Using Craniosacral Therapy to Bring Your Digestive System into Balance with Margie Holly

So you probably have a doctor… You probably use internet doctor as well. We all do that from time to time. What else are you using to help bring your Crohn’s or colitis into balance?

One of the practices I’ve used for some time now is called craniosacral therapy.

Have you heard of it?

Maybe you’ve even tried it. If you have, you know how gentle and truly transformative this approach can be.

Craniosacral therapy works with our own innate power to heal.

Yes, you have that power. Maybe you just haven’t tapped into it yet.

Because sometimes that power, it can be very deep within, but we all have it and craniosacral therapy, can help bring that power out in you.

To help us explore how craniosacral therapy can help you find the power within, I invited leading craniosacral therapist, Margie Holly, to the episode so she can enlighten us with her wisdom and knowledge and the guiding principles behind this healing practice.

Margie has a really unique viewpoint and a unique take on craniosacral therapy and how it can help those of us with Crohn’s and colitis.

We’re talking about:

  • How craniosacral therapy works to help you tap into your innate power to heal your body from within
  • From start to finish, what happens during a craniosacral therapy session
  • Why the phrase “you are not your symptoms” can set your IBD free
  • The indirect and direct effects of craniosacral therapy on our immune system, our microbiome, and our inflammatory process

And so much more!

After this episode, you’ll exactly what craniosacral therapy can offer to help you feel better with IBD. You’ll also know how to find a craniosacral therapist who can help you take this knowledge at put it into practice.

Episode at a Glance:

  • [11:02] How craniosacral therapy works to help you tap into your innate power to heal your body from within
  • [15:24] What we learn about “taking responsibility” when we change the role of our doctor from guru with all the answers to a highly respected consultant
  • [16:49] From start to finish, what happens during a craniosacral therapy session
  • [24:08] Why the phrase “you are not your symptoms” can set your IBD free
  • [33:04] The indirect and direct effects of craniosacral therapy on our immune system, our microbiome, and our inflammatory process
  • [39:13] Why it’s so important to connect our first and second brain through the vagus nerve
  • [52:14] Where to go to continue the craniosacral therapy conversation with Margie
  • [56:05] The best way to take your gut healing journey to the next level

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Mentioned in This Episode

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Margie’s Website

The Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America

Episode Transcript:

Karyn: So you probably have a doctor… You probably use internet doctor as well. We all do that from time to time, what else are you using to help bring your Crohn’s or colitis into balance? One of the modalities that I’ve used for some time now is called craniosacral therapy, have you heard of it? Maybe you’ve even tried it, if you have, you know how gentle and truly transformative this approach can be, it works with our own innate power to heal… Yes, we all have that innate wisdom to heal, sometimes the power, it can be very deep within, but we all have it and craniosacral therapy, it can help bring that power out in you, and if you’re thinking that this is just a little too woo woo for me, Karyn, I want you to just give this episode, listen with an open mind. I think you’ll find that it isn’t as woo woo as you might think. Craniosacral therapy, it’s back in science, and it can be really wonderful, it can be a great adjunct to your current IBD treatment plan. Now, I’m definitely not an expert in craniosacral therapy, so I invited leading craniofacial therapist, Margie Holly, to the episode so that she can enlighten us with all her wisdom and knowledge on this subject. Margie has a really unique viewpoint and a unique take on craniosacral therapy and how it can help with IBD symptoms.

There’s really great information in this interview, but what I love is that Margie is really down to earth and she’s just so knowledgeable, you know, it just… Information just comes out of her because it’s just already in there, she didn’t have to look it up in a book, she’s just so versed in craniosacral therapy that it just comes right out of her… I know you’re gonna love hearing from Margie, you’re gonna love what she has to say, so let’s dive in.

[02:03]: You are listening to The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD, a safe space for moms with Crohn’s and colitis, connect explore powerful tools for healing and transform our lives to thrive in motherhood and in life. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, IBD Health Coach, integrative wellness enthusiast, and mom to three outstanding kids. After having Crohn’s disease for 30 years and working at the health advocate exclusively with IBD clients for the last 10 years. I know it’s time to bring the types of candid conversations I have with my clients out into the open, it’s our time to go on an IBD healing journey and do it like only a mom can… Let’s do this.

Well, I can welcome dear one, we meet again.

LET’S LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR GUEST.

And I’m especially excited about this episode because I get to introduce you to craniofacial therapist, extraordinaire Margie Holly, talk about… a professional who knows her stuff, Margie has been practicing energy medicine for almost 20 years. Her work combines elements from advanced massage therapy, biodynamic craniosacral therapy, polarity therapy, and RAI with Margie. Every session is unique to her client’s needs, creating a partnership that optimizes your health, therapy sessions with Margie are about restoring calm, finding clarity and regaining control. I know we all want that, right? I love that Margie talks about being passionate to help clients tap into their own capacity to heal, sometimes we just need to hear that somebody else believes in us. Somebody believes that we have the power to heal. During my conversation with Margie, we talk about what a typical craniosacral therapy session looks like, we talk about how craniosacral therapy can get you to the heart of your Crohn’s and colitis by strengthening the immune system, balancing the microbiome and reducing inflammation. Margie talks about how she sees trauma and getting diagnosed with IBD. Don’t sugar-coat it’, it’s a trauma, and she talks about it in a term that I just love, she talks about it with what’s called undigested life experiences.

I just love that. And she talks about how to see your doctor as a consultant instead of one with limitless knowledge on high… Basically, Margie says that we’re in charge of our healthcare, and you’ll see from our conversation how Margie’s work as a craniosacral therapist can help you find the power within to bring your health back into balance. I talked to Margie on Zoom, so I had the pleasure to see her and enjoy this wonderful, serene nature scape that Margie has, it’s right behind her on the wall. right behind her, is a beautiful waterfall in a lush green space with a blue pool of water. Can you picture it? After my interview, Margie and I had a great conversation about this waterfall space, and we talked about the importance of being in nature and how that can have a profound impact on your health as well. If you wanna see her ideal nature scape, head over to my YouTube channel. I’ll leave a link in the show notes so that you can check it out. You can check out that beautiful background, if you could go to a place like that. I just know that it would have a positive impact on your health to…

Alright, I won’t make you wait any longer. Let’s dive into my conversation with craniosacral therapist, Margie Holly. Hi, Margie, welcome to the podcast. It’s so great to have you here today.

[05:46] Margie: Thanks, Karyn, and I’m really excited to share what I know.

TEA OR COFFEE?

Karyn: This is gonna be awesome, and I know that no one on the podcast knows who you are, so I want to introduce you to them, and I like to start with just a couple… Get to know you questions. I find that there’s a couple of questions that are really simple, but they just tell a lot about who you are, is that okay if we start with that? Yeah, fire away. Okay, so there are two questions and they’re either/or questions. So the first question is… tea or coffee?

Margie: coffee.

Karyn: coffee… cream sugar or… How do you take it?

Margie: I’m trying to get away from dairy, but I do, I haven’t been able to eliminate that dairy from my coffee yet. Yeah.

Karyn: Gotcha, okay. And one more… cats or dogs?

Margie: Oh good God, they’re both… I love them both and I have them both. So can I say both?

Karyn: You can. Absolutely say both. Lots of animal lovers say that. I love it. Okay, so that just kinda gives our viewers just a little bit of a sense about you before we get into the meat of it, you are a craniosacral therapist and in full disclosure for everybody, you’re my craniosacral therapist. And so the work that we’ve done together, it’s been so amazingly profound to me that I just knew I had to have you on because I have to share your light and the amazing work that you’re doing with everybody else that has Crohn’s and colitis, that just doesn’t really… They might not know about it. So for our viewers that don’t know what craniosacral therapy is, can you just kinda give us an overview, what is… craniosacral therapy, and I would also love to know how did you get into this work?

[7:22] Margie: Well, in a nutshell, craniosacral therapy is a very gentle form of body work that taps into your nervous system’s ability to bring you back into balance, so it’s very gentle, non-invasive, and it really just helps to optimize the health within your system. Is that not enough of an explanation?

Karyn: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We’ll get into more specifics, but I love that.

Margie: Yeah, yeah.

Karyn: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so how did you get into this work?

Margie: Well, I think it was born under the sign of Mercury, so I’m a communicator at heart. My whole life, all of my careers have been as a communicator, and I really just was drawn at one point to get into energy work. I trained in Reiki just for my own satisfaction and to help my family and friends, and then several years later, I was just working with somebody giving him Reiki and he said, You know, have you ever tried massage? And so, I kind of just followed the breadcrumbs, so I went into massage and then I realized that, Okay, well, that’s okay, but it’s kind of limited and it’s very physical in terms of what I had to do with my body, and so I was looking for something else that would be a little bit deeper, a little bit more gentle and cranial came into my awareness. I’m very much a believer in that we hear what we need to hear when we’re ready to hear it, and so that’s how cranial came along, and I’ve been doing that since 2017, and it’s really changed, not only changed my practice, but also changed my life in terms of helping me to be able to navigate the ebb and flow of the chaos that’s life on planet earth.

Karyn: Is it an interesting how… When we go into something, how we might go into it with intentions of helping others, and then what we find is that it also helps us as well, it’s like this beautiful circular energy, it’s like something going on in the ether that where it’s this… I don’t know, it’s like a path that it helps both of us.

Margie: Right, absolutely. And how many adages are out there? Physician, heal thyself. Carpenter, fix your own house, you really have to be coming from a balanced whole place, and if you’re not whole, you can’t help other people be whole as well. I mean, we’re all human and we’re all on this journey, so we’re none of us perfect yet, but it’s in the partnership and the sharing and the learning from each other, I definitely… I think I teach my clients as much as I learn from them. Yeah.

Karyn: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Something that… There’s a lot of different energy works, like you talked about doing Reiki before, right? You talked about massage, something that I think is really unique to craniosacral is the whole idea of the body having the wisdom to heal, having the power to heal itself in craniofacial therapy, tapping into that power, and I know for me, I spent… I’ve had Crohn’s for 35 plus, I think it’s 35 years now, and for 20 of those years, I was giving my power away, I was listening to the doctors only, I was doing… I came from that western medical background, I did everything that they told me to do, and I never got better. Not once, not ever. Surgeries, medications, I never got better. And it wasn’t until I said, What am I doing here? I’m giving my power away. And I’m not getting any better. Why am I doing that and how can I take that power back? And I find that really interesting about craniosacral therapy, because I think it has so much to do with tapping into your own power that maybe you don’t know that you have... How do you experience that with craniosacral therapy? Do you know what I’m talking about?

TAP INTO YOUR INNATE POWER WITHIN.

[11:02] Margie: Exactly, yeah. We all have a healer within us, and we were born with that innate ability, if you look at the way the body was designed, it heals itself, it’s always bringing itself back into balance. If you cut yourself, it heals… If you break a bone, it heals, and it’s the same with your nervous system, it has the capacity to come back into balance and heal and diffuse what I like to call undigested life experience. Some people call it trauma, and trauma has many definitions, but a surprise, a shock and overwhelmed to the nervous system, it can be anything that kind of sets you up for an imbalance, and if you’re not given an opportunity to come back in to balance, the body can’t do what it’s designed to do it. Getting back to that, taking your power and connecting to your inner healer, it is, I think a pathology of our western world where we have been trained from birth not to trust ourselves, not to be the authority, like, Well, we don’t know anything, we just listen to the doctor, listen to the teachers, listen to your parents, not that you shouldn’t listen to your parents, but you should listen to that inner wisdom, and we all have it, we all have that inner wisdom and we were born with it, but…

It wasn’t cultivated in us, and as a matter of fact, it was kind of squelch in us, so the trick is really learning the habits that help you to hear your inner voice, your inner wisdom, and… Yes, consult the doctor’s, consult the experts, they are your consultants, they are not your taskmaster, they’re not the ones there to tell you what to do, they’re the ones who are sharing their wisdom and their understanding of the human system that you’re dealing with, and then you take that information and you combine it with all your other research, and then you combine it with your inner knowing, and then you make your decision… That’s taking your power back.

Karyn: Yeah, exactly. So much of the time, I think, especially as women, we’re trained that we need to give our power away, and specifically for moms who are listening to the podcast, that’s just so important that we feel the power that we already have, right? because we have it. We just haven’t tapped into it. And I love that phrase that you said, this undigested life experience, when you’re talking about how people can feel trauma, whether it’s emotional trauma or physical trauma, and getting diagnosed with a chronic illness that really is a trauma, it’s a physical and an emotional trauma, and I really like how you worded that, that undigested life experience instead of saying… there’s something about the word trauma that makes you feel like victim… It’s traumatic, right? But what I like is this undigested life experience, because then I feel like, Okay, it’s just… There’s something that I still need to do, but I don’t have to be the victim

Margie: Or… Exactly, yeah. And it’s about being able to complete a process. There’s so many… I was just listening to an early childhood, a doctor who specializes in early childhood education and in how you get two-year-olds with the tantrums or teenagers with tantrums, and it’s because they haven’t been allowed to complete their process, but if we allow ourselves to complete a process, then it’s finished and it’s done, and it’s not taking up space in our nervous system, in our brain. In our life.

Karyn: Yeah, and craniosacral therapy can help with you completing that process. Yes, yeah, yeah. I like what you said about how you see the doctor as the consultant, right, they’re not the God on high, they’re not the person with all the wisdom. But when you’re seeing your doctor, you’re coming in as equals, I have this thought, you have this thought, and let’s just kinda see what we can come up with. One of the things I really feel like when I come in to see you for craniosacral is we’ll talk beforehand, right before the treatment, we talk, this is my experience, and you kinda draw out how is that affecting you and what did you want your focus to be for today, I never feel like that I’m coming in and saying, You’re my guru, solve my problem, it’s like, we’re in this place together, we’re on this equal footing, and let’s figure out how to best help me together, so I just love having a mindset of that.

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY IS SCARY… AND POWERFUL.

[15:24] Margie: Yeah, and part of that Karyn is that when you decide to take your power like that, there’s an implied responsibility that it’s so easy to give your power away because it’s kind of intimidating to think, Oh my gosh, I got myself here. How do I get out of it? I have no idea. Give me a pill. Cut me open, tell me to do this five times a day, whatever. No, it’s about taking that personal responsibility to participate in your own life, be the star of your own life, and even when you just make that shift, I think something in your physiology can shift…

Karyn: Yes, I experienced that myself when I’ve made that shift and said, There’s no savior here, there’s nobody coming in to just give me the wave of the magic wand, give me the pill. I can do this. Right, there’s a freedom in that. But also that, like you said, that responsibility.

We kind of talked around, just in general terms, what craniofacial therapy is that I would really love for you to talk our listeners through what happens during a craniosacral therapy session. When I come in the door from start to finish, what’s happening, because for somebody who’s never heard of this before, it might sound kind of like.. What are they actually doing? A lot of people are familiar with massage. How is it different than massage? How was it like massage? What’s actually happening when someone comes into your office?

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY SESSION?

[16:49] Margie: First, when someone comes to see me, as you said, the conversation is the first thing, and there’s a reason for that, it’s to engage in a partnership, first of all, and understand what your goals are, therapeutics are, where your challenges are, and then to explain how the therapy might help, but it’s also… There’s something that happens in your physiology when your body and your brain hear the words out loud versus just thinking them… We’re writing them down on a piece of paper. There is a physiological response to that, so at the start of a session, we’ll talk about briefly, what’s going on for you, what’s going on in general, what’s going on this week or today, because then your nervous system or the mechanism inside that inner heal or can hear those words and say, Oh good. That’s what we’re gonna work on that. Great, and it sort of primes your system to work on it, and then we get on a massage table, you’re fully closed, it’s very private, you can get under the covers and get all cocoon or just lay on top, however you prefer. And the first thing we do is we settle your system, so the craniosacral system Just to sort of back up a little bit, is everything from your head to the bottom of your spine, so it’s your brain, it’s all of the membranes and the bones in your skull, it’s your spine, the nerves that come down your spine, so that whole system is something that I hold and help to settle in practical terms, as you’re laying on the table, I might contact…

Your body in place is very light contact, I might cradle your head or I might even hold at your feet, will put my hand underneath your sacrum, which is that triangular bone at the bottom of your spine, and that helps to settle the nervous system. So the first thing you need to do with anything is to have the resources, so maybe the first 10-15 minutes even of a session, I might just be begin in stillness, getting your system so still that it has a chance to come out of its fight or flight mode and come back into the healing, rest and digest mode, Let your nervous system settle out so that then I can hear your system, so in those 10 minutes, I’m listening deeply to what’s going on in your nervous system, so I can understand where there might be some hiccups, some patterns of holding, and then your body tells me where we’re gonna work, and then I get more specific, so in the case of your audience who are dealing with IBD, I will probably likely work in that whole field… The abdominal field, now that starts at the diaphragm and goes all the way to the top of the pelvis, and it encompasses all your viscera, all your vital organs, but it also has other things going on and they’re working more specifically with that area.

It can tell me where there might be restrictions that need to be released, where there might be fluid build-up that needs to be flushed, where things just need to be able to have a chance to come back into balance, and the great thing about the type of craniosacral I practice is not putting any force in from outside the body, I’m just sort of letting your body tell me where it needs support, and then when the body is supported, it can say, Oh, I had no idea I was holding that there, let me just release that, let me open and it’s amazing. You’ve felt it. In the context of a session, people might just have little twitches or releases or energetic shifts, a feeling of flow, there’s a lot that could happen in a session and then… So it’s really your body that’s guiding me through just gentle placement of hands on specific areas to help support whatever needs supporting in that area.

Karyn: Yeah, and so when you’re doing this during the session, just in terms of what you are feeling it as the practitioner, are you feeling kind of like energy from our body as we’re lying on the table? What are you feeling?

[20:52] Margie: Well, there’s several layers to this, in my two-year training, it’s a two-year program to learn this, we learn how to palpate the flow of spinal fluid, so the spinal fluid has a natural oscillation from the cranial field down through the spinal column and back up again, and its function is to feed the nerves, to flush out the metabolic by-products of the nervous system that has a palpable motion, just like learning how to feel a blood pulse… We don’t all know how to do that, so I’ve been trained to do that. We start with that flow and that will tell me a lot about what’s going on in your nervous system, how vital it is, or how deplete in it is, or if there are blockages anywhere that would interrupt the optimal healing for health of that. So that’s what I’m tapping into first and foremost, is that fluid flow, that oscillation, that title flow, and also that flow reflects on… our bodies are what? 75-80% water. And so, fluid kind of reflects on itself, so that cranio cerebral spinal fluid, as it oscillates back and forth, it also affects all the parent bones of the body, the shoulders, the arms, the legs, the hips, so I can feel sort of a…

It’s almost like a breathing of the body, of the tissue field, so we look at the fluid field, the tissue field, which is your bones and your muscles, and then yes, there is an energetic component too, I can feel the bio-field, which is your… Some people call it aura, science calls, is it the bio-field electromagnetic field, whatever you wanna term it, that’s the energetic field of your body, so the form of cranio that I practice is called biodynamic, and it takes in all three of those fields and treats it as a whole… So there are other forms of cranial that are a little more by mechanical, a little more applying for us from outside the body, I prefer mine because it just lets the body do its adjustment in its own way, in its own time, and that provides for a more lasting shift.

Karyn: It’s absolutely fascinating to me, right, if you never think in terms of this, it’s just… It’s like a whole new world is opening up to you. Right, it’s just absolutely fascinating. So something that I’ve heard, and you can tell me if this is true or not, but it… So people who are coming to you for craniosacral therapy and they’re coming with Crohn’s disease or with colitis, they’re probably thinking, well, all of my work is gonna be focused right here, right in the intestine, and you can’t see where my hands are, but it’s the small intestine the large intestine may be the esophagus, but from what I hear, you might be touching my foot or my head, right, but it’s still having an effect on the digestive system…

YOU ARE NOT YOUR SYMPTOMS.

Margie: Yeah, and it’s because Karyn, you are not your symptoms…

Karyn: Wait a minute, we gotta sit with that for just a second, you guys say that one more time because that’s good… say that one more time.

[24:08] Margie: You are not your symptoms. Yeah, and so just focusing simply on the symptoms, it’s kind of like taking an energetic aspirin, okay, so maybe that might help, but if you’re not treating the whole person, the whole body, mind, spirit, that’s the organism that we’re working with, and that’s who you are and to treat things on a global scale. Gives your system the space and can draw on resources to help me… You’re imbalanced in your digestive system, it didn’t happen all at once, it was probably an expression of your body trying to hold some kernel of health and saying, Okay, I’ve got to encapsulate something here, I’ve got to… So that this organism, this person can continue functioning, I need to grab this and put it here and control it, and so if you really look at any condition, I consider it an expression of health, it’s your body trying to do its best to do its job that might not hurt. That might not feel good. It might hurt, it might cause you sleepless nights, but if you can make that shift of shifting from, Oh my gosh, this is wrong, to oh my gosh, how wonderful my body is, but sending me these signals, and now it’s up to me to interpret the signals, that’s where my role as communicator comes in, because I’m helping facilitate a conversation between you and your body.

Karyn: Yeah, so big. So huge. And so when you’re doing this, tell me, do you have sessions where it’s completely quiet and nobody is saying anything, right, and there’s so much going on, but yet it’s silent, and then other sessions where you’re talking with your client the whole time. How does that work?

Margie: Yeah, and you know what, I can have those kind of sessions, like a variety of sessions for the same client, it really just depends on what’s going on with your system today and what needs support, someone who has some chronic condition is more than likely be in sort of constant low-grade state of fight or flight. You know what that is, right?

Karyn: Yes, but explain it for those who might not know.

FIGHT OR FLIGHT ISN’T JUST FOR CAVEMEN.

Margie: So your autonomic nervous system, that’s the nervous system that… consider it like automatic, it’s everything your body does to keep you functioning every day from blinking your eyes to breathing, to sleeping, digesting your food. Things you just don’t have to think about. There’s two pieces of that, one. It’s job is to keep us safe, and that’s the prime directive of our nervous system, is to keep us safe and keep us functioning so that we have turned fight or flight mode, so when the body or the system perceives a threat, and back when we were cavemen and there were saber tooth tigers or other rival tribes coming along, we had to fight or flee, there’s other components to that for women in particular, there’s freeze and fawn, they’re the other two… and it’s basically all the survival mechanism, so we’re not running from saber tooth tigers today, but you know what? We’re navigating traffic, we’re dealing with our spouse and our kids and trying to deal with our careers maybe, and also maybe our aging parents, however many pieces of our life are swirling around us, if we’re not ready and fully resourced, all of them can be perceived as a threat, and if all of that hits at once for many of us, if that’s what it’s doing, and then not even to mention this past year with covid…

Our systems are always trying to keep us safe, they’re always monitoring for where the danger is, and so if that danger is so overwhelming… it overwhelms the nervous system, it cannot do its job of helping us thrive because we’re just trying to survive, so… Yes, some people who are in that right now, probably their whole session is just going to be holding and allowing that system to calm down, come out a fight or flight, recognize that, alright, it’s safe now, I can shift into the other part of the functionality, which is we term rest and digest… well rest, digest and reproduce. There’s a lot of clients that I work with who are dealing with fertility issues as part of their stuff is dealing with stress and being able to get out of fight or flight mode, so their bodies are like, Oh okay, now I can make a baby. So, tiny steps first though, so if somebody is in that kind of a chronic chaotic existence, it’s gonna be very beneficial and maybe even one or two sessions just doing nothing but being still, and once we get into the other part of that, when people have a little bit more resources, and usually it happens within the course of a session that maybe after the first 10-15 minutes, I feel a greater vitality in that drive behind the fluid flow or in the expression of that breathing of the bones.

It just gets bigger. I can tell there’s more vitality in the system, and then we can start taking that vitality and applying it to things, and that’s where a lot of times, sometimes the session gets talky because I wanna hear feedback like, Okay, I have my hand on your belly right now what are you sensing? What’s going on for you? And then when you’re giving me that feedback, I can respond appropriately and we can really work through it to help make those dramatic shifts that… And sometimes they’re real subtle shifts that will support your underlying health.

Karyn: I really like that you mentioned that one of the things that you’re doing with craniosacral therapy is helping people with infertility because that’s something that people with Crohn’s and colitis really struggle with, and I can imagine that along with infertility, that it probably would be helpful for anybody, even just having menstrual cycle challenges or going through menopause too, because as women, we’re all gonna be in those stages at one point or another.

[30:14] Margie: So guess what? In the brain, which is the large part of what I treat, that’s the cranial field, your brain has chambers in it called ventricles, where the spinal fluid is manufactured and then pointed and then deliver it out to the system, but laying right around or on top and below those chambers are the major glands, the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus, they are the ones who regulate our hormones, they regulate puberty regulate our reproductive hormones, and they work in conjunction with our adrenals in the case of adrenal fatigue or our ovaries in the case of fertility, so helping to balance and to support the optimal functioning of those glands is very important to all of those issues. Yeah.

HOW CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY HELPS IBD.

Karyn: And so one of the things that I’m thinking about, I’m just kind of thinking, I’m putting myself in the mind of somebody listening or watching us, and they might be thinking, that sounds really interesting. Right, and of course, I’m looking for anything that could heal that could help my Crohn’s or colitis and bring it into remission, but how could it help me specifically… So some of the things that people with IBD really think about and really have challenges with is our immune function, right, this is an autoimmune disease. So it impacts our immune system, and we kinda have what I call this wonky immune system that’s really over-active, and so that’s a challenge for us. Another challenge for people with IBD is bacterial balance, you the microbiome. It’s completely out of balance. So that’s something that’s really challenging for us. And then the other part, the other piece of Crohn’s and colitis is inflammation, we’re dealing with inflammation, and that inflammation isn’t just housed in the gut, it might start in the gut, but then through leaky gut through other processes, because we’re not just walking one organ… Right, we’re a holistic body and it all is…

It all is together, right? So it might leak into other systems, so that inflammation might show up in your joints or it might show up as a skin rash, or it might show up as a brain fog, or even ADHD, poor concentration, it’s amazing where that inflammation can go. So we’re dealing with these three issues, this autoimmune feature, the microbiome that’s out of balance and the inflammation, so in what ways could it specifically help those types of issues for people who are saying, wow, you know, Margie, this sounds really interesting, but how can it help me specifically with my illness.

[33:04] Margie: I understand. So I’d say that the effects of cranial on those three things are both indirect and direct... Okay, so indirectly… Well, we’re looking at the nervous system, all of those functions are controlled by the nervous system, to take the idea of the immune function and the autoimmune specifically, it kinda comes down to there’s an element of the body not recognizing itself, and so it thinks that it’s invading itself, so it’s always trying to fight itself. So part of that is that the nervous system is so… I’m gonna say over-regulated, it’s kind of like it’s hyper-regulated, it’s like spinning in on itself so that it can’t recognize friend from foe, and so it’s in the stillness where, like I said, coming from the fight or flight back into the rest and digest, helps the body to calm down and see, Okay, I don’t need to always continuously be sending the signal of something wrong, something’s wrong, something’s wrong. So in other words, I guess I put it shortly, it helps break that feedback loop so that your system can recognize itself and begin to differentiate where it needs to build itself up and where it can just sort of fall off and not attack itself.

I know there’s a better way to put that, but…

Karyn: No, I think that was great because that is… That’s exactly what is happening. We are attacking ourselves, that’s the whole issue with autoimmunity, and so finding a way to break that cycle is huge, and I love that craniosacral therapy can help with that.

0:34:56.6 S2: And so that also kind of goes back into the microbiome imbalance area too, because again, it’s… What craniosacral can do is to still the system, we work with something called a still point, that’s a therapeutic term. A still point is where we encourage that flow of the CSF to just stop, and so when that stops, it’s like the body can Pause and all of the energy that it used to keep that going can be used for something else, it can settle and it can build and it can potentiate. So, that allows that you’re living organism to recognize and learn that, Oh, balance is possible because when you’re out of balance, your body doesn’t even know that balance is possible, so getting into the stillness, and it’s not only craniosacral that helps with this, but that’s part of the… As a feature of it is that it just helps your body be able to learn that, Oh, this is what balance feels like, and then again, let’s… It then build on itself, it’s kind of like, remember those old toy cars that you would just sort of pull back and full back and…

Karyn: Yes, my kids love those, they make those.

Margie: So we go back to your system and let it build up and then it can go to zoom, it has a much more potency in it.

Karyn: There’s some sort of scientific… Some physics principle at play there, right?

Margie: Yes, yes, I know. I didn’t really do well in physics.

Karyn: We’re not the right people to answer that, but… Yes, but I totally get what you’re saying, right? When you take that step back, it gives you the energy to propel forward, right, and that’s what we’re trying to do here is give the body a place where I can propel forward, and sometimes with craniosacral, I find that sometimes… when I’m in a session, there’s a light bulb that goes off and it’s in it, like you said, you have a sigh or a breath or something, and then other times, I just don’t know, I’m like, I just have to sit and think with this for a little while I’m not quite sure what… I know something happened to here, I’m not quite sure I feel a release, but I’m gonna have to go and think about that… Right, so it’s interesting how sometimes you have this light bulb moment and then other times… I just know it’s more subtle, like the transformation is subtle, it’s still pulling that car back so that you can propel yourself, but it’s… How it hits you different, depending on where, I guess where you’re at, where your mind is out, where your body is that for that day, yeah.

Margie: Exactly. And then when you have a conversation with someone you don’t always… You might go away thinking, Wow, that was a really fulfilling conversation, you might not be able to remember what you talked about. You just remember it was a really great experience. Well, it’s the same thing, you’re having a conversation with your body, your body is communicating things to you, and when you get off the table, you might not really understand what exactly just happened, you just know you feel better, but everything is a little bit more resourced, everything’s a little more smooth. Yeah, so it’s not something you have to put a label to or a finger on like, Oh, that’s what happened. If you just feel like that was beneficial. Right, there’s something that shifted in me… That’s enough.

And the other thing too, is that your on the table starts a process, sometimes takes two or three days to integrate and continues… I have people who sometimes they get off the table thinking, Oh my God, I feel like I slept for eight hours, and other times they get off the table thinking, Well, I felt good, I don’t really know what that was, but then they called me three days later, and say, Oh my God, I just… It was amazing, I slept so well last night, or I feel so clear-headed or my stomach not bothering me today, so it’s a cumulative kind of progressive effect. We’re seeing your nervous system how to bring itself back into balance so that it can support you in your day... Yes.

Karyn: Okay, something that’s coming up for me that I’m thinking about when people are coming to you for a session, do you say to them, You know it’s gonna take eight sessions, do you say to them, You need to come once a week. If you want this to be effective, how can people plan what craniosacral therapy might look like in their lives?

Margie: Well, again, I go back to your inner healer, you have to know, you have to decide, and some people are so out of touch with their bodies then they can’t even feel what’s going on, even if I say, Oh, I also do massage. So sometimes if I’m doing a massage, I say, How do you feel right now? I don’t feel a thing, some people are just really out of touch. And it makes sense if you’ve got something going on where you feel like your body has betrayed you… You don’t want to be friends with that, you don’t wanna even know, you know what, I don’t wanna hear it, you just wanna get through your day, so… You can’t really say, Oh yeah, it’s gonna take X amount. I do tell people, hey, give it three sessions. That will really help you see if this is for you, now, there’s plenty of other forms of therapy out there that can really be beneficial for people, and that’s why there’s so many individuals, that’s why there are so many different ways of helping you access your own health but my advice is always to listen to yourself. One of the things that I do in all of my sessions at the end is I connect the gut wisdom, the gut brain to the head brain, and literally connecting that neural pathway through that vagus nerve, most people have heard about the vagus nerve in context of…

Oh, that’s what helps you relax. The vagus nerve, that’s only 20% of what it does, 80% of the nerves of fibers of the vagus nerve is listening and sensory, and it’s giving your brain information and so if you think about how the body is formed in embryology, the gut forms before the brain, so you have neurons in your gut that give you information, and so being able to tap into that and listen to that, and that’s another thing that’s been trying to kind of try to… They weed it out from us, they train us not to do that, right, oh, you have to manage by facts and data, you can’t… You have to… Where’s the science? No, where’s the gut feeling? Where’s the understanding of what’s really going…

Karyn: Yes it’s that, second brain.

IS THE SECOND BRAIN REALLY THE FIRST BRAIN?

Margie: Yeah, and that… I call it the first brain… Really.

[41:23] Karyn: You know what? I love it. It is the first brain. You are so right. You know, I remember my son, I always would talk to the kids about their second brain, which I hear what you’re saying first brain, but I always would say it’s your second brand, you know, we actually have… We have two brains, and there’s one in your gut, and my son went to… It was either kindergarten or first grade, and they were talking about the parts of the body, and the teacher mentioned the brain, and my son said something about the brain in a stomach, and the teacher was like, What are you talking about? What is that kid learning… And she actually called me, Why are you teaching this kid that there’s two brains like… Well, actually there is, right? And I really love Margie that you talk about it, how it being the first brain, we have more neurons there than we do in our brain, so that makes complete sense that feeling it is so much more powerful and impactful than the thought that we’re getting in our brain.

Margie: And being able to tap into that. Now, this… That simple thing you can do to do that, put your hand on your stomach and put another hand on your neck, this is the track where the vagus nerve comes down behind the ear, down through the chest, stomach, so as you’re contacting those points along that pathway, you’re actively activating that pathway, that neural pathway, you’re reinforcing it,

Karyn: And anybody who’s listening to this, if you’re not driving a car, operating a car.

Go for it, try that, so that you can kind of feel that connection for yourself, it’s really powerful if you really dive into it, you really concentrate on it. I’ve done that myself. Yeah.

Margie: Yeah, yeah. Why, I encourage people to do that when they’re deciding how many sessions they need, to say, Hey… Did that work for me? How was that? Some people know, Hey, I’m working on a specific things… I got specific goals, like for instance, if somebody’s dealing with a concussion, but those concussion symptoms, they might need to schedule, I say at least three sessions, one, because you’re building on momentum and you’re flushing things out and you’re really addressing a specific issue when it’s something a little bit more general, like stress management or anxiety, that could be something that we do two or three sessions in a row in close succession, and then you decide, Okay, maybe I need to come see you once a month, maybe I’ll come back for a tune-up once a quarter, once a year, whatever works for your body, and you are the one who knows best what works for your body. Amen to that.

Karyn: Yeah, so it sounds like what you’re saying, you may feel something from the first session, you may not, but give it three sessions. And see, how do you feel? At least a minimum of three. And see, did it make a difference for me? Do I feel different? With my illness? Yes, yes, yeah. And I know we’re not, Oh, and I know we’re not coming to you with just Crohn’s or just colitis… Right, we all have lots of other issues, so what I think is really cool is when you go to your gastroenterologist or you go to your cardiologist, right, you’re going for that one thing with craniosacral therapy, you’re not just going for the Crohn’s or just the colitis, you’re going for your whole body, so that might be your most pressing issue, but what I find is that you might find… Actually, you have some other things going on, right? As well, and so it’s working on all of those, so it’s questioning like, how do I feel overall, how does my whole body feel after this session or after a couple of sessions…

Margie: Exactly.

WHO SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY?

Karyn: Yeah. Is there anybody, Margie, in wrapping up today, is there anybody that you feel like just it would not be a good fit for craniosacral therapy, maybe there’s a contraindication, or maybe it could even be some sort of emotional barrier or block… Is there anybody that you feel like… No, it wouldn’t be for them.

[45:01] Margie: Well, yeah, there are certain… Overall, there are very few contraindications for this work because it is so gentle, it’s really just very still, and that’s allowing your body to do what it’s gonna do at its own pace, that being said, I would not work with somebody who has a very acute head injury, I’d wanna make sure that they see their primary care acute management team first to make sure that there’s nothing going on, because we are working with the fluids and the pressures in the membranes and the brain, and so if somebody had just had a stroke or who has just had a traumatic brain injury, I will not see them because they need to get stabilized first, this is more of a rebuilding therapy versus a primary acute care thing. Other people, I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t see, but I have worked with folks who have come to me to say, Yeah, I know I’m holding trauma. And what I can do is support their system, but I will refer them to, say, a psychologist to work with, if they’re dealing with really horrendous stuff that’s very deep in there, I know my limitations and I know my scope of practice, and I’m not a psychologist I know I can help work with your psychologist as a team, as part of your health team to help you work through these issues because mental emotional trauma is stored in the body as well, so getting at it from a what’s called a somatic standpoint, really help move the needle in terms of diffusing that experience so that you’re not…

Something like that. It’s kind of like, if you’ve ever seen a whirlpool, your life is flowing along and something might happen, for instance…a couple of months ago, somebody cut me off in traffic and I saw him changing lanes and he just didn’t see me, and he just came right in front of me, so it was just a little fender bender, but now when I’m in traffic and I see somebody changing lanes, I still have that trigger like, Oh, and your like danger, these triggers kind of get stuck in our system if they don’t get diffused, they can become kind of like a whirlpool just swirling around on itself. Now, the little fender bender is a very gentle example, but people have some really deep trauma in their lives, and some of them just might not even remember the trauma if it happened long ago or if it was buried so deep. So what I’m saying is, I will work with folks who are working with those issues, but if they’re working with a healthcare, a mental healthcare provider as well, so that we can all work in a team to help diffuse the trauma, wherever it’s a living…

IBD HEALING TAKES A VILLAGE.

Karyn: It takes a village. It takes a village to heal. It really, really does. I really like what you’re saying about that. Something that I talk about often on the podcast is this invisible wheel of wellness that we all have, and it has spokes, and so I like what you’re saying that you’re… Nothing in craniosacral is the end all be all. It’s the one thing that you need to do. No, it’s one spoke in that wheel of wellness, it’s part of your care, it’s part of your wellness journey, it’s not the one thing, and they all can work synergistically together to bring about health. Exactly, yeah, I love it. And so that brings me to my last question, which is, most of my listeners, they are not local in Maryland like you and I are, so I’m just curious, is craniosacral therapy is something that somebody could benefit from virtually… Could they contact you and work with you virtually, or is it something that they should really try to find somebody locally?

Margie: You know, it’s interesting because this past year with us being in lockdown, many of my colleagues have done distance… I do distance work, it’s not technically called cranial work though, this is a therapy that’s been around for quite some time, it’s… Roots are in osteopathy, and then it’s grown from there. But we have to be very careful about our people’s understanding of the work and where are places in the overall scheme of the healthcare landscape, so to call something craniosacral means you’re putting hands on someone and you’re working manually with their cranio system. I can tell you people get a lot of really amazing results, even in terms of releasing physical tension and stress from the distance work that I do, but I can’t call it craniosacral because I don’t wanna do that to our industry, we’re struggling for legitimacy as it is, so I just like to be really clear about what it is and what it isn’t. And so there are some things that can be done virtually, but people can also look for a craniosacral therapist in their area.

Karyn: Probably 10 years ago, it was really difficult to find somebody, but I’m willing to bet most everywhere that somebody lives, probably even overseas, that there could be a craniosacral therapist in your area. Is there a national association or anything like that, that I could go and say, find a practitioner?

WHERE CAN I FIND MY OWN CRANIOSACRAL THERAPIST?

[50:15] Margie: Yes, in North America, which is a Canada and the US, there is an association called the Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America. Their website is craniosacraltherapy.org

Karyn:  I’ll be sure to put that in the show notes.

[50:33]: Yeah, and they have a Find a Practitioner feature on their website, you can also read a lot of articles and learn a little bit more about the nitty-gritty of it, now that is a reference to anyone that practices biodynamic craniosacral therapy. As I said, there are other forms of cranial therapy, which may or may not be as effective, everybody has their own flavor that they like, for me, that’s the most effective because it treats the whole person body-minded spirit. There are other more biomechanical forms of this work where it’s, no matter how light the touch, you’re still applying pressure from outside the body and force from out the outside the body, and the therapist is deciding when and where to do that. That can be a very effective work, but if you want to just let your inner healthcare healer do the work, then I would look for the bio-dynamic form.

Karyn: I have loved this conversation because even though I feel like I’ve been doing craniosacral for a while, it’s been really beneficial for me, and I felt like, Oh, I know a lot about that, I learned a lot today, or just even affirmed of my understanding of how it can help me and it just gives me just kind of a little skip in my step today thinking, Hey, pat on the back, I do that. So I wanna thank you so much for joining us for this conversation today, I know that after hearing your story about how you came to craniosacral therapy and about hearing about your practice, I know that my listeners are gonna wanna find out more about you, so is there a place that they can go… Do you have a website that they can go to to find out more about the wonderful work you’re doing?

CONNECT WITH MARGIE.

[52:14] Margie: You can find me at findthehealthwithin.com, because this is what this work is about. It’s about finding the health within your own system, so findthehealthwithin.com. You can read a little bit more about me and my background as well as Schedule, I offer a free 15-minute phone consult if you really just wanna chat and find out about how it can help you. I think that might be the place to start.

Karyn: This is really amazing, if you’ve never done this before, it can have a profound impact on how you feel overall and on your Crohn’s and colitis symptoms. So I highly encourage you to do that. I will put the link to Marie’s website on the show notes so that you can go and check it out. Awesome, thank you so much, Margie. I just really enjoyed our conversation today, thank you for sharing the space with me.

Margie: Thank you Karyn for having me, I appreciate the opportunity to educate people on the possibilities that are out there for them.

Karyn: Awesome, take care.

Isn’t she just so knowledgeable? I love hearing how Margie talks about our body’s ability to heal and how craniosacral therapy can really help us tap into that, if you wanna know more, if you want more information about Margie, remember there’s a link to her website in the show notes, I know that she’d love to hear from you whether you live in Maryland or you live anywhere else in the world, and if you want to find a craniosacral therapist in your area, there’s a link in the show notes for that as well, so you can find a practitioner where you live, I hope you learned something today that made you just say, Ah, or maybe you just got a glimmer or a feeling of hopefulness when it comes to healing your Crohn’s or colitis, there’s always another door opening, another modality to try… Craniosacral therapy is another modality that you could possibly try, don’t give up Mama, stay in the fight and just know that I’m in it with you, I’m right there by your side, if you wanna reach out and chat with me…

Remember, I have a new Facebook page. It is @TheIBDHealthCoach @TheIBDHealthCoach, let me know how this episode landed for you and also let me know what other episodes you want… What do you wanna hear about? Until we meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD healing journey.

Chat soon!

Thank you so much for joining me today and for listening to today’s episode, when it comes to IBD, I know there’s a lot of resources out there, and I’m truly honored that you chose the tacky podcast to get your IBD information today. If you found this information helpful, please give us a rating and review, it helps other moms find the podcast and see what we’re doing over here to help It moms everywhere. And if you feel called to do it, share this podcast with an IBD mom who you know could really use an uplifting message today, because that’s what we’re all about over here at the typo cast. One last thing, if you’re still with me and if you are, you’re definitely my thing, we have to get to know each other better.

If you’re tired of living on the hamster wheel of IBD with the ups and downs between players and remission, if you’re struggling to get control of your abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and other troubling IBD symptoms, go to the website, it’s Karynhaley.com, and my mom had to be just a little bit different of my name with a Y, so it’s K-A-R-Y-H-A-L-E-Y dot com, and schedule your very own free 30-minute IBD Root Cause troubleshooting session with me where we discuss the challenges you’ve been having, we set goals to help you move forward, and we talk about how we can work together to help you get your life back to power-packed 30 minutes. You don’t have to live in IBD status quo. There’s so much that can be done to transform your life so you can thrive in motherhood and thrive with IBD, I’ve seen my clients walk this path and it gives me so much joy to take that journey with them. My entire coaching practice is run online, so you never have to leave your house and you never have to get out of your damn your yoga pants for us to work together. You know, I’m wearing them too.

If you’re ready to take your first amazing step towards healing, I’m ready to chat with you, schedule your free 30-minute IBD cause troubleshooting, fasted at Karen healed com, click on the work with me tab and I’ll see soon. It’s important to note that the information in this podcast and in this episode is for general information purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for pro-professional medical advice. The statements made in the CD podcast for moms with it, either by me or my guests, is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols, do yourself a favor and consult your physician first, thank you so much for listening, for being here, for saving this space for us to spend some time together. Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy journey.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This podcast, video, and blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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