Susan's Blog

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Oooh, my sacroiliac…
–Kaa the Snake, Disney’s “The Jungle Book”

You wouldn’t think that mere light touch would do much of anything for a person with high anxiety, and actually, I’m not sure that it does. Nevertheless, Ned and I brought Nat to his first session of Craniosacral therapy today at my gym’s spa, and we sat with him while Kate worked on him.

I chose to do this because I have had several excellent massages with Kate. I find her kind, warm, and with just the right degree of pressure. I truly relax with her, and for me, that is a wonder. I was idly checking her bio on my gym’s homepage and I saw that she practices CST. I knew that craniosacral is an alternative, unproven therapy for autism, and of course I thought of Nat, although the thing is, what does it mean to be a “therapy for autism?” Are you trying to address autism, or are you trying to somehow help the autistic person? And what does that mean?

In my mind, therapy for Nat would be about either making his body more effective in some way, or making him feel good in some way. CST could possibly do both, or nothing. But I figured there would be no harm done in having Nat experience something new like massage. Once he has the context of a new thing, he can enjoy it and I believe he will enjoy getting massages; perhaps with Kate.

First Kate worked on me (yay! did that feel good!) while Nat watched, so that he would know what to expect. She gently pulled at my feet for a while and then went to my neck and head and temples, gently stroking or resting her hands there. She finished with these mild tugs on my ears. It was delightful.

Then Nat eagerly got up on the table, laying down face up, and she touched his feet for a while, and then moved over to his neck and shoulders. Nat was smiling gently for some of it, and eyes closed and mouth neutral for the rest of it. He sometimes stared at the ceiling, fuzzy-eyed, too.

No sillytalk for the entire session. That is the one big observation I made. He was definitely not asleep, either. He answered her questions each time — about his comfort level — and lay still. Only once did his hand move in a vague flap, and he pronounced one brief syllable, but that was it. Not at all sure what to make of that, except that he was probably uber-relaxed.

I suppose utter relaxation is what I was hoping to get out it for him. As I gazed at him lying there so still, so serene, I felt my mind moving back in time, to Baby Nat and how he would laugh when I tried to lay down with him for a nap. He kept lifting up his head, looking at me with my eyes closed, laughing as if I were playing a game with him. I remember I was so tired, and so wishing to sleep, and yet his delighted little face right near mine was so adorable that I didn’t really mind being awake.

Watching Nat lying on the soft table in the massage room, thinking about how much has happened, an odd thing happened. For perhaps the first time ever, my remembering in that way did not make me feel sad. I kept looking at his sleepy, bearded face and only thinking, “Do you feel good, Nat? Is this different? Is this okay?” I only wanted for him to feel happy, calm, relaxed, at peace: no other feelings. And the funny thing is, that is what I was feeling.


Oh this gave me chills. The ability for Nat or any of our high energy kids to just R-E-L-A-X. I am looking for someone to try CST with Nik to see if we can releive some of his recurring head pain.

Glad it was such a wonderful experience for you both!

— added by Niksmom on Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 5:06 pm

I work at a residential school for kids with autism. There is a teacher there who stands out. He is noted for his gentle ability to get along with even the “toughest to get along with” kids.

He often massages the kids. He told me one day they stay relaxed for hours afterwards.

I imagine it has a lot to do with their trust in him, also.


— added by Anonymous on Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 5:15 pm

we have done cranial with my son who is 8 for months. he loves it-we go every other week. if you go to an osteopath-it will be covered by your insurance. just a little fyi.

— added by Anonymous on Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 8:07 pm

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