Often I am asked the question, “What is CranioSacral Therapy?” Cranio refers to the bones of the head. Sacral refers to the tailbone. A craniosacral therapist uses the bones of the head and sacrum to release the central nervous system (CNS) creating relaxation in the body from the inside out. As the CNS relaxes, signals being sent from the brain and spinal cord can be sent more clearly and in a more relaxed way, creating relaxation throughout the entire physical body.

How does this work? Imagine for a moment a model of a skull. The lines between skull bones are zigzagged. The bones of the skull move along these lines with minimal pressure, 5 grams or less. Gentle pressure on the bones of the cranium moves the cerebrospinal fluid gently releasing restrictions. Try placing your hands above your ears, move the fingertips upward toward the sky along the

Complementary Care: Massage Therapy and PT

Massage therapy is complementary care to your appointments with the physical therapist. Physical Therapists are trained to diagnose and prescribe movement therapies to address the injury as it is presented by the body. Massage Therapists are trained to relax the body, treating tightness in muscles, tendons, and joints. These approaches to the body complement one another. Movement begins the strengthening of injured muscles, while massage therapy unwinds the tightness associated with muscle guarding the injury site.

How does one know if PT or massage therapy is the appropriate modality? Pain level is one indication. If pain level is consistently over 7 on a scale of 1 (little or no pain) to 10 (huge pain, I wish it would stop!) considering a diagnosis with a PT or MD is important. If range of motion in a joint is restricting your movement, for example you can’t exercise as you would like to, seeking out a PT is recommended by this massage therapist. If an injury has slightly restricted your range of motion or pain is slightly limiting your ability to move around in the world, a session with your massage therapist may be just what the body needs to assist in the healing taking place within.

Often I will say to my clients, “A strong muscle is a relaxed muscle.” When muscles are tight, holding an injury site to reduce pain, circulation is reduced through the area that needs to heal. Massage therapy, when applied gently with close attention to sensation and resistance in the body, can help relieve the tension on a joint or muscle improving both range of motion and circulation in the area being treated.

Some of my regular clients, will choose to come in for massage and craniosacral therapy when an injury occurs, trusting that my hands will help reduce their pain, improve their mobility and decrease healing time. While these are all possible outcomes of a session or series of sessions, massage therapists do not diagnosis the underlying injury. Through gentle palpation of muscle, tendon and bone, we can help you identify the exact location of pain, though it is beyond our scope of practice to offer any diagnosis of the underlying physical problem. This information about the location of your pain is helpful information to take to your PT or MD.

Physical Therapists are trained to identify and diagnose where in the body there is imbalance or injury causing your pain. Once the source of pain is identified, the physical therapist designs a program of movements to bring functionality back to the body. During the healing process, these movements may cause pain in the joints, emotional response to pain including depression and anxiety may develop if the healing does not unfold quickly. This is where one or two sessions of massage therapy can make the difference in healing. When you hit a plateau in the healing process, an experienced massage therapist can assist in releasing the tightness and guarding around the injury sight, allowing the body to relax and open to the next step in healing.

Next time you are working with a Physical Therapist, consider a massage therapy session to assist in the healing and recovery process your body is experiencing!

Body Talk: Are You Ticklish?

One recent client shared with me she was uncomfortable receiving massage due to being highly ticklish. She said, “I don’t like being touched because my knees, back and calf muscles are so ticklish!” Sensations that keep individuals from the massage table may be sensations that are telling you the body is holding tension.

Over the years, I have come to know that physical sensations are related to tension held in the body. Pressure, ticklishness, tenderness, and pain are all related to muscles holding tension in the body. In particular, ticklish sensations can be reduced as the body relaxes. Because the sensation causes laughter and sometimes contractions throughout the body, I begin by gently stretching the ticklish muscles. This invites the body to release tension on the joints above and below the muscle, for example the quads release the knee, hip and even the low back area. One the muscles are relaxed, firm pressure on the muscle tissue invites increase in circulation, often the sensation of ticklishness is reduced or gone after stretching. Then pressure on the muscle brings deeper relaxation to the body.

This methodical series of techniques allows a ticklish person to receive massage without bringing more tension to the body. I’ve worked with individuals who have high degree of ticklishness in the leg muscles with success. These clients depart relaxed and happy to be rid of the ticklish feelings.

If you have a highly ticklish body and other issues of carrying tension in your body that keep you from the massage table, consider asking that your body be stretched before your muscles are touched and tickled. If I can be of service, please contact me at the link below.

Peace to All,

Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT

Massage in the News

Here’s an article written by Dr. Sanjay Gupta published in Time Magazine, October 22, 2008.,8599,1852306,00.html

Dr. Gupta reviews a study on massage for people living through cancer treatments. There are benefits in body AND mind for people who receive massage while being treated with chemotherapy. The levels of serotonin and dopamine, two “feel good” neurotransmitters, rise during and after massage. This brings about elevated moods, pushing back the depression that comes with living in pain.

I’m doing some research on courses on massage for people living with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy. Looks like a course is coming up in the fall with Tracy Walton on Cancer and Massage Therapy. Time to bring this good work to Concord, NH!

Blessings All,


Gulf Waters: A time to LOVE

I can’t help but share this with everyone at this time. May our collective prayers for the waters of the Gulf, the Gulf Stream and the Oceans of the Earth open a pathway to healing for all.

The Return of Turtle Island Ho’oponopono ~ share it early, share it often, Love You!!

Dr. Masaru Emoto is the scientist from Japan who has done all the research and publications about the characteristics of water. Among other things, his research revealed that water physically responds to emotions.

Many people have the predominantly angry emotion when we consider what is happening in the Gulf. And while justified in that emotion, we may be of greater assistance to our planet and its life forms if we sincerely, powerfully and humbly pray the prayer that Dr. Emoto, himself, has proposed.

I am passing this request to people I believe may be willing to participate in this prayer, to set an intention of love and healing that is so large, so overwhelming that we can perform a miracle in the Gulf of Mexico.

We are not powerless. We are powerful. Our united energy, speaking this prayer daily…multiple times daily… can literally shift the balance of destruction that is happening. We don’t have to know how…we just have to recognize that the power of love is greater than any other power active in the Universe today.

“I send the energy of love and gratitude to the waters and all living creatures in the Gulf of Mexico and its surroundings.

To the whales, dolphins, pelicans, fish, shellfish, planktons,

corals, algae … humankind … to ALL living creatures … I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I Love You.”

Please join me in often repeating this Healing Prayer by Dr. Emoto. Feel free to send it around the planet. Lets take charge … and do our own clean up.!

A Journey of Faith

NOTE: This is the text of the speech I gave at the Concord, NH UU church on January 10, 2010.

I AM Sarah-Elizabeth.

I AM a GRU-UP: a Grown or Raised Unitarian Universalist Person, third generation Unitarian Universalist raising a 4th generation. I was at the conference in 1980 which created Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU). I along with many of the same people came together in 1984 to create the Continental UU Young Adult Network (C*UUYAN).  During my 20’s it was conferences with UU young adults, which fed my soul. As a part of C*UUYAN’s  leadership team, I traveled many summers to Opus, the annual conference of C*UUYAN meeting UU Young Adults from across the country. I have known weeks, months and even years when I did not attend church. Though I attended weekend UU Young Adult conferences as much as possible. As I moved for college, graduate school and work, I longed for community. The local UU community would be my place of return.

Going to church is a choice I make to be a member of a community of faith, which asks me to ponder what it is TO BE in this plane of existence. The challenge I see for our UU faith community is to embrace the many paths as one. My life’s journey has shown me there is ONE MOUNTAIN toward enlightenment, or God, Presence, Spirit, Nature whatever name you choose to call the Source of Life. (Words place limits on our understanding. I will use Spirit from here forward, intending only to shorten my speech, rather than place a limit on this limitless complex idea.)

Spirit Mountain offers itself to be explored. Some choose to travel one path, one tradition towards the top of Spirit Mountain. Others choose to travel around and around Spirit Mountain exploring without finding a path towards the center or top. Some travel the path out away from the mountain across the plains in their journey. Still others sit in one place alongside the path without moving. I have walked many of these paths throughout my life. What I choose to do each day is to travel that path on Spirit Mountain in my own way.

My experience on Spirit Mountain is one of traveling many different paths, a most challenging journey.  I’ve experienced UU Youth and Young Adult communities, UU church communities, African drumming, the sweat lodge, Kripalu yoga, Kundalini yoga, Reiki attunement, Massage school, Dances of Universal Peace, Sufi traditions, UU traditions, celebrations of Christmas, Hanukah, Easter, Passover, Solstices, Full moon and more. Some of these experiences I’ve shown up for, others I’ve been involved in leadership. Each of these experiences takes me deeper into myself, deeper into an understanding of what I AM in this lifetime.

My friend Pam refers to me as a Spiritual Scientist. My faith in life today comes from an amalgam of traditions, in no particular order: UU, Science, Sufi, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist. I am one who seeks to feel and experience life, rather than sit back and let life come to me. My friend Amethyst Wyldfyre refers to me as “The Body Whisperer,” for in my life’s work I facilitate the healing of body, mind and spirit.

Just as the clothing I wear can be changed each day, Spiritual practices bring shift in perception of the ONE MOUNTAIN. Each religious tradition I have explored shows me a different set of clothes to Spirit Mountain, and yet the clothes are not the mountain itself. The ritual informs me of that which is Spirit and the journey begins again. Within the experience of dance or drum or even the perfect ski run down the mountain I come to know that I AM a Spirit being having a human experience. There is a centered place inside myself when a door opens (hands to the heart center) and I see that which is within the core of my being all along. Here the clothes of the ritual fall away and I AM PRESENCE itself.

Sometimes this experience is a quiet one, holding me in a suspended place within. Other times I AM invigorated by the rhythms, sounds or pulse of my heart beat as I dance or drum myself into being. Sometimes this knowing is as far away as the furthest Star. And times I find myself washing dishes or saying, “Good night” or doing the myriad of things I do day to day and there I AM in present awareness.

I know that place of connection best when I choose to experience my life fully, to live with FULL BODY I AM PRESENCE. I know that place best when I AM in a state of noticing, without judgment right or wrong. My experience has shown me that Unitarian understanding of “God is One” and the Universalist understanding that “God is Love.”

For me, a few words cannot encompass my experiences or explain the connection that I find from time to time in my life.

Thank you for being a member of this faith community. You enrich this community by your presence here. I’m glad to have so many partners on this path.