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Massage Today
October, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 10

Connor Opens the Door

By Judy Pszyk, CST

Beautiful, slightly wavy brown-haired Connor came to the door for his first treatment one month before he turned 3 years old. His parents, Brad and Raylene, were apprehensive about whether I would be able to treat him, because he usually objected to anyone other than his parents touching him.

They had taken him to specialists, who thought he had suffered a stroke in utero or during birth, which is why his left hand was clenched to the extent it left marks in his little palm.

He carried his left arm against his chest, holding it up with his right hand whenever he could.

I looked at his twinkly brown eyes; they said it all. I loved him and I felt as if he knew it immediately. He walked with a pronounced limp of his left leg toward the treatment room until he got to the door, which fascinated him. He opened and shut it many times. Later, we discovered that putting a towel over the door so it wouldn't make noise ended the delight.

He was too active to treat on the massage table, so I treated him wherever he went, mostly inducing still points. Thankfully, I got into this field by treating horses, so I was accustomed to connecting with clients where they were, at their pace, not on my terms.

He spoke not at all, only screeched. I could not tell by the tone what was wrong, if anything. Eventually, he settled in his mother's arms and I did what I could of the 10-step protocol. He actually fell sound asleep. His mother remarked that she had never seen him so settled. He usually woke up screaming every 20 minutes or so, and she would have to lie with him. He was like a videotape on pause, rather than one where you pushed the stop and eject button on the VCR and it was done for the night. The first treatment ended with everyone pleased.

Connor Waves Goodbye

The next two appointments saw him relax more, making it easier to treat him; his hand actually opened and relaxed. He was able to wave goodbye with it.

A course on CranioSacral Therapy for Pediatrics was being taught in Edmonton and his parents agreed to bring him the three hours further than the usual three hours it took for him to get to Bonnyville from a small town in Saskatchewan. The opportunity to have Connor treated by experienced people and his treatment coached was the motivation.

At the course, it came time for the children to come in and I could hear him before the doors opened. I didn't know how he would handle the huge room full of people and the commotion. Angela Vetra, a therapist who had not yet treated children, put a mattress on the floor off in a corner, and that seemed to work well to define his area. We proceeded with the treatment and it went well, except he fell asleep in Raylene's arms with her in a very uncomfortable position again. We now make sure she is comfortable before he settles. His arm was becoming more and more extended.

New Doors Open

One day, I got an excited phone call from Raylene - Connor had spoken his first word. They had been at the door of someone's place and while he was waving goodbye with his poor hand he said "bye, bye, bye, bye, bye." Later that evening, he had said "Dylan," his younger brother's name. Indeed, a new door had opened for Connor.

Now, after six treatments, he lies on the floor for his treatment, speaks more and more words with a variance of sounds, uses and extends his arm more and more, responds to physical therapy treatments, sleeps through the night, is more interactive and goes to play school. His mother says that as wonderful as these things are, the thing she notices the most is that he has much more tolerance.

After the last treatment, he reached up his arm to me and just looked at me. His eyes told how the door had now opened for him and this bright and beautiful boy with the delightful giggle, would go through it and many more. It's all the thanks I need.

*By the way, Raylene has now taken CranioSacral Therapy I and looks forward to the doors this will open for her and her son.

A CST practitioner who specializes in the care of children, Judy Pszyk also has completed coursework in somatoemotional release, visceral manipulation, zero balancing, lymph drainage, and heart-centered therapy. Judy is in the process of creating "Take Care Therapy," a place of healing and wholeness that will feature at least 14 different complementary therapies and classes for Pilates, tai chi, meditation, yoga, etc.


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