You Have the Power to Heal
Recently a client was referred to me by a colleague for treatment. The client asked "what are you doing?" and it occurred to me the client didn't read up on my license and training to see how I practice. So I thought I would share here to elucidate on what it is I practice.
I practice in Integrative Medicine founded in the Priniciples of Naturopathy. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as "a system of alternative medicine based on the theory that diseases can be successfully treated or prevented without the use of drugs, by techniques such as control of diet, exercise, and massage."
Specifically, I use a range of modalities to listen and manually treat the client from Structural Integration, Craniosacral, Visceral, Neural and Neural Vascular Release.
History of Naturopathy
"Susan Cayleff summarized American nature cure’s idea of human sickness this way:
Henry Lindlahr, MD, a leader in naturopathic philosophy, explained the five specific conditions that caused disease; lowered vitality; abnormal composition of blood and lymph, resulting mainly from wrong eating and drinking; accumulation of waste, producing morbid matter and poison in one’s system; mechanical lesions, that is pressure, tension or strain on nerves and nerve centers caused by luxations (dislocations) of bony structures or straining of muscles and ligaments: and discordant or destructive mental and emotional attitude. These conditions more or less remained the core of naturopathy for decades.
Treatment by means of nature cure theory relied upon the body’s own drive to maintain health—to achieve what Walter Cannon later called “homeostasis”—by recognition of what was labelled the “vital force” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6396756/).
Without the Use of Drugs
What I don't do is treat with Pharmacology, which is considered a drug in Naturopathy. I may guide a client in supplementation and/or herbology to support the adaptation of their system, but supplementation is not a primary consideration of treatment.
History of Osteopathy and Dr. Andrew Taylor Still MD
"In 1874, while a physician on the Missouri frontier, Andrew Taylor Still discovered that he had the ability to put his hands on people and change their physiology.
Many influences converged to shape Dr. Still’s evolution: He apprenticed as a physician at his fathers side, and was a Hospital Steward and Scout Surgeon during the Civil War. He lived in relationship with the Shawnee, who actualized a deep reverence for the wisdom of nature. Other influences included Methodism, Magnetic Healing, Bone Setting, Evolution Theory, and Spiritualism.
Dr. Still’s interest was to enhance nature’s own ability to heal. He realized that the human body was potentially perfect in its form and function. He studied anatomy with extreme intensity intending to learn the secrets held by nature’s design. He realized the relationship between structure and function. He saw the human body as a highly complex machine which, like any other machine, required proper alignment and lubrication for optimal functioning (https://osteodoc.com/history/)."
Dr. Still "was not in favor of using drugs, as most pharmacologic agents of the day were toxic and ineffective."
Germ Theory vs Terrain Theory
It may not come as surprise to you that I do not subscribe to germ theory after reading about the history of Naturopathy and Osteopathy.
"Louis Pasteur was considered the father of the germ theory. But another theory says that microbes can’t cause infection unless conditions within the body encourage their growth and reproduction. If the body is a poor host, invading microbes can’t take up residence and cause illness. This explains why in every epidemic, some recover, some die, some only have minor symptoms and some never become ill at all. The French scientist Antoine Bechamp advocated for the terrain theory.
It makes sense in these times to do everything one can do to improve immunity which will increase resistance to all pathogens. Building a strong immune system with the right diet, lifestyle, and supplements offers a strong first line of defense against agents of infection. Rest, moderate exercise, and positive attitude also support the immune system.
It should be noted that Pasteur’s last words were “The microbe is nothing, the terrain is everything.” Yet, the germ theory is strongly advocated by Western medicine today. Look no further than the power of the pharmaceutical industry. If you believe the terrain theory makes sense, then do all you can to fortify and maintain your immune system and your gut health. Make it impossible for viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens to cause ill health. In our body, we have trillions of viruses and bacteria that cause no harm due to a well-functioning immune system and balanced microbiome. We have more microbes in our body than cells! It has been said we are walking Petri dishes. To prevent illness, do not focus on killing germs but cultivate good health through diet, hygiene, exercise, rest, and supplements that support the immune system and gut health. (https://georgetownmarket.com/germ-theory-vs-terrain-theory/)."
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy
Craniosacral therapy has its origins from Dr. Sutherland, DO who founded osteo-craniosacral work. Many osteopaths have influenced the work. I am personally influenced from many teachers in this field whom I have trained with.
https://www.craniosacraltherapy.org defines it as "a healing art that works with the energies that create and maintain health in the human system. While not a manipulative therapy, it has its roots in osteopathy and has evolved to include influences from human development, pre and perinatal psychology, trauma resolution, and recent advances in neuroscience. BCST supports nervous system regulation and allows the resolution of conditions resulting from stress and trauma. Practitioners use an educated, gentle, non-invasive touch to engage with the expressions of health in the system."
Personal Interest in Holistic Healing Arts
I worked in academic medicine in the early 1990's in trauma medicine for some of the leading orthopeadic surgeons in Seattle. Then I went onto study second order cybernetics, which focused on biological systems influenced by Dr. Humberto Maturana and Dr. Gregorgy Bateson with Dr. Rodney Donaldson at Antioch University-Seattle. With Antioch I went to Bali, Indonesia to study the integration of spirituality and the arts because of Dr. Bateson's work with Margaret Mead in Bali. I was fortunate to have the experience to work with traditional healers and study a hands-on modality of listening and touch that embodied integration of spirit, mind and body. This launched me to choose a path as a manual practitioner.
After the birth of my daughter in 1999 in Taos, I refocused on my practice where I created the massage therapy program for University of New Mexico-Taos in 2007. Then I co-created the yoga teacher training program (2010) and later the structural integration program (2019). Meanwhile I continued my education and completed my doctorate in integrative medicine in 2014.
I have a particular interested in working with trauma from birth to death. I have studied and integrated these approaches to my work over the years. I believe each client is my teacher and through a deep commitment to listening to the Soma we are able to support the natural mechanisms for the client to heal. What I won't do is fix you. Each client is a co-creator in their own healing process and must actively participate in their healing process. Healing is not dualistic or Cartesian based. It is a wholistic science based in biology with the multiplicity and biodiversity of pathways to heal.
You have the power to heal.