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Love and courage


Since we celebrated Valentine’s Day this month, we explored the word “courage” in Navigating Life, my monthly free Zoom call. The origin of this word is "to speak one's mind by telling all one's heart."

For me, CranioSacral Therapy is heart work, inspiring me to title my book about CST From my Hands and Heart.


“If you put your hands on people to help them feel better, love has to go with those hands. That's how you facilitate transformation,” said Dr. John Upledger, the founder of CST. I love that quote of his.

Many significant positive changes happen within our bodies when we feel surrounded by love. One of the measured changes is the increased hormonal levels of oxytocin. This hormone is typically linked to warm, fuzzy feelings and has been shown in some research to lower stress and anxiety. Oxytocin can regulate our emotional responses and pro-social behaviors, including trust, empathy, gazing, positive memories, processing of bonding cues, and positive communication.

The intricate nature of how the heart adapts to its environment was a topic in a fascinating research paper that I recently read. While I admit that much of the study was too detailed for me to understand, I was intrigued by learning about the ongoing research into the nervous system within the heart itself. This is medically called the intrinsic cardiac nervous system (ICNS) and is sometimes called the “little brain” of the heart. The research paper has a helpful schematic showing the complex patterns of communication and regulation of the heart. This little brain within the heart means that it has its own wisdom that we can connect to.

I have noticed how much I enjoy being in the company of people who speak from their hearts. My attention is captivated, and my heart is inspired too.

The work of Suzanne Scurlock has also influenced my work. In her book Reclaiming Your Body, she writes in the chapter “Your Heart – the Gift of Inspiration” that fully embodying our heart takes courage and vulnerability. Feeling into our hearts is often an intensely emotional experience. Many of us have created strategies to avoid feeling these strong emotions. It’s common to use the intellect of our brain to explain or rationalize our emotions to avoid feeling.

In a hands-on CST session with my clients, this information deepens my appreciation for the body’s wisdom, including the intelligence within the independent nervous systems of the brain, gut, and heart. To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart takes courage. Profound insights and “ah-ha” moments come when someone uses courage to explore what is in their heart during a CST session.

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