Margaret Connolly, PhD RCST®
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 at the university where I was teaching. 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! I don’t have to take antibiotics over and over! 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 primary doctor, 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 work, 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 phenomenon ourselves or known someone who’s been “stuck” and not able to “get on with their lives.”
Since that beginning over twenty 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.
In the fall of 2019, I began studying BodyTalk. Maybe there was a guiding hand here too, because just a few months later, the Covid lockdown began and I had a lot of free time to study and practice. I could no longer see clients in person, and BodyTalk doesn’t require in-person contact.
BodyTalk uses a combination of left-brain knowledge from both Western and Eastern medicine plus right-brain intuition to get a picture of what factors might be affecting your health — whether these factors are physical, emotional, mental, or environmental. Once all the relevant factors are brought to awareness, BodyTalk techniques improve coordination and communication within your body/mind so that you can be in a better state of balance.
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. Other clients may be going through or recovering from a major illness, surgery, or injury, or dealing with pain or trauma that hasn’t resolved, maybe not for years. Both craniosacral therapy and BodyTalk are cutting-edge techniques that help these people keep agile, creative, and responsive to life itself as it moves along.
Either way, I have the satisfaction of being part of the support system for people taking on 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
Certified BodyTalk Practitioner
Member, International Association of Healthcare Practitioners
Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork
Certificate in Manipulative Theory and Practice, Osteopathic Health and Wellness Institute
Preferred Provider, Society for Oncology Massage, 2014-2016
Provider and volunteer, Unite for HER program for breast cancer patients, 2012-2019
Certified by MotherMassage®
PA License MSG002470
Professional/Active Member, American Massage Therapy Association
Ph.D. Stanford University
B.A. Harvard University