Margaret Connolly, PhD LMT RCST®
The initials after my name tell one thread of my life story – from PhD to licensed massage therapist to registered craniosacral therapist. Sometimes I think there’s something a little mysterious about how we’re guided to find our work in the world.
Isn’t it funny how life takes us to the next step as we follow our passions, or even our interests, and find out where they lead? Why did I meet that particular person? Why did I read that particular book?
Back in the 1990’s, I was attending a yoga class. I’d been told that yoga was the way to increase my breath capacity so I could comfortably deliver a required hour-long public lecture. In that class I met a woman who directed me to the osteopath who changed my life direction.
Before I became a therapist, I’d been teaching literature and humanities at two major universities. My Ph.D. is in English, and I’m a Virginia Woolf specialist. My contribution to that field was to describe how Woolf’s anti-fascism structured one of the novels she wrote during the 1930’s, and I changed the received perception of that novel about 180 degrees.
I’m proud to say my article on that subject was re-published in a collection of essays by scholars of extreme distinction.
If there’s a connection between that part of my history and my work as a therapist, maybe it lies in intellectual style. If what’s standard isn’t working, I keep looking till I find an alternative that does work.
During my last teaching position, I was getting ear infections every two or three months, and I couldn’t hear what my students were saying at the other end of the seminar table.
I was tired of getting antibiotics again and again, and in the book Spontaneous Healing by Andrew Weil, M.D., I read that craniosacral therapy could be good for children’s recurrent ear infections. I decided to give it a try.
It worked like a charm. My reaction was — “This is the kind of health care I want access to! It works! And no side effects!” Before long, the osteopath who had solved my problem – Steven Sanet, D.O. — was offering courses, and I was on my way to changing careers.
Of course that doesn’t mean I abandon standard conventional medicine. I get all my regular checkups with my PCP, and you should too. But with my years of training I can now provide therapies that you can combine with conventional medicine to get the best of both worlds.
One explanation for why craniosacral therapy works for ear infections is that it restores normal mobility to the Eustachian tube behind the eardrum. This means that fluid can drain correctly from that area, rather than accumulating and providing a juicy pool for bacteria to breed in.
As I progressed in my training, I came to understand at deeper and deeper levels how important the principle of normal mobility is for optimal functioning — body, mind, and spirit. In the body, everything has to be moving properly in order to function optimally. Obviously your heart has to move, your lungs have to move. But that principle of movement extends right down to the cellular level. Cell membranes have to open and close to let substances in and out. Receptor sites on cell membranes have to change their shape to interact with neurotransmitters.
If something’s stuck, something somewhere isn’t going to be working right. Emotionally and spiritually, we’ve probably all either experienced that ourselves or known someone who’s been “stuck” and not able to “get on with their lives.”
Since that beginning over fifteen years ago, I’ve pursued extensive advanced training with Dr. Sanet, founder of the Osteopathic Health and Wellness Institute and Chair of the Credentials Committee (2004-2006) of The Cranial Academy, A Component Society of the American Academy of Osteopathy. Dr. Sanet is an approved provider for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. I also trained over a five-year period with Franklyn Sills at Stillpoint in New York City, and I’m certified by the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America.
My clients often live under a lot of pressure because of the high-powered careers they’ve chosen, the distressed populations they serve, or the complicated family situations they grace with their heartful presence. They may use craniosacral therapy or massage, or a combination of both, for the stress management that keeps them agile, creative, and responsive to life itself as it moves along.
Other clients may be undergoing treatment for or recovering from a major illness, surgery, or injury, or dealing with pain or trauma that hasn’t resolved, maybe not for years. The reduction of physiological stress accomplished by craniosacral work/massage accelerates their healing and improves its quality.
Either way, I have the satisfaction of being part of the support system for people taking on, or faced with, big challenges. Let me see if I can be of help to you. Call me 610-202-4778, and we can talk.
Professional Credentials and Memberships
Certified by the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America
Nationally Certified Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist
Certificate in Manipulative Theory and Practice, Osteopathic Health and Wellness Institute
Certified by MotherMassage®
PA License MSG002470
Professional/Active Member, American Massage Therapy Association
Member, International Association of Healthcare Practitioners
Preferred Provider, Society for Oncology Massage
Ph.D. Stanford University
B.A. Harvard University