The guidance in this posting was prepared and provided to me by my Craniosacral Therapist (CST, LMT). She has given me permission to include it in this blog either in verbatim or paraphrased. (FYI – I first posted about my initial experience with CST here.)
My CST has been treating me for many physical issues over the last couple of years including chronic pain in several areas of my body, and recovery from multiple surgeries. Weekly craniosacral and massage therapy sessions from her, regular pain psychology sessions from a licensed psychologist, and periodic acupuncture treatments from a licensed acupuncturist, have provided me with the majority of improvements and answers concerning my recent health issues.
Since the body and the mind are connected, professionals and exercises in both areas are essential for my healing. My CST said it is important to note that she is not a psychologist, and that her work includes how the mind and psyche (such as anxiety, emotions, thoughts, feelings) enter and affect the body physically. Her expertise and treatments have been very helpful for me. The information here is based on her personal experiences and materials she has come across over the years in bodywork trainings, meditation trainings, and teachings she has heard. I thank her for allowing me to include her experiences here. (This image below is a doodle I did to introduce her information.)
When you feel a strong emotion arise:
1) Focus on your breath. Connect with the physical sensations of breathing in your body. Do you feel your chest rise and fall, do you feel the breath rush past places in your sinuses or down the back of your throat? Any place you can feel the breath enter and leave, focus there. Your breath is your anchor to the present moment. It’s impossible to breath in the past or future where your mind and/or body often want to go in their remembering or anticipating. To invite yourself fully into the present moment, focus on your breath. Note how your breath feels and what you notice. After noting awareness, invite your breath to gradually become slower, deeper, more relaxed and more regular. I often repeat those four parts to myself when I feel increased anxiety…slower, deeper, more relaxed and more regular. Give yourself several minutes of this practice to slow down. Dr. Andrew Weil teaches this practice as a way to turn off fight or flight response in the body. You may be able to find more information on his website or look for his Breathing: Master Key to Self Healing series.