The Body is the Map of the Mind

-J.D. Landis, Solitude 

Kathy studied traditional talk therapy in graduate school and continues to do so every year in postgraduate trainings. She practices as a traditional psychotherapist. You can come to her for traditional talk therapy. You can also come to her for Craniosacral Therapy (CST) and Reiki.

Kathy has extensively studied holistic therapies people think of as “Eastern” style therapies. Having been trained in multiple bodywork modalities for many decades, she is a somatically oriented therapist. She believes in the mindbody connection.

Bodywork therapies don’t draw a distinction between the body and the mind.  Craniosacral therapy, shiatsu, acupressure and Reiki view the mind and body as inseparable. Shiatsu and acupressure (and acupuncture) is based on the body’s energy meridians and points that simultaneously influence organs, muscles and emotions. The meridians and points were mapped long ago in ancient medical texts; their use persists to this day.

Today, decades of current research have brought us to an understanding that supports the mindbody connection. Candace Pert, Ph.D., was on the team of research pioneers who  discovered  “…the biochemical substrate of psychology…” She discovered the peptides and ligands, the molecules of emotion, that send signals along the acupressure meridians of the body.

Her book, Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mindbody Medicine, discusses her research findings about how our “…Neuropeptides and their receptors thus join the brain, glands, and immune system in a network of communication between brain and body, probably representing the biochemical substrate of emotion. ”

Deepak Chopkra, MD, noted that her work was landmark in understanding the mindbody connection. In fact, it is her belief, based on her research, that the mindbody is so intertwined that she says the body holds all of our  knowledge, and is, in fact, the subconscious mind. Dr. Pert was the founding mother of the modern field called psychoneuroimmunology, the intersection of the psychology, brain, glands and immune system.

Bessel van der Kolk, Ph.D., a trauma clinician and researcher at Boston University Medical School, bases his work on the research of applied neuroscience, which used the integration of mindbody techniques. His research and practice lead him to use an integrative approach of verbal and somatic techniques, including  mindfulness, EMDR, yoga and movement in order to help his clients.

What does this mean to you and your healing?

There are multiple ways to approach healing.  One pathway is via talk therapy. It’s a cognitive way of working things out emotionally. Talk therapy engages the cognitive and upper parts of the brain and works through emotional narrative and beliefs.

Another pathway is through somatic therapies. Somatic therapies engage the lower parts of the brain, the nonverbal, emotional parts of the brain.

Craniosacral Therapy (CST), developed by John E. Upledger, DO, FAAO, is a gentle, physical technique that bridges the mindbody system. It works by assisting the body to release the negative effects of stress on the central nervous system (CNS). CST releases physical stress and can also directly release emotional energy trapped in the body.

The CST therapist very gently evaluates the craniosacral system that houses the central nervous system. The craniosacral system is composed of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, which is, of course, our central nervous system.

Through very gently palpation, no more than 5 grams of pressure ( the weight of a nickel), tensions in the system are released, and the functioning of the central nervous system is directly impacted. CST is meant as a jumpstart to the body’s natural healing processes. CST has been shown to help with chronic problems such as migraine headaches, neck and back pain, TMJ, insomnia, and fatigue. CST enacts the relaxation response and helps return mental clarity and vitality, and can relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety and trauma. It is gentle enough for use with children and infants and gently releases the effects of birth trauma.

Although CST focuses on the central nervous system, it is also used to work with painful or restricted conditions anywhere in the body. Craniosacral work helps the client access their inner heart and personal insights.

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