Jenny Lorant Grouf and I grew up in the same hometown of Highland Park, IL. Through mutual friends, we’ve heard about one another for quite some time. It took the shooting at the July 4th parade in our town to finally bring us together. And everyone listening to this podcast knows, timing is always divine.
People within our community quickly came together to figure out how to support and help one another heal, and while Jenny now lives in California, she quickly jumped in to see what resources and guidance she could offer.
During that time, I learned that for nearly 20 years Jenny has blended Eastern and Western healing philosophies and techniques to nurture, heal, and empower women. Through biodynamic craniosacral therapy, bodywork, massage therapy and education, she guides women in all stages of life.
Each session with Jenny brings her understanding of structural anatomy, physiology, the workings of the nervous system and various layers of your metaphysical makeup. She approaches the body as a whole and honors that every aspect is interconnected - body, heart, mind and spirit.
Jenny believes that we are constantly receiving messages from our bodies about our wellbeing or lack thereof. When we pay attention, we become facilitators in our own healing process. She is able to help you to access the messages that your body is communicating.
You'll learn all about each aspect of her work and how it can help you release the buildup of trauma stored in your body. Plus we discuss Shiatsu, Ayurveda and other practices that you can incorporate into your life.
Find out more about Jenny, her services and her Santa Monica-based private practice at centerherself.com. She also has links to resources on the different areas we covered today as well.
And to find a craniosacral therapist in your area, visit: https://www.craniosacraltherapy.org/
Robyn: [00:00:00] I'm Robyn Miller Brecker,
Karen: and I'm Karen Loenser. Welcome to seeking center. The podcast,
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Robyn: Jenny Lorant Grouf and I grew up in the same hometown of Highland Park, Illinois through mutual friends. We've heard about one another for quite some time. It took the shooting at the July 4th parade in our town to finally bring us together.
And everyone listening to this podcast [00:01:00] knows timing is always divine. People within our community quickly came together to figure out how to support and help one another heal. And while Jenny now lives in California, she quickly jumped in to see what resources and guidance she could.
During that time, I learned that for nearly 20 years, Jenny has blended eastern and western healing philosophies and techniques to nurture, heal, and empower women. Through biodynamic, craniosacral therapy, body work, massage therapy, And education.
She guides women in all stages of life. Each session with Jenny brings her understanding of structural anatomy, physiology, the workings of the nervous system, and various layers of your metaphysical makeup She approaches the body as a whole and honors that every aspect is interconnected, body, heart, mind, and spirit. Jenny believes that we are constantly receiving messages from our bodies about our wellbeing, or lack thereof.
When we pay attention, we become facilitators in our own healing [00:02:00] process. She's able to help you to access the messages that your body is communicating. I share Jenny's work with Karen and we knew we had to find out more. So let's get going. Hi, Jenny.
Jenny: Hi. Thank you so much for having me.
It is really an honor to be with you both.
Karen: we're so excited to have you. You just radiate calm, peaceful, healing energy.
Jenny: It's so true.
Robyn: And I know from speaking with you prior that you had this, knowing from an early age that there was this connection between mind, body, and spirit.
Can you talk about that? Because I know I was really surprised that at an early age you were thinking about this.
Jenny: It's so interesting that you asked because I've been declaring this about myself for so long, and then what does it actually mean to people who hear it? And I feel like you two would agree that when we're.
Little and younger, we have a much stronger connection to our origins. And so I feel like early on, maybe one of [00:03:00] my earliest memories would be, how did I self soothe? Is usually going out in nature, going for walk, getting on my bike and riding to Lake Michigan and looking at the waves.
But the strongest in connection to this would be moments when I would just go on my front lawn and lie in the grass and stare at the sky and watch the clouds pass. But I have such a strong memory of this sense of dissolving in the sense of I didn't know exactly where my body began or ended. And so I didn't have the intellectual explanation then obviously, but it just felt like a knowing.
And I also had a pretty rich. imaginary life. You know what we might call imagination, I later realized was other spirits in my orbit, but I played a lot in my room with others who I called imaginary friends. But I knew were so present and that's a whole nother story.
Obviously, I did the
Robyn: same thing, so I can very much relate. We were, Karen and I were just talking about this. We were,
Jenny: Yeah so it was just this deep sense of knowing there [00:04:00] was more than what was evident more than what we could see. And then how does that translate to health in the early years? So the models I had in my household were a little bit polarized.
My dad had this approach to health go to sleep, get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow's a new day. He still does. And that really resonated with me. And my mother came from a family in which her father was a family doctor in a small community in North Yorkshire, in England. And she and my aunt and my grandmother had this very strong deference to the medical profession, understandably.
And it was also a different era. It was a different generation. There was less information and less exploration than we got to play in right now. And I credit my mom so much because she is open to absolutely anything. . But what I observed early on was just this kind of handing over of power to the medical community and I,
and beyond grateful for doctors in the medical community. I'm very much a proponent of everything integrated. I would just notice them taking medicine or [00:05:00] maybe having a procedure and I would say, Why are you taking that? Or why are you having that? And they'd say the doctor was said, I needed it.
so my instinct is why. And research would be the way I would go, and maybe I'd end up at that conclusion. But, I also saw there were a couple unnecessary things that went on that had, they had different information. Things could have been different, but So back to what was that?
Early knowing, It was just this sense of there is so much more that's being presented
Robyn: I remember too, you talking about, I think you were in high school
Jenny: that was such a clear and pivotal moment for me. I think I was 15 and, so I had all these thoughts or deep feelings and senses about things.
And then I was reading, our local pioneer press, which, like the news magazine that we lived for every week and there's an article about alternative healing therapies and I just soaked it up and it was maybe half a page. and I felt like where's more there? there must be more, but it also turned on that light bulb and somebody finally knows what [00:06:00] they're talking.
And so as I, when I reached 16 and 17, if I had a birthday coming, I was always asking for massage. That's all I wanted. My parents were like, what? There was I think one therapist in park, and then eventually I found another IND Woods. And that was where it began. That's so
Karen: unusual too, because massage, you maybe 20 years ago started to come into being popular, but before that it really wasn't.
I was just gonna ask if there was anything else that really triggered you into this knowing that yes, this is where you wanna spend your time and really wanna focus your purpose your career and the things that you're doing in life. Was there a medical issue that triggered it? Was there a friend that had an issue that said, Oh my gosh, yes, medical is great.
, but I wanna look at alternative ways
Jenny: of healing. Such a good question. I was very curious. And so first, I had in my head there was a path that I was supposed to do and it was something that was of interest. But, so during that time I started to learn shsu and it was a hobby.
And so in my mind it felt like [00:07:00] something I would do when I retired from what I was supposed to do because it felt too indulgent and fascinating. And then I had an experience, so I was earning a master's. What is shiatsu just in case? Oh, shiatsu sorry. It is the practice of accupressure. So it's very similar to acupuncture.
And instead of using needles, you're using finger pressure. Literally means finger pressure. So you're working along the meridians, helping to release stuck chi endpoints and involves a lot of stretching in other things too. . so I was earning a master's in language teaching. During that time I was living abroad.
And while I was abroad, I had an experience with sexual assault. It was with someone I knew. And I came back from that experience immediately connected with a mental health professional which was helpful, but like and essential. And on, maybe two dimensional, I wouldn't say one dimensional, but I knew that I needed more, I needed to address my whole being.
This was a whole assault on my spirit, on my body, obviously, but on my heart [00:08:00] all of it. And I did know a body work practitioner is a friend of a friend. This was my first experience with craniosacral wow. So how old you were
Robyn: I was
Jenny: 26, And so I had this session with her, which was mind blowing and I remember leaving the session and I was a month from finishing my master's . And I remember walking out of the office saying, Now I have to do this. Like I have to do this
It was really, it's a calling. I do,
Robyn: I think we both do. So there you are in 26 and you're like, Okay, I'm pivoting. Did you finish your master since
Jenny: you were So I missed my master. I did work within language teaching for four to five years and then ultimately was able to, and there was a lot of Affect around the decision making.
Going back to school again. is body work a real career? All these things that I had to release and eventually was able to really dive into it. And let's
Karen: be honest, at that point in time, that was a big leap of faith, Because there weren't a lot of places.
I'm sure even offering that it was a little bit woo.
Jenny: Oh [00:09:00] totally. People would think, Oh, so you're a masseuse. There's so much more to it .
Robyn: Since we brought it up, and I know we're gonna dive into it more in our conversation, but can you talk about what is body work for those
Yeah, body work. When I refer to it, obviously it does encompass massage therapy, but it encompasses anything that is going to address for me. The whole system. I could give you a million examples, So we have our medicine, we have traditional Chinese medicine.
As far as the body work within those two are very complex, ancient, brilliant systems. But within both of those, there are body work practices and then a lot of other components. Fascial work, things right? So not myofascial, but Heller work ing osteopathy. Cranial osteopathy is a really good example.
Pelvic floor physical therapy. We've talked about acupressure, but lymphatic drainage, which is wonderful for women especially. But everybody the mind abdominal massage, it's endless. There's, I'm still learning, it's just, there's so much to learn , I put it [00:10:00] into these ancient therapies and emerging systems and so much science around everything now, which is exciting.
Karen: And that's what I love about what you're talking about, because I think so many people don't realize a, the depth of knowledge that you need to have in order to do your practice, but that there is this utilization of your intuition. Absolutely. Because you're really tuning in. It's not just symptomatic of my shoulder hurts, or I have nausea or anxiety that I can't place, but you're really tuning in and listening to all these meridians and deeper elements of the body as well.
Can you talk a little bit about
Jenny: that? Absolutely. It is definitely intuitive. Work. I'd say all of it, obviously some of these practices , can be completely structural and solely physiologically based. But so much of everything has metaphysical components.
And so tuning into the resonance of that is such an intuitive practice. In cranialsacral there's a saying, trust the tide, we're listening to a lot of [00:11:00] tial energies in the system and when I first started practicing that, for example there were moments where I felt like I was crazy.
Am I making this up? I really feeling this? And every time I would remind myself of that mantra to trust the tide everything would widen and expand. And sometimes I just get a sense about something, it, sometimes I'll share it with people and say if this resonates, I just feel like I need to share it with you.
Sometimes I'll get a visual of something. It could be related to their system, it could be something completely outside of their system. But yeah, getting really sensitive with these subtle energies is a practice, but it's very intuition based for sure.
Robyn: in those early years of practicing and learning because you had been a victim of sexual assault, were you focused on helping others who were victims
Jenny: Absolutely. That was the first thing I did. When I finished massage school, I became involved with an organization in New York City where I was living at the time, called Safe Horizon. it's an emergency services organization and works very deeply with [00:12:00] the domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse community.
And so I worked with them in a few capacities, I'm sure you both totally appreciate this too. The pro bono work that we get to do is always the most meaningful and richest, right?
And then I ended up working with another organization that was related called Joyful Heart where we did an amazing multi-year research project on whole person healing and a retreat set scenario. that's a whole nother thing that. Was so fascinating because in the current system, and it's changing little by little for survivors mental health support is the only thing at that time that was available that's changing
but the goal of our research was to create and offer a replicable model for the field to use and adapt as they wish. I just felt so passionately going back to my experience of this is a whole person experience that needs to be addressed spiritually, mentally, physically, all of it.
Robyn: . And [00:13:00] that's really what the work that you're doing
Jenny: does. And it does address all of it.
Robyn: And then having children yourself, didn't that also evolve your practice and your work as well? What unlocked for you
Jenny: I love the way you phrased that. I was always obsessed with childbirth. My mother bless her, really tried to rebel against her German English upbringing.
And so she is the most open, most sharing person, and there was a lot of talk about the female body, maybe oversharing at times, , but I had a very strong sense of my birth story. And so I was always obsessed with What
Robyn: was your birth story?
Jenny: What made it more? It wasn't major.
It was more that I was a month late . Oh, wow.
When I did arrive, it was fast. I'm an Aries, I'm a fire sign. I relate to hummingbirds. Like I'm all about the movement. And she just thought it was, I think an entertaining. Experience describe My dad was one of the first men to be in the delivery room in Highland [00:14:00] Park.
, they were very progressive about it at the time. That's really cool.
Robyn: Where did that
Jenny: lead? Yeah. So I was very obsessed with pregnancy before going into body work. I thought about becoming a midwife and I trained as a doula and I just wanted to learn everything I could about the female body.
And by the time I had children I was just so focused on pregnancy and birth. And then ultimately I incorporated the infant massage work that I've been doing as long as I've been practicing, which is so delicious. But then I was focused on the newborn and I was focused, as empaths are on everybody else.
So I did not put a lot of thought into what is that postpartum time going to be like for me? Having my kids was the big learning and aha that I needed to learn more about this. And gratefully there's such a rich conversation around postpartum healing in the us, which we grew up, in the throws of feminism
so we were going to do it all and we're all recovering from that a bit. I feel so passionately. That healing [00:15:00] period. And so it led me to work more with our ayuervdic medicine, which has a very clear system to how women should be treating themselves, but also be treated by others and how do we hold space, but also what does the body need postpartum
that's another tangent. Wow. Yeah, Chinese medicine has it too. Sitting moon, the, the first 40 days. These are things that I've been really enjoying learning more about and working with.
Karen: Can you a little bit about the body work for the newborns and what that looks like?
Cause of the trauma that the, that poor little one goes through, coming through the birth canal and just that overall experience of what its body has to go through.
Jenny: Yeah. I love that you just said that because I often say to people, no matter how birth occurs, it's traumatic for both bodies and that's not a negative thing. It's just a lot to integrate and. Afterwards, it's just a lot to integrate.
And so for one, on a basic level working with infant massage and massaging this little body, but also having the eye to eye contact allows for [00:16:00] developing attunement and that non-verbal communication that, think of how we handle infants constantly, We're picking them up, we're moving them, we're changing their diapers, we're dressing them and they're constantly being maneuvered.
And it's not that we're unconscious when we're doing it, it's just everyday stuff. And so when you have that intentional loving touch time to first massage, but also I'm really interested in sharing the. Foundations of the craniosacral with families because there's so much in it that is informative to how do we be in relationship with another being?
And if someone's breastfeeding or the main bottle feeder, whatever it is, it's a wonderful way to include those family members being other parents or siblings especially, which is the cutest . Into developing also that nonverbal communication early on.
I love that
Robyn: That's beautiful.
Karen: It is. That touch and , mind body spirit connection between mother and child, that can just be so profound and nurturing
Jenny: for both. 100%. [00:17:00] Yeah. Studies have shown that the giver also has lowered cortisol levels.
Can we just go back for a
Karen: second and just talk about the Biodynamic biodynamic cran therapy. And how do you define it? So if somebody's never heard of it before , what is your definition of it? And just explain it
Jenny: Okay. So biodynamic craniosacral is one approach craniosacral sac therapy. So craniosacral therapy is a very light, noninvasive touch therapy that aims to support reregulation of the nervous system. So a big part of that is establishing safety in the system. So that areas that have held inertia, whether it's from an injury or a heartbreak or something emotional that was held in the gut, it was held in the shoulders, wherever it is.
Our aim is to hold the system in such a way that we are supporting the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest, digest, and restore [00:18:00] mechanism so that the body can start to release some of these held areas. And so the biodynamic piece basically says that we are looking at an individual as a whole system.
So there are some corno take role approaches that are very manual and more akin to osteopathy. And biodynamic is the more energetic. End of the spectrum, although it really is very rooted in the anatomy and neurology and physiology.
Karen: And so when someone comes to you do they need to be in the room with you to go through this experience and is it a physical touch, like massage that they get?
Jenny: It is a physical touch. There are some practitioners who work remotely. I feel strongly about being present with someone with this work. So for me, it doesn't translate. But what it would look like is someone comes, I usually have a good chunk of time for some intake. We do some settling practices.
have a couple that I'll use. And it's done on a table. The recipient is fully clothed and it's really not massage. what it looks like is. I'm holding [00:19:00] different areas of the body. The other component that I need to mention about the biodynamic perspective is that we don't come in with a protocol.
Whereas another therapist might look at this very structurally and have a very specific protocol of how they're going to move the structure. So I don't have a protocol. My job is to show up and get out of the way. And so first of all, within establishing safety, it is really important that anyone who comes to me knows that this is their time.
They are the expert of their body. I've studied, but I'm not in their body, so they're the expert of their body. I can only recognize things within the system and I don't go looking for things either. So my goal is to show up, get out of the way, create a very spacious. Container, so to speak.
And I'll often begin, first I'll ask if someone would like me to begin in a specific area. And sometimes people do have a specific area, and if they don't, then I'll often begin, depending on what's going on, I might just begin holding their ankles or their feet. I might [00:20:00] begin under the sacrum, but usually one of those two areas just to ease into it and settle.
There are three sections typically to a session, which is settling something we call the holistic shift, and then integration. And the beginning it's just a very spacious time to listen. Sometimes the body needs to express things and then it will quiet and then I'll move on. And The holding is really a big part of it, And I think especially for adults, how often are we held?
So we hug other people, maybe, depending on where we are in our lives, we're sexual with other people. Maybe we dance with other people. But how often are we truly held? Like when you hold an infant and when you hold an infant, you're inherently holding the craniosacral system, which is simply the central nervous system.
, you're holding the head, you're holding under the, which is the sacrum. And so even, I guess that loops in the infant massage
Karen: I was just gonna say I've had Jin Shin Jyutsu you ever heard of Jin Shin Jyutsu?
Jenny: I've heard of it, but I'm not so familiar.
Tell me. ,
Karen: it sounds so similar. They say [00:21:00] it's acupuncture without needles basically. So it sounds very much listening to the body. But what you said that resonated so much with me is that it usually begins with holding of the ankles. And if you've never had someone hold your ankles, it is the most relaxing, nurturing feeling I have ever.
It was so surprising to me, how calming that, that's almost like a grounding, I think that it does for you. Yeah. But I was just saying I can relate so much to that as a really comfortable start. Point for people because it is comfortable, it's non threatening and yet so calming.
Robyn: My question, I haven't done either as the practitioner, are you then feeling into the hum of their energy so that you then know where to move next? How does that work for you?
Jenny: What does it feel like? In my hands?
Yeah. Yeah. That's such a good question. I love that you said the hum because that's, I think the way we describe it is different for everyone, and I love thinking of it as a home. There are I'm not gonna say movements per se, [00:22:00] but I guess very subtle movements or.
Energetic movements that we can sense that are not necessarily so structural, so there's something called potency, which often to me appears like a tide pool. So not like a whirlpool that has a drop to it, just a tide pool. And then we're listening also for tidal movements. There's a mid tide that you can sense it feels like the water is coming upon the shore and then receding very gently.
And then , the long tide is one which is similar, but instead of receding back into the ocean, it just continues and goes on and on. And then often from there, we can sense something called dynamic stillness, which is exactly. , it feels exactly as it sounds. It is a stillness that is pervasive and that's often where a lot of healing is experienced for someone who is receiving.
And there are also some really structural movements that we can feel [00:23:00] so early on. craniosacral emerged out of osteopathy. And so the osteopaths who were instrumental in developing it started to notice that the cranial bones, which were thought to be fused, had a slight pull like pulse to them.
So they felt there was some movement. Okay. Almost when this cerebral spinal fluid is circulating, it does feel like. A pulse, And so that was an explosive moment in the development of this, but then also more things came out of that. And so the other would be something we call inhalation and exhalation.
So you notice inhalation the structure of the body, even though you can't see it, and the person's not feeling like they're actually inflection, it feels in my hands, like there is inflection or inward rotation, and then exhalation is outward rotation and expansion or extension and the sacrum. Often you can feel, if it's.
Independent and in a healthy place, it will rock a little [00:24:00] bit. And it's so subtle. And so as I'm saying this, I go back to when I even still, I've been practicing for seven, eight years with the biodynamic work. I still hear myself saying it me like, is this crazy ? Because you really
It's a trust thing. It's so subtle. But it blows my mind every time.
Karen: Wow. And so are you listening for a block and then working through that? Or is the whole idea just to get people back to a balance or is it a combination of the two? So is it like looking for that point and then helping the release and then working through the
Jenny: rest of the system?
So I wouldn't go looking for it, but if I feel like, let's say the sacrum, for example, if I don't sense it rocking, if it feels stuck. Then I may stay there and just hold it. Sometimes it takes time. Sometimes the recipient isn't ready to process whatever is going on there. I might add a hand on the belly to create a little bit more containment or safety.
But yes, the goal is to, at least early on in order to [00:25:00] support that reregulation of the nervous system, get some of those bigger systemic movements going, like the tidal movements that are really exemplary of being in the parasympathetic nervous system. And also, the stillness, and making sure that there is some stillness before someone gets up.
So I would say initially it's. More general and systemic. And we talk a lot about titration. what is that? ? So what is that you think back to chemistry class, like where you, you had to put little drops into a solution. You couldn't just put in a whole dropper cuz you didn't know what would happen.
And that's titrating where you just go little by little. So if we were to rush in and try and do everything at once, we could then really have someone leave their body in a way and dissociate, So we really wanna be gentle and slow about everything. it's the subtlety as you Exactly.
Robyn: a question I have is, as you are doing this, as you're holding. , are you [00:26:00] talking to the client or are they listening to music? What's going on as you're doing
Jenny: the work? Such a good question. I really, especially with the cranialsacral role, I don't talk if I'm working with other body work, except to check in.
I'm really a stickler about it. With the cran it is very collaborative. Okay. And my goal yeah. Is to help somebody tune into what is being noticed in their body? Helping them if they don't already do it, begin the practice of noticing the messages that are being sent to their body.
What are you noticing when I put my hand, let's say, where something traumatic happened? So does the heart speed up? Does the breath get more rapid and shallow? et cetera, or does it feel good and safe and can we stay here? What people don't realize,
Karen: or many people don't realize is how we do keep that traumatic event inside of us, and then it does physically go somewhere.
I think so many people think, Oh, it's just a memory that I have. Or, it's an emotion that, yes, I remember it, but I am just gonna bury it and [00:27:00] let go of it. But that when they do that, it literally physically does manifest somewhere inside until it's released 100%. Is there a difference in going back when you were talking about working with these people who have been through traumatic events,
are there specific things that you do to help them work through and get that trauma memory out of their system?
Jenny: So Trauma in the body is what remains after a very normal, yet incomplete physiological process. When our nervous system perceives threat, it prioritizes functions that are going to support the fight, flight, freeze, or faint response, otherwise called the sympathetic nervous system response. So blood will rush to our heart to beat faster, to help push blood out to our limbs, our arms and legs to help us run and escape or fight better.
Our lungs are also prioritized to get quicker, more efficient oxygen to support all of these functions as. , digestion is cut off because when you have a [00:28:00] survival mode, digestion is not a priority. So all of these are examples of ways in which our body responds to trauma. Now, when the threat is removed, what happens?
Peter Levine, who has done a lot of research in this response is widely talked about and written about how humans. do not always respond completely once the threat is removed. So if you notice ever your dog comes upon something or another dog that makes them nervous, when that other dog who may have scared yours walks away, you may notice that the dog shakes head to tail.
The shake is a way to disperse held energy. that was being kept in the system. Humans. Occasionally we shake. When we come upon a threat, yet often we don't. The question is why. That's a whole nother a whole nother thing. However, it is an example of how we do not always complete the stress response process.
And so what happens, for example, is then our heart rate affected [00:29:00] long term. Our breathing may be affected long term, our digestion might be affected. And circulation, et cetera.
I always frame my sessions to make sure that the client knows that they are in charge.
But specifically with survivors, it's really important to above anything, create safety, make sure they know they're not subordinate, I'm subordinate they're in their bodies and going back to that paradigm that I saw in childhood within my family structure of don't hand over your power to me or anybody.
and so in that way, just even framing the session, my goal is to help people feel more empowered, be able to speak up, ask for what they need. I feel sometimes like it's annoying how much I like overstate that I'll tell people, you get to be so picky. Even if you feel like I shouldn't say anything, maybe it'll get better, when you're receiving a massage or any, anything, I don't wanna interrupt the therapist and make sure everyone knows they're not going to interrupt me because they're the ones [00:30:00] really doing the work. I am accompanying them. And but I feel that body work is so healing for survivors. Just receiving that really safe, loving touch.
I've encountered a lot of women who never in their lives received intentional loving touch. And so working on that level so profound. Even just massaging someone's feet is life changing, but primarily creating an invitational environment. . And let them know they're in charge.
Robyn: about body work now, and I know we touched on it, it seemed like there was so much under that umbrella. So how do you know when someone comes to you and books, let's say a body work session?
Jenny: how does that work? I blend it. Yeah. . It's like anything, whether I'm doing a session or I'm working with families with infant body care it really depends on the recipient.
And I guess also getting back to that intuitive piece, I just follow what I feel [00:31:00] is needed in the moment. I know I'll often begin if they book something integrative, then I'll begin with massage. Always. And incorporate, sh working with the pressure points always, it's very fluidly incorporated.
Or aroma therapy. And the craniosacral Then, comes in the middle often towards the end, maybe at the beginning, the, holding the ankles. It's just Feeling that sense. It feels just very, spiritual
Robyn: and integrated is the right word. My other question I was gonna ask is at the end of a session, when you talked about integration as far as the cranialsacral you discuss what with and so I'm asking this your body work clients as well. Do you discuss what they may have seen or felt and then how to take any of that as they move forward after the
Jenny: session? Yeah. I always check in with them afterwards. Some people. Really are not in a place to process.
Yes, yeah. In that moment. But , Yes, I'll share a [00:32:00] lot about what they noticed. My practice, typically I will send, especially with the cranialsacral work, I will send a synopsis of what I noticed during the session, which a lot of people really enjoy it.
Some people it can get really esoteric and they're like, I don't even know what you're saying.
And I don't either because I'm just describing what I felt. Yeah. And sometimes it's, when I look back on it it's different. , it's just a different thing. It's
Robyn: channeling to me in so many ways. As you said, you get out of the way. It's like you're channeling spirit, whether it's their spirit team or just spirit in general.
It feels it's downloaded to you as you're going through it.
Karen: Are some of your clients surprised with what comes through after? Have you ever had people who've come to you just for a session and then something bubbled up that they didn't expect that was
Jenny: embedded there?
Absolutely. And getting back to your mention of how the body holds these patterns and the body, there's a a [00:33:00] woman in the trauma field, her name Bavette Rothchild, she wrote a book called The Body Remembers. And so along those lines I had this really profound experience with one client who came and suddenly there is a lot of activity with one of her arms, which was a really specific, , I don't typically.
I wouldn't have gone to the arm, but that's where we went. That's where her bus system and her body needed to go. And so we had all this really interesting processing with her arm. And what that looked like was me literally, if she were moving her arm, I was just holding and following with her. And afterwards she checked in with her father and it turned out that she had a birth injury that she didn't know about in which her shoulder was dislocated. Wow. And so that's just one example, but stuff like that, it's not constant, but it happens and it's pretty fascinating.
Robyn: you're really helping the body, remember. And then
Jenny: release. . That's a great way to put it, right? that my role is also to be a neutral observer. . And when I offer settling practices as we're moving through them, I remind people to notice [00:34:00] without judgment, There's so many narratives and layers we bring to ourselves, our systems, our healing processes, why we may be feeling something in the first place. And in my role as a practitioner, being that neutral observer and being present with someone it's an honor. Yeah. And I can see
Karen: why will come to you already symptomatic and not really understand what the root cause
. Yeah. And oftentimes it doesn't matter. I'm so glad you said that. we don't. If you can get the story out of the picture, that's the most helpful because whatever it was, Retelling the narrative is not helping. What we wanna explore is how is it remaining and being held in the body, and how can we help it move through and reintegrate into the nervous system?
Robyn: that is so huge because so many people that I know we talk to don't know what's causing a block. . And yet they know there's a block And to me, what you're offering is another resource to move the energy out. someone can move forward with their life, with their soul plan in this [00:35:00] lifetime.
And so it all comes down to energy, And this is another way of keeping the energy moving and removing anything that's the
Jenny: obstacle. Absolutely. And the nervous system gets stuck. Just like you said, sometimes we have such a big response to something that feels threatening that our sympathetic nervous system rushes up and then our parasympathetic tries to even it out and everything gets stuck.
Like the acceleration, the break at the same time. and sometimes something is purely structural, so this isn't for every situation complete, but I really appreciate how you just rephrase that. Yeah. It could be
Karen: a wonderful option for someone who is looking, other things may not have worked for them.
And they can come to you and you can offer them at least another way to try to release . I was talking to Robin today again about an issue I have with my foot. , I'm a runner and it's very annoying and I can't figure out why it all of a sudden cropped up. And I know it's something.
That I'm holding, thinking, feeling, whatever, and I need to release it.[00:36:00] And I don't necessarily wanna go to a doctor for that. I know that it's probably more my own work that I need to do, but I think it's just an example of how so many people, again, have these symptoms that are caused by things that they're keeping within.
So it's and it
Jenny: offers to
Robyn: It can actually help really move, let's say in your case, move that healing along, right? With what's going on with
Jenny: Your ankle and your heel.
Robyn: But it also can be a compliment to something where someone is going through, for instance, we had a very close friend of ours who was going through cancer treatments and during the time where she was. Going through treatment. Cranial sacral work kept her going and gave her the energy to get up every day because she felt she was so stripped of her . Energy from those treatments.
And she said that the one solace for her at the time
Jenny: was the
Robyn: work it can be a compliment to something in addition to also being something that [00:37:00] actually helps heal on its own. It really can help heal a situation,
Jenny: As well. I love that you said that. It absolutely, it has its limits, but at the very least can support calm stillness and regulation in the nervous system.
At the very least, you're have a really good,
Robyn: we don't in our society talk enough about our inner voice, and what that is, and do we listen to it And it's always been there, and yet no one talks about it. And we don't talk about the nervous system, . in a society that is, I would say, dealing with so much anxiety.
And trauma on a daily basis. We don't talk about these other parts of ourselves
Jenny: that we need to
Robyn: be healing. And if we did that, would we have such a crisis in our society. I don't know, it's just something.
Karen: And reminded me too that my dog
Jenny: Bentley had cranial
Karen: sacral work
one of our animal intuitive friends suggested that he had some issues and we couldn't figure out [00:38:00] what it, what was going on with him. And so he found this lovely woman here in Texas who was a little bit trepidacious about a dog. She worked primarily with people, but had taken care of her own animals.
And I will never forget this. Little dog of mine being brought up on this table and her putting, just moving around, doing a little bit with her hands. And she found this area right behind his neck in the back of his head, and she literally put her hands there and he immediately fell asleep And he's a nervous dog around people he doesn't know. So just to watch that happen was incredible. And he stayed out about, I don't wanna say about 15 minutes or so. Did not move, let her do her work, and she was listening for his pulses and to get it back into a regulated way.
And when he got back up, he was a different dog. The impact of that experience to me, a dog doesn't know what it's carrying and is not communicating what it's carrying, but he was just open to that experience and was so receptive to it. That to me, that was the power of being able to see [00:39:00] how it impacted this dog who didn't have to be able a certain way, but that went right out to
Oh, I love that. I really love that . That's amazing.
Robyn: It really is. Jenny,.
as we were talking about biodynamic cranial therapy are five tens. Can you talk about
Jenny: what they are? Of course. So seen heard, held, acknowledged, responded to appropriately. I first heard this in one of my courses and immediately I felt like this is everything. About how do we show up in relationship everywhere, whether it's practitioner and client, whether it's family, friend, coworker, everything.
But what does that mean? Seen? So how are we being present with someone, Are we bringing our own interpretation or simply being present?
So that's the goal, to simply be present and see others heard refers to listening and really listening, not thinking about what you will say next. Deeply listening. And as far as craniosacral we always talk [00:40:00] about we're listening to the system when we're doing hands on work held. And this is everything, How are we.
Holding others in our space, and also how do we hold ourselves? There's awareness around that and acknowledged, that struck me so much initially, and it's so important to me because it's about validating someone else's experience, right? going back to
we are the expert of our body, of our system, of our experience. And so acknowledging what someone else is experiencing and then responding to appropriately, for me, that's by being present and holding space for whatever they need to process in that moment. And it just, again, pervasive for me.
I can't say I'm successful all the time, especially within my family but it's a practice. All of it's a practice. Yes.
Karen: Do you think of it as a spiritual healing practice or do you think of it more as a therapy modality, or is it
Jenny: both? I would say both. Yeah. Yeah.
Karen: That's why I love the science of it. I think for so many people who might be, A little trepidacious of [00:41:00] trying some of these modalities that having this so based in science and so much ancient wisdom , Eastern western medicine, I think that would really help a lot of people feel comfortable about trying this for themselves.
in your experience and what are some things that people can do? You keep saying that they come to you, but you get out of the way. , what advice would you give to people who are trying to better be in tune with their own bodies and take better care of themselves?
Jenny: I feel that resourcing ourselves can be so simple , it doesn't have to cost a thing actually. So it is a pretty basic practice of noticing what it nourishes us. And on a simple level, on a daily level, what's accessible?
Is it walking barefoot in the grass? Is it walking just through your urban landscape? I do think nature is a huge resource if that's nearby, if it's simply getting outside. But this morning, Wednesdays are my self care day. So that always begins with, our local farmer's market.
And it is a huge resource for me going and [00:42:00] looking at all the different colors and talking with the farmers and maybe seeing friends and and even that connecting with a friend and having a good laugh or just simply hearing their voice is a huge resource. So really following, this is another beautiful piece within cranialsacral practice, is we follow the health.
So where's the health? What feels good, what feels nourishing? And noticing that, and it doesn't have to be an internal body tracking practice, although that's a good one too, and also totally free and in everyone's hands to do. just noticing those nourishing aspects of our individual lives.
Robyn: Because you are primarily working with women, do you see certain threads that many women could be addressing and or calling attention to that Could help them be more present, and moving forward in their lives.
Jenny: I would say getting back to being a neutral observer and having no judgment is something that I like to remind people about a lot, especially women because there are so many layers [00:43:00] of shame or guilt or definitely judgment and what's could be so much more nourishing.
And it's a practice. It's a lifelong practice because we all have had a lot of experiences, but how do we build more self-love and self-compassion? And when you simply notice what the nervous system Is bringing to you, then you can distance yourself a little bit and say, This isn't my fault.
Not that, every woman who I see feels that way. But this is all good information and my body is doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing, and it's telling me that something is not integrated, and how awesome is my body for doing that? And so really having that self appreciation, self love and self-compassion.
And also I really think we need to be our own advocates and huge way. There's just so much available to us. We live in such a rich time in the healing world. Medicine's incredible healing modalities are more and more available everywhere and it [00:44:00] doesn't come naturally for everybody.
Some people have zero interest and so I get it, and that might be hard, but really exploring and advocating for what you need. That's so well said.
Robyn: That's huge. And having had my own health issue last year, which was caused by me not advocating enough for myself . And so your point, I hope everyone listening really. Takes that into their soul, because if you think something's not right, you really need to continue to look into it.
This is a whole additional conversation is how are women treated in the medical system.
There've been more and more articles lately, and we know this, but it's nice to see reporting on it. And so as women, especially in our generation or age, I'm curious to see what our children's generation and in between do. But we have a different, Conditioning. And you have that vagus nerve that comes from the brain stem. It's, instinctual survival mode. It travels by the heart and then it invervates [00:45:00] the gut. And so when you have a gut feeling, really listen to it. Just like you said,
Robyn: I didn't even know that was called the vagus nerve.
I love that. I'm sure a lot of people are learning something right now. Cause .
Karen: Because we're taught to be strong, we're taught not to over worry. We're taught not to complain. We're taught to nurture others. All of those things go against us advocating for our own
Yeah. We have to retrain ourselves to really think that way.
And I love your advice too, about giving your whole body to that scan of what is it telling you? And really to be able to intuitively listen to that. Because again I think we're always going so quickly, we're always thinking about a million things in our day that aren't relevant to how we feel.
And yet that's the very stuff that manifests
Robyn: and really, and one last question for you. Are there any other spiritual practices or resources that you use, on a consistent basis or that you recommend to others to look into?
Jenny: I don't know where to begin.
there's so many good things, my go-tos are acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine. I'm not, [00:46:00] For me, it's not as much about the herbs, it's more about the acupuncture, needling and cupping. It has often has a little massage in it.
And that really helps me tremendously in ayeurveda vedic medicine. Can you explain
Robyn: Ave medicine? I know there's a lot going on there, but on a very high level, what is it? I know you mentioned it before and I feel like people have heard about ayeurvedic way of eating but I don't think people understand
Jenny: what it is. there's so many components To it. Again, it's a really ancient and brilliant science and spiritual practice. it incorporates meditation. It incorporates what's happening in the season. It incorporates three different body constitutions that, everybody has typically one primary body constitution, which refers to how, not only how are you shaped, but what are you predisposed to as well?
And then that informs how you're eating as well. And also there is a lot of beautiful body work that comes in the system ranging from [00:47:00] massage practices. abyuhanga massage is actually a ed, it's a four handed massage with hot oil that is just about the most amazing
Sounds amazing. But also there's a really deep detoxification practice that I learned about because I had something that needed to be addressed some years ago. And I feel like if everyone could do this, we would avoid a lot of pathologies in our society. And it's called Panchakarma
and it's basically a detoxification practice in which you have a five day home. And then you work with the doctor in the clinic anywhere from three to five days to a month. It really depends what you're addressing during that time. You receive abyuhanga massage every day. You receive different things depending on what's being treated.
Sometimes poultice are used with herbs and either soaked in oils that have been created just for you to address what's being treated. I mean there's so many, There are so many body work [00:48:00] practices in this system. And then typically there's an enema which was a new experience for me when I first did it, and huge fan, I have to say
And then it ends with shirodara which is oil dripping on your third eye. And so it's getting at you from every angle and. Physiologically, I think of it as a roto-rooter for the system. Yeah. You're just cleaning out all the tubes, oil goes in and out of everything. Wow. But the shirodara it's a very spiritual experience for me.
It's that kind of, that dissolving into, I don't know where I begin or end moment. . anyway, there's just so much to learn within that system as well. something that I'm curious about that I haven't really addressed yet is forest bathing.
And I think it could be as simple as just getting in the trees. Especially, in Chicago they're the most amazing preserves. And, If you have them down in Texas.
Karen: No, but I moved here from New Jersey and my daily practice was running through the woods. There was beautiful trail and I miss it.
[00:49:00] I miss the smell of it and the feel of it. And I think it was very much that plus I had the change of seasons,
Jenny: which was
Karen: really fascinating from a forest perspective. Cause it was always changing and always had a different feel and message to it.
We should all just band
Jenny: together and Yeah. Let's go. forest bathing,
Karen: If people are looking in and they can't come, to you specifically, Do you have a recommended way that someone could find a biodynamic cranialsacral therapist
is there a specific website or organization that, that you would recommend?
Jenny: People can search the Biodynamic Cranialsacral Association of
Robyn: we can have that in our show notes so that people can
Jenny: find it. I think
Robyn: this is going inspire a lot of people to investigate and potentially try it.
thank you so much.
Jenny: You, this was like being in a playground. Oh my God.
Robyn: I've written down so much. There are. More conversations to be had. And
Karen: What you brought to light was, again, so much of that ancient wisdom [00:50:00] around the body and that what you do just permeates every level of that mind, body, spirit.
And so regardless of people, of what people are looking for, they're looking for a spiritual experience. If they're looking, just to tune into to their inner. Wisdom or their inner intuition. This is a way in, but also if they wanna release things there's just something for everyone I think, in this conversation.
You have so much wisdom we could really do down a lot of different avenues. So thank you for sharing it
Robyn: To find out more about Jenny, her services and her Santa Monica based private practice visit center herself.com. That's C E NT E R H E R S E L f.com.
She also has links to resources on the different areas we cover today as well.
Jenny: Thank you for having me. It was such an honor. So much, so wonderful. Thank you
Robyn: . Bye bye. Bye