October 8 – 2009
Questions and comments for this issue:
+ Follow on comments about ‘How you came to Cranio sacral?’
+ Can I get qualified from Open Source Cranio?
+ How to market a cranio sacral therapy practice?
+ Can you make a living as a cranio sacral therapist?
Let me tell you about David Tomilson who is doing
great things over at his New England Center for
CranioSacral Therapy website which he has
dedicated to ‘Stories from the people and places
of CranioSacral Therapy.’
He has made some cute little videos with his
son about cranio sacral and he has started
to interview different cranio sacral therapists.
His first interview is with Sharon Desjarlais
and it fits in well with the main theme of this
newsletter as it is about marketing your cranio
sacral therapy practice.
It is a great interview and Sharon has some
great tips. You can listen to the interview here.
Sharon runs a marketing program especially for
cranio sacral therapists called CranioSacral Success
you can visit Sharon’s site here.
Rightio, let’s get on with the mailbag.
***FOLLOW ON COMMENT FROM ROSEMARIE IN THE UK ABOUT HOW SHE CAME TO CRANIO SACRAL THERAPY***
Firstly, I would like to say how wonderful and
refreshing that you have created an on-line
cranial support network and for free too!
It is so supportive for me to know that there is
someone else ‘out there’ who understands the
inner struggles involved in this kind of work and
to bring people together via the ‘web’ ……..so we
can ‘resonant’ with one another rather than feeling
like being all alone on a ship on a stormy sea
(sometimes how I have felt!).
How I came to craniosacral therapy……….the long
or the short version?!……….maybe a mix of the two.
Have been exploring natural medicine since the
age of 18 (last 20 years) in ‘spurts’.
Was guided towards Cranial Osteopathy by two
very special friends and after a cranial treatment
(with an osteopath) was so inspired I began my
journey in 1992 doing an Access into Science
course. Finally, funds allowing I arrived at the
European School of Osteopathy in 1996 (specialists
in cranial work). Did two years of grueling (truly)
academic years (plus practical, of course) and
finally ‘burnt out’. Ended up with a serious Thyroid
problem from stress and sleep deprivation and
had to leave in 1998. Very upset with this decision
but physical and mental health at stake.
Spent 2 years recovering………things then improved
for me……..relationship and had a beautiful baby…..
…..cranial work for him on day 7!
Anyway……..when he was a few months old, was at
a mother and baby group in Crouch End, North
London where the organiser was handing out flyers
for a drop-in family craniosacral session nearby.
I thought about it………I had heard of craniosacral
therapy and phoned the guy, happened to be
Richard Kramer (registrar of the Craniosacral
therapy association! and head tutor for the student
clinic of a craniosacral school too!). Anyway, I was
so inspired………got all the prospectuses of the
colleges and decided on CTET in London. It has
been an amazingly long journey to get here………..
basically from 1992 (thought was doing my
exploration before into healing) to when I
qualified in 2006………so a 14 year journey!
I wish I could say that I feel so………confident now
with my background in Osteopathy and the other
areas I have explored but I don’t……….at least not
yet! I am amazed still if anyone improves……….
but I guess it can take a long time to build up
confidence and working knowledge…….experience,
intuition………quietness, stillness…..clarity or
whatever it takes to be a remarkable practitioner
who manages to assist people in such a positive
way that their practice naturally grows through
word of mouth!
I am still waiting for such a ‘state’ to occur for me…..
…….but in the meantime I recognise that I need to
get the message out there about CST and how
powerful it can be……….marketing guidance would
be a great thing to have included in your forum………..
Love Rosemarie (hanging in there!)
Thanks for sharing your journey. I am going to talk
about marketing below so I will keep my answer
***QUESTION – CAN I GET QUALIFIED FROM OPEN SOURCE CRANIO?***
I have recently discovered your newsletter/web site.
This all looks wonderful. Do I understand correctly
that I can take the courses offered on Open Source
and work with a mentor and become qualified to do
this work. I am excited about cranio sacral work
and am currently reading one of John Upledger’s
books. I am anxious to learn.
In typical cranio fashion the answer to your
question is yes and no. The information on Open
Source Cranio is far from complete at the moment.
It is mostly in outline form with some notes.
When it is complete you will be able to go step by
step through the learning process. Each new
technique or piece of information will have a lesson
that will usually include a video that you can return
to again and again.
At the end of each lesson there will be a list of
assessment criteria for that lesson. This will give
you detailed information about what you need to
know and be able to do to be competent in the
technique or information covered in the lesson.
This is something that you can use yourself and
your mentor can also use as a guide to work from.
At the moment I am not independently wealthy
which means I can only work on Open Source
Cranio when I am not treating or mentoring
people. The other projects like my book and
the Masterclass video series are to generate
alternative streams of income so I can get on
with Open Source Cranio but they are as yet
So as it stands unless someone makes a
substantial donation (see ‘Donate’ button in
the right hand column) and I can devote more time
to making the training videos etcetera it will take
years to complete Open Source Cranio.
You don’t sound like you can wait years.
The other thing to consider is what kind of therapist
you want to become and what kind of person you
want to treat. When you get clear on that you need
to ask yourself what kind of qualification would make
it easier for that ideal patient to come to you.
For example there are certain groups of people and
certain countries in the world where an official
qualification may not be that important. They will
only be interested in how effective you are.
Then there are other countries where the type
of qualification you have is very important. For
example if you want to treat people in California
you need to get a qualification from a school that
is recognised by that state and then you need to
get a license to treat people which has a number
of prerequisites including insurances.
If you decide getting a particular qualification will
make it easier for your ideal patient to come to you,
then the next thing to do is find out what the
recognition of prior learning requirements are for
Recognition of prior learning is where your
previous experience is taken into account in the
awarding of a qualification.
Different schools will have different criteria
for this. Some will laugh in your face when you bring
it up and tell you that the only way you are going
to get a qualification from them is by doing their
Others will tell you that they don’t insist you
sit through their courses but they will charge you
a fee for recognition of prior learning in the
individual modules of their training and another fee
for the actual qualification itself.
Don’t be surprised to find that when you add up
the cost of having your prior learning recognised
for all the modules of their course that it comes
to almost the same cost as if you had paid the
money to do the courses in the first place.
The bottom line is you can use the information
on Open Source Cranio regardless of what
qualification you want to get, or not, or what school
you get involved with, or not.
***QUESTION – TIPS FOR STARTING A PRACTICE?***
I am really impressed with your passion and commitment.
I am due to graduate from my CST course next week in
England. What was the first thing, or the most effective
thing, you did on graduating to ensure a steady supply
of clients? Did you advertise, give talks? I have some
ideas but it’s always good to get some advice from those,
like yourself, who are successful.
Thank you for your kind words.. Your question is very
like the next letter so I will answer it there.
***QUESTION – TIPS FOR STARTING A PRACTICE?***
I am a qualified Reflexologist and in September 2005 I did a
4 day course in Cranio-Sacral Reflexology in Mullingar Co.
Westmeath with Martine Faure-Alderson. I was so impressed
by the Cranio-Sacral element of the course the I wanted to
learn more and more about it all as it seemed so fascinating.
I researched courses in Cranio-Sacral therapy on completing
this course in Cranio-Sacral Reflexology. I was directed to the
College of Cranio-Sacral Therapy in London. I began the one
year course there in September 2006 and completed the course
in July 2007. Since then I have been busy with my two young
children. I want to start up my own practice in the very near
future and keep up learning Cranio-Sacral therapy.
Have you any tips for starting up as a therapist?
The main thing that will help you grow a strong
practice may sound obvious – be very good.
Get remarkable results consistently.
If people have a positive experience with you
they will tell 5 other people. If they have a
negative experience with you they will tell 20
So nurture your word of mouth carefully.
One of the most unacknowledged ingredients
in building a successful practice is time. There
are many things you can do to kick start the
process and I will go into them below but it is
my experience that it takes about 2 years to
build a strong practice from scratch.
Now on to the marketing stuff.
FINDING YOUR IDEAL PATIENT
Before you launch yourself into any marketing
activities the first thing you need to do is think
about what sort of people you want to treat.
What kind of a practice you want to have.
Getting that clear in your head will make a big
difference to your marketing efforts.
Write down what your ideal patient would be like.
Include in as much detail as possible. Once you
get really clear about the sort of person you want
to treat then you can start to ask yourself the
following questions about them.
- Where do they shop?
- How do they get their information about things?
- How do they learn about new services?
- What do they do in their recreation time?
- What sort of clubs they are attached to
(Tennis, hiking, bike riding?)
- What sort of clubs do they go to?
- Where do they live?
As an aside, the answer to that last question
should determine where your practice is located.
There is no point locating your practice on the
other side of town from the people you want to
be treating no matter how convenient it is for you
or what a great deal you are getting on the
You have to be pretty ruthless with yourself about
this point. I have seen many a therapist move into
a room they really liked that had ‘great energy’ and
was a real bargain only to find that no one would
make the journey to it. That is also why treating
people from your home will only work if your home is
in the area where your ideal patients live.
So once you get clear about who you want to
treat and where you want to be located then the
next thing is to start writing. Don’t write for any
particular thing like a website or brochure or talk
just write for clarity.
If the thoughts of writing are too much you can hire
someone to do it for you. You can do it through
elance.com. I will explain more about elance below.
The important thing is that what is written expresses
your perspective on your work.
A common mistake I see in cranio sacral websites
and literature is trying explain what cranio sacral
therapy is and how it works. If you ever watch
someone reading these kinds of explanations
you will see their eyes start to glaze over before
they get to the end of the second paragraph and
the fourth reference to the craniosacral rhythm.
Keep your ideal patient in mind and write for them.
Don’t worry about everyone else. Try and get into
the head of your ideal patient and what THEIR
head would be like when they are looking for a
solution to THEIR problem. Try and speak to
The first thing you should write is a description
of where THEY are at. Outline their problem in detail.
Here is an example from my website of the sort
of thing I am talking about.
“Is your faith in the medical system shattered?
Has your wallet been emptied by over confident
therapists? Have you been on the emotional roller
coaster, rising with hope that each new approach
is going to work, then crushed when it doesn’t?
Have you tried everything and still not got the
results you wanted?”
You get the idea – use your own words.
Next write about yourself and how you are
qualified to talk about helping them.
Next write about how what you do can help
solve their problem. Keep it simple with not too
Next write what the benefits of coming to you for
treatment are from THEIR perspective are.
Here is an example from my website of the sort
of thing I am talking about.
Visit the last resort first . . .and save money.
It became a joke among my students and
graduates that we were actually in the resort
business because for most of the people who
came to see us, we were the last resort.
It doesn’t need to be like that. Most people are
floored when they add up how much they’ve spent
so far trying to get better.
Don’t waste any more of your money.
Benefit from no returns.
When you understand that cranio sacral therapy
helps trauma release from your body, then it makes
sense that once restrictions are released in this way,
they are gone for good.
So when you’re done, you’re done.
It’s as simple as getting a big piece of cellophane
and scrunching it into a ball and then assisting it
to unravel itself.
Once it has unraveled itself, there’s no need to
‘maintain’ its state of unraveled-ness.
So you don’t need any ‘maintenance’ treatments
to keep your health. What you spend having
treatment is finite and has a very definite end.
Gentle on you.
Cranio sacral therapy is a very gentle approach.
There is no pushing, adjusting or manipulating your
body into a set or ‘correct’ position. There is no
intrusive probing into your past. The contact is very
gentle and people often fall asleep during treatment.
Because of this gentleness it is good for children
and people in a lot of pain.
You will feel the benefits within 4 weeks.
Most people feel the benefits immediately. If it
takes longer you will generally see enough
improvement after 4 weeks to know that it’s going
Gets to the root of the problem.
There are many approaches that will give you
complete reduction of your symptoms. The trouble
is the reduction only lasts for a short period of time
and then you have to return from more treatment.
Eventually this kind of approach makes your body
dependent on the treatment.
Cranio sacral therapy works with the root cause
of the problems. This has the effect of causing
lasting relief of symptoms.
In 15 years I have never had anyone return for
treatment for the original problem they came to
These are all great benefits from the patients
Next write about what you charge and why it is
good value. You may find this hard but if you
can’t explain why it is good value you may be
charging too much.
This is a time for taking the bull by the horns.
If you feel what you charge is good value and
you can explain why then your ideal patient will
be grateful. It’s your job to explain it to them not
their job to try and intuit the reasons why it is good
Once you are happy with what you have written
try it out on some family or friends who are the type
of people you would like to treat.
Ask them to read it and give you feedback about
it. You don’t have to take the feedback but you will
find it illuminating.
What you have written forms the backbone for
your marketing. You can adapt and edit it for the
different types of marketing activities you might
engage in. What type of activities you engage
in will be determined by the sorts of people you
want to reach. Reread everything you have
written every six months or so. You will be
surprised at what you want to change and edit.
It is important to get testimonials from people you
have treated. Most people will come to see you
because of a word of mouth referral. If they can’t
get a referral then all they have to go on is what you
have written. People who don’t know you will
generally be suspicious of what you say about
yourself. It’s not personal, we are all jaundiced
by sales claims.
Having testimonials go a long way towards
easing that suspicion.
The good news is that getting testimonials is
relatively easy. When a patient is finished their
treatment program you can explain to them that
there are other people who have the same
condition who would be helped if the patient
wrote something about their experience of
Give your patient the option of remaining
anonymous in the testimonial. Obviously the full
name and location with a photograph is ideal.
Here are some of the ways you can use your
written material, including your testimonials.
I can’t over emphasize the importance of getting
yourself on the internet.
If you don’t know anything about computers and
the thoughts of organising a website for yourself
seem overwhelming, fear not.
There are plenty of ways around it.
With websites there are a few simple things you
need to know and the complicated stuff you can
get someone else to do for you. I will explain
where you can find those people in a minute.
One of the most important, and often overlooked,
things with websites is the domain name.
The domain name is what comes after the www
For example with my Irish website the domain
name is www.cranio.ie
I will come back to the name part in a minute
because I want to talk about the other really
important part which is the suffix. That’s what
comes at the end of the domain name,
the .com end.
It is important to get a domain name for the
country you are working in. So for Ireland that
would be .ie for the United Kingdom that would
be .co.uk for South Africa it would be .co.za
for Poland it would be .pl and so on.
Each country has their own suffix. Having the
right suffix for the country you live in will make
it easier for google to find you when people in
your country look for you.
(Technically speaking the suffix for America is
.us but it is rarely used so if I lived in America
I would get a .com suffix.)
If you are not sure what the suffix is for your
country you can look here
Double check it by looking at local businesses
and see what suffix most business are using.
One last thing on suffix’s, .net .org and so on
don’t generally work as people will forget the
subtle difference and look for .com or the suffix
of your country.
For example if I couldn’t get
but I saw that
was available it would be tempting to get it.
Let’s check this against what I like to call the
Party Rule. The party pule states that your
domain name has to have a more than 50%
chance of being remembered by a mildly
inebriated person you tell it to at a party.
So if I told this person my domain name was
there is a good chance that the next morning
they would look for
and when that didn’t work they would give up.
So no .org .nets etc. please.
Now back to the name bit. The bit between the
www. and the .com
You could try for craniosacraltherapy but
it will probably be already taken. There are
some countries where it hasn’t been taken but
it will be gone in most.
What I suggest you use is your name.
So in my case the domain name would be
Short, simple, memorable and relevant
- and it passes the Party Rule.
If your name is unavailable I suggest you
use your name plus cranio so in my case it
I don’t suggest you use craniosacral or
craniosacral therapy as most people won’t
remember it. I have found that cranio is the
only part of cranio sacral therapy that people
remember on first hearing the name.
It is important to buy your domain name yourself
and it is relatively easy to do. Just type ‘domain
registration’ into google and you will find lots of
companies offering to sell you domain names.
Lastly, bear in mind that domain names are a
commodity like anything else and different companies
will have different prices. Shop around for the best
Next find yourself a hosting company. A hosting
company is the company where your website lives.
If your website was a horse, the hosting company
would be the stables where you keep it. Don’t be
tempted by free hosting. There is usually a catch.
The most common one being the inclusion of the
hosting companies name in your domain name.
So for example if I opted for free hosting with a
company called Bluebird Hosting there is a good
chance my domain name would end up being
Shop around. I have found this company
very good. powweb.com
Next thing to do is find yourself someone to set
your website up for you.
I suggest you go to elance.com and register.
Then place the following ad.
Job Title – WordPress Instalation and Setup.
Category – Web & Programming
Job Description – Set up wordpress site.
Install and activate the following plugins -
- All in One SEO Pack
- cforms ( Including configuration of basic contact form)
- Google XML Sitemaps
Suggest WordPress theme for natural therapies website
- minimum of 3 suggestions – plus minor modification
of theme to suit site.
Inclusion of staff training in wordpress usage.
Hosting company and domain name already in place.
Desired Skills – WordPress
Job Type – Fixed price
- Approximate Budget – Between $50 and $500
Then sit back and wait.
Before long you will have bids from all around the
world from experienced professionals offering to
set up your website.
They can all see each others bids so they will try
to get your work for the lowest price.
Have a read through elance’s guidelines before
you start so can set miles stones and generally
make sure that you pay on results.
You can explore elance here.
Once the site is set up you should be able to
update the site yourself, adding all text you have
written. You will know how to do this because the
professional will have given your staff, you,
Give your web site about 6 weeks to begin to
show up for in google searches. Adding to your
website on a regular basis helps keep it up in the
Over the years I have tried it all, flyers of all
shapes and sizes, brochures, adds in magazines and
Nowadays I mainly just use business cards and postcards.
Both of which are geared toward sending people
to my web site where they can get all the information
they need to make an informed decision about
whether they want to come and see me.
I use Vistaprint for these.
I suggest you get good quality card for your
business cards. This is not a place to skimp.
Whether or not you do a brochure will depend on
who your ideal patient is. They may like to have
something to hold and review.
For me, the disadvantages of brochures far out
way their usefulness plus I don’t need them for my
The main disadvantage of brochures is that to
produce one that looks professional costs a lot of
It is also very hard to get everything that you
want to say into a brochure no matter how small
you make the print.
Letter box drops, tiny advertisements in the local
paper, flyers up at the your local health food shop
and notices stuck on community boards are probably
NOT going to get your practice where you want it to be.
Here is a little scenario to explain why I say that.
Mum and Dad are walking past the local health
food shop with their 4 year old Autistic child.
They see a photocopied flyer for Cranio Sacral
Therapy on the notice board, behind the Dream
catcher making workshop and beside the ‘Learn
to Channel’ weekend. It is highly unlikely that
Dad will turn to Mum and say ‘Hey, Betty this
cranio thing just might be worth trying for
A word of caution: When you first start marketing
yourself you can invest a lot of energy doing things
that are comfortable for you to do. They even allow
you to feel like you are really doing something to
build your practice, letter box drops are particularly
good for this, but they may not be very effective
and can leave you feeling somewhat of a failure
when no one responds.
Always come back to your ideal patient and ask
yourself if they would respond to what you are doing.
WORKING WITH LOCAL BUSINESS
One way to create word of mouth referrals in your
local area is to work with suitable local businesses
so that they will refer to you.
Firstly you need to discern which businesses are
suitable by their product / service to helping you.
Look at the local businesses and see which ones
spend time talking to their customers. What do their
customers talk to them about? Is it feasible that in
the course of conducting their own business that
these people may have reason to mention you?
For example, hairdressers, podiatrists, beauty
therapists and barbers spend a lot of time talking
to their customers. Their customers talk to them
about a whole range of things from work to holidays
to their children and partners, including their health.
It is feasible that a hairdresser, if they knew
about cranio sacral therapy, would mention it during
a conversation about their client’s skiing accident
or chronic back pain etc. This business represents
a good opportunity for you to receive word of mouth
Be mindful of the appropriateness of the business
you approach. Is their product or service in alignment
with the work you do. Bartenders spend a lot of time
talking to their customers but probably wouldn’t be a
suitable business for you to work with. Again it comes
back to who your ideal patient is.
When you have identified 3-4 suitable businesses
in your locality you will need to introduce the owners
and/or staff to what you do. In order for them to be
able to reasonably refer someone to you they need
to know a bit about what you do. What is it good for?
Is it gentle? Who does it help? etc. This can be done
on an individual basis or as a group.
When talking about cranio sacral tell stories about
patients you have treated to highlight how cranio works
rather than dry and boring explanations.
If you are working with 3 or 4 businesses you may
find it easier to talk to them all as a group. A good
start is to write an introductory letter to each of them.
Outline what you have in mind and invite them to
your clinic to hear a bit more about cranio sacral
I suggest you make this meeting a generous affair.
Most business people are always looking for new
ways to boost their profile. Provide tea and biscuits
or wine and nibbles etc. Try to create an arena for
discussion and interest. They will be coming to hear
about cranio sacral therapy but also to take advantage
of having other business peoples experience and ideas.
Provide each business with a gift package of say,
10 Cranio Sacral assessments as a limited special.
There are some important things to consider when
- Make sure the business is conducive to offering such a gift
- Be sure that you make up your own vouchers to be offered
- Do not present it as a “FREE” treatment but as a
Cranio Sacral assessment “VALUED AT $XX.00″
This last point is very important, if you don’t put
the value of the free gift then the people who come
for the free assessment will find it hard to reconcile
the value of your treatment when they come to you as
Encourage the businesses to give these free
gifts to customers that they feel might benefit
from your treatment.
As you can see there is quite a bit to marketing and
there are new ways to market coming up all the time.
***QUESTION – CAN YOU MAKE A LIVING FROM CRANIO SACRAL THERAPY?***
I have a question about Cranio and I suppose
you’re the right one to answer it:
Can one actually make a living out of just doing
I asked this in our group and all the (elderly) ladies
said: no way. The have maximum 3 clients a day,
and in maximum 3 days a week. They all say the
feel very exhausted after Cranio and couldn’t
cope with more clients anyway.
Now I have the feeling there’s something wrong.
Because when I use Cranio, I feel relaxed,
nourished and in stillness. So actually, it gives me
a lot. And I have the impression, Cranio is so
powerful that one should be able to have a full
practice every day, if wanted.
What do you think?
Thanks for your thoughts
Can you make a living from just doing cranio
sacral therapy? Hell Yes!
That is just what I have been doing for the last
15 years – and that includes moving country twice
and starting from scratch both times.
The next level of burn out to avoid is treating
too many people in one week. Any more than
18 people (2 children = 1 adult) a week will start
to burn you out within a couple of months.
If you take care of these first two levels you
can still become drained if you don’t take a
break at least once a year preferably in nature.
Minimum 3 days, 7 days if possible, ideally
14 – 21 days.
Once you take care of yourself in the ways I
have listed you can go on for years doing very
satisfying work, earning a reasonable income,
with lots of free time.
That’s it for this issue.
Till the next time.