All posts in Cranio Sacral

Getting to Know Lorna Withers

“Life is too short, live every moment”

Lorna Withers is an Acupuncturist and CranioSacral Therapist at the Therapy Life Centre. She has been practising at the centre since we opened our doors six years ago. And she has devoted her work to the bettering of the Centre. As a Therapy Life Centre original therapist, she has been excited to watch the centre grow and evolve into what it is now. “There are now a broad range of therapies, a lot more than in the beginning, it was quieter back then.”

In her therapy, Lorna is able to use her multiple expertise to switch between Acupuncture and Cranial, this fluidity allows her to work effectively and with positive results in the majority of cases. A vital part of Acupuncture and CranioSacral Therapy is communication, talking to her patients to work out exactly what they need.

Her favourite things about the centre are the sense of community, wide variety of people and being able to discuss and share ideas with other therapists. She describes the community of therapists as ‘like a little family’. During her tenure here, Lorna has observed the centre go from just a therapy clinic to a family-oriented centre, both in management and in clientele, as the centre has grown into an increasingly beneficial place for both children and adults.

Lorna’s upbringing is just as varied as her work, having been born in Liverpool, she spent much of her childhood in Glasgow and Cornwall. Meanwhile her father worked in far-flung corners of the world, in Greece and Japan. The latter country would become crucial to Lorna’s inspiration to become a therapist.

Visiting the sunrise kingdom as a child exposed Lorna to the beautiful and bizarre that Japan had to offer, this early fascination with Japanese culture led her to pursue her own Japan experience in her early 20’s. She worked as a freelance journalist and English teacher, while soaking up all that the country had to offer. Her inspiration to pursue a career in the holistic world came as a blessing in disguise, as she became unwell while in Japan and sought out Acupuncture. This was the seed which would later become the tree.

Lorna’s exposure to Acupuncture stirred up doubt in her work/life balance, and she decided that this was her new calling in life. After studying privately for 6 months, she returned to England, where the next part of her story was set to begin.

Much like her exposure to Acupuncture, Lorna’s first experience with CranioSacral therapy came as a blessing in disguise, after slipping a disc in her back, which prevented her from working. This resulted in a meeting with a Cranial Osteopath. As a result of this newly-found enlightenment, Lorna has devoted her adult life to these methods of healing, introducing her children to CST at an early age.

Fast forward to today, Lorna is still just as enthusiastic and passionate as she was when discovering the Holistic world in Japan. She is a mother to teenage children, aged 16 and 18. Motherhood has taught her to be ‘more understanding of life’s inconsistencies and unpredictability’. Her daily life involves regular treatment (Massage, CST, Acupuncutre), Yoga, meditation, and comedy, which she believes is important. She also exhibits mindfulness in

her everyday life; she achieves this through simple but achievable practises including following a healthy diet, drinking water and getting plenty of rest and sleeping well.

Another passion Lorna enjoys is her allotment, a small patch of land used for cultivating crops. She has successfully grown courgettes, onions, beetroot, potatoes, beans, carrots and tomatoes. Tending the allotment provides her with a direct connection to the earth and nature and is therefore yet another therapeutic pastime Lorna enjoys.

After six years at Therapy Life Centre Lorna continues to enjoy her work here and describes working with her colleagues and patients as a privilege.

Lorna learns about life through her patients, and her patients are able to live a more comfortable life through Lorna.


Vertigo treatment

Are you suffering from Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo? We are now offering treatment!

Therapists: Steve Coster

Signs that you may be suffering from Vertigo.
Man with his hands over his face.

Do you feel dizzy and nauseous when you;

  • Turn over in bed
  • Make quick movements to the left or right
  • Make quick movements up or down

If you have any of these symptoms you could have Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. This type of vertigo can be frightening, but it is harmless. 

What can be done?

Steve performs the Epley Manoevre.  This takes about 30mins; it is a non-invasive technique and is successful in the majority of cases.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most frequently occurring balance disorder.  It can occur at any age, but is more common in the middle aged and older people.  The condition is not serious or dangerous but it can be distressing.

BPPV can occur spontaneously or following trauma, virus or reduced blood supply.

It usually develops when calcium particles, which normally are distributed evenly in the three semicircular canals, form a sludge and clump together in one of the semicircular canals.  (The semicircular canals are part of the inner ear that helps with balance).  Normally, when the head moves, the calcium particles stimulate nerve receptors (hair cells) inside the canals.  These cells send the brain a signal indicating the direction of the head movement.  When the particles form a free-floating clump in one area, the signal is exaggerated: it suggests to the brain that the head has moved more than it has.

This results in a sensation of movement which may be mild or severe but will subside within 1½ minutes, but is usually a much shorter time.

Does your Vertigo not match the listed criteria?

If your Vertigo does not match the above criteria, do not despair as we are still able to help. Vertigo can be caused by a variety of things, for example neck problems, TMJ problems, side effects of medication and allergies are just a few possible reasons.

A number of our therapies are able to help;

  • Acupuncture
  • CranioSacral therapy
  • Osteopathy
  • Physiotherapy

The best way to move you forward is to phone the centre and speak to one of our therapists so that they can help guide you to the best treatment.

For more information or to discuss your symptoms, please call us on 01702 433959.


When cranio sacral therapy and havening combine

I was fairly active at the Therapy Life Centre during the recent ‘Dip Your Toe’ week. I attended a few events and actually went along for therapy on two occasions independent of the Dip Your Toe activities.

tree-940-copy.jpgOne of the great things about the TLC is the complimentary overlap of the various therapies. Each therapist knows what the others do and will refer you on if required. I saw the benefit of this without strictly being referred on as such.

I had my first ever experience of cranio sacral therapy vicariously, then my second personally. This was followed with a very complimentary Dip Your Toe havening session. I’ll explain.


Introduction to Upledger CranioSacral Therapy course.

This course will be taking place on September 29th 2016, 9am-5pm for £96!

The dream is becoming a reality. Standing in the oak room at the therapy life centre watching 10 amazing therapists start their journey into the world of Craniosacral therapy was that reality. This is a therapy I have felt so passionately about for nearly 10 years , I have watched countless patients benefit from this therapy, have massively benefited myself . Dr John Upledger always wanted this work to be shared as much as possible, the only pre requisite there is to train in this therapy, is that you have trained in some hands on therapy.

Caroline Barrow explains the Pressurestat model

Caroline Barrow explains the Pressurestat model

Caroline Barrow from the Upledger Institute UK taught the class, starting with the history of Craniosacral therapy from A.T. Still and W.G. Sutherland through to how Dr John Upledger came to develope it into the therapy we use today.

The day continued with looking at fascial diaphragms, their impact on the body and how to release them through listening and following with only 5grms of pressure ( the equivalent of a 20p piece ) This is where the realization that the gentlest touch can be so incredibly powerful and how well the body self regulates when listened to and supported.

The afternoon saw the introduction of the pressurestat model, looking at the possible reason for the CranioSacral Rhythm , how to feel it at various listening stations and evaluate it. The day ended with learning how to induce a still point. Everyone was able to experience how the techniques feel to give and receive which is always invaluable.


Alternatives to painkillers

I was reading the paper the other day while enjoying a coffee when I started to read an article called ‘Safe painkillers that are turning women into drug addicts’.  it was an article specifically about Co-codamol and the effect it is having, especially on women. Now anyone that knows me knows I feel very passionately about the over prescribing of drugs that is happening in the western world. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying never and I agree that some of the drugs are a huge benefit to people. My concern is that they are being used as the first and often only approach to pain. The article went on to talk about the huge impact the drug can have and how it can actually become the problem rather than solve it. Leaving these poor women with the horrendous situation of having to get themselves off the drug not an easy option.

Thinking about this more I started to question, how we got to this place where reaching for tablets is the first approach. According to this article the number of prescriptions of Co-codamol have almost doubled in the last 10 years from over 8 million to 15 million.This is not reflective of an increase in pain but the lack of supervision of prescriptions. I think the reasons for this situation are complicated but do reflect our quick fix society and the pressure people are under to just keep going. It seems that one of the reasons for the over prescribing of this drug is headaches

Sometimes we have no option but to take painkillers, especially in the acute phase of a disorder. However complementary therapies need not be dismissed as they often work very well in conjunction with more mainstream routes. For instance, Acupuncture can be effective in not only stopping pain, but also in relieving digestion problems and constipation, both common side effects of the powerful painkiller Co-codamol.

What other help is there . First of all take time out to understand more about the pain and where it is coming from. Keeping a pain diary to start to understand more about when the pain is worse and the types of activities and situations that aggravate the symptoms will give you a much better idea of lifestyle changes you can make to positively impact on your pain. Sometimes you will need to think a bit outside of the box. Think back to when the pain first started and then look at what was happening in your life in the 6 months leading up to that. Change in any routine could be significant, a new job/desk position, decorating ( tipping your head back to paint a ceiling puts your neck under a lot of pressure) . A visit to the dentist or hairdresser can be a cause of a headache due to the position of the head and neck. Particularly the dentist as a tight jaw can lead to severe headaches. The jaw is also impacted by stress, as one of the reactions to stress is teeth grinding or clenching , which can over a period of time lead to head or neck pain.

As a physiotherapist I immediately look to the overuse of technology as a factor in this pain . The time we spend bent forward over a mobile phone, ipad or laptop has an impact on the neck and shoulder muscles, tension within the muscles are a major cause of headaches. Hooking the phone under 1 shoulder while you talk and work will create a lot of tension and pressure into the small neck joints once again triggering head pain let alone the hours spent infront of the computers.

A lot can be done before resorting to the painkillers. As a headache sufferer myself I never take a tablet . The first thing I do is try and think of the aggravating factor to ensure that it won’t happen again . In my case my headaches are always triggered from sitting twisted or turning my head . For example sitting in the front of the car and turning to talk to someone in the back ,even sitting for long periods on a sofa, turning to talk to the person next to me, will set off my headaches. So I am always mindful of where and how I sit. Prevention is better than a cure.

However once the pain is there, for me 2 main things will clear it . Applying heat, so heat rub or a wheat bag will help to relax any muscle tension and reduce the pain or massage the neck and shoulders which luckily for me my husband, daughter and son have got very good at doing.Reacting quickly to the symptoms is important to not let it get established. How you think about the pain is vital as well, feeling despondent and convinced the problem will never go away is a recipe for more pain as research has shown our mental attitude to the pain is a significant factor. Understanding what is going on and being proactive in responding to the pain is the best mental approach to have.

The situations can be helped by awareness of what is happening . Sometimes it is necessary to see someone to help you understand the pain mechanisms and what you can do to help yourself ,some local treatment of massage, physiotherapy, craniosacral therapy or acupuncture can go a long way to helping you take control back and reduce the intensity and/or frequency of the pain.

If there is already an addiction  this can be a bit more challenging. However support is out there. talking it through with someone , coming up with a plan of action will help. Auricular acupuncture, hypnotherapy, TFT are good supports as well as treatment to look more at the reasons behind the pain.There is no one solution for every situation but there are certainly lots of options.




My sons hayfever was more than just a allergy.

My poor son has in the last few years started to really suffer with Hay Fever. Last year after trying some of the over the counter medication and nothing really working we followed the route of him taking Bee Pollen ( from Forever Living) and eating local honey. The change in his symptoms was immediate and he was able to continue enjoying the summer. This year,however, as I am sure any hayfever sufferer will tell you, has been a particularly bad year. The symptoms started and I was confident that the same benefits would be gained by going straight onto the bee pollen and honey . Unfortunately this year the results were not as good and the symptoms seemed worse than ever. We tried everything and I felt really frustrated watching my son really suffering.

Then it dawned on me, since his last bout of Hay Fever the one thing that had changed was he was now wearing orthodontics. I know the wearing of orthodontics has an impact onto the CranoSacral system , for example it can affect  the upper jaw , the cheek bones the nasal bones to name just a few, which in turn can affect the drainage and flow of the sinuses. CranioSacral therapy, in the past, has significantly helped people with sinus problems . So logically to me the reason he was finding this year so difficult was the fact that on top of the pollen irritation and increase in mucus formation, the impeded drainage was stopping his body being able to clear it all and so making his symptoms 10 times worse.

So I treated him with Upledger CranioSacral Therapy, releasing his upper jaw, cheekbones, nasal bones and forehead so improving his sinus drainage and relieving local tissue tension  The immediate response was an increased ability to breathe through both nostrils and a feeling of reduces pressure in his face. Within 2 hours his symptoms had dramatically reduced to the point he did not need to take any further medication. He is still symptom free and says how much better his whole face and mouth feel.

This is not a cure for hayfever but another example of how natural therapeutic treatment can be of benefit when combinations as described have occurred.



Plagiocephaly or misshapen heads

I have just returned from another fabulous Craniosacral course this time for paediatrics. The amount I have learnt is breathtaking and it was wonderful to be in a room full of therapists who feel as passionately about the work as I do. One of the areas we talked about was Plagiocephaly, which is a the medical word for misshapen heads,and our discussion was specifically for babies. This can be caused by all sorts of things including the position of the baby at the end of the pregnancy (particularly if the space was cramped!!) , by the birth process itself or even consistently lying baby on their back to sleep.