There are as many approaches to healing as there are practitioners.
Some practitioners are drawn to working with anatomy, structure, and function. Some are drawn to work with energy.
Of course it is all energy!
One of the things that I love about craniosacral work is that it has an anatomy and physiology to it. It is the best of both worlds for me. Having the knowledge of the anatomy and physiology and the perception skills of the energy, I find I can perceive the areas in the body that are in distress.
Areas of distress show up as areas of condensed energy. It feels different than ‘normal’. Normal areas feel resilient. There is flow, movement, light, air. Areas of distress feel dense, condensed, static, dead, ugh (that is the feeling I sometimes get in my body when I encounter strong distress in a client’s body).
So…. first, I will state this emphatically… I am a true believer in the power of energy work. So, this is not a dis on energy workers or other woo woo practitioners – of which I am one).
Over this last decade or so, I have noticed an influx of new practitioners coming into the world of healing work. They seem to not want to take certification classes or go through the efforts and bureaucracy of getting licensed. (that is so old school!) They take a few classes – Reiki, Shamanic healing, sound healing, pranic healing, access bars, tuning forks, etc. (there are hundreds of energy healing options from which to choose), hang their shingle and begin to treat clients. Yes, they might channel incredible light and energy, have deep insight and intuition and are of benefit to their clients.
Here is my concern…. As complementary/alternative medicine becomes more into the mainstream, people are seeking out help for their various ailments.
But do you as an energy (or any healing) practitioner have some understanding of pathology?
Would you know when to refer someone to a medical practitioner? Or to the emergency room? Or to a trained trauma therapist or mental health practitioner?
Regardless of one’s respect/lack of respect for the medical field in its present day paradigm, some conditions might need immediate medical attention. Are you aware of what those symptoms might be?
I always encourage my students to (as much as possible) check their agenda. To become aware of the hidden motivations of being ‘a healer’. Do I want to be “the one” who heals? Have god like powers? Be known as a gifted healer? These potential shadow places of healers can get in the way of seeing clearly and humbly recognizing when a condition is out of the scope their practice.
I like to encourage healers to have a foot in both worlds – a foot in the Divine (Spirit, Ground of Being, Presence, Breath of Life, cosmos, energy) and a foot on the ground (embodied, anatomy, physiology, pathology). For me a foot in both worlds is the best way I can serve my clients.
Those of you who know me are aware that I have a strong practice of meditation and spending time in nature. This gives me the quietude and presence in which to sense the changes in the energetic field. So when I sense the ‘ugh’ or static or density in the field I can do some inquiry about how to best help my client. I also spend a fair amount of time studying - anatomy, physiology, pathology, asking questions, researching so that I can help my clients with their ails. And to know when their needs and their condition are out of my scope of practice.
I will tell 2 stories to hopefully make my point (there are countless others) …
Many years ago, I worked somewhat regularly with Tom. I hadn’t seen him for about 6 months. He had been super busy with work and traveling and did not have the time to come in for a session. As I worked his neck area, I noticed a raised area at the front of his neck. It had been a while since I had worked with him, but I sensed a change. This was not his ‘normal’ and it did not feel normal. I asked him about it. He was unaware of it. I then suggested he checked in with his doctor. He called me a few weeks later thanking me profusely. It turned out to be fast growing tumor on his thyroid.
A few years ago, a young woman came in for a session. She was having headaches and neck pain after a fall. She had tripped and fallen on her face while hiking. As I gently worked with her neck and head my inner alarm bells went off. Something was not right. I wondered inwardly if there was a cervical fracture. This can happen with falls on the face. I highly recommended an evaluation from a medical professional. We spoke on the phone a couple of weeks later. She was in the hospital recovering from surgery. It turns out she had a brain tumor in her cerebellum that got a bit upset with her fall.
I continually learn from these experiences. What if I had not listened to my gut sense that something was not right? What if I had not spoken up? What if my ego got in the way and I thought “I could heal them!”? I have sent numerous clients for medical evaluation – sometimes they were minor and easily treatable conditions and others found bone cancer or severely herniated disks. Sometimes… time is of the essence. Some conditions if left too long without medical attention can cause damage that might be irreparable or lengthen the healing process.
When we encounter an area that feels ‘off’ how best to proceed? I use the metaphor “dropping a question into the still pond”. I ask inside (or to guides or soul) “What is here? What is this? Is it ok to proceed? How do you want to be met? Is it time?”
A side note… It is important to know that sometimes it is not time to undo a strong compensation pattern. (remember to check your agenda!)((and this will be a topic of future writing).
I might ask questions of my clients “What do you know of this area? Symptoms? Past history? “ I usually do an initial intake so I am aware of past injuries, illnesses, issues.
When I encounter the ‘ugh’ … for me, the ‘ugh’ is a heavy gut feeling within me – it is discordant. To me, it means something is really not right. This is definitely when I refer.
I think that every healing practitioner should have a good pathology book handy. and a referral list of practitioners (mental health, trauma therapists, MDs, neurologists, orthopedics, chiropractors, and of course craniosacral practitioners! 😊)
Please pay attention and listen to these areas of distress. And be willing to humbly say “I am not the one” and be willing to send your client for help.
I am always looking to help my students uplevel their knowledge and skill. So, my above rant has prompted me to develop a pathology class. It will be a requirement for certification in my Craniosacral program. It is in the early development stage. More to be revealed in the future… stay tuned!