July 24, 2013

Craniosacral Therapy with Debra Morrice

I expend a lot of effort in my life at the moment. Not a building-a-pyramid, digging-a-coal-mine kind of effort, you understand. It's not like I'm going to come down with black lung anytime soon. But sometimes transitions (even positive ones like career developments and moving to a new country, in my case), result in effort -- to keep productive, to keep creating, to keep on keepin' on.

Words come to me with ease, and I don't have trouble articulating my quandaries and concerns, to hash out my freak outs. But at a certain point, talking can backfire on me, heightening my anxieties instead of diminishing them. Excessive yak-yak-yakking results in petrifying my problems, not clarifying them.

So I seek release in non-verbal ways. I lose myself in the mysteries of music and perfume and nature. I surrender to the delight of small furry animals. I do a lot of yoga. As a moving meditation, the practice of yoga gets my head right while re-juicing the beef jerky formally known as my muscles.

And as much as I love yoga, in my toughest times, even that is an effort. On those black hearted days, what I crave is what I call the “Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind effect”.

In the whimsically emotional Michel Gondry film, Kate Winslet and Jim Carey's characters submit to a quirky treatment to wipe out sad memories holding them back. Wouldn't it be great, I sometimes think, if I could just lie down and have my spirit re-tuned, Eternal Sunshine style? To reset my equilibrium and top up my formerly ever-present zest?

Jim Carey achieves a spotless mind.

Here's where Debra Morrice's craniosacral therapy comes in.

I first stumbled onto Debra's craniosacral therapy (CST) at a trial offer at my London yoga studio last month. I was feeling jangled and depleted, and wanted to calm the squirrels running wild in my head. I'd read that CST is based on the premise that the body has a natural ability to heal itself, and the practitioner restores vitality through a subtle touch at key points including the cranium, spine, and feet. Kind of like a “massage” for the nerves by restoring the unimpeded flow of cerebrospinal fluid.

At the best of times, I present a challenge for body workers. Long-ago back surgery has resulted in ten fused vertebrae, with corresponding misalignment and stiffness throughout the whole of my skeleton. Between my teeth grinding and the metal rod in my spine, my my neck and shoulders don't stand a chance.

As a longtime devotee of deep-tissue massage, I wasn't sure if I would even “feel” CST. But not only did I feel it, within three treatments CST has absolutely revolutionized how I manage both physical and emotional stress.

Debra begins the session by asking how I'm feeling, taking stock of the areas in my body and emotions which require support and rebalancing. I lie down fully clothed on the treatment bed, and she places her fingertips lightly at the base of my skull. She's “listening” to the flow of my spinal fluid, and I gradually become aware of a subtle yet distinct pulse throughout my body.

Quite quickly, I stop being on high alert regarding what she's doing, our surroundings, outside noises, my never-ending to-do list, my cares and fears, all the anxieties burning my brain and draining my heart. My clenched jaw releases, my rigid neck softens, my pinched shoulders melt, and an incredible surge of peace and well-being floods my entire body.

The windmill of my mind -- at rest.

At points I feel myself floating away from the treatment table, bathed in a wondrous absence of fear and doubt. By the time Debra gently coaxes me back at the end of the hour-long session, I am deeply, deeply relaxed. Like I've been on the most luxurious, super-plush holiday in the universe. The wild squirrels are tamed, the disquiet is dissolved, my body feels easy and replenished.

I feel floaty and free, and it takes a few minutes and a glass of water to reconnect with the world. The first time Debra worked this magic, I was astonished. “Are you a white witch?” I blurted out.

She laughed and shook her head.

“The body will let go of what it's ready to let go of. I'm just creating the space for it to happen.”

I slept that night as if I had been bomped by a cartoon mallet. The next day, a passing glance in the mirror stopped me in my tracks: I looked...unexpectedly nice! Feeling careworn must be showing in my face, and it seems that along with its other results, CST produces a beautifying effect.

Visit Debra Morrice and help yourself to some “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”.


Debra Morrice's craniosacral treatments are £70 for one hour. For more information, visit DebraMorrice.com

Windmill via


  1. I ever have been a chatterer myself, but I, too, have noticed of late that sometimes this chatter at sounding boards is not therapeutic so much as the ravelings of an unquiet mind. This therapy sounds glorious. Wish I were in London!

    1. CST is a real detangler. Do a little stroll around the Internet - maybe you can find some recommended therapists in your area.

  2. I wonder if it's possible to get some CST basic training? Maybe I can do this to my kids and they'll go to bed a little easier.

    1. Go old school with a shot of Guinness. Or new school with a Vulcan Death Grip.

  3. katie, great to hear it gives you relief. i have the same sorts of reactions to acupuncture. i float away, the fight-or-flight response gets turned way down (sounds like what you were describing), and i often have interesting revelations. haven't had cst done in years, but you have rekindled my interest in finding a pracititioner here. if you ever need more energy-focused work, let me know. i have an excellent energy worker friend in dallas who can work remotely. she was my yoga teacher there.