to unwind when old forgotten stories unfold.

A Combination Key

Craniosacral therapy provides this via responses initiated by touch, in both the ANS and CNS. Both these eventually create relaxation and ease in the body and the mind. Or in other words, “…free (someone) of nervous tension or pent up energy.”

 I recommend at least 8 sessions to witness an observable shift in skeleto/neuromuscular tension.

If you like change then you have to work at it and be around for sometime at least to see its manifestation.





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Glimpses of True Liberation ~ in and From The Body

                                                                                  Photo credit: Dipika Belapurkar

Craniosacral therapy typically is sought by new clients for resolution of their physical ailments. Rarely is the connection made to the mind in dysfunctional physiology. Even rarer is the insightful person that walks in and states, “I suffer from emotional trauma and I can’t find the place in my body where it is lodged.”

‘Psychosomatic’ is still just a word in the lexicon of most people. They still need a lengthy explanation of it before they commit to this or any other alternate therapy.

So what do atypical clients learn in a few sessions that would be so remarkable and which, most times, causes healing at deeper cellular levels. It’s what I call instant karmic resolution thrown in with the client’s free will to change themselves at any cost. By themselves emotions are neutral, they discover. Emotions align with their thoughts and in time form perceptions. These gradually or rather insidiously metamorphose into their belief systems. Intractable at their best!

The learning for all such clients, who have understood the above, is immense.

Lighting up the Inside World

Clients may or may not recognize what they are feeling, or have felt in the past, with regard to their experiences. But, in their sessions they are likely to in time perceive sensations within the body. Heat, cold, tightness, looseness, darkness, numbness, tingling, relaxation, burning, circular motions, zigzag movement, constriction, and many other things. Connecting these sensations to feelings, memories, visions, insights, etc, startle some people into instant awareness of the source of their problem. For others it may take longer to make these connections, but in time they do as well. It’s all good work!

Emotions in Transition

The next thing the client understands is the transitory nature of these feelings and sensations. They watch over a few sessions the coming and receding of such things within the body. Their learning is that they can bear to be with difficult experiences after all. This is a liberating insight!

Opposites Can Co-exist

They learn then to distinguish between positive and negative feelings, both of which can be simultaneously withstood. So, one can gain in ones ability to feel joyfulness even in the midst of depressive thoughts and thus prevent oneself from sliding into any kind of irredeemable state.

Learning Self Compassion

Getting familiar with this process of getting to know sensations and feelings, one leading to the other, a client learns to skillfully traverse what lies on the inside with true self-compassion. When clients understand their own processing, they actively work at understanding others.

Metabolic Processing

We intimately know and follow our metabolic processes in the body don’t we, because we savor our eating experiences. Memories and feelings are connected to chemical components as well, in the shape of neurotransmitters. These chemical substances are metabolized (read broken down) when we get ready to let negative feelings dissolve.

Curious to Know Self Better

From previously repressing difficult emotions, clients become curious to understand themselves better via these. So fear for instance can open the doors to feelings of timidity and inferiority trapped inside. This teaches them to locate more of their psychic selves hidden in their bodies.

Taking Responsibility For Oneself

People don’t necessarily pay attention to their own complex natures. And thus their difficult feelings are projected out into the world. In craniosacral treatment the evidence that humans lead multilayered emotional lives is seen from inside. What starts out as frustration may turn into deeply held anger. It takes courage to acknowledge this anger as ones own to release.

Becoming Energized

A therapist can use empathy towards clients to track the inside of their bodies, with compassion and loving attention. Without judgment from both, this process becomes quickly an energizing one. And who doesn’t want to feel energized?

The Outside Connection to Inside

The realization that their outside world influences and changes with their inside one is surprising for most people, at first. For they have never before connected the two. Once they start managing their inside world – of feelings and sensations – learning to live without overwhelm, the outside becomes far easier to handle most times.

In good time, the natural world….of relationships, wants, needs, disappointments, joys….becomes one to be in not to be of. This could be called the final liberation.

When we are liberated from our travails we truly become courageous. And like EFT Master Lindsay Kenny teaches us in her Tapping tree model, we can indeed master our emotions at the branches of the tree.



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A somatic therapist or a body worker is taking on a lot when they meet the client’s needs for healing. The therapist meets head on physical responses and intense emotions when the client’s body opens to these in the space of a session/s. In short, the therapist can never retire from self-understanding and growth. For, as a therapist grows continually in their own mind and body so can they offer the right mix of letting go and integration in the client’s healing process.

Therapy isn’t yet the first choice for healing, for many people around the world. If maybe due to its unhealthy reputation, of being a treatment modality for ‘mentally ill’ patients. However, increasingly clients these days are appreciative of a trusting and safe place to download their pain-filled stories and repressed feelings of anger, guilt, shame, and other admissions of wrongdoings.

I believe craniosacral therapy sessions are a sacred initiation into such deeper transformations of the human self.

Slow Timing

Without doubt the grist for the mill in any somatic healing work is the right timing for intervention, in the space of the session. The practitioner has to incorporate in their very own nature the ability to be spacious, still and slow paced.

In any intervention, whilst honoring the client’s trust in us, we seek the most basic technique rather than a convoluted one. Why? Trauma needs ample space to unravel. Being too quick to intercede on behalf of the client’s systems can lean towards re-traumatization or overwhelm.

Reducing somatic processing to a slow trickle helps hesitant clients as well, surrender to the flow of sensations in the body.

Active Listening

Actively being listened to, and having their frustrations normalized, is one way of bringing clients into parasympathetic (rest and relaxation) expression in their bodies. And the modality can be very basic. Just introducing them to the right breathing techniques, alleviating their posture difficulties, and helping them re-align their self-sabotaging beliefs.

In pain and suffering, it’s easy to fall into a trap of assuming one’s situation as karmic, unique or/and as punishment. And this fallible judgment on self keeps a lot of suffering hidden for fear of being seen as flawed by others. By becoming aware of the commonness of their experiences, clients sigh with relief to know they are not uniquely neurotic as they once believed. The understanding and empathy received from a therapist can untie the knots in this mistaken belief.

Keeping this process slow rather than time-bound allows for deeper integration.

Slow Beginning to End

In therapy the journey is far more significant than the destination. Each session, a rite of passage with a new level of self-understanding, ought to be taken and enjoyed unhurriedly. There are different kinds of clients and thus different experiences had by them. Humans aren’t geared to take on too much too quickly. Some of them even fear glimpsing into their somatic stories. The slower the better for all kinds!

The depth of healing may correlate to the gradualness of the internal processing. So it may be necessary to pace out a session from beginning to end. That calls for acute attunement with a client’s system, to know precisely how and when to begin somatic work and how to end as well.

I do believe that the presence and acknowledgment of Spirit is addressed hugely in craniosacral treatments. For Spirit appears to me to be a slow moving energy force emerging from its quality of pure stillness.

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The Role of Hope in Suffering

                                                                                              Photo credit: Dipika Belapurkar

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a larger intelligence and a deep heart.” ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Abandoning hope. That’s the one thing, perhaps, that’s near impossible to achieve, given our need as humans to be in control of life. Also that’s because we live either in the past or the future and continue wanting both to change. When we fall sick we don’t want to suffer pain even for a minute. We want instant pain relief, and so most of us settle for painkillers and anti-inflammatory aid. And if it’s pleasure we seek, then too short-term gratification will do nicely. OTC medications work in the short duration and then we are back to hoping, for the pain has come back unvaryingly.

Hoping Big For Miracles

Usually a hope-encrusted client comes to alternate therapy after having exhausted all other remedial measures, but with lingering hope yet, to slay suffering. They want something to come out of craniosacral healing. Something else, something big, quick and long lasting, while all along holding on to a cherished lifestyle!

What I say to my clients is, “don’t come to alternate therapy trying to get something out of it.” Because then you are stuck between worry and anxiety, unable to get off the wheel of past anguish and anticipated future sorrow. “Come instead to experience whatever arises in the moment. Moment to moment, watch the unfolding of your life. There’s beauty even in perceiving the arising and dissolving of pain, as long as you remain a witness.” And i am not talking masochism here.

Hoping Against Suffering

Suffering, whether in the body or mind, causes our consciousness to get trapped in negative thoughts, feelings and sensations.

As we develop and escalate hope to end this suffering, in a way, we get attached to its outcome. And then we invite hope into complicity of becoming a fast friend to us (in chronic pain for the rest of our life). We develop a victim mentality and we have faithful hope by our side. But, that’s not what we want, do we?

Instead, we might want pain to simply flow through us on its way out. We could enlist any body system – circulatory, musculo-skeletal, fascial, excretory, etc – for this elimination role.

Hope Into Acceptance

Craniosacral therapy treatment introduces a new conceptual way of being with your own self. In the moment. Being alive, more than you have ever been, you develop new vision about how to feel and act depending on what’s arising in you. You make choices and learn to become responsible for these. There’s a whole lot of cognitive power there, nothing that anybody else outside of you can ever give you.

But in this suffering moment if you get caught up in ‘what was’ and, ‘what could be’ you lose out via disappointment. Because you are never pleased. In both these moments (the past and future) you aren’t in the present, moreover, you are powerless to change the past or foresee a future. The control we derive from craniosacral healing comes when we let go of both these variables and instead learn to be with the arising of each new moment. What arise are safety and trust. Hope then transcends into acceptance. And suffering into healing.


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Blissing Out Can Change Your Brain – Part III

Our sessions had begun in earnest, because she was a client committed to purging her body of the ill effects of alcohol. She revealed a family history of alcohol abuse, a fact she hid before. This disclosure led to others, with equally long-lasting influences on her life.

CST is friend to the harmonious workings of the CNS (central nervous system). This system includes the brain and the spinal cord – neural tissue that embodies and promotes health everywhere in the body. From my experience as a therapist with alcohol users, the CNS shows up differently each time.

Interestingly, touch on a client’s body sends signals to the brain, improving its functions. With my client, over time, a cognitive shift was seen with respect to controlling an urge to drink limitlessly and to curbing an impulse to swing into action at the first sign of discomfort.

The brain in general has space around it, devoted to its bouncy and fluidic nature. This is what I have palpated time and again. A craniosacral therapist can gauge by light touch, contractions in the neural connective tissue – whether nerves, bone, blood or membranes – in the head. By staying present to the goings-on inside her head, over a number of sessions, we came to a place wherein the newly triggered dull throbbing fell silent.

The brain interprets touch in a certain way and if found favorable relaxes its vice-like hold on the pain mechanism in the body. Though she felt no other pain in the body, she felt laxity in her muscles making her inactive and dull. It was wonderful for her to see how that changed.

It’s understood that the brain responds to signals or stimuli, to accordingly activate muscles and other connective tissue. In her case somehow the brain wasn’t getting to do its job. And this is where the connection to her alcohol consumption comes in. Her brain was getting impacted somehow. We didn’t need to know where and how at this point.

The quality of touch offered to my client had a stimulating effect on her within a couple of sessions, with the connection and communication between her connective tissue body and brain restored.

Craniosacral touch sets off the somatosensory system – whole clockwork of activity between the sensory organs, the spine, and the higher centers in the brain. It helps to switch off over-activation in the sympathetic nervous system or rouse an inactive parasympathetic system. In her case it invoked a sympathetic charge in order to bring some life back to her musculoskeletal system.

We made tremendous progress quickly. There was much more ground to cover, however, in the sessions to come. Substance and alcohol abuse is a deeply layered issue. It takes time and collaborative effort to arrive at the core belief and need for external stimulation in the client. Chances of reversals are high, but equally high are chances of recovery.

Craniosacral treatment in combination with therapy for behavior modification can work a miracle into someone’s life. Like anything else in life, this healing work deserves a commitment to self-healing and self-restoration from the client. My job as a therapist is to be there when that happens.


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Blissing Out Can Change Your Brain – Part II

It’s easier to spot physical pain on/in the body of a client by, amongst actual internal physiological damage, their posture; grimaces on the face; and, some times, expletives muttered under the breath. On the other hand a person with a mental disorder could walk in looking fabulously in control. Any tendency towards uncontrolled behavior is masked, probably been vented out elsewhere just prior to the meeting in the clinic.

So this client was dead serious when she said she was desperate to try out craniosacral healing to treat her alcohol urges. She wasn’t aware of any body harm because of it. A giveaway was her sluggish body, often seen with alcohol users. In recent months she had begun to show slight cognitive decline becoming forgetful and foggy, a cause for further annoyance.

Lately, she had begun to assess her own “crazy” behavior after a binge and was “horrified” at her loss of control. She felt high anxiety levels when she tried weaning herself off. She knew not how to come out of the clutches of this deeply held desire to drink. So my client had come along looking for craniosacral healing for her anxiety as well as for parting ways with alcohol.

Unless someone has had requisite investigation done, via fMRI maybe, there’s no way to make a definitive prognosis about any brain damage from alcohol consumption. And ‘course she hadn’t any tests on her. So I had no way of knowing initially what I was going to encounter.

Cranial therapy has a way around that. It’s such a simple solution that a newbie client may disbelieve its success rate. And that is to simply support places of health prevalent in the client’s body, no matter its state of dis-ease. This is always the preferred path in craniosacral therapy treatment, rather than trying to ‘cure’ what’s amiss. Because many times what’s lost to the body in terms of illness is done so for ever, so why not redeem health instead?

The Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in the brain is known for its differing effect on different parts of the brain. The affected brain parts are, the cerebellum; medulla also called the brain stem; cerebral cortex; limbic system; and the master gland combination – hypothalamus and pituitary. That doesn’t leave much to ones imagination of what can possibly go wrong in cognitive terms, in brains exposed to even moderate amount of alcohol.

To know it in simple terms, alcohol influences the inhibitory and excitatory nerve pathways, in the brain, by enhancing the former and suppressing the latter. Both these actions lead to a sluggish response in the body once the initial high effects of alcohol wear off. To say the least, the nervous system of an alcohol drinker has seen better days of functionality.

In healing touch therapy such as this one, gentle and non-invasive touch petitions a healing response in brain function. The right kind of touch has positive influence with brain plasticity. Damage to the brain can be reversed to varying degrees in people, dependent on the history of alcohol use.

Read Blissing Out Can Change Your Brain – Part III

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