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Healing the Mother Wound

For some of us it takes a lifetime to come to terms with our very first relationship. Our feelings about our mother can hold the key to our life outlook and habitual feelings. Through no fault of their own our mothers may not have been able to connect with us in a way that we needed. 

Fraught with confusion, this relationship may feel tense, distant,  dutious, angry, needy, or as though WE had to take care of THEM  from very early on. Or perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who managed to mature alongside your mother with mutual respect and kindness. I include my mother Geraldine’s  picture here as her ancestry  is the reason why I HAD to come to Ireland.   In time I want to share the story of how her death was the final jolt that urged me to return to therapeutic work.

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Adults Blog

( I can’t get no..) Satisfaction

Reaching a state of satisfaction and wholeness for us as human beings is no small thing. The Buddha reminds us that it is part of the nature of being alive to experience life as too hot, too cold, too full or too empty. Whether we are talking about a work schedule, a social calendar or our bellies, or even our metaphorical glass, finding that sweet spot where we can be powerfully present and yet able to rest in relation to ourselves and others, is a moment by moment aspiration for each one of us.

Seeing the value of coaching or some personal therapy is becoming widely recognized. We develop in relationship to our caregivers from our earliest beginnings. Although ‘society’ may tell us that doing it all alone and being super independent is the ideal, it is clear, especially in these times of Covid, that none of us are designed for social isolation. We need and deserve reflection, validation and compassionate connection. In order to thrive I believe we need to give as well as to receive. In that process of offering something of ourselves to others we feel restored and satisfied. Contact me to arrange a free call. The Craniosacral work that I offer both online and in person, is body centred and supports the core of our nervous system. Life can be fragmenting in a million ways; when we return to a calm relational state with another heartfelt human being we can relax, rest and recalibrate and find our own impulse towards a multitude of personal goals #covid19support #therapy #mindfulleadership #anxietyrelief #beingthebestyou#

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Adults Blog

Helping women re discover their stillness and authentic spark

As we approach International Women’s Day closely followed by Mother’s day itself, I wanted to reach out to all those that may have been alarmed by the preliminary reports of stillbirths and some rare complications being associated with Covid 19. https://www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2021/0304/1200855-coronavirus-ireland/

Although these complications are extremely rare, this news may disturb us all whether we are pregnant or not. The impact on our most vulnerable population, I am including unborn children here as well as their parents, is not to be underestimated.

It is hard enough for mothers planning to give birth during a pandemic without unconfirmed information adding to their stress. 

In his book Pre Parenting ; Nuturing your child from Conception, Dr Thomas Verny writes “ human emotion and the sense of self originates not in the first years after birth but significantly earlier – in the womb. .. the journey down the birth canal to afternoons in the park, a child will register every experience in the circuitry of his or her brain.”

Parents are the baby’s extended nervous system. Neuroscience demonstrates that co-regulation begins at a cellular level from conception. Mums are a babies first environment.

Filtering or not filtering news will be a heated debate for another day and another forum. Right now as a community we all have a role to support and nurture our pregnant mothers. Whether we are well meaning work colleagues, grand-mothers or care professionals our presence and attitude can make a positive difference.

What can we do about it? 

* Normalise news ..focussing on facts rather than drama

* Fear begets fear. Parents to be need our positive support orientating to positive outcomes.

*Slow down and listen with an empathetic heart to mums to be. Wild often unfounded fears are a natural part of pregnancy. Don’t add to them.

* Research has shown that talking to our babies in Utero, taking moments to bond pre-birth and doing all we can to calm and settle ourselves as parents has multiple future benefits.

* Mums should be encouraged to seek out support, to connect with other mums and friends.

*Being in nature, walking, breathing, stretching and moving will help each one of us counterbalance stress.

March is the month when APPPAH ( Association for prenatal and perinatal psychology and health) is hosting a summit on the science of prenatal bonding . 

Here are links to a recent article ECHO https://www.echolive.ie/business/arid-40223291.html

I work as a Craniosacral practitioner with parents both pre and post-natally to create an environment of physiological and emotional calm. I also offer a free weekly online zoom call for mums to be and new mums called Mothering YOU.

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Adults Blog

How Craniosacral therapy helps settle nervous systems

How Craniosacral therapy helps settle nervous systems.

With anxiety, depression and stress on the climb, have you ever wondered how you can better manage your reactions to life’s challenges and stressors? With awareness we can track our emotional roller coaster states and become more effective, mindful, and joyful during the day. Learning to map our nervous system has a positive long-term impact on our overall health .

Our nervous system forms as early as three weeks in Utero. It is a highly tuned sensory system that is designed to check for safety. We literally download our mother’s nervous system and continue to be influenced by the whole family environment in our formative years. If our mother was highly strung for example and didn’t have enough support, we may have a ‘short fuse’ as well.

As we notice our states, it is vital to be compassionate with ourselves. None of this is our or even our parents fault, we have all come with our own unique challenges and circumstances.

Looking more closely at the autonomic nervous system, most of us learned in biology about our “fight or flight” and “rest and digest” responses. In 1994 however, Dr. Stephen Porges, discovered that although some aspects of the nervous system are instinctual and ‘automatic’, there are other aspects that we can influence and learn to accentuate. Most critically he points out that we can settle and soothe our nervous system best in pairs. We are social beings and are literally wired to connect. When we are with a person who is stable and calm it will be much easier for us to relax as well. This is one of many reasons why the Craniosacral approach that I offer is so effective.

Dr Porges discovered that our vagus nerve, referred to as the wandering nerve in Latin, is one of the longest nerves and is a cranial nerve that originates in the brainstem. It innervates the muscles of the throat, circulation, respiration, digestion and elimination. During Craniosacral treatments I often make contact with areas that relate to the vagus nerve as it is the major constituent of the parasympathetic, ( rest and digest), nervous system. Over 80 percent of it’s nerve fibres are sensory, relaying changes about the internal and external environment to the brain. This feedback is critical for the body’s homeostasis. Craniosacral work is safe and reassuring for the nervous system. When offered by a calm practitioner, the clients system will melt and settle into a peaceful state.

How do these states feel in our body?

We can view our three nervous system as a ladder with three sections. Top middle and bottom. When we are in locked in a stressed or potentially anxious state, we loose or capacity to be curious and empathetic. We are like a rabbit in the headlights and are not able to regulate our attention and focus.

First, in the middle, our “fight and flight” response is our survival strategy, a response from the sympathetic nervous system. If you were going to run from tiger, for example, you would want this response to save your life. A fight response can be prompted by a sudden sound, an unexpected pressure or demand of some kind. It can stimulate anger, rage, irritation, and frustration. During a flight response, we experience anxiety, worry, fear, panic and a feeling of literally wanting to get out of a place. NOW! . Physiologically, our blood pressure, heart rate, and adrenaline may increase and our pain threshold and capacity to digest will decrease.

At the bottom of the ladder, (or at the top of our image), we have our most primitive pattern, a “ Shut down or freeze” state, which is called the dorsal vagal state. Like an animal ‘playing dead’ after a shock, we have gone into overload and our system has temporarily shut down. We can feel hopeless and believe that there’s no way out. We may feel depressed, conserve energy, dissociate, feel overwhelmed, and as though we can’t move forward. Physiologically, our fuel storage and insulin activity increases and our pain thresholds increase. Some of may overeat, drink, or do something to excess to pacify ourselves.

Lastly, our “rest and digest” is a response of the parasympathetic system, also known as a ventral vagal state. It is our state of safety and homeostasis. If we are in our ventral vagal state, we are grounded, mindful, joyful, curious, empathetic, and compassionate. This is the state of social engagement, where we are connected to ourselves and the world. Physiologically, digestion, resistance to infection, circulation, immune responses, and our ability to connect is improved.

As humans, we naturally shift through all the states. We may be in a positive state and then all of a sudden, due to a trigger, be in a frustrated or angry state, worried about what may happen next. Shocking news could swing us into complete overwhelm.

When we find ourselves lingering in fight or flight or the shut down/freeze state, that is when we begin to have significant physiological and mental/emotional effects. If we are consistently in shut down mode or the fight or flight state, we can have constant activation of our stress pathways also known as the HPA axis. ( Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis ), and we impact our stress hormones, sex hormones, our thyroid, etc. This stress will have significant inflammation effects on the body and overall health as well.

Like any good captain of a ship in a storm, it is helpful to have a map of the territory to guide ourselves towards calmer waters. Choosing situations that resource you and allow you to experience rest and relaxation, is fundamental for your health, effectiveness and happiness. No treatment intervention or professional help will be of benefit until your system feels safe and well from the inside out.

Mapping your nervous system? Get a pen and make a few notes and think of one word that defines each one of these states for you. For example, if you are in your Ventral vagal state, the rest and digest state, you could say that you feel happy, content, joyful. Etc. When you are in your fight or flight state you could use the words worried, stressed, overwhelmed, etc. In the freeze/shut-down state you could use the words numb, hopeless, etc.

Identifying the word that YOU correlate with each of those three states is vital so that you’re able to recognize which state you are in, recognize how it feels and help yourself get out of it!

Identify your triggers and glimmers.

Over time you will notice what causes you stress and triggers your fight/flight and freeze states. A cutting letter from your boss, an argument with your spouse, a death of a loved one, or even if someone cuts you off while driving, etc. IT is helpful to make a note of these triggers for greater self-awareness..

Glimmers are the things that bring you to that optimal nervous system state. It could be something as simple as petting a dog, a soulful connection with a friend, eye-contact with a loved one or something bigger like going on a holiday.

Here is Deb Dana’s Worksheet to Map Your Nervous System. https://www.rhythmofregulation.com/resources/Figure%206-1%20Triggers%20and%20Glimmers%20Template.pdf

Summary

Once you identify your unique experience of these stress states, you are on the way to taking ownership of what’s happening to your body, and moving back to a calmer mode. Ultimately, this is how we can begin to develop resilience. WE can respond appropriately to life’s challenges, go to that fight or flight state for a short period, and then return back to the more expansive state of social engagement. To truly enjoy life, returning to your state of safety where you are mindful, grounded, and joyful, is a practice. It can start with mapping your own nervous system.

At the core of this work is the understanding that humans regulate themselves better in groups and as pairs. That is one of many reasons why Craniosacral work is beneficial for lasting change. Do contact me to book a free call to discuss how I can help.

Sara Devoy has worked in the field of health for over thirty years and helps individuals and groups settle their nervous systems and recover their innate spark. Craniosacral therapy is a whole-hearted, approach to wellness that is used for physical and emotional conditions and as a health maintenance programme. Sara works internationally both on and offline. (00353) 87 – 2350900 ( Please text)

Sara Devoy MA  BCST

Categories
Adults Blog

What to expect at my craniosacral therapy session?

Craniosacral Therapy is an extremely gentle form of body therapy that aims to help you find a natural point of stillness and balance in your life.  Through deep listening and light touch of the cranium, spine and pelvic area, I tune into the rhythms and flows of your body.

You will be fully clothed on a massage table, so wear comfy clothes and socks.  You may notice heat, tingling, pulsation and other sensations. This is all perfectly normal.  Everyone’s experience is unique and represents a personal voyage of discovery.

Although it may take a series of sessions before your body can begin to feel the full benefits of the treatment, clients often speak of a renewed sense of  ‘aliveness, wellbeing and presence’ in their body.  Our bodies know how to heal and  health will emerge given the right conditions.

A session lasts for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

A  first session lasts for approx 1 hour and 15 minutes .A case history form can be sent  ahead of time if you would like to fill it in advance.

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How others have benefitted

Mary Hayden
Mary Hayden
May 24, 2022.
Sara is such a kind caring person, & who said it was difficult to feel emotion or connection over zoom. Sara definitely knows how to manage & capture this. Please do connect with Sara, an hour well spent on yourself. You wont regret it. Thank you Sara. Mary
John Devoy
John Devoy
March 3, 2022.
Nerve pain due to a cervical slipped disc is not nice...to put it mildly! And though seeing a specialist etc etc. – I now have had several sessions of cranio-sacral with Sara. I was cynical that any shift would happen but there was/is no denying the sense of relaxation and relief felt. there is way to go yet but no doubt I will include as many C-S treatments as I can. Thank you Sara!
Sue Goode
Sue Goode
March 3, 2022.
I’ve had three sessions with Sara. As well as being a lovely lady, her work is very gentle yet powerful. Sara is helping me with a challenging phase of my life and the therapy is proving to be very effective. Would highly recommend. Thanks Sarah.
Liz White
Liz White
February 3, 2022.
I had the pleasure of attending some Craniosacral session with my newborn baby in Sara’s safe hands. My baby’s birth experience may have caused him a little trauma & he was suffering with wind. The Craniosacral therapy was gentle and calm on my baby & I feel it alleviated him, made him more relaxed and comfortable. I would highly recommend Sara.
Kimberly Gray Ennis
Kimberly Gray Ennis
December 21, 2021.
Sara's session are beautifully gentle & playful. She is incredibly intuitive and soft in her approach, clearly tapping into a deep wisdom. I am so glad to have found Sara. I will be continuing my sessions with her throughout 2022.
Jackie Gowran
Jackie Gowran
August 30, 2021.
Sara’s touch and way is very healing, her well of knowledge, wisdom and compassion is deep. Thanks Sara.
Noelle Holland
Noelle Holland
August 13, 2021.
I've just availed of a wonderful treatment from Sara. Such a feeling of care for the client from Sara & my back now feels released & healed.
Judy O'Grady
Judy O'Grady
May 2, 2021.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have received a treatment from Sara at my husband's Osteopathic Clinic at Stephen's Wood, Carrigadrohid, Macroom, Co. Cork. Having had cranial treatment in the past, I expected the same style from Sara. However, having had first hand experience, I have to say I think Sara is extremely unique in her skillset. It was the first time I felt the sensation of waves through my body. It felt magical. Since then, I have had a lasting feeling of physical and emotional wellbeing. Sara has a rare gift, and I am so grateful to have experienced her talent for myself. Treatment with Sara is something I cannot recommend highly enough. Thank you Sara.
Noreen Murphy
Noreen Murphy
March 16, 2021.
I felt so at ease at Sara's. I would never have tried this therapy before but I would recommend it. I will be back
sharon odwyer
sharon odwyer
January 21, 2021.
Sara review I honestly didn't know what to expect from an online session with Sara but in fact I got so much from it, I can't recommend it enough! Sara has a gentle but very knowledgeable way that made me feel Safe and Accepted straightaway. I was amazed at what she was able to pick up through our shared screens - where I had difficulty and where I needed support. Through her gentle invitations, I found ways to support myself ongoing. The benefits were apparent after the session too - I found I was more self aware and able to be kind to myself and what really interested me was it helped me make better decisions for myself in terms of eating healthily and resting more. I'd love my own clients (as a nutritional therapist) to experience these benefits, when a change to healthier habits can be a struggle unless they are first able to accept themselves as deserving of the investment into taking care of themselves - thanks Sara!

Ina de Brún

A treatment with Sara was a wonderful cradling ~ a letting go of tension into a more natural and harmonious balance. Just lovely! Thanks Sara.

Tom Farrington

I have had a number of treatments with Sara and definitely had benefit from them. I would definitely recommend Sara’s gentle approach.

Fiona Ross

I felt so much more balanced after my Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy session with Sara. She has a natural healing gift and I really liked the holistic approach, in that it wasn’t just about the treatment process but was a very person-centred approach. Thank you Sara!

Michelle Ryan

I had a lovely experience with Sara in her Craniosacral therapy. Calming and relaxing treqtment and good for your well being overall. thank you..🙂

Emmeline Raj

I loved my remote craniosacral therapy session with Sara Devoy! I really appreciated her sensitive, caring, respectful approach. Her kind and calm presence made me feel safe and allowed for very deep work to take place – perhaps deeper still than in-person sessions. I felt held and heard. It was beautiful and transformative.

Eleanor Reilly

Sara has a lovely relaxing, caring and present energy, and helped me so much in overcoming fear around childbirth with her holistic and intuitive approach. She also helped my daughter as we felt she had ‘unfinished business’ after a difficult birth. When Sara left my daughter wanted to hug her – the first time she’d ever done this!Our second session was via Skype and although I was a little skeptical about doing this kind of work online, it worked well. In fact I credit the guidance she gave me during that session with the unexpected but magical speed of my second labour! Sara helped me reframe my experience of childbirth and I am extremely grateful for her help.

Tiggi Halliday

I love Sara’s approach and techniques, and would highly recommend her. I had been experiencing boundary and sleep issues with my son, but after just a couple of sessions I’ve seen great improvements. She helped us in a gentle yet deeply powerful way, which has left me feeling stronger and more confident in myself and parenting abilities. This in turn has had a very positive influence on my son. Thank you Sara, for your support, encouragement and beautiful healing energy!

Grainne Warren

Sara is a wonderful therapist. Her person centred approach put me at ease from the very beginning. The craniosacral therapy session left me feeling calm and balanced, giving me space to fully relax and recharge. Thank you Sara!

Pommy Harmar

had the most powerful session with Sara. She is a truly talented and skilled practitioner with a deep understanding of healing. I wish she lived near me so I could have more!!1 CommentLikeCommentShare

Muriel Laradi

Thank you Sara Devoy for this craniosacral session I had with you ! I feel so grateful and privilegied… Time was suspended, thanks to your dedication. You listen so well to the body, find right words and know how to create the space for healing. Afterwards, I felt deeply relaxed, fully connected to my body, light and “full of free space inside” if it makes sense… 🙏You do a light work, dear Sara 😊I highly recommend your work

Rita Holding

I had the most amazing treatment with Sara this past week. The setting is safe and peaceful and Sara is an amazing gentle therapist. I have no doubt that continuous craniosacral therapy treatment with Sara with help to improve the functioning of my nervous system and relieving pain. Highly recommended, thank you Sara!