I had never heard of Craniosacral Therapy when my wife at the time first told me about it. From her description it sounded particularly new agey and unspecific. A gentle hands on therapy that uses suggestion, intention and direction of energy, a lot like Reiki, and so I dismissed it as just another marketing ploy for hands on healing rebranded to sound like more than it really was. Not that I have any disrespect for hands on healing, or spiritual healing as it it often known, I had just found very few practitioners at that time who seemed professional or got any noticeable results.
Since she had just done the first level training, Craniosacral Therapy 1 with the Upledger Institute, and needed to practice I was happy to take the opportunity to lay down for an hour and let her do her thing. It started blandly enough, she placed her hands at various places on the body and moved them here and there with purpose but I couldn’t feel anything happening and as someone who loves a good deep tissue massage I was a little sceptical. It must have been very relaxing because before long I was in that healing place; halfway between sleeping and waking, a lot like a dream but far more coherent than a typical nighttime journey through the subconscious.
Have you ever been to that healing place with a good body work or healing session? It is sublime, deeply relaxing, peaceful, comforting and with a great sense of safety. You feel like you are fully awake and are aware of everything that is happening until you come out of it, then you feel like you have just woken up and wish more than anything to be back in such a cradled sense of wellbeing.
Anyway, that’s where I was floating for a while and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. After some time I became aware of myself as a tiny being, very new and unfamiliar. I had regressed back to my earliest experience in physical form. Maybe it was the moment of conception, maybe it was when the foetus has it’s first heart beat, who can really say? I was aware of was an overwhelming sense of constriction and limitation, like I had been strapped tightly into a straight jacket and could not move freely as I was used to. I tried to twist and turn to free myself but the more I struggled the more I felt that my free floating form was now trapped in something heavy and unyielding. And then the realisation hit me, I had landed in the material realm and I did not like it one little bit.
I was now fully aware as the person laying on the table that this was a regression, a memory of something deeper than the waking mind ever gets to experience, and yet things still seemed completely natural. The struggle was also a memory and I as the person in the present moment was still safe and comfortable on the massage table. I realised that this struggle against being in physical form had been going on at the core of my being ever since and that every layer of my personality had been created over this initial seed experience, and consequently coloured by it. I realised that I had to make peace with being here and so I did so. I breathed deeply and let the tension of the struggle leave me, physically, emotionally and mentally. I accepted that I was in the material realm for some time to come and could not change that and gave thanks for the wonderful things that had happen throughout my life so far, for the love and support I had received from family and friends over the years and all the fantastic opportunities that lay ahead of me in this short life.
I felt every aspect of my being shift towards calmness as the resonance of that struggle dissipated and the memory of resistance was reset to one of acceptance and gratitude, and still everything felt so calm and peaceful to me as the one receiving the work. And it felt so normal to be going through this experience, it just made so much sense and answered so many questions about me and the way I am.
And then, suddenly, I was fully awake again, back in the present moment, laying on the massage table with someone holding their hands gently around my head. And then I freaked out. Not a scared freak out like I was concerned in any way at all, more like the shock and surprise of something completely unexpected that takes a while to digest. I had been on the spiritual journey for about 15 years at this point, meditating for much of that time, and thought I knew my inner realms well. I sat up, took a deep breath and asked aloud something like “What the hell was that???” an then recounted the experience to my wife. She seemed unsurprised, said something soothing and agreeable and just carried on working, so I lay down and let her finish. Now the excited stories she told me about what she’d seen and heard during her training made a lot more sense. The rest of the session was uneventful but the sense of deep peace and newfound acceptance of being in my life persisted and has done so ever since.
I was now a firm believer in Craniosacral Therapy and it’s powerful ability to go deep into our psyche and provide us with the opportunity to release and resolve deeply held conflicts and traumatic states of unease. She worked on me many more times after that and each time was just as calming and wonderfully healing, but never have I had such a profound experience as that first time.
It was a few month later that I watched her work on my cat, Munchkin, and saw an equally dramatic shift in character. You can read about that here. Between those 2 experiences I realised beyond any doubt that Craniosacral Therapy was a powerful healing tool with an ability to get to the root of the matter that I had never experienced with any other modality of healing or transformation, and I had tried a great many methods in my time. It was a few months later, after she and I parted ways, that I found myself in the position of beginning a new life in a new place. I decided to change things up and do something with my life that I love and believe in, and that is what brought me to Asheville, North Carolina, to get certified in massage so that I could study Craniosacral Therapy. It has been a rewarding and fascinating journey to feel the ongoing shift in myself towards wholeness and happiness with each and every session. It is just as rewarding to see the results my clients get when they share their experiences with me.
My first experience was not a common one and I can’t promise that anyone else with go through the same thing, but I have had many reports of equally important and transformational changes from my clients and colleagues. CST doesn’t ‘do something’ to the one receiving it, what it does do is give them an opportunity to let go of that which they no longer have any use for, if they are ready to face it, accept it and be done with that story. And this is the key to how wildly the experiences of CST differ, the ability to accept, to face these things that we have buried deep inside and to acknowledge them as they really are, rather than how we have chosen to remember them. For those who are not ready, willing or able to got that deep the sessions are typically more about deep relaxation and releasing more minor issues that they have been holding onto. For others their experiences have been just as profound as my first and the resulting changes just as beneficial. As with most things in life, what we get out of something is up to us and how much we are prepared to accept being present and fully engaged in the moment, whatever it may hold.