Electrical and chemical sensitivity
Gillian McCarthy, GSOH, lives in a field. She would love to live in a house, but many of the trappings of the 21st centaury are mortally dangerous to her. Years ago she was poisoned by organophosphates while working as a biochemist on sheep dips. This led to her now debilitating electrical and chemical sensitivity. This is a political issue, and although repeatedly verified by medical clinical ecologists, some authorities still discredit the connection.
I have never encountered anyone with such a litany of symptoms. Think ME with attitude. Her immune and metabolic systems are sufficiently compromised that any detoxing just makes her condition worse. Her nervous system has no protection against either chemical or electrical exposure. She is so sensitive that a visitor wearing perfume, or helicopters passing overhead, can render her unconscious.
Her home of 20 years is three wooden sheds in a state of collapse, plus her unique low allergy garden. No running water, sanitation, phone, bed, warmth. You can find out about her on the internet, but she is unable to handle being close to a computer. She cannot leave. Comforts include copper earthing rods, and stones heated over a candle. A dedicated group of people recently built her a small sanctuary out of natural materials. Unfortunately, Gillian found that the emf shielding embedded in the walls increased, not decreased the electric fields inside the structure.
If she had more financial support, plus access to one of the few doctors who understand her condition, her quality of life would hugely improve. Intravenous drips of magnesium and other essential nutrients reduce her pain, oedema, and brain fog. She has not had access to these for years.
Several years ago Katya Wainwright worked with Gillian’s using McTimoney chiropractic techniques. Just out of college, working totally off piste, she did a great job, offering relief where little else could. I took over as Gillian’s body therapist a few years ago as Katya become busy with her young family.
Treating Gillian is a reality check on just how little input a body needs for change to happen. She uses homeopathy daily, and has treatment from me every few weeks. The minutest of adjustments. The lightest of toggles.
Tiny cranial releases. We work as a team, adjustment by adjustment, any conventional patient practitioner dynamic going out the window. Gillian is the sole expert in herself, and we can only assist what healing capacity her body still retains.
I have noticed in my practice that people with ME and similar conditions often experience very strong reactions. Gillian reports back in letters. ‘Great treatment – a litre of fluid drained from the back of my throat’. ‘My knee blow up like a balloon’. ‘However despite strong reactions, she finds great benefit in our gentle ways.
She is an acknowledged expert in plants and nutrition for the electrically and chemically sensitive. Those individuals call themselves canaries. These were the birds sent down the mines, whose deaths alerted the miners to toxic gases. Increasing numbers of people are realising they are sensitive to emissions from phone masts and the myriad of other electrical and chemical ‘poisons’ we are expected to live with.
Gillian is an extreme example of how a system unbalanced to the point of mere survival benefits from light intervention. Her GSOH means there is always something to laugh about in this strange old world, where humanity inflicts such damage on itself and the earth in the name of progress.
Jo Hanstead, January 2016
Craniosacral therapy ‘tides’
I was on the Isle of Wight, leading a workshop for a group of McTimoney chiropractors. It introduced practically the basic skills of ‘listening’ to the body, and discussed the use of CST with McTimoney chiropractic. Walking along this beach in the morning, I was pondering how to put across the idea of the various tides. How they all happen at once; how it is possible to tune in to any of them; how they all reflect the organizing principal of the Breath of Life.
I then saw that the pebbles on the beach were organised by the sea into large, middle, and small sizes. The large ones were fairly unmoving, and stepping on them didn’t have any effect. Over time their positions would change a bit, but certainly not fast. Then the middle sized strata, having its own pattern, and also interacting with the large and smaller pebbles either side. Then the small pebbles, their overall pattern changing shape faster than the others, and definitely influenced by walking on them.
So this was my way of explaining later that day that the three tides could be present simultaneously, all organised by the one Breath of Life. It perhaps also explains why it may be less disruptive to the system working on the slower tides.
I love the sea metaphors applicable to craniosacral therapy. There are the obvious ones about tides, but there are many others. When patients ask what it all feels like I will often say: imagine you could put you hand on the top of the sea and there was a swell underneath. Your hand would not move but you would be aware of the deep movement going on below.
I am never quite sure if some of the models we use are the ‘actual process’, or just a good way of explaining what we feel.
Jo Hanstead, July 2009
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