health, vitality and wellbeing

cranio-sacral therapy

Tanja Råman RCST

My research and thoughts...

By tanja, Aug 31 2016 06:55PM

Since I was 13 years old I have suffered from eczema. It started from my hands and it gradually expanded, covering most of my body by the time I was 18. The worst period was when I was studying for my A-levels. I remember how my clothes used to get stuck onto my skin as I had scratched it into open wounds and how I used to cry in pain and desperation at times. I used large quantities of cortisone-based lotions on my skin which used to give short-term relief until the creams didn’t seem to work anymore.

I first became aware of the relationship between the body-mind connection and my skin when I moved out from my family home in Finland and started my professional dance studies in the UK at the age of 21. During my holidays I visited home in Finland and each time the eczema seemed to explode whereas when returning back to my studies in the UK the eczema disappeared. Eventually I realised that this was to do with an increased stress level that I experienced during my visits to home. I also noticed how the lack of sleep, hormonal changes and even small quantities of alcohol seemed to have an adverse effect on my skin condition.

For years, I searched for the answer to heal my skin. I realised that it was not the skin itself where the problem lied as it could heal or get worse very quickly without any apparent reason. Doctors have never been able to shed light on the situation. I realised that the real reasons for my skin problems were much deeper inside me.

It wasn’t until I started studying cranio-sacral therapy at the age of 34 that I became aware of how over-stimulated my sympathetic nervous system was. The sympathetic nervous system is our fight or flight response to any given stressful event in our lives, whether it be physical, mental or emotional stress. My body had learnt to be constantly alert which was obviously very taxing to my health in the long term. My skin was the weakest link and first to gain symptoms. I didn’t have a violent or abusive family upbringing - I would say I had a good family. I can’t recall any particular traumatic incident in my childhood that could have contributed to the over-stimulation of my nervous system. However, there was - and still is - a fairly stressful atmosphere at my family home with constant busyness that I probably learnt as a child as a way of being. My parents get easily nervous and anxious, they hate being the centre of attention or any kind of confrontation with other people and they worry an awful lot about small, unnecessary things.

I had to re-learn a new way of being, particularly when around my parents. This wasn’t easy in the beginning, but cranio-sacral therapy treatments and meditation helped me, first of all, to become more aware of the busy nature of my nervous system. I also learnt useful tools that I use to ground myself and to calm myself down. I have cranio-sacral treatments once a month, which considerably slows me down. Afterwards it is easier to face challenges in life without feeling stressed out. Calming the nervous system directly helped my skin to heal, leaving only small patches of eczema on my hands.

The skin didn’t heal completely until I started taking Synergy’s food supplements: ProArgi-9, Mistify and PhytoLife. These are specifically developed to improve the health of our blood circulatory system, clearing the blood vessels (particularly the blood flow in the extremities) and improving their flexibility. The combination of improved blood flow and calming my nervous system did the trick and my skin is finally well.

I will always be prone to react to stress with eczema and it appears on my skin quickly if I don’t actively and regularly de-stress. Don't ever underestimate the power of the body-mind connection and its influence on your health.

By tanja, Feb 21 2015 07:03PM

I came across this video clip of a TED talk called: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime by paediatrician Nadine Burke Harris. She explains scientifically how adverse experiences in childhood, such as the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues, increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and other health issues later in adult life.

When under threat, our body switches into a fight-flight-fright mode to protect us. This means that our sympathetic nervous system takes over, causing faster heart and breathing rate, dilated pupils and release of adrenaline into the blood stream - amongst other physiological changes. This mechanism is good for short bursts of time to deal with sudden incidents. However, prolonged stress causes constant overuse of the sympathetic nervous system and depletes the body’s natural resources, resulting in poor health.

It is great to hear that a well-respected medical professional is taking into account the whole person and acknowledging the importance of a balanced body-mind connection for our wellbeing. This is something that alternative medicine and therapy practitioners have been aware of for long time, but mainstream medical practice has been slower to accept. I also believe that science and alternative therapies don't have to be mutually exclusive.