Richard Crandall from Awakenings Holistic recounts his journey into holistic health and shares his insights on healing and spirituality.
Did you always know that holistic healing would be your life calling?
I had no idea I would end up doing this line of work. I actually come from a background of electronics and music and worked as a computer customer engineer for ten years. I think I came to the end of the line, if I can describe it like this, and many existential questions popped up for me at a certain time in my life, which ultimately led me to giving up this line of work.
I went back to school and after a whole series of events, including a car accident in particular, I ended up going to a Network Chiropractor which I continued to do for about three years. I was also introduced to other healing techniques along my healing journey.
There was a one day workshop that I attended on psychic healing, carried out by a psychic surgeon – he was amazing – I was able to see and feel things that I had been having a hard time accepting. I was greatly moved by this experience and this led me to wanting to pursue this work further.
Some time later, at massage school, I was introduced to Polarity Therapy and I knew instantly that this was my calling.
How did Craniosacral Therapy find you?
I was traveling by car and went past a local physical therapy clinic. Something made me stop there, and I asked for an exchange with the Therapy which he found very peaceful. Later, I found out that he was one of John Upledger’s senior instructors and had been teaching CST in Asia for many years. He was a teacher and practitioner of CST (Craniosacral Therapy).
After I completed Polarity School, I moved inland away from the ocean and close to the mountains, where I live and work now. One of my classmates asked if I wanted to exchange bodywork sessions of Polarity Therapy for CST work, which I did. I then completed a foundation course in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy in Manhattan. During the initial class demonstration and because of my Polarity Therapy training I was exited and warmed by the feeling of knowing what was going on within the student receiving the work from my teacher. I was able to feel the unfolding healing process of the teacher demonstrating up in front of the class. My psychic abilities were tuned up enough so I could be on the receiving end and feel what was going on several feet away. This may seem rather startling however as a therapist/counselor this experience is simply part of the therapeutic process – you develop skills about really understanding what is going on within the patient.
How would you best describe Craniosacral Therapy to the unacquainted?
CST is a conscious art of listening to the body and mind and the science of applying the tools of awareness for the practitioner. It is like meeting a friend for the first time – you have to encourage him/her slowly and negotiate your interactions with respect. It’s about conscious listening at a very deep level while providing space for the unfolding healing process.
You have to work with what skills the person coming to you has, so as to tune into what they are able to listen to and what language skills they have to appreciate what you are trying to say to them.
How has the pandemic affected your line of work and how effective is online therapy compared to face to face?
The pandemic has affected my line of work greatly. I am unable to meet clients in person, however I am now able to provide online CST. I think it is very effective because for the clients who continue to receive CST, they tell me it works. Since the pandemic and the change in political climate here in the States, many people have come to me for online work in order to find comfort and reduce their stress. However, some people are not comfortable with working from a distance.
With people who are more anxious, potentially psychotic, or dissociated because of trauma, working face to face is imperative. With some I am able to help them slow and deepen their breath which can relieve those higher levels of stress, for example. Once their breath has reduced their alert state we may be able to work remotely. Furthermore, you don’t know what is going to come to the surface, or what experience is inside of a person. This can come out in treatment and you need to be physically with that person to help them through this moment-to-moment settling and integration experience. Virtual work is NOT something I can do with people who are psychotic or very dissociated.
Do you combine healing modalities with clients and, if so, how do you decide which to use and when?
I use a pendulum sometimes to determine what treatment to use. Other times, I will get impressions or feel something internally telling me which modality to follow. I also ask the person what type of work they want.
More often than not, I will be guided as to what to do next in the middle of a treatment. I will get internal pictures of their anatomy and what is going on inside their body. This is where I will be told where to go next. If I wait for that balance point, I will be guided. To get to this point I need to be quiet and still, and allow things to settle down within myself.
Do you believe that if you were to work with children from a very early age, their destinies would change for the better?
I think the answer is yes but it really comes down to whether or not the person wants to be healed or not. With CST, when you hold someone, the body transitions from a feeling of being physical to more of a fluid state, and as the session continues this fluid state transitions into more of an energetic state. At this point, depending on where the person is in his/her life process and soul development, it can become a karmic situation and the person can migrate into another form where they release old patterns.
In CST, when you hold someone, you may receive an energetic imprint of the spirit body, and you will see it go through a little dance, from left to right and then back to center. Then there is a shift that takes place and you will see that the physical pattern is not attached to the etheric pattern as it used to be. It is released from this hold and at this point a healing process can begin.
I have seen this so many times. This is how old patterns are released (what the person comes into this world with) – but it is up to the person’s soul as to what they do with this, whether they are willing to let go, and what path they choose to follow.
How much spirituality is involved or integrated in your work?
Spirituality is a personal journey towards communion with a client’s higher self, soul, God and Universal Intelligence. In Biodynamic CST we practice with a knowing presence, we may feel the presence of the Divine (Breath of Life), we listen to the rhythms of life and vitality as they present as tidal cycles. What appears to give us life is universal. Some may call it the Long Tide, Holy Spirit, Great Spirit, the Breath of Life or Primary Respiration. It is a finer breath that enlivens us and comes to us from another dimension – from the non physical, from the transpersonal.
Our bodies have cycles that are present at a finer rate, that deal with releasing stress and then at a slightly slower rate, these cycles are examples of our personality and the elemental forces that move through us. In a more expansive view, there are larger cycles in our body that are universal. They have no personality whatsoever. This is what we call the Long Tide – and for the most part is constant and never changing.
What role does meditation play for you (and your clients)?
Meditation is a way of clearing the aura, and any anxiety that I may be experiencing. When I work with people in person particularly, I will have to clear my aura and physical body to relieve the stress that is there.
For the clients, often when I am working with them, I am guiding them through a meditation while they are on the table. In a lot of ways, I will help them orient to places within themselves that help them relax and breathe for example, which is incredibly grounding and relieves stress.
In your opinion, how important is ‘touch’ for the human being?
Touch is essential in the development of each human. Without touch we suffer. There are many studies that show how vitally important touch is for the development of the mind and body. Without touch we humans would not do well at all. It is sad to think how much touch can be used inappropriately. Also the intent of the practitioner or person making the physical or energetic contact is key to promoting an improvement in health or well-being. Touch whether with the physical hand or mind is a very important component of what creates an effective healing environment whether the service is practiced in person or online (non-locally) over a distance.