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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 USANA business. USANA is 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 USANA shakes twice daily with USANA’s very potent vitamin supplements pulverized and added to the shakes.

I am certain that is why she regained health so 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.”


Whatever resolution do, Don’t Diet

By now we all know that 65% Americans are overweight or obese. In all history, it has never happened before that so many people were so big.

At the same time, we have more diets than ever.

It’s obvious the diets are not working. Low carb, no carb, low fat, no fat, and on and on, one diet after another bites the dust. When people go on diets, one thing is for sure. They will eventually go off their diet. The old habits come back and the weight comes back.

Do you know about that? Intimately?Why is that? Because diets don’t work.What does work is healthy eating. I’m talking science.

Research shows that a low glycemic diet is the healthiest of all. If you haven’t heard this, its because its news. They’ve proven it but word hasn’t really gotten around just yet. Exactly what a low glycemic diet is is even harder to grasp for most of us and what we think it is, is often wrong.

Unfortunately, holiday foods are almost entirely high glycemic. So is about 90% America’s typical diet. That’s why we have this epidemic of overweight, heart disease and diabetes.

Here’s some good news. It’s been shown that if you could just have a low glycemic BREAKFAST, you will eat 800 less calories during the rest of the day. So you can even start now. Just have yourself a low glycemic breakfast and start some good eating habits even before the new year.

Well, what’s that mean?

No cereals, grains, bagels, pancakes, muffins, cheerios, corn flakes, oatmeal, croissants, Danish, doughnuts, sugar, potatoes (home fries), rice (rice cakes), pasta.

That’s right. No left over spaghetti for breakfast.

So what’s on the menu? How about an avocado?

Nature’s perfect food. It has both a glycemic load and a glycemic index of a perfect 0.

Glycemic index has to do with how much sugar is in a food. Glycemic load has to do with the sugar in the food being balanced with nutrients and fiber. Low load foods release sugars slowly. High load foods release sugars fast. Fast release sugars cause your arteries to spasm and become inflamed, resulting in cholesterol build up along those arteries which is actually protection from the inflammation.

Athletes used to think they needed the fast release sugars to give them that extra spurt of energy. The newest thinking, clinically proven as well as proven by the pros and gold medalists, is that the slow sugars are better for athletic performance.Also on the healthy breakfast menu are fresh fruits and vegetables. Or a low glycemic breakfast shake. Be careful with your protein shake. Most are high glycemic.

Come on. You can do it for just one meal a day and have a healthier, happier new you in the new year. Saving 800 calories each day, you might be in better shape when the summer rolls around.

And instead of dieting, how about eating to lose weight? That’s right. If you change your diet from high glycemic to low glycemic, you will actually eat and lose weight. We believe so strongly that this diet change is the one thing that will reverse the unhealthy trends of overweight, heart disease, and diabetes that we’ll show you how to make the switch free. We can also direct you to websites and teleclasses that will support you while you go from unhealthy to healthy.

This is not a diet. This is not something you go on and then go off. This is something you feel the benefit and change for life. Little by little. We suggest you start with breakfast.

Elizabeth Pasquale, LMT, CST is the director of Well On The Way®, a holistic healing center with offices in White Plains and Ossining, NY. Go to or call Elizabeth at 914-762-4693 and find out about the Healthy For Life Program. Readers of Natural Awakenings get a FREE CONSULTATION.



By Elizabeth Pasquale, LMT, CST

Freeport, Grand Bahaman Island.
There were 6 clients and 13 therapists. The 6 clients were (names changed for privacy) Jeff, a young man of 15 with Cerebral Palsey; Nickey, a woman 69 years old who’s husband had died that spring of heart attack; Roger, middle aged, from Alaska, recovering from a stroke; Ann, from Scotland and Donna, from Indiana both middle aged and suffering rheumatoid arthritis; and Leslie, from California with m.s. We were 13 CranioSacral Therapists including Chas, the Upledger Foundation instructor directing this Intensive Program; Cat, therapist and assistant director; Suzie, another seasoned Upledger instuctor; Sally, the PT from Texas who’s highest profile clients were the Egyptian conjoined twins (They’re doing great after their separation and are now walking!); Karen, Raji, Tom, Marie, Mary, Cindy, Jim, Kelly and myself. Meredith, a therapist herself, facilitated the program.

We started by introducing ourselves and the clients said what they hoped to gain from the week.

Jeff’s mom, Nancy, spoke for Jeff. First, just a little description of Jeff so you can get some idea of the initial visual impact he made. Though he was 15 years old & had a slight mustache, his physical stature was more like a 3 year old. He weighed only about 30 pounds, down from 60, his mom said. He had no speech and his body was contorted in such a way that it looked as if it was collapsing in on itself. He looked and felt very rigid. He gave me the impression he was in pain.

Nancy was in tears as she described that Jeff had spent the weekend with his dad and he wasn’t fed properly (he is tube fed) and that he was all blocked up. She hoped he would get some relief. They had been to the Intensive Program at The Upledger Clinic at West Palm several times and they had been looking forward to the Dolphin Intensive for years, ever since they heard about its possibility.

Roger had suffered a stroke alone and was found unconscious at home 3 days later. He’d made an amazing come back, getting most of his speech back, and could walk but it was halting and unsteady. He wanted to improve his walking.

Leslie’s m.s. had progressed so now she was wheelchair bound. She was a professional and independent and she resented being out of control. She spoke about her spirituality and how she was trying to heal herself.

Donna was in pain and had come at her husband’s insistence. She didn’t know what to expect.

Ann was a CranioSacral Therapist with a practice in Scotland. They both hoped to find relief for their arthritis.

Nickey was the last one to speak and most of us joined her in her tears as she described her grief at her husband’s sudden death. “I am lost,” she said. “I am blind. I want to find peace.”

We all piled into two mini-vans and headed for Sanctuary Bay, the Dolphin’s home. We were to go every morning and interact with the Dolphin’s from 11 to 12 noon. We met them in a large sectioned off pool area that was open at the bottom and continuous with Sanctuary Bay. The two Dolphins were free to come and go. They were accompanied by a trainer.

The pool was about 40 feet wide by 60 feet long. There was a 10 foot wide platform running the width of the pool where the water was about 3 feet deep. The clients were to stay at that end, each with the two therapists assigned to them, while the Dolphins freely interacted with them. The clients lay back on the water, floating, with their therapists minimally supporting them and doing CST. Chas instructed us to treat the Dolphins as the lead therapists. As the Dolphins swam by, we were to present the client and try to stay out of the Dolphins way. We were to trust that the Dolphin would be aware of the client’s needs and would treat the client in various ways. The Dolphin might touch the client and we were to keep track and record these touches in the client’s record. The Dolphin might use their melon (head) area and direct sonar to the client or emit sounds and treat the client with sound or vibrational energy.

We arrived early the first day and stood on the observation deck while another group was in the water having a Dolphin Experience. The working Dolphin performed tricks for this group under the trainer’s commands and allowed the group to touch the Dolphin. While this was going on, I stood looking off in the direction of the nearest pen where two dolphins were swimming. I felt these were our therapists and I naturally began to brief them on this mornings meeting.

I had just read “Animal Talk” by Penelope Smith, an excellent book on animal communication. Ms. Smith instructs very clearly how to converse with animals. I decided to practice. I just focused on them with a clear mind until I felt I had their attention. I then simply related what the clients had said about themselves that morning. For instance, with Nickey, I told them she had “lost her mate” with his death. I felt they understood that perfectly. But when I came to Ann, I added something. I told them about the arthritis (They seemed to have no difficulty with the medical terms m.s. and arthritis which I could explain simply) but I also told them something Ann hadn’t told the group that morning. I told them what she had told me at the beach the day before.

The 2 of us had arrived before the others and we had spent the day at the beach. It was a long day and we had plenty of time to talk. Ann told me that the day before she had left home for the Bahamas Intensive, her husband of 20 years had told her he was having an affair. She arrived completely distraught over it. This was not an easy thing to explain to the Dolphins. They didn’t understand about “affairs” and family disharmony. The best I could do was to tell them it was as if she had “lost” her husband, too, but she hadn’t “lost” him at the same time. He hadn’t died but she had still “lost” him.

Chas instructed us that we were to be in the water in 2 groups. First, little Jeff, Roger and Leslie; then Nickey, Ann, and Donna. Each group had an hour.

Let me explain to you something about Dolphin time. One hour doesn’t seem like much, but something happens to time when you are with the Dolphins. It seems to stand still. A second seems like a very long time. So when I describe to you that a Dolphin touched a person’s head for 3 seconds, you may think, “Oh, what a very short time!” You must understand that I have just described to you an eternity.

The Dolphins that treated us that first day were the Dolphins I had been conversing with in the closest pen. Their names were Coral and Exuma. Coral was to be our therapeutic Dolphin on all of the 4 days and we had Exuma one day, Abico one day and Tano two days. Coral was without a doubt the Lead Therapist Dolphin and it was obvious that she was training the other Dolphins. The trainers later agreed with my intuition.

I watched the first group because I was in the second group as Nickey’s therapist. I saw Coral and Exuma treat each person differently. Leslie was afraid and clutched her therapists. As the Dolphins approached, she became nervous and they moved away. Roger was a large man and relaxed in the water. They hit his head pretty hard with their rostroms. Later Roger was to say, “They hit the right side of my head hard, like being hit by a football. After they did that a few times, they hit the left side, but much softer. It was like they were trying to balance it out. I just thanked them. I relaxed and it didn’t hurt. I trusted them. I didn’t think anything negative because I felt, if I did, they would go away. I didn’t want them to go away.”

They were totally gentle with little Jeff, who was between Roger and Leslie. They would stop a few feet in front of him and just look at him. They would swim underneath all 3 of them. Jeff began to elongate.Then it was our turn. Donna was at one end, Ann in the middle, and Nickey at the other end. Each woman was held by 2 therapists and I was with Nickey. I began to talk to Coral as she swam by. I treated her much the same as when I worked with Dr. Upledger. I asked, “Where would you like to be on Nickey? Where would you like me to be?”, and I tried to clear my mind and listen for her answer. Coral immediately came over, touched Nickey’s feet, made clicking sounds and blew forcefully out her blow hole. She left and returned, and this time she draped her entire body over Nickey’s thighs and Exuma lined her body up parallel, touching both of Nickey’s feet with her body. They stayed that way a full 2 seconds and then left, swam once around the pool and returned to that exact position and stayed for another few seconds.

Coral returned many times after that, while Exuma was primarily busy at the other end of the pool with Donna. I addressed Coral, talking silently, “Coral, what would you like me to do? How can I assist you?”

I heard clearly, “The left side. I want the left side.” Nickey turned in the water, her left side to Coral, and Coral worked what appeared to me to be the heart meridian up the left arm. She touched several places, left, then paralleled her body to Nickey’s, the length of Coral’s body touching Nickey. Coral left again and returned, asked me for the right side. She went back and forth between Nickey and Ann. Then Coral asked me to line Nickey and Ann up head to head, with the tops of their heads touching.

“Am I really hearing this?” I thought. Coral popped out of the water in front of me, looked me straight in the eye and shook her head at me, as if telling me to get with it, laterally bobbing her head to indicate the direction I was to move Nickey. I did as she asked and when Nickey and Ann were positioned so that the top of their heads touched, Coral put her rostrum in the middle, touching both women’s heads simultaneously at the exact place where they touched each other.

I don’t know why, but I began to cry as I watched. Then the women floated apart slightly (or is Coral moving them?). The left side of Nickey’s head touched the left side of Ann’s head and Coral was touching the right side of Ann’s head. It appeared that Coral was treating Ann through Nickey and they stayed in this position for several seconds.

At the same time, Exuma was working with Donna. It was hard because Donna was unable to relax in the water and was very tense, trying to keep her head up. Donna said later, “It was really neat when they went towards my feet because I was born crippled.”

Later, when we therapists talked about how Coral treated Nickey and Ann, Chas, who had directed all the previous 3 Dolphin Intensives, said he had never seen anything like it. He had never seen the Dolphins lay across someone’s body the way Coral lay across Nickey’s body with Exuma at the feet. He hadn’t seen Coral treat 2 people at once. Suzie said it looked as if Coral was lining up Nickey and Ann’s sphenoid and limbic systems. We called it creating a limbic loop. Many of us felt Coral was creating some sort of shared communication between Nickey and Ann.

Later Nickey was to say about the experience, “I felt the dolphins against my legs. But I was especially taken with the sounds. It was like a concert with sounds in harmony. It seemed like a minute in the water. Everything came out, everything I knew but didn’t know I knew.”

Ann said, “It was a very sacred space for me. The sounds were going through my body, through my shoulder blades and head. Releases were happening in my spine.”

Nancy, Jeff’s mom, reported that she’d been up all night with Jeff. He relieved himself all night long of stuff that was clogging his digestive system. “I’m not complaining,” she said. “It’s great he got rid of all that stuff. He looks like he’s feeling much better today. And he doesn’t want to be sitting in his wheel chair. (Jeff was in his mom’s lap.) He wants to see what’s going on.”

I worked with Donna. As we walked to the minivan she told me again what she had told the group the day before. “I saw my father get killed when I was five years old. He was killed in a motorboat accident. I was on the dock when it happened and I saw the boat spin around. He probably was dead, killed by the propellor and didn’t drown. But I just keep seeing that and I’m afraid of the water. I’m afraid of drowning. I don’t want to get water up my nose or get my head under water. I’m afraid I won’t float.”

So I said to her, “Here’s a little exercise that you might want to try. Maybe it will be helpful. You can imagine a trunk. It’s a solid trunk and you can put things in it and they will be safe there. They can stay in it until you want them back later and no one else can get to them. Can you imagine such a trunk? Well, if you want to, you can put all those things into the trunk that keep you from benefiting fully from this time with the Dolphins. All the fears or feelings or whatever. You can get them back after. See if maybe that feels like something that will work for you.”

When our turn came in the water, Tom offered to hold Donna’s head out of the water. She said, “No, its OK. I’m going to let my head in the water.” And she lay down perfectly relaxed. The Dolphins came and touched her several times, swam under her and chattered.

In the afternoon, the clients have the option for therapy in the pool or on a table inside. Donna chose the pool. She kept flipping over and diving underwater. Then she would come up sputtering and telling us she didn’t want to go under water. I said, “You tell us you don’t want to go underwater and then you dive underwater. I want to speak to that part of you that wants to dive underwater.” She didn’t answer, but dove back under the water. Later, she was able to tell us it was the 8 year old Donna that wanted to play and dive in the water. She also was able to tell us about how awful her childhood was after her dad died. She had gone to live with a very cruel woman who would beat them and put her and her brothers in a closet.

She told me she had put all these things in her trunk so she could relax in the water and enjoy her Dolphin time. Over the next 3 days, she took them out one by one and worked with them. She told us the next day that she went for a swim that night and another one in the morning. She was turning into a real water baby.

She said, “I felt the Dolphins at my sides. I felt like I became one of them. I felt I could swim with them. I didn’t know I could float so much. I don’t want to get rid of little Donna. I need to learn how to keep her. How do I put the past behind me? I can’t float at home, so what do I do when I leave here? I need direction on that.”

Chas told her, “There is something in you that knows that direction, something in you knows that space because now you’ve been there. We help you so it becomes a familiar place, you can go to whenever you want. You can revisit the traumatic events from the sacred place rather than the little girls perspective.”

Donna said, “I could see better when I came out of the Dolphins. I have fought and I have survived.”

Donna was floating relaxed when Coral came by and splashed her. Donna stood up coughing up water. She then lay back down and relaxed again. This time when Coral swam by, she stopped at Donna and put her entire head on Donna’s face and forcefully dunked her under the water. I could see Suzie trying to pull Donna in. Donna came up sputtering and coughing, saying she was afraid of drowning. Coral and Tano didn’t swim away. They stayed there and watched as Suzie comforted and worked with Donna. Then Donna turned to look at the waiting Dolphins. She lay in the water and relaxed again. They touched her gently on the top of the head.

Ann: “At the end, one Dolphin came up and stayed at my side. (Crying) It was very comforting. It was like she was giving me the hug I needed. It was beautiful. Feeling a lot of feelings, but not words.”

Suzie: “I want to remind you the session was about finding the flow, not about finding words.”

Radje: “The Dolphin carressed Ann four or five times.”

Ann: “I felt the sounds go into my bone marrow and dural tube.”

Leslie: “The Dolphins were doing a lot of clicking, heavy breathing in my right ear. I felt they were saying “breathing is part of your healing.”

Today we put everyone in the water at once, 6 clients and 13 therapists and Nancy, Jeff’s mom, and his sister, Tara. Nancy and Tara have been Jeff’s support team all week and attending every therapy. They stood behind as Jeff was in the pool with the Dolphins. We talked the next day about it being very peaceful, like a group “Still point.” Nancy said, “Jeff’s stomach is nothing like it was. Everything seems to be working. Everybody was peaceful (in the Dolphin pool that morning). I felt Jesus was present. The Dolphin is a symbol of Christ rising. I could see Jesus in the Dolphin’s eyes. He was there healing everyone of you.”

All week, Jeff seemed to be getting longer. I happened to be standing next to him in the pool (I was working with Nickey). We were in the pool before the Dolphins and as the Dolphins swam in, I saw him lift his little arms wide open and kick his feet. It was the first time I had ever seen him move. When we talked about it later, the other therapists also saw him move his arms and legs.

Nickey was lying in the water and I was holding her head in the way Jeanne Pierre Barral teaches in Advanced Visceral Manipulation. You hold one hand over the crown of the head, covering the sagittal suture with the length of your middle finger. The other hand supports the occiput. The therapist then feels a time line along the length of the sagittal suture, the posterior end representing the client’s birth and the anterior end represents the present. The therapist then feels for disrupted energy along that line and judges from the placement of the line disruption, at what age the trauma happened. I felt trauma very young in Nickey’s life.

At that moment, Coral came and positioned herself along the length of Nickey’s left side. She just lay there and didn’t move.

In the afternoon table session, I asked Nickey about that moment. I told her I was feeling a trauma very early in her life and did she have any feelings about. She said while she was in the Dolphin pool, she saw an image of herself wrapped up in cotton. She was wrapped up and being prepared for burial, but she was not dead. Just then Chas touched her and asked her if she was OK. She heard herself say she was “Fine.” “That’s funny,” she thought. “I’m being buried alive yet it is fine.” Then she heard breathing. She thought she was hearing her own breathing but then she thought it might be the Dolphin. She imagined the Dolphin lying next to her, but it seemed so real. So she opened her eyes to look and she was looking directly into the eye of the Dolphin who was lying next to her. And she thought, “I am unique, but I am not alone.” Immediately she felt she was not dead, but resurrected.

She then told me when her mother was pregnant with her, her mom tried to abort her with a knitting needle. When she was 2, her dad molested her and the maid walked in on him. He said to the maid, “If you talk, I’ll kill you.” She thought he was talking to her and from then on she could not speak her mind. She saw herself as a young wife of 30 on the operating table having breast augmentation surgery. The doctor stood beside her with a knife in her left breast. He told her, “This is not going to hurt” but it was very painful. He gave her more anesthesia but it was still painful. But she couldn’t tell him to stop. She was having the surgery to please her husband.

We imagine the husband comes to her side and tells her she doesn’t need to have the surgery. He says he loves her just the way she is. He loves her personality. Nickey then tells the doctor to stop. She will not have the surgery. It’s not necessary.

We go back in time and visit Nickey’s Mom. She is sad. She tells Nickey she loves her. Nickey visits with her dad. She sees he was abused and her ancestors before him were abused and abusers. She listens as her 2 year old self is able to confide in her that their father has abused her. Adult Nickey assures her 2 year old she is safe now and Nickey will take care of her. We confront the father with what he has done and insist he get therapy and not be alone with little Nickey again.

I am amazed that so much can be done in one 2 hour session. We are moving at Dolphin speed.

Nickey tells the group, “When I came the first day, I was so mixed up and now its completely clear. Everyday was different. I’ve been through my whole life. I don’t have any doubt about healing anymore.” She also described me as the fisherman who won’t let the fish off the hook.

Again we all were in the Dolphin pool together. This time I worked with Jeff. His mom, Nancy, and sister, Tara, were in the pool and they took turns holding Jeff. While one held Jeff, the other floated next to him and was also treated. Tara lay floating in the water first while Nancy held Jeff. Immediately Coral swam up to Tara and lay across her lap, looking her in the eye. Tara was looking straight at Coral, too.

Later, when Tara was holding Jeff and Nancy was floating beside them, I found myself between them. I put one hand on Nancy’s left foot and the other on Jeff’s right foot. Coral appeared at Nancy’s head. Coral touched her rostrum to the top of Nancy’s head. At that moment, I felt a rush of electricity enter my hand that contacted Nancy’s foot, move up that arm to my spine about T4, burn momentarily, then move down my other arm to Jeff’s right foot. The electricity continued while Coral held her rostrum to Nancy’s head, several seconds. Then, Coral swam away and the electricity suddenly stopped.

Donna was floating way out in the pool and Cat was straining to keep one finger in touch with Donna. Ann was turning round and round. Nickey was floating out near them and Jeff was making clicking sounds to the Dolphins and they were answering him. Leslie said, “They were sweet to me. This was the first time. They nibbled at my fingers and kissed me. They talked to me. They told me “No surprises” and then they flipped me!”

Sally said “You carry that Dolphin energy with you. It sounds like so much less than it is. You carry it and everybody is a part of that.”

Suzie: “I was enormously moved by the Dolphin session this morning. I’ve always felt I’m a citizen of the world, but this morning, I felt an interspecies connection. It was a Sunday morning interspecies ceremony. It’s not enough to be a citizen of the world. We’re citizens of an interspecies globe.”

Ann: “The clicking sounds came straight down the middle, in the center of the top of my head, and straight down to my ancient brain. And I remembered. I saw the shore where we first came out of the water. Land animals separated from water. We have a knowing within us and we have to trust it. Not deny it. Not try and walk around it. I feel at ease and peace that I haven’t felt for a long, long time.”

Roger: “They were working harder on me the first two days, banging things where they wanted it to be. Then yesterday they got my body lined up. I felt one with them, like I’m part of the family, in thought. It was so much fun. I don’t know how to describe it.”

Nancy: “It was a beautiful experience, huh, Jeff. What do you think?”

Donna: “They were communicating with me. I felt I could talk with them. It was awesome.”

Ann: “I certainly felt a connection with before there was form. Energy. A deep stillness. I’m a big barrier person. A bubble. I’m better at receiving now.”



By Elizabeth Pasquale, LMT, CST

DAY 1, Thursday
Freeport, Grand Bahaman Island.
There were 4 clients and 10 therapists. The 4 clients were (names changed for privacy) Joseph, a 19 year old with autism; Sarah, a 57 year old woman who ate what she described as “massive amounts” of tuna sushi and was paralyzed from the waist down from toxins; Alice, a 14 year old girl with autism; and Athena, 4 years old, who was born without a corpus callosum, and was severely developmentally delayed.

We were 10 CranioSacral Therapists including Chas, the Upledger Foundation instructor directing this Intensive Program; Kat, therapist and facilitator; Carol, another Upledger instructor, therapist, and also Athena’s therapist; Lilly, Bob, John, Lisa, Chris, and Heidi, who accompanied her client, Sarah.

The schedule was to go like this for the 4 days we were together. 9AM: Meet at the Conference Center meeting room. First day: introductions and client’s goals. After that, hear how everyone’s experience was the day and night before.

10 to 11 AM: CranioSacral Therapy (CST) on the table in the meeting room, two or more therapists with each client.

11 to 12 noon: walk over to UNEXCSO, sign in for the dolphins, get on the boat and ride over to Sanctuary Bay, where the dolphins live.

12 to 1 PM: dolphin time in the water, 2 dolphins, clients with therapists and some family member participation.

1 to 1:30: ride back on the boat

1:30 to 3PM: lunch

3 to @ 5PM: CST on the tables in the meeting room, 2 or more therapists with each client.

5 to 6 PM: therapists’ discussion

Being the Bahamas, times are approximate. On a couple of occasions, the therapists didn’t finish until 7 PM.

Here is a description of the pool where we had dolphin therapy:

The pool was a fenced section of Sanctuary Bay, where the dolphins lived. Our section was about 40 feet wide by 60 feet long. There was a 10-foot wide platform running the width of the pool where the water was about 3 feet deep. The clients were to stay at that end, each with the 2 therapists assigned to them, while the dolphins freely interacted with them. The clients lay back on the water, floating, with their therapists minimally supporting them and doing CST. Chas instructed us to treat the dolphins as the lead therapists. As the dolphins swam by, we were to present the client and try to stay out of the dolphins way. We were to trust that the dolphin would be aware of the client’s needs and would treat the client in various ways. The dolphin might touch the client and we were to keep track and record these touches in the client’s record. The dolphin might use their melon (head) area and direct energy to the client or emit sounds and treat the client with sound energy.

Chas reported that when dolphin scientists studied the sounds the dolphins made when they were doing treatments, these scientists found that the dolphins made new sounds that they had never recorded before. This happened on more than one occasion.

Day 1
In the water with Joseph
Joseph was able to get himself into the water without too much coaxing from his mother, Leanne. He was a very skinny 19 year old, so Leanne had the forethought to have him in a short wetsuit. I was in the water just ahead of him. As he came down the ladder, I had my arms around him. It was a good thing I did, because he went straight for the deep end.

In the Dolphin therapy pool, there is a platform we are supposed to stand on that is on the side of the pool that we enter on. It runs the width of the pool, about 40 feet, and is about 10 feet wide. Then there is a drop off and the rest of the pool is deep water where the dolphins swim. We are supposed to stay on the platform for the therapy.

Although autistic, Joseph was a swimmer and he was used to deep-water pools. So he naturally headed off the platform and I was there to stop him. A dolphin immediately came over to meet Joseph. The two dolphins in the pool that day were Coral and Abico. Coral came a few feet from Joseph just off to his right side and waited there.

Joseph was pretty anxious and stiff in the water. He recoiled when Coral came over. She backed off and swam away. We brought Leanne in the water and Chas took Joseph and I took Leanne. She was a bit tense in the water, too, but she lay back. Joseph was next to her and touched her body above her right leg as she floated. Her head was in the direction of the dolphins and Coral came over and lightly touched her head.

Many of us believe that the dolphins can treat one person through another person. I personally felt that transmission of energy on my first dolphin therapy program five years ago. I was standing between a mom and her son, both of whom were floating in the pool, supported by therapists. I was touching mom with one hand and son with the other. I saw the dolphin touch mom and stay touching her. As she did, I felt the energy, like very mild electric current run up my one arm, across my shoulders, at the spine give me a sharp, quick pain, travel down the other arm, to the son. I don’t know if I would have believed this if it hadn’t happened to me. After a few seconds the dolphin left the mother and the current stopped.

Leanne experienced the dolphin’s touch as pleasant and asked me, “Is that the dolphin?” as she was so gentle, Leanne was not sure what it was.

Of course, we were not in the pool alone. The other 3 clients were in there, too, along with their 2 therapists and at least one other parent. Athena’s dad, Jason, was between Athena and us. Later, Athena’s brother Alan came in and was with dad.

Alice was next with her 2 therapists and then was Sarah with her 2. Chas was with us for the beginning of the hour and Kat was roaming and helping someone else. I was concentrated on Joseph so I couldn’t keep track of what anyone else was doing. I saw the line-up as I entered the pool and that was it. From there, I was vaguely aware of them and the energy passing between the dolphins and us.

Joseph doesn’t talk much. That morning he had been a one-word man, perseverating with the word “Pee” over and over again. Leanne said it’s his way of getting out of doing something he doesn’t want to do. He says “pee” and she takes him to the bathroom and he’s out of the therapy for the moment.

By contrast, in the water, Joseph was making all kinds of sounds, though not words. Chas said afterward that he thought Joseph was mimicking the dolphins and communicating with them. Alice was lying on the other side of Athena, who was on our right. Alice asked, “What’s the matter with John?”

When told that he was nervous, she said, “I was nervous once.”

Occasionally, throughout the first 40 minutes, we would occasionally hear Alice asking, “How’s Joseph? What’s Joseph doing?” Or something like that. She would then say reassuring things to him, speaking from her experience.

Later, we were all to talk about how unusual this was for her. She used to only speak about Kermit the frog or other things completely unrelated to the present and perseverate on that. Here she was with the dolphins, totally present and concerned about Joseph and able to send him advice from her experience. Lily also said she talked about the beautiful fish she was seeing in the water around her. There were plenty of fish as well as the dolphins.

Leanne was telling me again about how uptight Joseph is, how he’s just a tight boy, his muscles are so tight, and he never relaxes. After a while, especially after that dolphin contact through Leanne, he did begin to relax. She was standing beside us and I said to her, “Doesn’t Joseph look relaxed now?”

She said, “Yes, he does.”

I asked, as he was lying back in my arms and Lisa was at his head, “Have you ever seen him so relaxed before?”

She said, “Only when he’s asleep.”

I said, “He’s a relaxed kid right now. He’s relaxing quite nicely.”

In the last 20 minutes of the session, Chase and Kat asked everyone to get out of the water except for the clients and one primary therapist. That left Joseph and I, Athena and Carol, Alice with Lily, and Susan with Chris. Just 8 of us.

Coral had been coming up regularly. She treated from a short distance and Joseph became more and more comfortable with her.

Now Abico came and parked herself between Joseph’s feet and little Athena’s head next to us. With Abico in that space, that left only a few inches between them and Abico. Abico would move slightly left and ever so gently touch Athena’s little head. She’d hold there a second or 2. Then she would move right and non-challantly bump Joseph’s feet. Joseph didn’t pull away as before and hardly startled at all. Instead he continued to relax and reached his foot out to touch Abico. Abico swam off and rounded the pool and came back to the same spot.

Abico repeated that maneuver maybe 10 times, staying with us for several minutes, rounding the pool, and coming back. Once, when she turned to round the pool after her series of treatments to Joseph and Athena, she ran the entire length of her body along Joseph’s left side that was facing the pool.

At 3 PM, after lunch, we returned to the conference room to do CST on the tables. Joseph had started CST with a local therapist at home. He always sat up on the table with the therapist seated behind him. He was too uptight, and would not lie down.

That afternoon, on the table, Joseph lay down for the first time in his 7 year CST treatment career. He allowed 3 of us to work on him, with me repeatedly working on his tentorium and temporal bones, while Lisa and Kat worked the fascia of his spine, pelvis, and hips. He allowed about 15 minutes total of ear pull during the 1-1/2 hour CST session from 3 to 4:30 PM.

Ear pull is a way we access the membrane that bisects the brain. On most autistic kids, we find this membrane extraordinarily tight and fibrous. It was on Joseph. In the morning, he wouldn’t let me near it. The gentle pull was uncomfortable for him and he’d jerk away or push my hands away.

It was remarkable that he had relaxed so much in the first day to allow me to concentrate on this area.

Sarah had been paralyzed from the waist down because she had eaten what she described as “massive amounts of tuna sushi”. She was receiving deep tissue massage from Heidi, the massage therapist who also studied CranioSacral Therapy and who accompanied her to the Bahamas. Sarah could now stand and take a few steps with her crutches. She had limited control over her right leg and less control over her left. She had no feeling in her left leg.

In the morning table session, Chas directed us on how to lightly work the femur into the acetabulum, or the hip socket, with a very gentle compression and decompression as she lay on her back with her knees up.

When we went to the dolphin pool, spontaneously, we were in the same formation in the water as the day before. At one end of the platform was Joseph with his 2 therapists, then Athena with her 2 plus mom, then Alice with 2 and mom, then Sarah and myself and Heidi. Sarah was lying on her back on the water, her right side facing the dolphins.We were in the water quite some time, maybe 10 minutes, and we hadn’t had any dolphin direct contact. The dolphins were Exuma and Cayla. I couldn’t tell them apart so I’ll just say “the dolphin” to describe what happened.

I couldn’t help feeling disappointed that they hadn’t come over to us. I wanted the best treatment for Sarah. We believe the dolphins don’t have to touch to treat. They treat with their energy being directed at us from a distance and they treat with the sound vibrations that they emit.

Even though I know this, I was still disappointed. So I began to do what I call “broadcasting.” I began to talk to the dolphins in my mind. I didn’t entreat them to come over. I just began to broadcast, “This is Sarah. She was poisoned by eating too much toxic fish. She is asking for your help. You may see how the toxins have accumulated in her body. She can’t use her left leg. This is Sarah. She was poisoned”

Over and over I continued to say it throughout the session. After I had just said it a couple of times, I began to get replies. This means, I would get sentences in my head that I believe came from the dolphins. They said, “Oh, yes, toxic fish. Yes. We know about that. We have heard about that happening. We know some dolphins that has happened to. We have heard about many others.” One dolphin came over shortly after I started broadcasting. She didn’t just touch her. She positioned her body between Alice’s group next to us and us. She laid her body against the bottoms of Sarah’s feet and stayed there in contact with Sarah’s feet. She then positioned her blowhole under the sole of Sarah’s left foot and blew.

A dolphin’s breath exiting the blowhole is a forceful emitting of air. It comes with a sound. We are told never to touch near there and absolutely never cover it with our hands should we be stroking them and have an opportunity to do so. They don’t like it. This dolphin was purposely putting her blowhole under Susan’s foot. After that, we had regular visits from the dolphins every minute or 2. They would nudge Sarah’s feet, once came under her legs and flipped her left leg upward. I “heard” an instruction from them to turn her left side to them. They nuzzled her head on the left side. Many times they passed directly under us. Once they flipped Sarah with a tail.

When Sarah stood up in the water at the end of the session, the first thing she said was, “My leg feels different. It hurts.”

She could feel her left leg.

She lifted herself up the ladder and instead of waiting to go up the ramp in the wheelchair, she walked, leaning heavily on the railing, but she walked all the way up the 25-foot steep ramp herself, and sat in a chair when she got to the top.

When I saw her in the afternoon, she said she had feeling in her left leg. It felt like a sausage that was too tightly packed. We gave her another hour of table work in the afternoon and then an hour of CST in the warm hotel pool, plus about 10 minutes of exercises to bring the energy up her legs. At the end of that therapy, she said the denseness she felt in her leg had increased. It felt even tighter.

She went from having no feeling in the leg to feeling discomfort. We’d say that was an improvement.

Alice is a 14-year-old autistic girl. She can be a non-stop talker at times, all about Bert and Ernie and her favorite Sesame Street characters. She recites from memory the credits from movies and she talks a lot about “Grandma’s house” where she lives with her mom, Betty, her grandmother and her grandfather, who she calls “Dad”.

On the first 2 days when I was working with Joseph and Sarah, I would occasionally be conscious of Alice talking as we were in the water or on the tables indoors working. She would frequently comment on Joseph’s sounds saying, “Joseph makes these sounds when he is nervous.” Once I heard her say after that, “I was nervous with the dolphins before, too.” Or something like that.

Alice went in the water right away. She had a mask on and she was very active, putting her face in the water and blowing bubbles. Bob was my therapy partner. We encouraged her to lie flat in the water, so as to be more receptive to the dolphin treatment (we think!). For the most part, she wanted to move, talk and blow bubbles.

Her mother came in and Bob supported her as she lay in the water. Alice did lie back quietly at that time and the two of them floated side-by-side, holding hands. We had Coral and Cayla that day and they came to mom, touched her head lightly. I have spoken before about how the treatment comes through the one to the other. I believe this was happening at that time.

While Alice and Betty were floating side by side, I was drawn to put my hand over Alice’s low abdomen. It was the same place that several of the therapists had been working on over the last few days. It involved uterus, ovaries, and descending colon. There was tightness there. As I worked, I glanced over at Bob with Betty. Bob caught my glance at the same time and we both started in surprise. He had his hand on the identical spot on Betty as I did on Alice!

Then a deep quiet came over the 4 of us, what we recognize as a deep processing period. Both Bob and I felt Betty and Alice were enjoying a new level of their relationship created by their joint healing.

Earlier that morning during the indoor 1-1/2 hour table CST, with the help of Kat, we had gone through a series of what we call Completion of Biological Processes. Bob was treating this same low pelvic area on Alice. At the same time, Kat was at Alice’s head and I was on the right abdomen. We were running visualizations, imaginary scenarios concerning her birth process. We were doing this “mind-to-mind” with Alice, non-verbal communication. As we did, we monitored her body for response. As we had positive responses in the form of pulses and changes in her body, so we continued.

We ran 3 processes. One was what we imagined the birth to be with as many facts as we had; for instance, we knew it was a C-section. The second process was an imagined ideal birth, reprogramming cellular information. The third was an 8 month in utero fetal development process. Bob and I felt like that morning’s work continued in the water with the dolphins.

Later, Betty told us that at eight months pregnant, she suffered toxemia and also was going through a divorce.

That deep work in the water lasted about 15 minutes. The dolphins were close by, occasionally touching Betty or Alice. When Betty came out of the water, Alice went back to her cavorting, talking, and blowing bubbles. She often said things in the present, as opposed to her Bert and Ernie perseverations.

On 3 occasions the dolphins came close to her and stayed there. She said as she reached out to stroke them, “Elizabeth, this is easier than I thought!”

She said, “Hello, Coral” to Coral and reached and gave her a kiss. She said, “Alice kissed Coral!”

She carried on a mixed conversation of perseverations and appropriate language.

The significance of this could be lost on anyone or myself if you didn’t know that this was Alice’s third dolphin session. She had come twice before on previous years. At her first dolphin therapy session, they were just hoping to get her to say anything at all because at that time, she had very little speech. Betty told me that the most remarkable thing happened after her very first dolphin session. Alice asked for crayons. She had never done that before. She stayed up late into the night scribbling and drawing on large sheets of paper for hours in the hotel room.

This time when we started on the morning CST session with Joseph, he lay on the table right away. I noticed the profound change in his membrane systems. Even though they were still tight, they were much more malleable than day one.

In the water with the dolphins, Joseph wanted to stand. He seemed calm, which was remarkable. He didn’t want to lie down to be treated. He wanted to stand and watch what was going on. He was making a lot more conversational-type sounds, more variety of sounds, and he was very much connected to what was going on around him.

On several occasions, the dolphins rested beside him. He was able to stroke them, which he did quite willingly.

On the table in the afternoon session, Joseph again was willing to lie on the table. He moved from lying on his side to actually reclining with his head down on the pillow to lying on his belly. He punctuated this with sitting up in between changes, thinking about it for about a minute, and lying down again.

We were able to work with his vertebral column and dural tube, the membrane surrounding the spinal column, as well as his cranial membrane system. I also worked on his liver.

Chas and Kat assigned us each day to our clients. I was not assigned to Athena, the 4-year-old child born without a corpus callosum and severely developmentally delayed. I never was involved directly with her treatment.

I did feel indirectly involved though. One of the reasons intensives have so much impact on a client’s healing is because we feel everyone’s healing energy positively influences the others and potentializes the therapeutic effect for all.

When I first saw Athena on day one, she sat slumped over in her wheelchair buggy, unable to hold up her head and not connecting with us in any visible way. Each day she became more animated, held up her head more and engaged us with her angelic smile. As I treated Joseph the last day, more than once I caught her gaze from the next table. She gave me a big smile every time and looked directly at me.

On that last day, she sat upright in her chair and looked at us. More than that, she looked often at the person who was speaking, especially if they were speaking about her. It was apparent that she was engaged in the conversation and activity.

These are my best recollections of the participant’s feelings as we gathered for the last time as a group.

Jason, Athena’s father: “I was very moved by the whole week. I’ve been to seminars and things like that before, where we bonded with people while we were there. This is the strongest experience of all. Even the people we didn’t have the opportunity to work with, I feel close to everyone. I felt everyone participated in Athena’s healing and I appreciate that.”

Dianna, Athena’s mom: “I took CST 1 and I’m going to continue studying CST. I know we’ll be back here with Athena and I also want to come back one day as a therapist with the program. Athena normally has frequent seizures. She had some minor ones while she was here. It was like they would start, and we would go into that calm place that we felt during therapy, and the seizure would just go away. It would melt away instead of getting worse like it normally does. I feel so much caring, love from everyone. I can’t put the feelings into words, if I say any more; I’ll just start crying.”

Sarah: “I felt I made progress in my healing and I know it will continue after I leave here.”

Betty: “I can’t see the changes in Alice just yet. I know there will be big changes this year just like there were for Alice after the last 2 programs we did. And even though I may not see the changes, I know grandma will see them. As soon as she picks us up at the airport, she’ll see them and tell me. That’s what happened the last 2 times.”

Leanne: “Joseph is an uptight kid and I could be more relaxed as well. Today when we were walking over here, there were 3 Bahamians, the hotel staff, pushing a cart. We were behind them and I couldn’t walk that slow if I tried. On the other hand, that’s Joseph’s speed.

I can see that he’s using more speech and that when he says something, it has multiple meanings. He’s communicating the best way he can with the sounds he can make.

Joseph was hurrying me out the door this morning to come over here! That’s a first. I’m always the one trying to get him out the door.

I can’t believe it’s the last day. It went so fast. Now he’s used to the schedule. It would be great if it were two weeks.”



By Elizabeth Pasquale, LMT, CST

The bus is moving and we are all on the bus. By we, I mean 15 or so pilgrims from the U.S., Puerto Rico, Mongolia, and Russia and another 15 or so from Tibet, 2 from Bhutan, and about 5 from Nepal plus cartons of water, luggage, ritual objcets including long horns and drums and cases of candles. About 10 of the Tibetans are Buddhist monks, 5 of them very young (youngest is about 10 years old). The 2 from Bhutan are nuns and 1 nun is Tibetan. The nuns and monks wear the same deep red robes and their heads are shaved. There is one little Tibetan girl with a beautiful smile and an Indian bus driver and one other Indian–a pleasant thin man who is our cook.

It becomes a common sight to see the cows meandering down the road unrestrained amidst bicycle, car, ox cart, truck and bus traffic. Horns blow continuously as the sounding of the horn is considered to be polite driving–it lets everyone know that the vehicle is coming. Fields alternate with shanties and larger buildings lining the road. Everything is covered by dust and whenever our airconditioned bus door opens or a window is cracked, we breathe dust.

We crawl along the barely paved road, dodging the other vehicles and bumping over continuous potholes. We are on a Buddhist pilgrimage. We started out from Sarnath, the city where Buddha gave his first teaching after he became enlightened. We are headed for Shravasti, where Buddha lived for 25 summers, teaching, performing miracles and overseeing a monastery with over 100 monks. Our group has been supporting the building of a stupa, or shrine, in Shravasti. The stupa is a replica of one built by Buddha 2500 years earlier in the same spot but destroyed long ago. The building of the new stupa is complete and the purpose of our pilgrimage is its consecration and ceremonial opening to the public. It is named The Miracle Stupa for World Peace and its interior shrine room can hold over 100 people.

We ride for about 4 hours and then we stop for lunch at a roadside “restaurant”. One of the nuns, a Bhutanese woman looking about 19 years old, complained of a migraine through her friend, a Tibetan nun who spoke English. Her head hurt along the frontal area and she was having trouble with her eyes.I asked her to sit at one of the outdoor tables. We’d been travelling on a main highway which in the U.S. would have been considered the worst of country roads. Barely wide enough for two vehicles, it was jammed with trucks, buses, bicycles, rickshaws, ox carts, pedestrians, school children, cars, cows, dogs, goats, donkeys, and monkeys. It was bumpy and dusty. The straw shacks and brick houses on the side of the road wore layers of dust.

The nun, Ani Konchok Yangchen, sat at a table and I stood behind. Her sphenoid was displaced superior with a severe left anterior strain. In plain English, this means the bone behind her eyes was tilted at an extreme angle with the left side coming forward and the whole thing higher than it was supposed to be. Her left terporal, the left ear bone, was completely jammed and her right was almost as bad.

Standing behind her as she sat, I could place my thumbs on her sphenoid, the bone behind the eyes, at the temple area and my little fingers could reach the occiput. I could feel the strain quite clearly. I asked her inner wisdom what it would like me to do.

The spenoid began to unlock and move cautiously in a crooked approximation of its natural rhythm, what we call the cranial rhythm. I went along for the ride, and, as it moved in forward, I encouraged it off its stuck position. It responded with increased amplitude and began to move more freely. I followed and encouraged. I felt it shift.

After some time, I moved to the temporals. In the standing position, I placed the tips of my fingers as if in spokes of a wheel. Again, I asked what they wanted. They immediately went out of sync and I felt like I was shaking the rust out of the joints.The amplitude improved and the temporals came back into sync. They began moving more freely. The young Ani (nun) smiled and said she was starting to feel better. I finished by opening her lymph pathways at the clavicles and neck, allowing for greater circulation.

Someone gave her a bottle of water and I told her to drink it all right away. Then, we’re back in the bus bumping along rather quickly now. I thought it would truly be a miracle if anyone could get rid of a migraine under these conditions.

The monks told us we have almost reached the stupa, but it turns out to be another 2 to 3 hours. Ani was sitting far behind me and I couldn’t see her to check on how she’s doing. I tried to sleep.

The monks began singing deep throated chanted prayers and then we caught sight of The Miracle Stupa for World Peace. It was so white! And so big! Standing about 90 feet tall, its white body and rainbow colored cylindrical top and multi-colored prayer flags stood out impressively against the gray evening sky.

We poured out of the bus, overcome with the awe of its beauty and all chattering, laughing, and hugging each other. I saw Ani Konchok. She was all smiles. “Much better”, she called out to me in her simple English. “All better. I feel good”.

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