It can take a lot of courage to turn up to any therapy session. There may be the fear of being vulnerable, of being seen, and even of asking for help. There are many unknowns – will you feel safe? Will you like the therapist? Will you like the room? Will it make you feel better? So in this blog, I’m giving you a step by step guide of what to expect in a therapy session with me. Remember that all practitioners are different but this is how I work:
The Talking Bit
When I first meet you, we spend about 10-15 minutes discussing your current symptoms and why you’ve come for treatment. I’ll ask questions about your past health history, major events in your life and what kind of lifestyle you lead. Some questions may seem unusual (for instance I may ask about your own birth experience) but I’m following the threads that feel important to build up a picture of the story and messages held within your body.
Settling onto the Couch
I’ll then invite you to lie, fully clothed, on the massage table. It’s really important that you feel comfortable and safe at all times so always ask for any adjustments you need to the lighting, temperature, blanket or pillows.
I feel that one of the most important aspects of a craniosacral session is teaching you how to settle inside yourself. I would normally ask you to close your eyes, to let the words go, and to bring your attention within your body. I’d talk you through bringing your awareness to the felt sensation of the couch underneath you, the blanket above you and to the length of your spine. I’d then ask you to just feel how your body expands and contracts with each in and out breath.
The Hands-on Part
When I feel that you have settled and ‘arrived’ on the couch, I would then bring my hands to your shoulders. Session work involves a very light, gentle touch and usually lasts about 40-45 minutes. During your session, depending on your areas of concern and what your body is showing me, I will work with different areas of your body. I may work at your head (cranium), at your spine, at your shoulders and hips or at your feet and legs. Each time I move to a new position, I always tell you beforehand so that you feel safe and secure at all times.
What I’m doing whilst gently holding parts of your body is listening to your subtle rhythms and tracking changes in your system. Basically I listen for your body’s expression of the order of priorities for this particular session. Whilst I’m doing this, you may relax so deeply that you fall asleep or enter a quiet meditation-like state. You may also experience memories or insights. Most people also enjoy a pleasant sense of warmth, softening, widening or floating. At times, you may also experience other kinds of sensations as energy that has been held in the body is released. The session quite often involves a process of letting go of patterns that inhibit your health and vitality.
I will let you know a few moments before I end the hands-on part of the session, so that you can fully integrate what has happened over the course of the session.
At the end
I’ll let you have a few moments on the couch whilst I write up my notes. Then, I’ll talk you through coming into side-lying position and then to a sitting position, as I slowly orientate you to the external world again.
Often following a session, energy returns to places that may have felt cold and numb. You may feel relaxed, but also energized and you may find yourself breathing more fully and deeply. Some people even stand straighter and taller!
No matter what your experience, I’ll take some time with you after you are off the table to check in about how you’re doing. This is a great opportunity to find words for your experience and reflect on how differently you feel after your session.
I always recommend that you take time in the next 2-3 days just to notice how you are in the world. What is the quality of your sleep the night after your session? How is your digestion? How is your overall experience of life? By paying attention to the lasting effects of this work you will be able to gauge what the on-going use of this work might offer you.
Craniosacral sessions are available with Ri in Bristol, Cirencester and Cherington.