Highlighting current community based work of therapists
If you are a craniosacral therapist or student doing creative, innovative work to reach the wider community please get in touch with us about being featured on the site!
NYC, New York - metaDEN
I’ve recently been doing work out of this healing incubator for people of color, by people of color. The sessions are affordable, and people aren’t turned away for lack of funds. I’m planning to start doing these donation-based clinics regularly. I felt so rewarded to be working within a community that was more in need of trauma resolution, but generally less able to afford or reach out to this kind of wellness based therapy.
There aren’t many opportunities like this that I know of that readily exist—it’s something you have to be proactive about and create. My advice to other Craniosacral therapists would be to find an institution or organization that works to help a marginalized group of people. I’m lucky in that I found an organization that focuses on healing work. Then, teach them about Craniosacral work, and offer sample sessions to leaders/administrators. Set up a plan for a monthly, bimonthly, or even weekly donation-based clinic. This work is too amazing/life-changing/transformational to limit to only people who can afford it!
I began contracting with Healing Warriors Program in May 2018. I learned about HWP from a peer colleague and knew immediately I wanted to join their therapist team. There is established research sharing the CST benefits for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Concussion Recovery, as well as an ongoing veterans program in place I was familiar with through my training with Upledger Institute.
What I witness to be an important aspect of this work is that in the combination of physical changes that happen for a client, a groundswell potential for positive change is underfoot. When a veteran experiences a felt-sense of relief; whether from migraines, back pain, insomnia or anxiety, this relief can exist as a new baseline. If s/he is then able to reduce or eliminate medications with their side effects and regain connection with self and loved ones, this can lead to a significant increase in quality of life. CST addresses the entirety of the person and Healing Warriors Program provides the connection for veterans to receive this unique care at sustainable rates. That’s exciting!
For me, it was important to get clear that my mission with this work is very much connected to a larger vision of peace. That vision has guided my decision not only to contract with HWP, but also to regularly donate packages in fundraising to value-aligned organizations within my local community from my private practice, CranioSacralBoulder. My advice to other practitioners considering community work is to spend time connecting with yourself about what your practice means for you, what your community means for you, and how/why you want to offer your work into your community. Daydream about this unique personal vision you create, write about it, draw about it, give it energy and life, and trust that things will take shape.
London (Crouch End) - Work Shadow Clinic
I started the Craniosacral Drop-In Clinic in London N8 in 1999. Treatments were free but donations were invited. It is estimated more than 5000 ‘treatments’ have been carried out since it started. It was originally set up as a Mother & Baby Clinic because I particularly wanted to specialise in babies. It was a great help that the treatment room in a community centre was adjacent to an under-5 toddlers’ group, many parents attended and received my leaflet as they arrived. Within a short period, Mums and Dads wanted treatments as well and very soon it became a clinic for everyone.
Unexpectedly the DropIn soon developed as a mini-support hub for the regular attendees. The second reason for starting the clinic was to take low cost complimentary medicine into the community. In this respect the DropIn has been a great success. Today CST is relatively well known in the area, especially for its reputation for supporting babies. This certainly was not the case in the late ‘90s when CST was not widely known.
After a couple of years from the start of the Clinic I started to invite newly qualified CST graduates to assist each week. The objective was for me to offer shadow-work and clinic experience. This was very successful and positively changed the dynamics of the treatments. Patients enjoyed being attended by two practitioners and appreciated receiving a more profound treatment in the short time available for the consultations. For those assisting it hopefully demonstrated the enjoyment of creating a low-cost clinic for those who otherwise would not have access to CST. There is now a lengthy waiting list of several months to assist. I am in the process of retiring from my practice, but happily two local colleagues namely Zoe Rigby and Maria Esposito are continuing the weekly clinic in the familiar format at the same venue. In retrospect, it now seems to have been a fairly easy task to establish this clinic. It might be hard work to see up to 6 patients during the course of a morning, but it has been well worth the effort!
New York City, NY & Philidelphia, PA- Cranio Sacred
I've always done massage ever since i was a kid. As for getting into craniosacral therapy and creating a company centered around restorative justice care, it was a no brainer. As an intersex person who has witnessed oppression in many forms it seemed natural to serve my community. I wanted to create a practice aimed at treating the folk without those advantages of privilege.
Cranio Sacred is a business whose mission is empowerment of the self and creating accessible care services RE: physical and mental wellbeing in marginalized communities. Started by Sid Shigematsu in 2017, Cranio Sacred has grown from a small seed into a burgeoning community. With offerings ranging from free online tai- chi classes, CBD and THC body butters, and tiered discounts for everyone suffering under Cis- Patriarchal White Supremacy. Black and indigenous folx, Sex Workers, folx living w chronic illness/disability, and Trans ppl will be given priority. Some ppl will qualify for free work- some ppl will be asked to pay full price! We will all be required to check our privilege and grow together. Cranio Sacred is based in the Philly and NYC area. All my advertising has happened through word of mouth and on Instagram. I've done the Philly Trans Wellness conference since 2018 and it really helped me get the word out.
North Essex- Holistic Health
Before the ink was dry on my Homoeopathic qualification, I found myself in at the deep end, volunteering for a homoeopathic charity offering wellbeing support at outdoor events across the UK. Truly a baptism of fire in the Glastonbury days of the Peace Convoy and Traveller Camps - their presence was felt across the Green Fields and made prescribing very challenging. Nothing could stop me now! 10 years of building my London based Homoeopathic Practice left me feeling it was time to come out of my head and into my hands. An old friend introduced me to CranioSacral Therapy and I was hooked. Injuries resolved with gentle, non-invasive touch, that spoke to my soul. Bones moved, fluid flowed and I was home.
This was something I could take on the road, if Homoeopathy could be offered in a muddy field, then so could CST. A move to North Essex, biker heartland provided me with the opportunity. Bikers love CranioSacral Therapy, they carry a lot of injuries and are often heavily medicated because of this, they do not have the language to describe what they were experiencing, but I found that no hindrance, I speak their speak, we have common ground.
Growing up in a family committed to lifelong learning meant that, alongside my Complementary Therapy Practice, I have always kept a foot in the camp of Adult Learning; volunteering to support learners within Adult Community Learning Essex. My request to teach CranioSacral Therapy was met with `do some training, cut your teeth teaching adults with learning difficulties then we will see..’. I buttoned my lip and got on with it. A tough apprenticeship followed whereby I learned a lot, taught several classes weekly over three years and gained a Teaching Qualification then ‘the man from Del Monte said yes’.
After seven years of teaching one day Cranial workshops across North Essex, my skills have been honed. I designed an accompanying Power Point, now on version 6 as I simplified, made more pictorial (including a pic of a jelly fish to explain the Meninges) and now several of my learners have entered full, professional training. Others use it for friends and family or add to their existing therapy skills (many come from the Therapy Trainings already being delivered at ACL). I have taught hairdressers, masseurs, reflexologists, engineers (he was fascinated by the Primary Respiratory Mechanism), mother and daughter combos and grandparents. I sometimes feel I am channelling Upledger who also felt there should be no barriers to learning CST.
For my next venture, I have joined an Extinction Rebellion local group and although not up to full on protest at the front line, I did feel I could offer Craniosacral Therapy for those able to brave the barriers and stand up to be counted. My offer has been accepted, watch this space.