What is Mental Health?

Its mental health awareness week.

Clarissa Millar

We each have our own minds …

mental-health-2019924_1920 (2)Having worked in mental health back in the early 90’s and then again recently, I am amazed at all the different diagnosis that have emerged!!! Previously schizophrenia and Bi Polar were typically the main diagnosis. Now we have more sub categories and a variety of mental health conditions affecting a large proportion of the population such as; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety, Depression, Personality Disorders and Body Dysmorphic Disorder to name just a few. According to Mind; 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience some form of mental health issue each year, now that’s a lot of people!

One thing that has always fascinated me is “what is mental health“? Who’s to say this persons mind is healthier than that persons mind. After all we each have our own minds and are responsible for how we…

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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis better known as ME and sometimes referred to as Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

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Last week was Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) awareness week. This illness has been referred to as the forgotten plague. There are thousands of people who suffer from this debilitating condition and often when it gets so severe to the point of chronic or severe ME is when people are unable to carry out basic daily living skills such as; going to the toilet, washing, walking, talking and even swallowing food. Sensitivity to noise, light, touch, sound all becomes magnified and unbearable to tolerate.

This is in its extreme cases and its important to mention that not all diagnosis reach such debilitating conditions. Many of the physical symptoms included in this illness are; marked muscle fatigability, acute onset of Central Nervous System resulting in numbness, tingling, weakness, or an inability to move, as well as anxiety and rapid heart beat. Changes in mood, sleep disorders, irritability, and reactive depression can be experienced as well as urinary frequency, bowel changes, sweats, severe headaches, visual problems, weakness, cramps, and sensory changes, muscular and neck pain, acute fleeting spasmodic pain and tenderness.

The reason I know about this is because a family member has been suffering with this condition for many years. ME is difficult to diagnose and is very difficult to treat due to the complexity of the illness.

From my perspective as a Cranioscaral therapist working with someone who has CFS or ME is that it is vital to start exactly where that person is. For example the first few sessions may not result in physical contact. It is important to build up a safe space and a good working relational environment before any hands on work may be able to take place. Craniosacral therapy also works in the field (energy body), a persons system is able to receive without being touched. CST is a supportive, holistic and gentle healing modality making it safe for the individuals system to work at their own pace.

Below is a link to the trailer film of Unrest a film about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic fatigue syndrome
Please noteCraniosacral therapy is not considered a substitute for conventional western medicine, however people often come for treatments having exhausted all other options through the NHS.
 
The above information reflects my professional experiences as a craniosacral practitioner working with clients in this area. It is intended to complement, rather than replace, conventional medical advice and care.
 

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Craniosacral Therapy; A listening tool

How I listen to your body; Finding health within the chaos.

city-1799656_1920When people ask me “what is Craniosacral therapy“? It can be quite difficult to explain, I mean are they really going to understand all about the rhythmic tides, the inherent treatment plan, primary respiration and so on?

In more simplistic terms I listen to the story the persons body is expressing. Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a listening tool for the body, much like counselling is for the person. Its important that I explain how each of us is unique in how we hold certain emotions, traumas, pain and so on as each of our bodies have varying coping mechanism of held expression. I often say to people that their body will only be able to express what it can in each session and that often there are many layers to work through. For example a deeply held and suppressed emotional trauma will generally not show itself in the first few sessions, it would be too overwhelming for the individual. Our innate body wisdom is very clever.

Many people come for CST for physical ailments and whilst we are able to work with the physiology and anatomy of the body these are often intertwined with deeper held emotional aspects of an individual. The emotional body is very much connected to the physical body and our consciousness; our thought processes, belief systems, how we perceive ourselves and the outside world, how we love ourselves and so on. So when we experience unsettling or uncomfortable experiences that can feel too much to deal with at the time we often suppress them, these emotions then get buried into the cellular memory and the physical body has to develop coping mechanisms; this is often followed by a manifestation of physical symptoms such as; headaches, neck pain, back pain, knee pain, upset stomach, acid re flux and so on.

In session I am tuning into and listening to what the physical body is expressing in conjunction with what the emotional body is also saying, its a story that words can not express!

Each practitioner works in their own way, we are all able to palpate and listen to our clients systems as CST is a listening tool, however we each have our own unique strengths and abilities and its about finding the right therapist for you.

 

Below is a short video on an introduction to Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy

What is Mental Health?

 

We each have our own minds …

mental-health-2019924_1920 (2)Having worked in mental health back in the early 90’s and then again recently, I am amazed at all the different diagnosis that have emerged!!! Previously schizophrenia and Bi Polar were typically the main diagnosis. Now we have more sub categories and a variety of mental health conditions affecting a large proportion of the population such as; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety, Depression, Personality Disorders and Body Dysmorphic Disorder to name just a few. According to Mind; 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience some form of mental health issue each year, now that’s a lot of people!

One thing that has always fascinated me is “what is mental health“? Who’s to say this persons mind is healthier than that persons mind. After all we each have our own minds and are responsible for how we use them! Some people are aware of their mental health issues and others are not! It is for us alone to work through our own thought patterns, our belief systems, our repetitive thought process’, our paranoia, fears, anxieties and so on. Therefore I find the whole diagnosis a complex and fascinating subject. Take for example people who have been diagnosed with Personality Disorders/Borderline Personality Disorders (BPD), from my experience working with people who have BPD often come from a back ground of Trauma which usually relates to experiences/circumstances from their childhood .

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) works very well with trauma, as amongst other things it works directly with the nervous system, the fight or flight response which is activated by the sympathetic nervous system. It also works with the vagus nerve which is part of the parasympathetic “rest and digest” nervous system which influences our breathing, digestive function and heart rate, all of which can have a huge impact on a persons mental health, especially if receiving regular CST.

So when is intervention required? Now that is probably too big a question to answer here, however unless someone is a danger to themselves or others or in acute pain then a lot of the time there is a process to go through to unravel certain aspects relating to their emotional and mental well-being. There are times for medication and times where gentle alternative remedies can support someone such as Bach Remedies, Homeopathy, massage, Reiki, Yoga, healthy eating and of course my all time favourite Craniosacral Therapy.

On this note I would like to mention a couple of books which I feel may help people on their road to recovery. One is called ‘Waking the Tiger‘ by Peter A. Levine which is all about Healing Trauma and another book on a lighter note is ‘May the thoughts be with you‘ by Charlotte Reed. This book has lots of positive affirmations with wonderful illustrations, Charlotte also has weekly illustrations in the Evening Standard every Monday as well as her Facebook page and Instagram daily messages of positive thoughts which helped her overcome her own depression.

If in doubt always consult a medical professional for advice and referral if appropriate.

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Healing Modality

Can you heal me?

 

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I thought I would write a little bit about Craniosacral Therapy (CST) as a healing modality. Yes it is a healing modality/therapy and in my books it is one of the most effective an deeply empowering forms of body work there is. This is due to the ability of the body’s own inherent healing capacity.

I would like to stress that it is the clients body that does its own healing, not the practitioner. I have notice that quite a few of my reviews on here and on my face book page make reference to me being a healer (and a very good one at that from all accounts!!), as flattered as I am with such wonderful statements, I feel it is important from a Craniosacral practitioners perspective that I clarify that it is not me who is healing the person on the table, I am holding a space for the persons body to be listened to, really listened to in a very unique way. The space that is held is safe, open, non judgemental and completely governed by the pace of the client. Basically this is the clients session and I am the facilitator.

On another note I would like to add that I do also have experience in energy healing, this is something that I carried out prior to my CST training. Now although when doing CST sessions I do not lend my focus to the other energy work that I do it would be unrealistic to not expect the healing knowledge held within my system to not be working in some capacity. For in truth everything is energy!

Overall the relational field between client and practitioner is key to providing that safe space for deep healing to take place and I am very happy to be able to offer that space for those willing to receive.

Nameste ❤

 

 

 

 

Innate Body Wisdom

Your body knows!!

I have a special interest in this topic, the topic of our innate body wisdom. Our bodies are designed to form. Its really a case of each cell, each DNA molecule and so on all knowing what they are meant to be doing, they are working together to create homeostasis within the collective structure of the human anatomy and physiology.

How is it that the cell of an elbow knows to form into that as opposed to the cell of a knee for example? Do they have consciousness? Are they somehow talking to each other? To be honest it really doesn’t matter (unless something goes wrong of course!) they just know!!! Trillions of cells, atoms, DNA nucleus or whatever you want to refer to are in constant communication all of the time, they are all working together in conjunction with one anothers systems of the human body. So the endocrine and lymphatic and so on are working individually in their own system however they are also working collectively to support all the other systems.

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I just love this, we are walking miracles, complete universes within universes. Often when illness/disease manifests into form within the physical body its a way for the whole system to inform us that something isn’t working/functioning at its optimum. For example this can be through the elimination process, often this can be skin related conditions as toxin/emotions are being released through a detoxification process. Sometimes this can also be through conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and so on and can even manifest as stress!! Look at what you are taking into your body as this is what feeds you, its not just the food and drink we consume its our emotions, words, thoughts and so on. Be mindful what you are feeding yourself. We work as a unified field of function where everything impacts on everything else. This is why I LOVE Craniosacral Therapy, it works with the whole. Not just one or two but all of the elements of the human system, mind body and soul.

The human body viewed from a holistic point of view has its remarkable own innate healing ability. When symptoms occur its often the bodies way of letting us know that something isn’t right, often when we go and take prescribed medication it can suppress the very thing that is trying to eliminate itself, thus suppression the process. I am not saying that taking western medication is wrong, there is clearly a need for some people and I would always suggest consulting a medical professional if symptoms are causing concern. However its good to also recognise the body talks to us and sometimes its only way is by presenting certain symptoms to get our attention. In the end the choice is always down to the individual.

The music in us

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Oh how I love music, and to be invited to go on my friend’s radio show to talk about the work I do was too good an opportunity to turn down!

Music plays a big role in my life, amongst the sheer enjoyment of listening to many genres it has always been a tool for me to work through my emotions either by listening to the depth of a Dire Straits solo guitar piece or through expression of bodily movement dancing the night away! Music has the capacity to reach any depth of emotion and supports us in releasing through its wonderful vibration.

I find during my craniosacral sessions that the body can display its own rhythmic motion through the craniosacral system. Here is a little example of this motion; video example

These days I often play beautiful soft inviting sounds such as this 639 Hz during my Craniosacral therapy sessions. A lot of my clients state that this type of  music offers a supportive gentle holding space for mind and body to settle into stillness thus supportive of the craniosacral experience.

So as I mentioned above I was invited onto my friend Billy Idle’s radio show (The Music Galaxy Radio – MGR) the other week to talk about Craniosacral therapy. He has a lovely little set up in the comfort of his own home which was a great way to experience my first ever live radio show. He plays some lovely music and always starts off with a Nightmares on wax tune, he also plays a little meditation section for listeners to unwind. Speaking about Craniosacral therapy felt like a natural part of his show. So for those of you looking for a new radio station which plays some great music.

Here is a link to last weekends show The Music Galaxy Radio – MGR

The Music Galaxy Radio - MGR
The Music Galaxy Radio – MGR