Friday, January 29, 2010

Natural Answers for Depression: An Overview

By Ellen Asherah CMT CHT BA Certified Herbalist

Depression is a large and weighty issue in the United States today. There are numerous ways of treating symptoms of depression by combining natural modalities. There are actually so many options available to assist with conquering depression that it is up to each individual to choose what will work best for them based upon issues of availability, personal preference and individual needs. It is important to realize that a repetitive and multidimensional approach is going to be most effective. So many factors can contribute to depression. On one level depression is seen as a chemical condition in the body, depending upon brain chemistry, hormone levels, toxicity levels, lack of sunlight, low thyroid functioning or vitamin deficiency. On an energetic level depression can be viewed as the result of stagnant energy or Qi (pronounced "chi"). When considering depression from this perspective a number of approaches come forward which activate the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energies including breath exercises, physical exercise, and especially mind-body methods like yoga or qi gong. It is interesting to recognize that these more energetic approaches effect physical chemical changes including oxygenation of the blood, lymph drainage, increased circulation throughout the body and brain, and improved brain functioning.

The most important action is to take action, which can be a challenge to a person who is depressed, so finding a combination of actions to take that are easy, appealing and accessible is key. All the herbal tea in the world won’t do any good unless it is made and ingested. Having a shelf full of vitamins, herbs and supplements is great - but only if they are used on a regular basis. Also, different herbs and supplements work better for some people than others and not every medicine is right for everyone. After doing some research to determine whether a particular herb or supplement is right for your specific health situation the next step is to try it and see if and how it works. Because there is quite a range of options, if one thing does not work, just move on and try something else. It is wise to consult with your health care professionals to be sure that what you are trying is safe and appropriate for your current state of health.

Combining the consistent use of appropriate herbs and supplements with healthy lifestyle changes that include things like breath exercises, physical exercise, qi gong, yoga, nutritious organic foods, raw foods, hypnotherapy, self-hypnosis, psychotherapy, massage, acupuncture, meditation hydrotherapy and creative expression is the way to true transformation from depression to happiness and wellbeing. Regularly eating processed foods can be very toxic to and taxing on the body and therefore lead to depression. Overeating is another habit which contributes to depression, physically and emotionally.

On an emotional level there are numerous reasons for depression such as loss, grieving, post traumatic stress, relationship challenges, financial stress, childhood abuse, addictions, chronic pain, illness, anxiety or patterns and habits picked up from childhood and family. Most often a feeling of powerlessness accompanies depression while the stories behind the feeling of victimization or powerlessness are many. It is valuable to address the content of depressing thoughts and feelings with the aim of self-discovery and transformation. PERSONAL EMPOWERMENT is vital to combating depression. When a person has the power to take charge of his or her own physical and emotional state, depression diminishes and self esteem increases. Hypnotherapy, self-hypnosis, psychotherapy and analytical transformational processes such as "the work" of Byron Katie can be useful for this. It is up to each individual to shift their own energy, thoughts and as a result mood and emotions. Breath, sound healing, light therapy and color therapy are some techniques which, when used, can shift energy very quickly and easily, bringing a sense of relief and aliveness. Employing some of these modalities to shift energy is a good idea BEFORE moving on to address the content of emotional issues and dissatisfaction. Through shifting energetically, physically and chemically, depression lifts, creating a much more productive state of mind for examining the stories behind the feelings. As the energy and mood shifts, a person’s attachment to HABITUAL thought patterns and limiting beliefs lightens and becomes less rigid, setting the stage for emotional growth and the creation of new healthy and happy mental/physical/emotional habits.

The first step is to notice and recognize when a habitual negative thought/feeling/story is playing out in the mind. Often a person does not even notice these thoughts because they are such a constant backdrop to life. Noticing this negative self talk is the first step. Next comes taking action once the negative mental routine is noticed. Having tools ready to use, noticing the need for them, and then using them is the recipe for success and the doorway out of depression into transformation and wellbeing. Paradoxically, the more often a person find’s oneself in the grips of negative self talk, the more often opportunities come available for the creation and habituation of new positive self-talk and shifted energy. If an individual notices once an hour that they are slipping back into the depressed and powerless mind frame, once an hour they can practice shifting out of that state through breath, exercise or self-hypnosis. Because repetition is the key to creating new habits, the more the old negative feelings arise, the more habituated the shifting out of depression can become, until it can actually happen automatically because it is the new habit. There is a level upon which we are all operating on auto-pilot, as our subconscious minds lead us. Personal empowerment comes when we are able to determine for ourselves what happens to us habitually when we are on auto-pilot by reprogramming ourselves into habitual wellbeing. Sometimes depression lifts without addressing content, beliefs and negative stories or issues when these various natural approaches are employed. Even when depression is due to personal hardship, chronic pain, loss or grieving it is possible to transform our programming around how we approach these issues. More than anything else we are most limited by our own habitual limiting and narrow thoughts and beliefs.

Self worth, self esteem and self love are vital to happiness and wellbeing. It is essential to give yourself permission to spend time doing what you love which involves feeling worthy. Doing things everyday that are enjoyable and enhance your state of happiness is vital to health on all levels and needs to be a priority, not an afterthought. Laughter is another key to happiness which has far reaching effects (physical, chemical, emotional, mental) for ourselves and those around us. Laughter produces endorphins, chemicals in the brain which bring bliss. Having fun and making time for enjoyable experiences on a constant basis is actually an irreplaceable ingredient for health.

St. John's Wort
Ginkgo Biloba
Siberian Ginseng
American Ginseng
Passion flower
Lemon Balm
Oat straw
Yerba Mate
Purslane Yohimbe
Rose petals

Drinking herbal teas is a great way to shift your mood. Steep leafy herbs. Decoct (simmer) roots or barks in water for 20 minutes. When you find the herbs you like the best, make a tea with these herbs and then drink periodically throughout the day.
Taking herbal tinctures or glycerites is a convenient way to integrate herbs into your routine.
If you like to use vinegar in your food, you can make vinegar tinctures, infusing the herbs into your vinegar, then eat and enjoy.
Below are links to a number of websites where you can research about herbs for your specific needs.

Essential oils of:
Bergamot (Citrus aurantium)Clary Sage
Cedarwood, Atlas (Cedrus atlantica)Chamomile, Roman (Chamaemelum nobile)Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)Helichrysum or Immortelle (Helichrysum agusifolium)Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia)Neroli (Citrus aurantium bigaradia)
Orange essential oilPeppermint (Mentha piperita)Rose (Rosa damascena)Sandalwood (Santalum album)Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)

Use essential oils in infusers, diluted in water or witch hazel in a spray bottle, or use as perfume by diluting with jojoba oil. Essential oils send messages to the brain and have a quick effect on mood and emotion.

Essential oils are very concentrated and as a rule need to be diluted with either a water, alcohol or an oil based carrier. Water, witch hazel, and jojoba oil all work well depending upon use.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
Vitamin B complex
Emergen-C antioxidant
Vitamin D
Flaxseed Oil
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA)
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe)

As is true with herbs and essential oils, your choices in vitamins and dietary supplements like amino acids should be well informed. Some of these herbs and supplements have contraindications to consider and consulting with a health professional, medical or holistic, is recommended. This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical care.

There are many products and devices which are easy to use and instantly shift energy and mood without requiring any effort other than TO USE THEM, often just by turning them on.
SOUND HEALING: wind chimes, singing bowls, music you love
LIGHT THERAPY: parabolic heaters, full spectrum light bulbs, colored light bulbs
COLOR THERAPY: clothing and decorations in colors that feel uplifting to you
Your personal research is your personal empowerment. Take back your power to feel good. Go online and research for yourself so you know which options may be best for you. Go to and sample qigong and meditation videos. Seek guidance and advice from your health care professionals, especially in relationship to herbs and supplements because individual needs vary.

The sites listed below are references for this article as well as a starting point for online research.

University of Maryland Medical Center website:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Reiki: Vital Life Force & Healing Energy: An Introduction

By Ellen Asherah, Certified Hypnotherapist, Massage Therapist, Reiki Master Teacher

Reiki is a form of healing energy. Often Reiki is practiced through the laying on of hands – running Reiki through the hands into the recipient. This affects the body, both physically and aurically, down to the molecular level. (Always remember that, from a scientific perspective, everything (humans, animals, “inanimate objects”) are all, at the most elementary level, comprised of moving particles of energy.) Working with Reiki is working with these moving particles, or energy. This vital source energy (the essential and universal life force) has many names. In India this energy is called “Prana” and is the source energy – healing energy – and divine love which we breathe into our beings through the air with each breath. The Kahuna Tradition of Hawaii calls this energy “Mana”. The Chinese refer to this energy as “Ch’i”, and the Japanese call it “Ki”. The word Reiki contains the syllable “ki”, as it is a healing gateway to one’s true and balanced essence as it relates to and is comprised of universal life force.

Reiki is a specific form of energy and a healing system originating in Japan, with roots in ancient Buddhism and Sanscrit. The training to channel and utilize this healing energy involves receiving energy “attunements” (sometimes referred to as energy transmission) from a Reiki Master (a person empowered to give Reiki Attunements). During the attunements energy channels are opened and set flowing through the recipient opening the door to instant access to this immense energy at all times and without effort.

Reiki energy is intrinsically balancing, meaning the energy acts as a universal balancer wherever it is needed. Often illness is the result of years of stagnant energy which create energy imbalances in the body, in part due to emotional holding. Reiki gets stagnant energy moving, helps the body purify of toxicity (physical and emotional), and assists the body and energy field in coming into a balanced state which is ultimately a healthy state. We tend to think of balance as a static, set point – a state of balance being the finite goal. However, because the nature of reality is constant change on all levels all the time, balance is a moving and dynamic state. Achieving true balance means being in the present moment, ready to be flexible and adjust to all fluctuations and changes. So balance is a dynamic state, ever readjusting and changing. Reiki is source energy and connects one to source energy. It is always a balancing force (ie: the energy cannot be used to empower negative intention – it always promotes balance and healing.).

While you can be of any religious background to “run” Reiki energy, the practice of Reiki brings a new awakening of spiritual depth and a more precise attunement to the natural cycles of life and cosmic energy. Perhaps most importantly, Reiki attunements instantly open a gateway to source energy providing greater access to healing energy and spiritual realms and wisdom.

One of the beautiful things about Reiki is the ease with which any attuned person can run the energy. It is essentially made available to the energy worker, who can key into and channel the energy at any time, primarily through intention. While the practice of Reiki will deepen your spirtual and psychic awareness, even the most psychically unaware person can successfully run Reiki energy after receiving attunements and learning how to work with the energy.

Traditionally, Reiki is a healing system involving the practitioner laying hands on the recipient and “running” the energy in a set progression which covers the various chakras (energy centers) in the body. Reiki can also be used in many versatile ways. You can run it into yourself or a place you are in to help ease conflict, purify of negativity and promote a healing and balanced environment. You can run it during emergency situations to bring calm and healing to the situation. You can invoke protection when needed. You can assist restless babies in relaxing and falling asleep. The possibilities are truly endless.

Here is a list of some of the many ways Reiki energy can be used:

(habitual negative thought patterns)

My Lineage:

I have been a practicing Reiki Master/Teacher for over twelve years. I was trained both in the traditional manner according to the Usui technique and in non traditional Reiki workings.
My lineage: I extend my undying gratitude to my teacher through all the Reiki levels of training, Bertha Markowitz (Reiki Master Teacher), my teacher’s teacher, Raquel Mariah (Reiki Master Teacher) and all of the teachers preceding them, back to the original source.

My Practice & Inspiration:

I love the state of BLISS and BALANCE that running Reiki energy brings! I am feeling very energized and inspired at this time to share Reiki energy in the spirit of heart opening, transformation, to cultivate a feeling of oneness with humanity and our earth community (plants, animals and all else included). We are all changing and evolving at an ever quicker rate each day, and Reiki energy helps to ease suffering by restoring a natural energetic and molecular balance and flow in the body, auric field, and beyond to the shared collective mind space. I am trained in both the traditional use of Reiki and in non traditional methods: using the energy in conjunction with various guided meditation, trance techniques, sound vibration & music, singing & chanting, artistic expression, breathe work, energy workings, and bringing this energy and awareness to each present moment in time, where ever you find yourself.

I often use vibrational healing by playing Tibetan Singing Bowls in conjunction with running the Reiki energy, further intensifying and deepening the experience. I am a Certified Herbalist, Certified Hypnotherapist, and Certified Massage Therapist, and I bring this healing knowledge to my Reiki practice. I am also an artist, tattoo artist and experienced energy worker. Healing arts, visual arts, music, dance and all other creative activities consist of and are enlivened by universal life force energy.

I offer Reiki Treatments at the Middletown Massage & Acupuncture Collective. Treatments are designed to fit individual needs and requests. Ongoing work can be done around specific areas of concern (physical, psychological, spiritual). RELAX INTO THE BLISS OF REIKI ENERGY AND COME INTO A STATE OF PHYSICAL AND ENERGETIC/SPIRITUAL BALANCE WITH EASE.

I offer one on one or group instruction sessions for all Reiki Levels, and special topic classes focusing on specific ways and techniques for working with Reiki (over 20 topics including breath work (prana yama), chakra work, music and vibrational healing, art & trance, working with the 5 elements, color therapy, trance techniques to heal emotional pain and/or anxiety and stress, etc.). Classes are hands-on, experiential and are oriented around the purpose of gaining, enhancing and deepening one's skills in working with cosmic energy for healing and transformation - personally and universally (microcosm / macrocosm). There is an emphasis on cultivating psychic skills.

For more information visit my website: or email me:

copyright Ellen Asherah 2009

Vibrational & Sound Healing Therapy: An Introduction

By Ellen Asherah, Certified Hypnotherapist, Certified Massage Therapist, Reiki Master Teacher

Sound and vibrational healing therapies are becoming more widely practiced every day. Because of the tangible palpable nature of the modality, swift changes in a person’s energetic/vibrational climate can occur. In vibrational and sound healing sound and the vibrations it creates are directed and focused for specific healing intent. Relaxation and the parasympathetic shift away from fight or flight response, and toward calm and healing can unfold very easily and enjoyably. In the process the recipient learns about energy flow on an experiential level. I have been working with vibrational and sound healing using singing bowls for many years. I have always viewed the vibrations emanating from the singing bowls as effective dimensional and energetic gateways. The beautiful and pure sounds of the singing bowl resonate and vibrate very tangibly. As a person listens and FEELS the vibrations the recipient is carried from their original vibrational state into a new realm of peace, calm, clarity and connection to divine energy and guidance. As the vibrations gradually slow down, the mind, body and spirit relax into new dimensions of vibrational harmony and balance.
I have always seen these bowls (and sound therapies in general, whether from bowl, voice, didgeridoo, etc) as great teachers. A person can learn more about energy, spiritual connection and intuitive opening, while carried off in the experience of feeling and hearing the bowls, than reading even the best books on the topic. The sound vibrations of the bowl act as a vehicle, taking the receiver/listener/feeler to new spiritual places of calm and connection. Once the bowl has lead one to this new space and state, that same state can be accessed in the future with or without the vibrations of the bowl. Just bringing into the mind memory of the sound of the bowl can carry a person right back into that spiritual journey both inward and outward. Even a person in a very depressed or agitated state can experience an automatic shift to a more comfortable and balanced feeling through sound and vibrational therapies.

Sound and vibrational healing modalities are so effective because everything is vibration and everything is energy. While we see solid forms before us, and while we see that our bodies, our houses, our loved ones are solid forms, it is known widely by quantum physicists that every solid form, no matter how hard and dense, is actually, on the smallest level, made of moving particles. The ongoing force moving these particles is called energy in it’s purest sense. Even a thick iron wall is actually made of moving particles of energy, vibrating at a very fast rate. Everything we see as static, solid, fixed, stubborn, unyielding, is still ultimately made of moving particles of energy, as are our bodies.
While the seemingly solid world of objects and material form is made of moving particles of energy, so is the rest of space, extending out into the universe in all directions, in an infinite way, through infinity. Both the seen and the unseen, the material (formed) and immaterial (unformed) are made of the same basic stuff: energy, quickly moving and vibrating minute particles. A very small thing (such as a speck of dust) as well as a very large thing (such as the highest mountain) are all comprised of these tiny vibrating particles, or energy. Current scientific thought acknowledges this, as have various sages, mystics, and spiritual and religious traditions throughout history.
A good way to understand this more viscerally is to look at water as a metaphor. Water like everything else is comprised of moving particles of energy. With water it is easy to see the fluidity, responsive and ever-changing. We can look at a body of water and see the movement. We can see how a body of water as a whole is affected by changes or movements in one area. When a leaf falls from a tree into a pond, ripples are sent out in a circular pattern from the center out. The entire body of water is affected by that one leaf falling in one area. Through this example we get a visual image describing how energy and movement happen according to natural law. Natural forms and movement cycles repeat. The form of a wave is repeated in the shape of clouds moving through the sky. The shape of the currents of the ocean are mirrored in the moving forms of air currents. The rivers and streams on our planet earth are of a parallel form to the veins and arteries flowing within our bodies. Looking at a leaf, we can see as well the veins in the leaf fiber which bring nutrients to the plant again echoing and repeating, each within it’s own uniqueness, the same forms as the rivers and streams. We are diverse versions of the same basic natural expression of living forms made up of moving particles of energy. This is life. This also extends to what we often view as inanimate objects, because all material form is ultimately made from the same stuff, the same energy, the same ever-moving, ever-changing energy.
This is why vibrational (energy) and sound healing is so effective. The material within us that makes up every cell, molecules and atoms are moving, vibrating. Likewise, all sound is vibration. While we hear it with our ears, sound vibration is also felt physically. This is why deaf people can feel the vibration of music, speech or other sounds. Just as the leaf falling into the water creates a visible ripple outward in all directions, sound vibration moves out in all directions sending out ripples of the sound signature which alter the surrounding vibrations in the air, in the space around people and things. Similarly, the vibrational ripples or waves affect even seemingly solid forms like our bodies. There are so many ways that sound vibration affects us, both seen and unseen. It is also helpful to acknowledge the emotional dimensions to sound in order to better understand how much we are affected by it. Listening to music (sound vibration) often produces an emotional effect within us. If we hear music we love we feel happier. If we listen to relaxing music we enjoy we feel more relaxed. If we hear fast energetic music that we like we feel energized. If we hear music we don’t like we may feel annoyed. In all these instances we are responding to the subtle energy of the sound vibrations as they ripple into our energy selves, deep into our cells. When music produces happy feelings of relaxation, love, vitality or positive memory associations, that music or sound vibration is having a beneficial effect upon the listener both emotionally and physically, as our physical vibration is altered and enhanced through this vibrational shift. There is direct connection between the emotional state, the emotional vibrations and the vibrations within the physical body, which affect our cells, our atoms and our chemical makeup.
Even a very depressed person can shift without effort into a more positive and comfortable emotional state by listening to music that is appealing to his or her tastes. This happens regardless of any conscious intent on our parts. The effect of the vibration and sound is automatic. When intention and directed focus is added to the sound vibration the effects can become amplified. Just as sound vibration is energy, so are our thoughts and feelings and intentions. If a person listens to relaxing music with the intention of relaxing, the relaxation achieved will be that much greater and more profound. Just as water ripples outward, our thought forms are energy rippling outwards, and flowing toward or through a client or specific organ or injury according to our intention.

A recent experience brought this point home to me once again. I was receiving a light, mainly energetically oriented massage from a Reiki practitioner. As she gently worked on my right arm I experienced something I had never felt before. Wherever she worked on the right arm, I simultaneously felt very palpable tingling sensations on the left arm. These sensations in my left arm were very strong, very distinct. I told her what I was experiencing, and that I had never experienced this before so strongly even though I have been giving and receiving Reiki and other energy forms for many years. I am accustomed to feeling sensations during energy treatments, but not such palpable sensations to the opposite side of the body so distinctly matching the opposite limb. As it turned out, she had just attended a class in which she was taught about the brain and the two halves of the body and the connection between the two sides. She was taught that working on one side of the body conversely affects the other as a result of the way our brains process information and sensation. She learned a scientific principle which is always in operation regardless of intention or awareness. Any time an energy worker has run energy on my right arm in the past, automatically, through this scientific principle the other arm has been affected on a subtle level. What made the difference in the intensity of my conscious feeling of this phenomenon was the fact that this Reiki practitioner was very fascinated and preoccupied by this information that she had just learned, so that when she was running energy on my right arm she was holding in her conscious awareness, with great inspiration, the fact that as she worked on my right arm she was also having a mirrored effect on my left arm. Her conscious intention greatly amplified my experience of receiving. The sensations I felt in my body were directly affected by her fascination and excitement around this new found fact that was active in her awareness and focus while working on me. The principle has always been true, but it was the power of her awareness and intention which took the effect to another level of intensity.
Intention and thought forms of all kinds serve as energetic projections that affect everything around us whether or not we can see or feel them. When a healing practitioner (nurse, doctor, massage therapist, Reiki or energy practitioner, etc) holds the conscious intention of sending healing vibration into a patient or client the healing they are already in the most mundane sense effecting is greatly increased. When sound is added to the mix intentionally, the client/patient can palpably and viscerally feel the effects more strongly. The recipient or client/patient’s ability to receive the treatment is increased when they can actually feel something happening. Gently gonging a Tibetan singing bowl will produce a sweet and penetrating sound. The sound vibration will penetrate through the energy field, through the body on it’s own and therefore have an effect physically and energetically, as the vibrational patterns join with and shift the vibrational patterns moving inside the body as well as the auric field around the body. Even more so is this effect when a bowl is place directly upon a person and gonged or played. The pure vibration without intention added has a vibrational effect, both emotionally and physically. When the sound therapist’s specific healing intention is added to the mix, the power increases and focuses.

The beauty of sound healing lies in the accessing of ways to move into peaceful, blissful and energized states with ease and speed. Sound and vibrational therapies can be used as a gateway into elevated states of consciousness, connection, relaxation and healing, with intention of both receiver and giver adding power and direction. A treatment can consist purely of sound and energy work, or can be integrated into a massage, cranio-sacral or hypnotherapy session. A singing bowl can be place directly over a tight muscle or painful or challenged area of the body and bring an instant shift in which stagnant energy and stuck or injured tissues or organs are given fresh energy and life, promoting and delivering greater balance, healing and relief.

I offer a variety of sound and vibrational healing techniques, either in combination with Reiki and energy work, or with therapeutic massage (even deep tissue work!), cranio sacral balancing and hypnotherapy. The possibilities are endless, whether you want to transform habits, reduce stress, connect with your spirit for inner guidance, relieve sore aching muscles, or clean and balance the auric energy field and energy centers in the body. I am available for sessions. For more information contact Ellen: email: or check out my website:

All text & images copyright Ellen Asherah 2009, all rights reserved

Craniosacral Therapy: A Solution For Health & Balance

By Ellen Asherah, Certified Massage Therapist, Certified Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master Teacher

Do you experience headaches, chronic tension, neck or lower back discomfort? Is your mind overly busy? Is your nervous system on overload? Do you find that it is hard to relax, move into a calm state or to sleep at night? Do you experience depression or anxiety? If you answer yes to any of these questions Craniosacral Therapy may be a helpful solution for your self care. Craniosacral Balancing is a subtle yet profound form of body work in which gentle adjustments remobilize restrictions to the small but vital movement of the bones of the cranium, spinal column and sacrum which float in rhythmically flowing cranio-sacral fluid. Because the central nervous system resides in these areas, Craniosacral Therapy serves as an effective and gentle reset to the central nervous system, bringing an increased feeling of peace and well-being along with improved brain and body systems functioning. Glands such as the pineal and pituitary benefit from Craniosacral Balancing. Blood and lymph circulation are also enhanced by these methods.

This realm of therapy evolved through the work of a number of osteopaths such as Dr. William G. Sutherland and Dr. John E. Upledger. Increasingly, massage therapists are training in and incorporating Craniosacral Therapy into their practices due to the versatility and effectiveness of the modality. In my own practice I find a variety of ways to incorporate Craniosacral Therapy into massage, hypnotherapy and Reiki sessions. Often clients come to me with extreme muscle tension or mental/emotional stress, requesting deep tissue techniques. While the deep techniques address the soft tissues and give the client a feeling that something is happening because the deep work feels so intense, I find that most of the time it is the Craniosacral Therapy techniques that I weave into the sessions that actually relax the client in a more profound and efficient way, working from the inside out. Because only a light touch is used this modality is very good for clients who are in an especially sensitive or frail state, where a pressure-oriented massage treatment would be too extreme. Craniosacral Therapy techniques can be combined with other massage modalities within a session, according to the client’s need in the moment, adding another dimension, both energetic and physiological to the massage treatment. As blockages to the craniosacral movement are freed, and circulation of fluids (cranio-sacral, blood, lymph) is enhanced, the flow of Chi (the Traditional Chinese Medicine term for the vital life force energy of which all is comprised) is likewise freed of constriction and set flowing, promoting health and balance.

Headaches, migraines and hypertension can often be relieved with craniosacral therapy. In fact, it was when a craniosacral balancing session dramatically relieved and reduced my chronic headaches that I became convinced of the value of this modality as an effective treatment for headaches, and as an extension, mood and brain functioning. While we often think of our skulls or craniums as one single unit, actually the cranium is made up of many bones which move very slightly while floating in cerebral-spinal fluid. Just as the heart beat and the breath have a rhythm of expansion and contraction, so does the cerebral-spinal fluid. The brain, the spine, the sacrum, and the central nervous system all move and flow with the craniosacral tides. Interestingly, the density of the cranio-sacral fluid parallels that of the ocean, pointing further to the potential for this kind of work to rebalance the body systems to the natural rhythms, both within and without, physical, chemical and energetic.

There are many possible causes of “adhesions” or stuck stagnant tissues in the cranium and cerebral-spinal column, and these adhesions are not uncommon. When adhesions are gently freed from the cranial bones decompressions can occur resulting quite literally in more space for the brain, better blood, lymph and oxygen flow, and the ability to flow unobstructed with the general craniosacral tide. Many headaches can be relieved in this manner. Also, various areas of the brain can function better after treatment. For example, adjustments to the sphenoid bone can enhance the pituitary gland functioning, as the pituitary actually rests on the sphenoid, and is the ruling gland of the endocrine system. Craniosacral sphenoid adjustments can also aid in eyesight as the sphenoid bone contacts the optic nerve. Headaches due to eye strain may be relieved in this manner. The temporal bone is another example. When proper fluidity is restored to the temporal bones a host of symptomology can be addressed including headache, dizziness, ear and hearing problems, TMJ inflammation, epilepsy and even dyslexia.
Craninosacral Balancing techniques are very effective for neck pain, especially when the occiput (base of the skull) and the atlas (the first vertebrae) are compressed or misaligned. This common restriction pattern can place pressure on a variety of cranial nerves, impairing the function of the nervous system and inhibiting focus, vitality and the ability to relax and shift out of hypertension. Decompression through these techniques can create space between the occiput and vertebrae and promote proper alignment. In fact, adhesions and restrictions up and down the spinal column can be gently freed through this process of unwinding and can facilitate spinal realignment, relieving back pain. The position of the sacrum (base of the spine) is also realigned and decompressed during a craniosacral session, serving to relieve lower back pain due to misalignment which also affects the hip joints (sacro-illiac joints). Through craniosacral therapy the direct connection between the brain, spine and lower back becomes clear. We all know that water and other fluids conduct energy (such as electricity) and that energy moves quickly through liquids. It is with the same speed that energy can move up and down from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, describing what in Vedic tradition is called the flow of Kundalini energy. Thus freeing blockages through craniosacral treatments effectively serves to free the Kundalini energy (and the chakras or energy centers of the body) while enhancing physiological systems.

There are a number of ways in which craniosacral therapy can help alleviate depression, anxiety and hypertension. When adhesions are mobilized blood circulation and oxygen circulation increase and consequently alter the brain chemistry which has a direct and beneficial effect on mood and emotion. It is well known that brain chemistry is directly related to emotion and behavior. As the brain and central nervous system utilizes nutrients from increased flow of blood and cerebrospinal fluid, the brain chemistry rebalances and mood and emotion automatically shift. In working with the spine, sacrum and bones of the cranium, and especially the deep bones in the core of the cranium, Craniosacral Therapy techniques effectively reset the nervous system by bringing the craniosacral rhythm to a still point. Temporarily inducing this “stillpoint” to the craniosacral cycle of filling and emptying of cerebrospinal fluid, gives the nervous system an opportunity for rest and self correction. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, the reset of the nervous system brings with it a profound shift into a calm and peaceful state often referred to as a parasympathetic shift. Tension, depression, anxiety, anger can all shift into more positive and balanced states of being through this parasympathetic shift, where the unconscious mind is led from fight or flight mode into a balanced state of well-being. This process can bring peace and calm to a formerly over-busy mind. As the nerves are soothed and calm is restored, a proper climate conducive to healing and balance is created. Receiving craniosacral work is relaxing. The work is subtle because mostly it is very small micro-movements that are being used, as the movement of the bones as a result of craniosacral filling and emptying are very tiny movements. While it may at first seem that not much is happening from the receiving end, often the recipient moves into a very deep, almost sleep-like state as the reset takes effect.

I am available for Craniosacral Balancing sessions, either alone or combined with therapeutic massage, hypnotherapy, Reiki and/or sound and vibrational therapy, working with each individual’s specific needs and goals. I am located in Middletown, California (Lake County, Norhtern Califonia).You can reach Ellen Asherah: email: Check out my website at: