The most beautiful planet of all...
Aren’t you happy you came?



Travis Stern was one of 2 children treated by Dr. John Upledger and Dr. Lisa Upledger at the Medical Massage Symposium in Kerhonkson, NY in November, 2005. Travis is a 3 year old child who was speech delayed saying only one or 2 words when his mother, Deidra Stern, took an Introduction to CranioSacral Therapy (CST) workshop with CranioSacral therapist, Elizabeth Pasquale, LMT, CST, at Well On The Way™, at the Ossining, NY location.

After the class, Deidra brought Travis to Elizabeth for an evaluation. Elizabeth found some severe restrictions in Travis’ cranial membranes. Elizabeth suggested Deidra take Travis to the medical massage conference and be treated by the Upledgers as part of the seminar. It is now 2-1/2 months later and Travis’ speech has very much improved, according to his mother. He is able to say his colors, count to six, and ask for what he wants.

“I’m really thrilled that I had the opportunity to take the Introduction to CranioSacral Therapy workshop with Elizabeth Pasquale and meet Dr. Upledger at the Medical Massage Symposium. I have seen tremendous improvement in Travis since I took the course and have been working on him about 5 nights a week. I read to him in my bed until he falls asleep. Then I sit in a chair beside the bed and do the cranial work I learned in the workshop. I hope to take more courses in CST”, says Travis’ mom, Deidra.

“I was a bit surprised that Deidra emphasized the course she had taken with me as being such an important part of Travis’ improvement. Deidra is empowered in her son’s intervention, rather than feeling frustrated, as so many parents feel,” says Elizabeth Pasquale. “It was very rewarding for me to hear her voice this. I didn’t know she had been working on Travis so diligently. Deidra is an office manager in a dental office and with this one workshop, she feels confident to make a difference in her son’s life. This is exactly what Dr. Upledger had in mind when he designed the workshop more than 20 years ago. Bravo!”

The course she is referring to is Introduction to CranioSacral Therapy, a 2 day workshop Elizabeth Pasquale is certified by the Upledger Institute to present. This workshop is designed for the manual therapy practitioner to get a feel for CranioSacral Therapy before committing to a longer program of study. It has proven to be great for the lay person to feel the cranial rhythm and to learn a few simple techniques to relieve stress and enhance cerebro spinal fluid flow and brain function.

“Participants of recent classes have been divided pretty evenly between concerned parents of children with special needs and the professionals”, says Elizabeth. “We tailor the class to the needs of the individuals who make the commitment to show up. We’ve gotten excellent reviews from everyone so far. We use super-learning techniques and present the material in many different ways so no matter what type of learner you are, you’ll be able to understand and put these techniques into practice right away.”

For more information and upcoming classes, check the website or call 914-762-4693.



Reflections on the World Trade Center massage therapy intervention
by Liz Pasquale, LMT
Copyright 2001 Elizabeth Pasquale

The planes hit the towers on Tuesday, September 11, at around 9 A.M. I called my friend Dr. Antonio Abad at 11 PM on Wednesday and happened to catch him at home. He told me he had gotten down to the towers by 11 AM Tuesday and had been working to create a triage center close to the site. I asked if he needed help, and he said, “Yes, come on down. I don’t know if you’ll be able to get in, but if you can, we could use you.”

He told me he had been asked to set up a triage center at the Stuyvesant High School on Chambers and West Side Highway, about 2 blocks from the site. I should meet him there.I was hesitant to head down there; scared might be a better word. It was a bright sunny day and I walked toward a black mushroom cloud. Emergency vehicles were passing. I thought if I was meant to get there, I’d have no trouble. I was somewhat wishing for guards to stop me. The scene was overwhelming.

At 23rd and West Street, they asked me where I was going. “At the request of Dr. Abad, I’m going to the Bellevue Hospital Health Clinic at the Stuyvesant School,” I said.

“Where’s that?” the police officer asked. “Ground zero,” I said.

He gave me a surprised look and then there was a back and forth between them about I.D., then, “Stand over there. A bus is going down in a few minutes.”

I stood for a moment and watched a file of men in hard hats go by me to a van. I followed. As they filled up the van, I said, “Are you going to Stuyvesant School?” “Yes, get in,” was the answer. There was no room, but one of the guys slid over on the bench seat about 2 inches and I made myself fit in the nonexistent seat.

It was a ride of only 3 or 4 blocks and we got out in an atmosphere of billowing dust, the smell of smoke, and people rushing about wearing protective clothing. It no longer seemed like New York at all, or any other recognizable place. It was a separate place, a war zone and I felt like I’d left my home state light years behind.

The side door led us into a large new high school building. The first thing we saw were tables of food, sandwiches, fruit, stacks of soda, water, coffee, snack bars, brownies. The wind carried the billowing dust in with us and everyone and everything carried the dust over them, like all were wearing the same color uniform–gray. Signs said, “Asbestos levels high. Please wear a mask.”

The only masks in evidence were surgical masks and those paper ones held in place by rubber bands. Most everybody was wearing one but only a few people actually had it in place over their mouths and noses. Generally, people preferred to have the mask casually hanging around their necks.

There were boxes of them available, all the paper ones. None with filters. I placed one over my nose and mouth, suspecting it was no good at all for asbestos. I found my friend, Dr. Abad, and he explained that my job would be to try to ferret out workers showing signs of extreme fatigue and stress. He gave me a print out from the hospital, describing signs and symptoms. I was to get them to lie down for a massage and then, if I thought they were really bad and needed looking at, get him or one of the nurses to check the person.

It was pretty chaotic. On the same floor was the food, a central chaotic area of communications, and then a long hall behind it where cots were set up with I.V. units, medical supplies, doctors and nurses. The police and firemen were setting up in the little student theater also on that floor and everything was covered with that dust and with each step the dust billowed and clouded around us.

The communications area had no phones because the electricity was out. People would just come into the center of the room and ask for what they were looking for. The person behind the desk would shrug. Somebody in the crowd would overhear what was needed and point the person in the right direction, to a police or army person or emergency vehicle parked out front that could help them.

The lights we had were from recent generators set up. The toilets had just gotten up and running again, the first time since Tuesday. That was a relief. There were maybe 200 people milling and rushing about in that cloud, eating, organizing, talking, medicating. And always a few search dogs. I couldn’t imagine getting anyone to lie down and get a massage. After a while, it was apparent help was needed in the food service area so I went over there and worked.

Dr. Abad came by and said, “I have someone for you to massage. Get set up and I’ll bring him to you.”

There was a dusty massage table there in the midst of everything, so I took it upstairs, found a quiet, clean room with school desks and historic pictures showing a barricaded village on the tip of Manhattan island, and set up. Dr. Abad brought me a middle-aged fireman. We’ll call him Patti O’Flannery.

This was the beginning. Patti was covered from head to foot with the asbestos dirt. He was wearing not just clothes, but fireproof gear. He took off his boots. A moment of doubt. How was I going to feel anything under fireproof clothes? I elected to start with lymphatic drainage and started at the clavicles. I could get my hand on skin there. After that, it was easy. The lymph rhythm actually came to me through all the gear. I was in it.

Patti was a chatty guy, but in a short amount of time the significance detector indicated we were in deep stuff. He said he had been home when he saw the TV report shortly after 9. He got over there right away because he knew his guys were there. That was his home turf. His guys were right there. He wondered if they were dead already.

He was so glad to see they were all there when he arrived. Just then Ray Downey walked over to them. “Ray Downey is god,” Patti said. “He’s got a chest full of medals. I’ve been in this business 15 years and I got 2 puny medals. He’s got a million of ’em. And he went to Oklahoma. Everywhere there’s a big fire, he goes.”

“So he walks over to us and says, ’Hey, why don’t ya’ stand back a bit. This is looking pretty sketchy. So, my guys start to walk back, we turn around and walk back and the other guys next to us, they walk to the right. All those guys, my buddies who walked to the right, they all got it. All gone. And we, my guys, we were running for our lives cuz just at that second, it comes down. And Ray Downey is gone. 30 seconds after he told us to get back, gone. He was god to us firemen.”

Jake had just gotten back from his work as a conservationist in Papua, New Guinea. He stepped off the plane the morning the tragedy occurred. He was in Maryland, so he went first to the Pentagon. He is what is known as a “cellar rat”-one of the few people trained to climb into the most difficult places. Unfortunately, there weren’t many to rescue at the Pentagon. They all died. He came directly here; hoping things would be different.

When I came out after those 2 sessions, the whole place had metamorphosed. The food distribution had been moved from the first floor to the second floor. The dust wasn’t so thick up there. They had taped off the medical area so people weren’t walking through it constantly and they could keep it cleaner. They were kicking me out of my quiet room cuss they said we would mess up the new wood floor.

I saw a couple chiropractors had set up on the landing between the first and second floors so I joined them. We were between the front door and the food, so everybody saw us when they passed. As we worked, there was a never-ending stream of people passing, carrying supplies, talking, kicking up the dust, just everything.

Yet, even in all this chaos, people would get up from the table after their session and say, “That was the most relaxing massage I’ve ever had.” (If they had had a massage before) or “I feel like I’ve just slept for a week.” It was downright eerie.

After that, for 3 days we treated overworked, traumatized firemen, policemen, rescue workers and debris diggers. Some of them were brought there by their bosses and slumped onto the table wearing whatever they had on, including bunker pants (the firemen’s fireproof protective clothing), harnesses laden with clips and ropes, gun belts, flashlights, and pockets filled with tools.

All were covered with that gray dust. I started working on Thursday and when most men reached my table, it was the first break they had allowed themselves since they began on Tuesday morning. I got into the habit of starting with the lymphatic drainage because it immediately relaxed them. Working over their clothes was no problem. I’d then switch from lymph to cranial to visceral as we went along.

Other massage therapists soon joined me. They were all Swedish Institute graduates, like myself. There were many doing chair massages. Eventually, we had about 6 or 7 chairs. Most were doing Swedish over clothes with no oil. Acupressure and some shiatsu were also being done, with some people working on mats on the floor. All of it would be considered deep tissue massage. After four days, it grew to be 12 to 15 massage therapists on the stair landing and 2 or 3 chiropractors who moved to the 3rd floor.

A kind of schedule evolved that went something like this: It became busy around 9 or 10 PM. However many therapists we had, they were all busy. The first night, there might have been 6. By the 5th day (my last) it was about 12. It stayed busy without a let up until dawn. Most of us worked right through without a break, as long as there were men waiting. The funny thing was, I never felt tired when I was working like that through the night. When others looked tired, we would badger them to go take a rest.

Then in the morning, we’d have nothing to do, so the “night shift” would leave. I’d go have breakfast, shower, sleep. The others would do the same or go home. Fresh faces would appear to man the dayshift, which generally wasn’t nearly so busy. I’d work on and off during the day when I wasn’t napping. In the evening, we’d be ready for the all night massage marathon again.Ordinarily, in my office, maybe 20% the time, an SER evolves, (somato emotional release: emotion stored in the body is released, often, but not always, accompanied by a traumatic memory and crying) most often with clients I’ve seen a few times before. On those 3 days, 80% to 90%, of those men I’d never met before, most whom had never had a massage before, had S.E.R.s.

It often happened in the first 5 to 10 minutes. The way it usually worked was like this: I’d give them some water when they arrived. A quick examination 100% the time pointed to restrictions of the thorax, compromised lungs. Not surprising since they had been inhaling smoke for long hours. An intense feeling I experienced as grief was omnipresent at the heart level. If I checked the cranial rhythm, it just seemed shocked. It was extremely faint or completely stopped. So I got into the habit of starting with lymphatic drainage.I’d start at the clavicles and proceed up the neck and do the face. Then, the sudden presence of tears rolling down the man’s face alerted me. Only one policeman cried in silence, not telling me his thoughts. All the others related some traumatic event, usually involving searching through the debris.

After relating the trauma, the person would continue to process quietly in what might resemble a deep sleep. I would continue following his body, doing visceral and cranial work. By the end of the session, the cranial rhythm would have revived somewhat and maybe even approach what one might consider normal. I might end by enducing a few still points or return to lymphatic work.I had just returned 2 weeks prior to the crash from the Upledger Institute course, entitled “BioAquatic Exploration”. We spent 4 days on the Upledger yacht, the Dolphin Star, and had 2 sessions swimming with dolphins. During that time, we spent our days doing body work in the warm shallow water at remote beaches. The movement of the ocean became integrated with the cranial fluids and lymph fluids we were palpating and facilitated healing.

As I worked on that crowded, noisy, dirty balcony, I drew on that experience. I imagined all of us at the beach, immersed in water, and used the imagined water to access the person’s internal ocean. I imagined the dolphins assisting us and, as I did, I gained entry into the person’s fluid dynamics and we moved toward healing.

I worked on Michael who was there with his dog, Max. They had driven up from Mississippi in record time. “I saw it on the news at 9A.M. And by 11 A.M. I was 300 miles away, headed here,” he said. “The police in my home state gave me an escort, changing as I crossed each county line. After I left Mississippi, each time a cop stopped me and I told him where I was going, he waved me on.”

He had trained Max himself. More than that, Max was an extension of himself. They ate, slept, worked and lived together. Michael told me they talked to each other. And they had had a good day yesterday. But today was Max’s best day. He found 17. “Most were parts. Confused the bejesus out of Max,” Michael said. “He’s not used to this.”

“Neither am I,” Michael continued. “That’s why I don’t do this any more. I usually train. Just come out for the big stuff. Like Oklahoma. But this is the biggest. Today, we found a kid’s hand. I can’t take this anymore. I lost a kid myself, so I just can’t take it.”

After I finished working on Michael, I worked on Max.Paul told me, “I walked into 5 World Trade. It’s all messed up. Structurally damaged. They’re going to have to take it down. When you walk in, everything inside has been pushed up against the far wall. Everything, Desks, furniture, steel. Accordion style. It’s weird. And there’s this strange noise. Then I figured it out. It’s beepers. All these beepers are going off from under there. I got out of there fast. Probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place. It could fall at any time. But they’re working their way in from the back. They’ll get to them.”

Dr. Abad and I met privately. He wanted to know how it was going. When I told him 80% the men I was seeing were having emotional releases, he was shocked. I told him it was the nature of the work. The lymphatic drainage moves the fluids and tends to dredge stuff up. Emotions come out of places they are buried. Especially when the events are so recent and so overpowering. The cranial and the visceral work have the same effect, I told him.

He said, “Keep doing what you are doing. The others are only massaging for 20 to 30 minutes, doing muscles. What you are doing is different, very helpful. Keep it up.”At 2:30 Friday morning there was no sign of it being the middle of the night. All the massage tables and chairs were full and everyone was moving about just as they were all day. Outside, it was raining and the floodlights were on. As I gazed out the window, I was continually struck by what wasn’t there. I never thought in my lifetime, there would not be the twin towers. I remembered 30 something years ago when they were built. People said they were so tall, they might just fall over.

James is a volunteer from Connecticut. His boss’s daughter was on flight 11. He was working in the rain. Lasers are trained on the buildings that are standing so that they can tell if they’re going over. When the buildings move, they trip evacuation alarms. The rain had made the buildings heavier and the alarms were going off. “Scariest thing I ever heard,” James said. “I heard that alarm and I ran as fast as I could. Everyone began to run in a panic. People got trampled. I saw a girl get trampled. They just knocked her down. I saw a fireman stop and help her out. I just had to take a break after that.”

Mario began to shudder during his session and then his body jerked and the tears streamed down his face. “It’s not right,” He said. “I pulled a young woman out of the rubble today. She was in terrible shape. She was dead. She had red fingernail polish.” He sighed deeply and then said, “and no head.”

Then he saw a fireman trying to operate a backhoe. He said, “I yelled at him, ’What are you doing on my brother’s truck?’ Because it was one of my brother’s trucks from his company. The fireman said they were leasing it. I told him if he wanted, I’d drive it for them because I’d driven that vehicle a hundred times before. So he let me and I started doing the clearing and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. I go where the firemen want me and I clear.

Then, at night, I drive it off the site, up to Chelsea, where I can breathe and I been sleeping in it. That way, I know they’ll let me in in the morning because I come back driving the backhoe. But one guard didn’t want to let me in. I don’t have a pass. I used to be in construction, but now I’m an actor. I live here, so when it happened, I just came down.

So when the guard didn’t let me in, I just drove to the next guard, and he let me in. But this morning I got a flat so I called the leasing company. They say they’ll fix it, but then they’re taking it away because that backhoe, they say, was stolen off their worksite. I tell them the firemen are using it at ground zero and they can’t take it. They ask me what union I’m in and I know they’re gonna give me the Teamsters stuff. So I say I’m with the Screen Actors Guild. I tell them they’ve got to let me drive and help the firemen, and eventually, they do.”

So it goes on like this one night after the next. Generally it seems to slow down during the daytime, pick up around 7 or 8 PM and then get really busy around 11 and stay busy till 4 in the morning. By the fourth morning, someone actually made a 3 A.M. appointment with me.

By the third morning, I had a real respirator with a charcoal filter that filtered asbestos. I worked with it on and I slept with it on. I took a cot into a back, quiet room and would sleep, usually during the day, when we were slow. Sometimes I’d sleep for 4 or 5 hours. Usually just 2.

Supplies were plentiful. On the second floor, one hallway was packed with donated clothes. I could go in there and pick up a brand new pair of Calvin Klein jeans or Gap or whatever my favorite was. New socks, underwear, T-shirt, even boots. Go up to the 5th floor and take a shower, on the 4th day, even a hot shower. There were boxes of shampoo, soap, towels, toothbrushes, deodorants, anything you could imagine. People’s generosity was impressive.

Get out of your dusty clothes, shower, sleep, clean clothes, good food and back to work. They had added tables and chairs to our hallway food service and they eventually got the 7th floor kitchen operating again. Food was being made right there instead of being trucked in from the city’s great restaurants. Now the restaurants were sending their chiefs down to our kitchen to cook. The food was really good. And continuous.

Hundreds of workers kept coming in everyday and the food never stopped. Awesome. Volunteers manned all of it; many were people who lived right there and just walked in when the trouble began. Many came from states all up and down the East Coast. “The Department of Health people were in here today,” Suzie said as I worked on her. “They say we all have to leave because we’re not health department employees. So I asked them, ’Who’s going to feed all these people?’ So they’re letting us stay.”

It must have been quite a picture. I’m wearing my respirator and working on people wearing flak jackets, bunker pants, harnesses, and gun belts. Most aren’t even taking their boots off and they’re covered in dust. One of them asks me if I’ve had a lot of marriage proposals this week. I reply that I’ve had more this week than ever in my life and, I say, my voice contorted by the respirator, “The funny thing is, they haven’t even seen my face!”He laughs and says, “We’re not marrying your face! We’re marrying your hands!”


Two New Clients

Last week, Well On The Way® received 2 new clients, one was 6 months old and the other was 93.

The 6 month old, we’ll call him Joseph, was particularly interesting in his clarity of communication. Joseph’s mother, Anne, was an osteopath and she had taken one Upledger CranioSacral class just before Joseph was born. Since then, she was taking time off to be home with Joseph. She wanted Joseph to be treated with CranioSacral Therapy (CST) because he was having digestive difficulties, constipation and crankiness.

Joseph is a robust bright eyed little guy. He lay for a moment on the treatment table looking at me curiously. His mom was telling me a little bit about him and his birth. My hands were immediately drawn to his head, holding him with one hand on either side of the head. Instantly, he began to scream. “This is about his birth,” I said. “He’s mad about being induced. He didn’t want to come out just yet.”

Joseph drew himself up into a little ball and wiggled up against me until he was upside down in my lap, held against my abdomen with his head touching my legs as I sat on my treatment stool beside the table. He was slightly right of center in a perfect fetal position. He was screaming.

Joseph was induced a week early because his position pressing on his mom’s sciatic nerve was causing her absolutely miserable back pain. I looked at him leaning on my right pelvis and asked, “Was the pain on the right side?”

“Yes,” she said, “At the end, it was.”

“Ok, ok, Joseph,” I said. “You can stay. You don’t have to go anywhere just yet.” Joseph stopped screaming and listened.

“The position you’re in, pressing on mom’s right sciatic nerve is extremely painful. If you can move over into the middle, you can stay.”

Joseph was very still and quiet for about 10 seconds. Then, with a quick little wiggle, his body moved and was centered along my pelvis and low abdomen.

“Good,” I said, “You can stay there as long as you like.”

He stayed right there contentedly for a while, then wiggled down so his head was further down and pushing against my legs. He began to scream again.

“You can push through if you want to or not,” I said to him. “We’re not going to force you. You decide.”

He wiggled back up and got real quiet and content again. He repeated this a few times as if testing us. He always wiggled back up into the “womb” rather than continue through to “birth”. I wasn’t going to hurry him.

Now I spoke to mom. She seemed pretty amazed at this enactment and confused about whether or not she had made the right decision.”Ann,” I said, “your concern about if the decision to induce was right or if you should have continued on in pain is adding anxiety to the situation. So what do you say we change the energy? We’re just going to take 5 minutes and change the energy, OK?”

“What can you say to yourself that is the exact opposite of what you’re feeling right now? Something like ’I’m the perfect mother? or ’I feel great?’ or something that feels right for you.”

Ann thought and said, “I’m the perfect mum. But it’s not the truth.”

“That’s OK,” I said. “It doesn’t have to be. It’ll work anyway. Just start saying it and I’ll join you and we’re going to say it for 5 minutes.”

So Ann began and I joined her and she developed a unique rhythm to it as we spoke so we were eventually singing it “I’m the perfect mum” over and over and Joseph was getting so relaxed and quiet as we sang. He was still upside down in my lap and in a deep sleep as we finished and we all three were just vibrating with this perfect mum energy. It was the end of the session and Ann packed Joseph up and he never did wake up. Her homework was to do minimum of 5 minutes every day “I’m the perfect mum.”

A spry elderly gentleman opened the front door. “Mr. Wilson?” I asked. “I’m here to give your wife a massage.””Oh,” he said, “She’s very bad today. You’d better take a look. She collapsed and she’s not feeling very well. She’s in here, in bed.”

In the bedroom was a hospital bed with a frail white haired woman under covers so you could barely see her. Her body was a bit twisted and her head at a sharp angle to her body. She did not look comfortable. We went out onto the porch to talk.

“She’s 93 years old and I’m 92,” Mr. Wilson told me. “I’ve been taking care of her for 9 years, ever since she fell and hit her head against the air conditioner. They say sometimes Alzheimer’s can be brought on by a fall. Sometimes she doesn’t even know me. She said to me, “Who are you?” I said, “I’m the crazy guy who married you 52 years ago. She looked me straight in the eye and said, Baloney!”

Mr. Wilson laughed vigorously and I joined him. “Then she told me I was too smart to be doing such work. I oughta get a better job. I told her it was a labor of love.”

I was in awe of this man who looked about 70, but was 92 and was his 93 year old wife’s sole care giver. My mind was having a hard time catching up with what was going on and I heard myself asking, “You probably have a lot of family living close by, right?”

“Did have,” he said. “They’re all gone now.”

“Where’d they go, did they move away?” I can’t believe I said that. I must have been in shock.

“Oh, yeah, they moved away,” and he began to laugh again, like it was a private joke. He was laughing so hard he could hardly talk. “They all moved away–up to the North White Plains Cemetery!” And he kept on laughing and it was so contagious and good natured, I was laughing, too.

“I want whatever you’re having,” I told him and we laughed some more.

I went into the bedroom and gave Mrs. Wilson the first massage she had ever had in her life. It was light touch lymphatic drainage therapy and in the first few minutes her whole demeanor changed and she visibly relaxed. Mr. Wilson was amazed.

“Looks like she likes it,” he said. “Florence, you like it?” he asked. And she nodded.


Jane And The Whales

Jane (name changed to protect confidentiality) is a young woman (early 30’s) who is in a coma with brain stem damage as a result of a car accident. Her mother has contacted me through the Upledger Institute and asked that I give her CST (CranioSacral Therapy) treatments in the hospital. The hospital is a 30-minute drive from the office but I don’t say no. My own daughter is almost the same age.

I am writing after the second visit. The first visit was about 2 weeks ago and 1-1/2 weeks after the accident. Jane had not opened her eyes as yet. She lay fairly motionless in bed. I worked with her for 2 hours.

I had just come 2 days before from a trip to the Dominican Republic. In the Dominican Republic, we took a boat 90 miles off shore to hundreds of miles of coral reef and we stayed there for 5 days. The coral reef is the playground of humpback whales. They come to the protected calm waters of the Silver Bank (the name of the coral reef) to have their babies and to mate.

Penelope Smith, an animal communicator and author of the book, Animal Talk, is leading our “Whale Adventure.” As we pile into the smaller outboard motor boats, and head off to meet with the whales, Penelope interprets for the whales. What I am hoping to learn on this trip is interspecies communication with the hope that it will help me communicate with my own species. What I learn on the trip is the power of intention.

For instance, I have come to this spot across the world at great effort and great expense. Yet I find when I get there that I respond with fear to the greatness of the whales. When everyone slides into the water to be with them, my thoughts are “What were you thinking? Are you crazy? This could be dangerous!” I hold back.

Back at the boat, I remember my intention in coming. It’s to have a close encounter with the whales, a communication. I say to myself, “I create my life. I create the exact nature of my whale encounter. I am always in the water first.” I envision myself in the water and a young whale approaches me and makes direct eye contact.

Then next day I am in the water first. A 40 foot mother whale and her 12 foot long, nearly one ton baby are about 20 feet below us. The baby approaches in the exact manner of my vision and stops in front of me. For a wonderful moment we make eye contact and rest in communication. I open my mind’s ear and receive the whales’ communication.

For years I have been studying the silent communication available with CranioSacral Therapy. Recently, I have been studying animal communication through Penelope Smith’s books and this whale adventure is taking me further into trusting the process. As I learn more, I find I am using these communication techniques to receive information from the silent intelligence of the body, the wisdom found in organs, cells, and tissues.

Jane’s dad and boyfriend were there with me as I worked. I found myself saying things with a confidence and a surety and I didn’t know how I knew them. I told them, “Jane wants me to tell you how very much she appreciates you being here. She hears everything you say, knows you are here and understands. She’s working very hard.” While I was talking, there was a very strong therapeutic pulse throughout her cranium.

I’ve just come from my second visit with Jane. She has improved quite a lot in 2 weeks. She’s opened her eyes from time to time and is responding to questions with hand movements.

The first 20 minutes I am doing diaphragm releases starting at the thorax and moving up. Then I am using a cranial vault hold, mainly with one hand on the occiput and the other on the frontal bone. It’s quiet for about 10 minutes and then the action begins. A successive cacophony of therapeutic pulses appearing, building in intensity, and disappearing first on one side of the occiput, then on the other, then frontal lobe, then simultaneously frontal and occiput, then the rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid becomes strong, then quiet, then the therapeutic pulses begin again.

I notice the pulses seem to come sometimes in direct relation to conversation around Jane. Mark tells Jane, “Nancy is coming to visit on Sunday.” A therapeutic pulse like congo drums erupts throughout her cranium. My impression is Jane is very excited and happy to hear this news and I tell the family about the pulse and my impression.

In the last half hour of the two hour session, Jane begins to lift her head and hold it up, looking directly at the people around and sitting up. When the time was up, I walked out with Jane’s mother and her boyfriend. I said, “If you would like me to return to treat Jane, I will be honored to be a part of her treatment team.”

The mother said, “I think she likes it. I’ve never seen her move her head like that before.” And her boyfriend agreed, “I’ve never before seen her hold her head up like that, so straight, and sit up like that.”


Helping A Parent Through Cancer

by Elizabeth Pasquale, December 22, 2008 —

As many of you know already, my Mom was diagnosed with cancer just before Thanksgiving. She had a malignant tumor under her right cheek bone, in the sinus, and it was pushing up into her right eye.

Up until now, cancer had been only in my practice. Even when it occurred in my own family, I heard about the surgeries and  treatments usually after they happened. Or an elderly relative would die and I’d hear “cancer”.

But this time it was my Mom and I made the rounds of oncologists.

The first three said that nothing could be done. It was in too difficult a place to remove surgically and so we should go home, call hospice and prepare to die. They each also gave us the name of an oncologist at Beth Israel Hospital, Dr. Mark Urken, and said to see him first. What they said was that he would probably say the same thing, but go see him, because he’s done some of these difficult sinus surgeries.

Dr. Urken told us he could remove the cancer through surgery. He could cut the middle of the mouth, including the palate, the nose and under the eye. If the eye was invaded, which was likely because Mom had begun to have double vision, then he would have to take the eye. He was very sorry about that and said he would do a biopsy during the surgery just to be sure.

Mom said she was afraid to lose half her face. So Dr. Urken told her again exactly what he would do and that Dr. Okay would build her a prosthesis for her mouth and he would rebuild the cheekbone.

Eventually she would get a false eye.

Dr. Okay came in and talked about what he could do and took a mold of her palate.

A nurse, practitioner Jackie Chiang, came in and talked with us and then took me aside to schedule the surgery. We couldn’t have it the following week because that was Thanksgiving. Dec 2 was the day.

Dr Urken told my mom that this was a major surgery. She was strong and had just had a major surgery, a shoulder replacement in June, and had come through great. This surgery was major and would be tough. But there was no effective alternative. Radiation would not work on this type of aggressive tumor.

My purpose in writing this is because of what I learned about traumatic stress, aka post traumatic stress disorder, which we hear so much about when it comes to our war veterans.

We don’t hear about it much when it comes to surgery. My mom had a 6 hour procedure in which her face was cut into, her cheek bone, upper palate and right teeth and eye removed, her scalp cut to get replacement tissue, a piece of titanium inserted for a new eye socket, the right side of her neck cut to take lymph nodes and a square of tissue taken from her thigh leaving a big red bruise.

Having met Dr. Mark Urken and his surgical partner of 20 plus years, Dr. Buckbinder, I know it was done with the utmost care and loving compassion.

Unfortunately for mom’s unconscious body, her cells felt that they were being attacked while she slept. Her body felt as if someone was trying to kill her.

I took the night shift and by that I mean I spent the nights at the hospital with mom. My dad and siblings would come and sit with her all day. (We are lucky to be a big family.) I would come at 7 or 8 PM and stay until 7 AM and sometimes until Dad arrived at 10 or 11 AM. Mom was 8 days in the hospital after the surgery. I could go home by day and see a client or 2 and catch up on paper work and phone calls.

I didn’t know I would be so happy to have my holistic health business. Because of that, I have access to a company that markets top quality nutritional products.  As soon as Mom came out of intensive care (she was there 3 days), they said she could eat only shakes, soups, and puddings. I immediately began an aggressive nutritional supplementation program. I made her nutritionally enhanced shakes twice daily with very potent vitamin supplements pulverized and added to the shakes.

She regained health quickly with no complications of infection. She got pneumonia right after surgery in the ICU, but it went away very quickly, in less than 2 weeks, when it can be a serious complication for elderly patients.

Here’s what I found out about trauma and surgical recovery:

My mom had a really hard time sleeping after the surgery. At first it was nightmares that woke her up after a few minutes of falling into deep sleep.

My practice of CranioSacral Therapy (CST) has taught me to communicate nonverbally on the cellular level, the unconscious level, with my clients. So I began to ask mom’s cells what they were feeling. They “told” me that they were afraid to let mom go to sleep because the “attack” came while she was asleep. So they created nightmares that would be sure to wake her, thereby “protecting” her from another attack which might come during sleep.

I used CST to talk with the cells. I explained to them why the surgery was not an attack, but a life saving method. It was a tough sell.

I explained that she needed sleep to heal. I then used the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) from Gary Craig ( to release energetic blockages caused by the trauma to get the cells to give up their fear, relax, and let her sleep.

I went through the EFT treatment, which consisted of tapping places on Mom’s body, meridian points, the same ones used in acupuncture. I did the EFT treatment numerous times over my 8 day stay, and when I did, I could always feel Mom’s breathing change and she would fall into a deep sleep. After 2 or 3 days, the nightmares ceased almost completely.

Because of the significance of the surgery, the added fears in the recovery intensive care unit, and minor panics and assaults that come from being in a hospital, no matter how ideal the situation is, one session was not going to be enough.

The CST and EFT had to be repeated daily to address changing concerns and new ones. Mom healed rapidly and well.

Another difficulty was the swelling. Mom put on about 15 pounds of fluid. Her face was initially swollen almost beyond recognition and her body as well. It was hard for her to move or coordinate her fingers or toes. Of course, she couldn’t swallow at first and it was days before the trach was removed from her throat.

All this was very scary. I used Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) daily to release the swelling, especially around the face. The day after surgery, I worked manually with a light touch, keeping a distance from the fresh incision sites and I worked energetically, on the incision sites, at a distance from them. I was soon able to work very lightly directly on the incisions and on the rebuilt cheek.

With LDT, the way I learned it from Dr. Bruno Chikly, I can feel the flow of lymph under my fingers. When I first felt Mom’s, it was totally shocked and stagnant. In the area on the right neck where they had removed the nodes, the direction of flow after a day or so was detoured around that area, crossing behind the cervical vertebrae to the other side and down the left.

A few days later, the lymph was able to go down the right in a fairly normal fashion, sans nodes. What an amazing recovery system the body has! So ingenuous!

I felt the lymph of the check, hard like plastic at first and days later moving and become more flesh like. The lymph around each of the sutures took only days to figure out detours around the stitched areas. In less than 2 weeks the facial scars along the nose completely disappeared.

We were warned to watch for infection, redness around the sutures. I never even saw a hint of pinkness or felt any warmth at all.

I often work on people months or even years after surgeries. I feel the lymph is still congested around those areas even years later. Through LDT, I help the lymph return to either a normal or alternative pathway, allowing the person to feel a comfort not felt since the surgery. I wonder how much longer it would have taken Mom to heal if I didn’t have these skills.

Another thing to mention: when I say I did CST & EFT repeatedly during Mom’s stay at the hospital and later at home, I didn’t do it in my traditional way as I would in my clinic. Because Mom was often not very accessible in the hospital bed, I was forced to work energetically and mind-to-mind, with much less hands-on than I normally do in my clinic. Instead of putting my hands on my Mom to address an area, and tapping on a meridian with my fingers in EFT or manipulating a bone in CST, I would merely imagine it instead. I found years before in my practice that vividly imagining it and doing it produce the same result. Also, because I was often half-asleep when I worked on her (which is in no way a deterrent, but an advantage), I was able to do things my conscious mind would have interfered with had it been awake.

Eight days after surgery, we came home. Mom would sleep upright on the sofa, her legs up on a hassock. She came home with pneumonia and had a deep hacking cough, so it made sense for her to sleep sitting up.

Almost every morning at 4 AM, Mom would wake up and we would discuss her decision to live. She wondered if it was the right choice. Her quality of life would be diminished. She wouldn’t be able to eat, drink or look normal. I would explain both to her conscious and unconscious, which at 4 AM is very accessible, that she was already eating soup, shakes, and taking tea. She would soon be able to eat and her swelling went down daily by 2 or 3 pounds of fluid.

I told her if she decided to die, I would honor her decision. But she must not think that it would be easy to die. Dying would also be very hard work. Either way, living or dying, both would be the biggest challenges of her life.

Every night we wrestled with the fear of going to sleep. There were no more nightmares, but still Mom was afraid to sleep. With the EFT, CST & LDT, after a few days at home she was awake all day, on the computer, participating in life and that night, she slept 11 hours. I felt success. We had turned the corner. Soon she would be back up in her bed and I could live in my own home again.

We had a great visit with Dr. Urken, Dr. Okay and the whole team the next day in NYC. We came home optimistic and upbeat. That night, around midnight, I suggested Mom go to bed. She said, “No, I’ll watch TV first.” I felt my heart sink as she sat in front of the TV with Dad, watching a murder movie.

To the rest of the family, it looked comforting to see them in their old habits. I was unsure. When Mom went to “bed” in the chair, she was visibly upset.

I went to sleep in my post on the couch an arms-reach away.She awoke repeatedly, every hour or so, saying she couldn’t sleep. I was more in sleep mode than therapy mode, so I watched and didn’t jump in, wondering what had happened to set us back.

At four AM we talked. I was thinking, “What was different tonight from last night when she slept so well?” She said, “I’m afraid of going to sleep.”

I realized the doctor visit had stirred fears up again. I had seen her very nervous when we were there and had done LDT on her as we waited for the doctors to arrive to talk with us. But the visit was enough to set off unconscious and conscious alarms.

Also, I told her, she had watched TV, a murder movie, just before bed and that had set off alarms as well. She said she was afraid of dying in her sleep. I did EFT on the fear of dying in her sleep.

She was telling herself over and over, “I can’t sleep, I can’t sleep.” I pointed out that her body was obliging her and waking her up as she was requesting.

I told her to tell her body instead, “I could sleep much better. I love a good nights sleep. I want to awake alive, alert, joyous and enthusiastic about this new day.”

I hardly finished my sentence when she fell into a deep sleep and slept soundly from then to 9 AM.

So I can see there is more work to do. Tonight I will have to go over this with her. I’ll tell her she has choices here. To have a good nights sleep, she can

1. Go to bed early, by 10 or 11.

2. Don’t watch TV before bed. Instead, read something funny or light hearted or inspirational. Or watch a funny movie.

3. Tell your body that you love to sleep, enjoy a good nights sleep, feel safe and happy.

4. Tell your body you want to awake alive, alert, joyous and enthusiastic about this new day!

5. As soon as you awake say, “I am alive, alert, joyous and enthusiastic about this new day. I fairly sizzle with joy and enthusiasm. Always in the right place at the right time, I admire the way the Universe conspires on my behalf with synchronistic magical opportunities that I act on now!”

Step out of bed and as one foot hits the floor, say “Thank.” As the other foot hits, say “you.” Trot to the bathroom saying “thank you, thank you, thank you…”

It’s now a week later. After a good EFT session, Mom began sleeping in her bed and hasn’t had any trouble sleeping for a few nights now.

The prosthesis in her mouth is the challenge now. She wants to learn how to do it herself so she can be independent, yet she is unsure of her ability to do this and panics. We’ve been doing the EFT on this fear so I’ll let you know how it goes.

The other day, she vented her anger, fear, and frustration. She said, “They shouldn’t be allowed to do this to people! I am a cripple! They made it out to be so easy! They said I would have a glass eye! Where is my eye? When will I get it?”

Then after we did EFT, she was calmer and said, “I shouldn’t complain. I know I will get through this. I can do it. I don’t have any pain. I’m getting better every day. It’s just hard right now.”

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