Trashcans and hurricanes / explaining craniosacral therapy to an 8-year-old

IMG_5378If you are in my line of work, there is a thing that happens at parties and barbecues: Someone asks what you do and as soon as you say the words biodynamic craniosacral therapist, you’ve… lost them. Aren’t you, dear reader, losing a bit of interest even seeing that phrase? Biodynamic craniosacral. It’s such a mouthful that it buries itself.

And then, on the way to school, passing wild turkeys and frozen fields, my daughter asks a question from the backseat that gets to the heart of this problem.

“But what do you really do? When you work it looks like… nothing.”

I started studying craniosacral work in 2012, and just finished a two and a half year deep dive certification in this particular approach. Every day I see how powerful the work is, but I have not cracked this particular code: How to simply explain what it is.

Because an 8 year old? She doesn’t want to hear about the relational field and down regulation, she could care less about cerebrospinal fluid and the sphenobasilar junction. And if you can’t help a kid understand what you do in practical language, can you really explain what you do?

I take a breath. “Well…” How do I convey the idea of energy? 

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“Let’s say there’s a hurricane, and it blows over the trashcan. It just topples over and starts sliding across the street. What would happen if you walked out in the middle of the hurricane and stood it back up?”

“It would knock over again.”

“Right. And again, and again. As long as the hurricane’s blowing, the trashcan’s going over.” I check the rearview mirror to make sure she’s still with me. “But, what if you could talk directly to the hurricane? What if you could understand energy – forces that are everywhere and invisible, but not always as loud as a hurricane – and help the hurricane start to calm. Then what would happen to the trashcan?”

“It would just stay put.” We’re getting somewhere. Energy precedes matter is a fundamental principal of biodynamic. If we talk to the underlying patterns, we influence everything else, trashcans included.

“And what if we zoomed right in – on this steering wheel, or my bag here or your leg. What would we see?”

“Dust.” This is… so true. It’s February after all. I keep going.

“Yes. And if we zoomed in *even* further than that? Just kept zooming in and in?”

“Atoms.”

“Yes!” I’m trying not to get overly excited“Ok, and if we zoom in on the atoms, what do we see?”

“Electrons?”

“Right! We’ve got these electrons spinning round and round protons and neutrons. We’ve actually got – when we get right down to this atomic zoom level – we’ve actually got much more space than stuff. If we focus on the space, we influence the stuff.” We are more space than matter. In cranio, we’re less interested in the conditional adaptations than the health that underlies it all. We focus on what is well, on what organizes health. I think she’s getting this.

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“So, you speak the language of energy? Like, you know the words and sentences to talk to energy?” Kids are quick.

“Yes. But language is a lot about listening. You know how there are certain people you want to talk to and certain people you…don’t?” I parody an awkward adult to show what I mean, “‘Do you like school, little girl?‘ In cranio, we want to listen in a way that makes you comfortable enough to come out of your shell, so that we can have a real conversation, and maybe shift things together.” Establishing resonance. 

So there, in 5 minutes, is a beginner’s guide to Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy: trashcans, hurricanes, dust, listening. Easier to follow, right?

Maybe I’ll try that at the next barbecue.


Two upcoming Root Therapy events:

  • There are still a few available sessions for the lower cost clinic on March 30th (45-minute sessions for $40). Please be in touch if you’d like to schedule one.
  • We’re still buzzing from the wonderful Embodied Writing: Seasons series that wrapped up earlier this month. The next Embodied Writing: Seasons series will run in April – be sure to sign up for the newsletter if you’d like to know when registration opens!

The Path Less Traveled

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A few months ago, I wrote here about issues I was having in my hands that necessitated a pause in my massage practice. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen this, but the hiatus gifted me the space to ask important questions: What kind of healing work really resonates? What supports meaningful change and health? How is the work sustainable?

I didn’t go looking for these questions, but my hands (ba dum bum) were forced. Turns out, the body doesn’t traffic in subtle metaphors.

The view from my sweet new office.

The view from my sweet new office.

But the body also has its own wisdom. Those questions led me to a more expansive and nourishing approach to practice, and what’s emerging feels rich and deeply exciting. While my core focus is the same, I’m calling on a wider set of tools:

  • Neuromuscular therapy to help with areas of muscular discomfort
  • Zero Balancing to open foundational joints with gentle traction
  • Craniosacral work to amplify overall health and ground the nervous system

Because I’m listening for what kind of approach will be most supportive, no session looks quite the same. What is consistent, however, is what clients take with them: more ease, movement, and new choices. It’s a bit like massage, only fully clothed and with longer-lasting effects.

I was unsure of what to expect from my first [Root Therapy] session with Jones. Ultimately, I left the session feeling deeply empowered as an active participant in my experience on the table. Jones’ presence is supportive and wise; in her hands I could feel my body opening to it’s fullest potential of wellness. I experienced great relief of two specific injuries, and continue to enjoy a lingering sense of integrated, aligned embodiment.” K.W., Portland

IMG_5724Who is this work for? Most everyone! But it may speak especially to those who:

  • experience muscular pain and seek relief
  • are flummoxed by Big Questions and want support to feel at ease
  • crave nourishment and clearer purpose
  • need resources to help manage anxiety and stress
  • want a greater sense of their own bodies

My sessions still address tissue (sometimes the shoulders do need massage!), but we lean into a larger vocabulary – wider and more subtle – for meeting the body and offering support. Because we treat both energy and physical structure, a different depth of healing becomes available.

“I came into my session with Jones in a real state of sorrow, feeling very unsettled and vulnerable. She held space for all of my feelings and my story with such non-judgement and compassion that it felt like anything was permissible in the session. We talked, and then on the table, with her gentle energy guiding me, my body let go into acceptance of the void and the rawness. I left the session feeling considerably grounded and fully witnessed. Jones is a gifted healer who creates deeply safe space just by her presence.” — C.M., Portland

I hope that I’ll be able to offer full massage again soon, and I’m excited to share these modalities as a powerful alternative.

And speaking of exciting changes! A few more updates to share:

  • I’m offering $50 discounted introductory sessions (normally $70), so you can come in and see if the work resonates for you. Please feel free to contact me to schedule.
  • I have a new cozy office that is bright and peaceful and right downtown with easy parking. I’ve also expanded my hours to accommodate more schedules.
  • I’m returning to some of my teaching roots by offering workshops in embodied writing. The first workshop is full, but I’ll be scheduling more in January!

Yours in health, joy, and the path less travelled,

Jones

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