The Wonders of Cranial Osteopathy

The sun shone when I woke this morning. A good omen, I thought, as I headed out to my appointment with Susan. She greeted me wearing a long plaid top over a dark bodysuit, bright red cowboy boots and the funkiest pair of red-rimmed glasses I’d seen in a long time. Susan is my Cranial Osteopath and, after the good she’s done to my body, I wouldn’t care if she welcomed me dressed in full ballet regalia. For Susan and her ilk, I am deeply grateful – for educating me about the wonders of osteopathy, and for leading me down the path to full(er) recovery.

Truth is, I had no idea what cranial osteopathy could offer me before I met Susan. I’d heard of its restorative powers by word of mouth, but I was still wary about the attributes of complementary therapies; and if beneficial, how could I decide which of them to pursue? Good thing I decided to let my heart lead me beyond skepticism. Good thing I let Nadine talk me into letting Susan into the guarded bubble of my traumatized body. And it was a darn good thing that Susan enveloped me in her professionally confident and comforting embrace. She knows her stuff and I am in good hands.

Back to today. Even though Susan’s office is not far above a busy city street, replete with horns honking and delivery truck doors slamming, I will those reverberating noises into the distant background as I partly undress and settle onto the massage table. Instantly transfixed by the gurgling sounds of the mini-waterfall on the side table, my mind gets lost in Tchaikovsky and Bach drifting out of the sound system.

I am on my back, covered in a blanket, and Susan gets to work. With eyes closed, she lays her palms on my head, sensing the subtle rhythms, fluids and pulses that guide her to regions of my body that need her attention. She deftly palpates around my diaphragm, moving parts and muscles, separating fascia, commenting on my current state of healing: so your shoulders are still bothering you, especially the left one? Note: Her hands are still on my diaphragm.

As I rotate onto my right side and Susan moves my torso in a rocking motion, a familiar tune in classical rendition that echos my body’s swaying, floats through the room: Que sera sera. Whatever will be, will be.

Turning onto my stomach, Susan sinks her palms right into my lower back, pressing into the most vulnerable and heavily fractured part of my sacrum. From deep inside of me, there is a cringing, a voice screaming, but I keep a lid on it. I trust her implicitly. Susan kneads my displaced sacral bone with such deliberation, I am convinced that a core of strength and warmth is seeping from her body into mine. And then, as if reading my mind, Susan lifts her hands suddenly and blurts out, wow, that’s SOME heat coming off your body! and steps away to remove her plaid top.

Following my lead, my father recently sought Susan’s advice for a throbbing and painful ankle, a problem that had not only limited his physical activity for the past decade, but depleted him of copious amounts of money, for various therapies, orthotics and tests he had undergone over the years. And then, in one short, albeit pain-inducing visit, my dad’s ankle was back to its pre-injured state. He wondered why Susan didn’t work directly on his foot, like all the other therapists before her. But I smiled, and with my newfound knowledge, explained to him that a painful ankle could indicate a blockage elsewhere in his leg or body. Indeed, it was all about a mis-aligned bone and Susan realigned it. Now he walks with renewed vigor, with such ease and joy that I simply marvel at his return to health – while I hobble along nearby.

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