Is it a massage? This is the number one question people have for me as they grapple with what to expect. The short answer is no. It’s not like conventional massage for a number of reasons. Here are the major differences:
- My hands aren’t moving……….well, not initially. Myofascial Release and Craniosacral therapy doesn’t introduce movement into the tissues like a fabulous Swedish stroke. Instead, my hands sink into your tissues and follow the movement created as the fascial web opens.
- You can keep your clothes on……… A large portion of the treatment session is performed over your clothes. Sometimes I may ask you to bring shorts so I can engage directly on your skin. I may ask if I can work directly on your back or belly. But you will be clothed at all times. Why? Because many times you may feel your body spontaneously release energy. Your arm or leg may jerk. You may feel your torso lift up involuntarily. Why, you start looking and moving like my labrador retriever when he sleeps! And that is some good stuff. The body is eliminating tension through movement. Perfect. These spontaneous releases of energy happen more often if we aren’t worried about keeping a drape on. That’s why I emphasize loose, comfy clothes as a requirement.
- There’s no lotion or cream…… This technique uses friction to engage the tissues. No lotion is used. And please do not lotion up prior to coming!
- I do not work on your entire body…….. Myofascial release and Craniosacral Therapy is a slow technique. Most holds last for 3-5 minutes at time. How much work gets done in a particular region of the body is dictated by how the body responds to the work. For instance, your pain may be mostly in your low back. When I sink into your low back and allow time for the fascia to open, sometimes nothing happens. The body stays just as rigid under my hands as it did when we began. That is your body’s way of telling me that there is a problem somewhere else that is preventing this region from opening and softening. So we try above or below. In effect, you really are guiding me through your fascial web with your responses. The rule of thumb is that we always work where the body is evoking the most change. And then, we can go back and test out the low back to see if it’s ready to open up and let go.
- The depth of the work is determined by you……not by my elbow digging into your glut! Myofascial release and Craniosacral Therapy can be very deep work. But how deep is really all up to you. Your body will open up and allow me in as deep as it wants me to go. No deeper. It’s important to remember that fascia tightens if the sympathetic nervous system gets activated. An elbow to your gluteus is going to stimulate you! Guaranteed! So the rule of thumb is that we invite the body to open vs. forcing an entry. That way, the parasympathetic nervous system has a chance to cut in and release old holding patterns that you no longer need. There should not be any pain. And we strengthen your inherent ability to relax your own soft tissue system.