We have a unique, simple way forward here at the CST Alliance. We have many basic tenets of the work like: evaluate; treat what you find; and re-evaluate. We blend and trust, listen with our hands, be still and know, ask the rhythm to express itself. We begin from the heels with our three-stage settling in listening approach. From the calves and feet we can assess the CSR, fascial tone and general lymphatic flow. With each change of intention and touch we ask the patient to note any change in the physiologic aspects of their body. When we first make contact at the heels, we assess the CSR for symmetry, quality amplitude and rate. But even more importantly we most gently and respectfully follow the CSR and induce a stillpoint. Once the rhythm stops, we drop our barrier and wait for the natural return of the rhythm. This little exercise informs the Inner Wisdom that here is a person who can feel the CSR, respectfully stop it, know when it is stopped and can recognize when it naturally returns; maybe this is a person I can use for the benefit of my person on the table.
We also count on the patient as mentioned above to report any change of subtle feeling or response to our touch as we evaluate and treat. They commonly say I can feel that in my back, in my hip, or in my head. I have found a very simple but effective way to illicit a more specific location detector.
Gently mobilizing the sutures of the cranium as we commonly do, it is most important to have precise finger position when doing any of the vault techniques. Having the patient express, as accurately as possible, a sensitivity location on the vault can be of great help in planning out a series of steps to effect change in a specific suture or the intercranial membrane which may lie just beneath.
Instead of having the patient say "my head hurts." Oh, really? The back of your head, (or) behind your ear, (or) all across the top? We can be more precise. I ask the patient, "Ok, can you use one finger and show me where you feel that?"
This causes the patient to instantly reduce the area of concern from the width and breadth of the hand to an area the size of a fingertip. If they point with one finger to the side of the head by the temple, I should immediately think of sphenoid and revisit the vault holds and likely do an efficient OCB, parietals, frontals, and focus closely on the temporals and then do a careful sphenoid lesion assessment. If they were to point between their eyes, I would surely focus on frontals and re-eval frequently the three vault holds looking for change. Should they be unable to use one finger or say, "It's all over the top and back of my head," I would be thinking about using rock and glide to assess both cranial and sacral motion. Inducing a stillpoint from either the occiput or sacrum might be great in this instance. Sometimes a restricted sacrum can make the sutures of the head strain all over.
It doesn't matter what your skill level is -- we all focus on structural aspects of the work. Liberation of the structures can open the channels of knowing and expression of long-standing traumas, emotions and feelings once the Inner Wisdom learns to trust and hope again.
Those interested in revisiting structural work can go to our Calendar page on the website for a BE1, BE2 or BE3 coming up this summer and fall. Helping a patient get "to the point" of their troubles is a beautiful way of bringing the work forward in these challenging times.