What if I told you that just by touching you, I would be able to more or less figure out what your health challenges are? My touch would even facilitate your recovery! Would you believe me? You should. Because that technique is called Craniosacral Therapy and not just me, anyone can learn it and benefit from it.
I went to an old, old vaidji (Ayurvedic Doctor) in Kolkata. He stayed in a nondescript house in a very middle-class neighbourhood. When I first met him, he must have been 80+ years old and looked it. He constantly ate Paan and spoke only in Bengali. He looked like the Indian version of Yoda from Star Wars.
He made me lie down on his consulting table and then poked and prodded me for about two to three minutes. Then, he asked me to hold out my right hand and with three fingers he felt my pulse – this took another two minutes or so. He grunted and shuffled back to his chair and sat down, and wrote out a few things on a scruffy looking piece of paper.
Then he looked directly at me, making unwavering eye contact and said – tell me what’s bothering you – He said it in Bengali and Ankita translated for me. I went through my list of maladies at that time. When I had finished, with a flourish he showed me the piece of paper he had scribbled on just a few minutes back. Every single thing I had said was written out on it! Not only that, he reminded me of a few things I thought I had to simply live with and so had stopped mentioning to doctors.
I was astounded. How could he know all this? What would take modern science thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment + people who had trained for years to handle that equipment + some invasive procedures done on me + an experienced doctor who would be required to interpret all the results + me paying a lot of money for all the tests + the anxiety and angst caused while I waited for the results. How did this little man know all this just by touching me at various places on my body?!
He leaned back in his chair and then said something even more astonishing. He said my mother had had a paralytic stroke. He said that the South side of our home where she lives has windows. He told me to get thick curtains on those windows and that would greatly help my mum.
Through my pulse, he had even figured out the layout of my home and the condition of my darling mum.
This was a freakish level of mastery.
He was perfectly right about every single thing he had said. He prescribed some medicines for me, and emphasised that I should zealously continue my meditation practice. After taking those innocuous little pills for a few months, I have to admit that most of the things I had told him that had been bothering me had resolved. I felt better than I ever had in life.
That old Vaidji passed away a few weeks ago, but it was his absolute genius that made me look at Ayurveda, and other alternative healing modalities in a very new light.
As a Craniosacral Therapist, through touch I too can sense and feel stuff going on in a person’s body – and help facilitate the healing of that. Though my expertise is nowhere close to the mastery of the old Vaidji. I have managed to create my share of small miracles in the lives of quite a few people. Long term migraines have dissolved, never to appear again, chronic back issues have sorted themselves out, sugar and obesity have come under control, inflammation has settled – but more importantly, through the CST touch, a sense of wellness dawns, a feeling of great hope that I will be healed becomes strongly rooted into the psyche of the client.
The Bach Flower Remedies help me identify the emotional landscape of a person. The appropriate mix of remedies can create gentle, yet profound changes that bring back health, hope and joy.
There are many, many misconceptions surrounding alternative healing therapies. I would like to identify five of the most common myths that surround alternative therapies and give you my take on them.
Myth 1: Alternative healing therapies are not supported by science.
Science is a methodology to explain observed phenomena.
It can often happen that science may not have developed enough to provide that explanation. Many people therefore conclude that because it cannot be explained, it doesn’t exist. This is not science – this is ignorance. 50 years ago, a cell phone would have been likened to heresy. Impossible. not scientific at all. Now, no one questions its existence.
Meditation was pooh-poohed by science for a long time… Until there were machines that could measure the physical changes that happened in the brain when a person meditated. And could track the incredible physiological and mental benefits of it. Now, meditation is an accepted way to combat stress and create health – yet there are millions around the world who feel this is not the case. They are still reading outdated scientific literature.
Coconut oil and Ghee were huge villains a few decades ago. Science at that time said they cause cholesterol and heart disease. Refined oil was touted to be the healthiest to cook food in. Today, science says the exact opposite. In the interim, vast damage has been caused to the health and well-being of countless millions of people who left their traditional cooking oils in preference to refined oils simply because science said so.
So too, with various alternative healing modalities, a lot of science loudly proclaims them as quackery, totally ignoring the fact that they actually work. Sometimes much better than the solutions science has on offer to deal with them.
Thankfully, there are many researchers and doctors who now take the alternative approach to health very seriously. We often get qualified doctors on our courses who secretly tell us that they want to learn about the Bach Flowers or Craniosacral therapy so they can truly heal their patients. The revolution has started!
At this point though, it would be worth mentioning that there are many who claim that they are therapists when all they have “studied” is some 3 hour online course. These people bring a bad name to alternative healing and one should definitely be wary of them.
Myth 2: Alternative Therapies are not effective
Actually, they are.
There have been clients who were on multiple different medications which they had been advised to take indefinitely. Over a period of a year or two, the combination of CST and Bach Flowers have often allowed clients to minimise or eliminate most of the medication they had been on. The best part is that they maintain that health with just a treatment or two every few months.
In my opinion, more than 80% of the time, the alternative therapies turn out to be far more effective than conventional medicine. Of course, I will be the first person to say that if there is any sort of medical emergency, then skip the alternative route and go directly to a doctor or a hospital. Though even in this case, once the emergency has been handled, for quicker recovery, complement the alternative with the conventional for faster results.
I guess that’s one of the coolest parts about alternative therapies – that they complement all other systems and are not at loggerheads with any.
Myth 3: Alternative Therapies are not safe
I will keep this one short. You tell me what is a safer way to treat a frozen shoulder – slicing it open with knife or through gentle touch? One of my students who learned CST with me had not been able to lift her left hand above the shoulder level for over two decades and was too scared to go for surgery. Over the year and a half of the CST training, she gained more than 70% mobility and continues to improve as I write this.
CST is an excellent way to unwind the body after a heavy workout. It not only relaxes the muscles but also helps the body to recover faster and reduces pain and stiffness. Better than popping some pill for sure.
Acupuncture releases endorphins which are natural painkillers. It has been used for centuries to effectively relieve pain with no side effects whatsoever.
The side effects of many allopathic drugs are far more dangerous than any alternative therapy out there. If you happen to be on any medication, search for its side effects now, and you will see what I mean.
Most alternative forms of treatment are non-invasive, non-habit-forming and non- toxic. CST and Bach Flower Remedies are the safest forms I know of.
Myth 4: Alternative Therapies only work for certain conditions
In a way, that’s actually true. No amount of Bach Flower Essences are going to sort out a tooth cavity. CST from the most experienced practitioner is not going to heal a broken hand. There are definitely conditions that would require the allopathic approach. And as a therapist, I have no problems in saying so.
Most alternative therapists don’t subscribe to the “My therapy is better than Yours” game. They know and acknowledge the limitations of their art, and refer clients that are beyond the scope of their expertise to others who can actually help them.
Compare that with the attitude of far too many doctors…
Myth 5: People who use Alternative Therapies are gullible or desperate
Anyone who has lost their health would be desperate to get it back. I know I was. There was a time when I had a slip disc injury in my lower spine. That injury had crippled me with crazy pain for a few months. I had refused surgery and I was told my only other option was complete bed rest for 8 months to a year. The only movement I was allowed was to go to the toilet – and some days, I would need someone’s help just to go from my bed to the loo.
I was just over thirty and loathed being dependent on others like this. Pain, frustration, anger and irritation all boiled within me.
I was totally desperate for relief – to get my life back the way it was. I was lucky that an osteopath friend from London, Dr. Kapil Mathur was visiting India and graciously agreed to stay for a week or so at my home and treat me.
He had me walking – painfully of course, but walking nonetheless, in just a week. I cannot begin to tell you the joy I felt when I managed to climb down the stairs for the first time in months.
I was lucky that I had Kapil. At that point, I would have tried anything. And that would have been foolish. Being desperate is one thing. Being gullible is quite another.
When you or a dear one is so unwell that the quality of life is severely compromised, and conventional medicine shows little to no hope, you will begin to look for “other” cures. It’s a good idea to do thorough research before you begin. And by research, I don’t mean that you should use Google. Unfortunately, the net is riddled with derogatory material about alternative therapies. Ask in your network of friends. Many of these healers are not online. Some don’t even know what online means. Once you track down a practitioner, talk to them and see if they instil faith in you. Ask them questions about the therapy. See if it vibes with you. Feels right for you. Get references from his clients and ask them how the treatment helped. Finally, if you do decide to go with that treatment, stick to it for a considerable amount of time and give it a fair chance to work for you.
More than anything else, the firm belief that you will be fine, is according to me the greatest antidote to any health condition. Like Michael Kern, a leading Craniosacral therapist from the UK once said – There is no such thing as an incurable disease. Just incurable people.
The most empowering thing to do is to take charge of your own health. Meditation, sleep, a great diet, regular exercise, deep social connections and an undying curiosity to learn more and more ,will ensure that you really enjoy your time on this beautiful planet of ours.
To Health! Mine and Yours.
If you wish to learn CST, please click on this link. I also teach the Bach Centre, UK-approved series of programs designed to make you a confident and capable Bach Flower Therapist. Please click this link to begin your journey to becoming a Bach Flower Therapist.
Bawa , So authentic and straight from the art. So beautifully summarised with a scientific mindset. The statement that made me smile is ‘ This not science – this is ignorance’
So authentic and straight from the heart. So beautifully summarised with a scientific mindset. The statement that made me smile is ‘ This not science – this is ignorance’.
I for one have benefitted greatly from CST, Bach Flowers, Ayurveda and also could help many people by learning these from you.
I agree to all that you have written. I am desperate to get back my health. I have already taken 6 osteopathy sessions and 4 CSTsession but no one can still bring a little change to my health. How to believe these treatments. I will still continue to take 4 more CSt sessions as the CST profeesional has asked me to continue with it for few more sessions.
If after 7-8 sessions you do not feel a solid change, then I would suggest you find some other therapist. Also ensure that your therapist has graduated from a recognised school – best is to see if they are PACT certified. This just means that they know what they are doing and are not one of those people who are fooling people saying that they are Craniosacral Therapists when all they have done is some weekend seminar. To learn CST takes over a year. Please ask these questions to ensure you have got the right person.
For osteopathy too, the experience and expertise of the practitioner matters a lot. If within 4-5 sessions you do not feel any change, then stop going to that person. They don’t know their technique and need to study and practice more.
All the Best!