What are your qualifications?
I trained in CranioSacral Therapy with the Upledger Institute from 2001-2003, and was mentored by a certified CST Diplomate and Instructor for 18 months. This allowed me to refine my technical skills and clinical applications under the tutelage of an advanced therapist and to work with a variety of ages and health issues. Additionally, I attended the Sarasota School of Massage Therapy, where I received rigorous training in Anatomy, Physiology, bodywork techniques, and client care. My training in Energy Healing techniques began in 2002, and includes completion of a 2-year Intuitive Healing program and the Upledger Institute's training in Somato-Emotional Release techniques. I have also trained in Lymph Drainage Therapy and Fusion Therapy. I am a Teaching Assistant for the Upledger Institute, and have provided CST and Energy Healing in diverse settings that include Sarasota Memorial Hospital, the Rosemary Birthing Center, private clinical practices in Sarasota and Asheville, and... in the Gulf of Mexico (Aquatic CST)!
Why did you decide to become a CranioSacral Therapist
A convergence of several things in the late 1990’s brought me to that choice. I was in a car accident that left me with severe back pain, and I was unable to walk or stand for more than a few hours a day. After trying many standard ways of treating pain (massage, chiropractic’s, physical therapy, etc.) with no improvement, the doctors offered me a walker. Then I heard about CranioSacral Therapy (CST). Within weeks, I could stand without support; and as I continued getting treatments, the pain consistently decreased. Ultimately, I was free of the debilitating pain, and the effects have been lasting -- I now do yoga, dance, and hike!
It wasn’t too much later that I had the “Aha moment” that put me directly on this path. CST had already helped me with physical pain. It had also helped me to release trauma from childhood abuse and neglect – psychological pain that I had carried in my body's tissues. Then my little boy began having seizures. With my son, I witnessed profound neurological healing as CST stopped the seizures, decreased autism-related symptoms, and balanced his sensory system. I thought, “Wow! What is this magic? I have to do this!” That afternoon, I went home and registered for the first training course.
(Technically, of course, it isn’t “magic”. The role that the nervous system plays is to coordinate our physical, mental, emotional, and neurological aspects. CST is a way to directly facilitate improvements in the nervous system, so you feel better and function better, physically, mentally, and emotionally.)
What is your philosophy about health??
I believe that when the body, mind, heart, and spirit are aligned, health and well-being follow naturally. In medical terms, this ideal state is called “homeostasis”. It is the physiological state of balance, harmony, and alignment for the body. You know you are moving into homeostasis (optimum health) when you have the feelings of peace, vitality, or joy. The things that ail us are often the very things that bring our attention back to taking care of ourselves. They remind us to keep working towards deeper levels of homeostasis – of peace, vitality, and joy.
What sets you apart as a practitioner?
I don’t approach pain and dysfunction as pathologies, because I think that leads the patient and the practitioner to override the inherent wisdom of the body and the spirit rather than to follow it. Instead, I focus on what the pain or reduced health is revealing about your strengths and your challenges, and where I can help you make improvements that will increase your health, quality of life, and well-being.
What aspect of healing are you most interested in?
When people feel healthy, full of vitality, and in harmony with the world, they tend to go out and do good things for themselves and others. I love how personal health generates this “ripple effect”, and how it promotes positive change in the world.
There is another aspect of healthcare about which I am also passionate. Recently in medicine and in the media, there has been a lot of discussion and studies concerning the connection between physical health and the spirit. I see this as an aspect of quantum physics – matter (the body) cannot be separated from its energy (subtle energies and spirit). Therefore healing is a physical-energetic event, and health is maintained through this connection. This is why I work through this connection, and why I teach clients how to tap into it themselves. It is a tool you can use to maintain your health; one that also gives you the power to create vitality and success in all aspects of your life.
How has your practice evolved over time?
At first, I was mesmerized by the techniques themselves, by how they brought people such relief. Over the years I have developed sensitivity to the profound relationship between the physical body and its subtle energies, and how the nervous system plays a central role between the body and the soul. Even with conditions that may appear strictly medical, such as a chronic backache, cancer, or GI issues, the keys lie in both the body and the being. It is important to me to have good technical skills as well as the ability to incorporate my client’s emotions, thoughts, and subtle energies during treatment, so that he or she gets the maximum benefit.
What were you doing before you entered your field?
I am always involved in a number of things. My background includes being a professional Modern dancer and teacher for 16 years, a mother devoted to conscious child-rearing, a Montessori teacher, and an advocate and coach for families living with autism.
How did you arrive in Asheville??
I think they call it “gut technology” in the business world – when you know what you need to do, even if you can’t exactly say why. Many things kept signaling that it was time to move, and that Asheville is “home”.
CLICK HERE to read Grace's contribution to an article in Bold Life magazine.