When I placed my right index and middle fingers on Melody’s right mandible, with my left hand cradling her neck, her neck wound to her left shoulder before veering all the way across to glide over her right shoulder and then jutted toward her back. She let out a sigh as she released strain from what she had told me only seconds earlier was a bothersome area and, before I knew it, her whole body was recoiling as Melody rolled to one side of the massage table. I stood swiftly and knocked over my chair as I got into place, with me standing and ready to block her from rolling over the table, following the safety protocol we were taught.
Melody rolled over the other way, back toward the middle of the table, and stopped moving, coming to rest after a good winding stretch that lasted about half a minute.
“That was surprising,” Melody said while processing her release of strain. “I had something in there that needed to come out, but I’ve had so much myofascial work done on me over the years.”
It was this experience, on the final day of the Gillespie Approach’s three-day craniosacral fascial therapy seminar at the Cortiva Institute in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, that showed me I—through my hands, body, whole being as well as my clear and present connection to my guide—have the power to help others improve their health by releasing strain they’ve endured as long back as when they were in their mothers’ wombs, possibly squeezed into an uncomfortable position.
At the center of the seminar, attended by 22 students from mostly Pennsylvania and nearby states but as far away as Florida, California, Spain and Norway, was Dr. Barry Gillespie, nicknamed “Dr. Loose,” who created craniosacral fascial therapy to help rid himself of headaches and sinus infections, which plagued him in the mid-1970s. He discovered osteopathic cranial work, which showed him that the brain needs to “breathe” by expanding and contracting slowly and smoothly to function correctly and provided a partial solution to his headaches. Barry found the missing link when he met John F. Barnes, who taught him that the myofascial system needs to be addressed. The fascia is the whole-body connective-tissue web that can apply tremendous pressure to the nerves, muscles, organs and bones. Craniosacral therapy is limited if the fascial system is tight. Together, the “breathing” brain and unrestricted fascial system form the craniosacral fascial system.
A former periodontist, Barry has been helping guide others to release strain from trauma suffered in utero, during the birthing process and at other times during a person’s life since 1978. He’s worked with thousands of newborns, children and adults in helping prevent and reverse health conditions such as allergies, asthma, headaches, migraines and physical pain.
Over the seminar’s 24 hours of instruction, Barry reviewed all the release methods in his ever-expanding toolbox, including his go-to method, the cervical release. Students partnered with one another to practice the methods under the watchful eyes of five roving instructors, who served up plenty of insight of their own, as well as Barry.
I—through my hands, body, whole being as well as my clear and present connection to my guide—have the power to help others improve their health.
I met Barry, who adopted in 1980 a whole-foods vegan diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables, a year ago at a Greater Philadelphia raw food café at which I worked part time. In late September, he gave me the first of 16 office visits for CFT treatment. Barry knew that I was a raw fooder practicing the Bates Method to regain clarity in my eyesight and revealed to me that my neck strain, which roots back to fetal and/or birth trauma, is contributing to my nearsightedness. Barry has helped open up this deeply embedded strain, and, with my continued Bates Method practice, my eyesight is slowly restoring itself from a minus-7.25 contact lens prescription.
As my sessions with Barry, who reversed his lifelong eyesight issues in his mid-50s with regular CFT treatments alone, continued throughout the fall, my interest in CFT mushroomed. I had an epiphany in early November, realizing I was destined to met this health leader, the internationally recognized trailblazer in his growing field. I decided on this mid-fall day to cash in my retirement account to study to help others in CFT as well as the Egoscue Method, which enabled me to reverse a decade of chronic pain through practicing uniquely designed stretches and bodyweight exercises. It, too, was destiny that I discovered the Egoscue Method, Bates Method as well as a raw food diet and leaders in all these fields. It’s my goal to guide others in these remarkable healing and lifestyle modalities.
The most visually dynamic activity during the seminar was the web exchange, in which all the students and instructors paired off over four massage tables throughout the large seminar room. Each had his or her time on the table, with the others softly placing their hands on arms, legs, the neck and midsection—listening closely as the person on the table relaxed into a deep, winding stretch. Some experienced dynamic emotional responses that jolted me, getting me to see CFT in a light much different from my own experiences thus far. I quickly wound up with my belly on the table and then careened back around onto my back, with my body swaying side to side. My neck drove the action, and I was like a worm peeking out of soil but in a hamster ball, tumbling around.
Watch an Overview of the Gillespie Approach
“That was excellent!” I proclaimed to the group, whose faces were awash with smiles. It was an experience I’ll never forget—and one I want to be immersed in monthly!
The next day, students watched Barry and several other instructors participate in a web exchange with a 7-year-old female patient of his who sustained head and neck injuries and lost a tooth during a biking accident. Hours after this treatment, the mother reported that her child’s head didn’t hurt as much and that her body felt much better.
We also got to see Barry in action with two more patients. One was feeling relief after just a few sessions following TMJ surgery and cried in gratefulness over finding Barry, who, she said, has helped her get her life back. The other was a new patient, a 7-year-old boy who’s suffered from migraines practically daily. Barry checked his brain cycle early on at zero seconds. The boy was tight, and Barry went to work, freeing up strain, centered in his pelvis, the area Barry zeroes in on. After 20 minutes, Barry clocked a brain cycle of 120.
A brain cycle between 100 and 200 seconds means a person can experience better cognitive function. Many people have a zero brain cycle, as was the case with me during the start of my first visit. When Barry last measured my cycle, on February 4, it registered 570, which Barry described as being in the “upper stratosphere.” Barry’s gotten as high as 1,200, thanks to a water fast.
Watch Dr. Barry Gillespie Talk About CFT Stories
I walked into this CFT seminar as a bodywork beginner outside giving and receiving some massage. I left this seminar educated, inspired, hungry to continue practicing and learning as well as excited to be able to do this work for others after I earn a massage license and will be legally permitted to practice professionally.
I also intend to enroll in a CFT seminar so I can work with infants. This is where CFT can have the biggest impact in helping change the world. You see, Barry, 69, chose about a decade ago not to retire but to continue working so that every child born has an opportunity to receive CFT minutes after birth, if needed. Some functions are checked such as the heart rate, but there is no test for brain function and whether a child has strain. Imagine a world in which newborns no longer suffer needlessly from difficulty in sucking and swallowing as well as colic, esophageal reflux, indigestion, gas and constipation. Imagine a world in which infants’ napping issues, strabismus, clubfoot and other conditions are no more. Imagine not needing to wear corrective lenses to see for almost an entire lifetime simply because strain was released shortly after birth.
I’m envisioning all this and more—including mass adoption of a fruit-based raw food diet and widespread return to nature—for our beautiful people and entire world! Great things are happening, and even greater things are on the way as people across the globe are discovering wonderful healing modalities available to them so they may flourish!
Check out a special interview with Dr. Barry Gillespie on craniosacral fascial therapy!