Past Conference Presentations

Photo by Ananda Foley

Photo by Ananda Foley

View Conference Presentation Videos Here


Alison Hazelbaker, PhD, IBCLC, FILCA, CST, RCST- Real Healing
Dr. Hazelbaker presents her doctoral dissertation grounded theory of how people really heal. It isn’t the drugs, the surgery, the doctor, the therapist or the modality, it is the internal witness that creates a dynamic tension that enables the person to let-go of old ways of being. In other words, it is a psycho-developmental process. Dr. Hazelbaker further discusses the therapeutic relationship and how therapist can best support the true healing process.

Sara Johnston, CST, MFR, LMT – Descended Sacrum: Implications for Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum Depression
The sacrum has a primary role in terms of forces going through the body and if it’s movement is restricted, it affects function throughout the body all the way to the cranium. A descended sacrum creates a drag on the entire core link of the craniosacral system, impacting pregnancy, the birth process, and playing a role in post-partum depression. This presentation is both lecture as well as hands on work.

Wendy Hambidge, Certified Body-Mind Centering Teacher, IDME – Being in Relationship Through Yield, Push, Reach and Pull: A Body-Mind Centering® Approach
Through direct experience of yield, push, reach and pull we will explore our preferences in how we relate in the world. We will then apply this to to the support we offer infants and their caregivers. This material transcends specifics and can be utilized in diverse settings. It affects how we hold and relate to our clients, ourselves and the earth. It is directly related to how we feel attachment, how we bond or defend. These actions are a substrata of how we learn to move in the first year of life and subsequently how we move as adults. It is never too late to discover it for ourselves and be able to offer it to our clients young and old.

Yield, push, reach and pull will help caregivers hold their infants while providing more than “proper positioning”. They will be able to recognize and respond to movement needs of their infants and actively engage in play.

Tania Storm – Movement Practice on the Rooftop Deck
(Tai Chi or Qi Gong or…)

Michelle Emanuel, OTR/L, CST, NBCR, CIMI The Polyvagal Theory
The social nervous system is made up of musculoskeletal structures of the face, ear and throat, along with the vagus nerve and a network of other cranial nerves. This system coordinates facial expression and vocalization with heart rate and breathing regulation, finds safety or danger in the environment and allows us to feel and express emotion.

The social nervous system is what enables baby to orient, engage in head turning activities, communicate through vocalization/vocal tone and demonstrate facial expressions. The coordination of breathing with sucking and swallowing, as well as the development of relationship skills and empathy are supplied through the social nervous system.

The vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve, is key to the social nervous system. Michelle will discuss how sensory input from the gut, our sense of interoception, and the heart influences baby’s emotional responses and behavior. Sensory information from the vagus nerve supplies a generous amount of input to our brains and is fundamental to baby’s ability to demonstrate and experience self regulation and have fun in life!

This lecture will explore:
– The Polyvagal Theory/ Stephen Porges’s work
– The importance of good vagal tone for babies
– How to maximize vagal tone through portals of intervention
– Simple and easy cranial strategies for enabling social engagement and optimizing vagal tone for babies and caregivers

Janine Blanchard, LMT – The Vagus Nerve: Anatomy, Clinical Relevance and Treatment Techniques
With the Vagus sending fibers to viscera of the neck, thorax and abdomen, the range of possible symptoms when there is restriction present is large. This presentation includes a lecture and hands-on exchange for addressing vagus nerve glide and contracture issues. We will explore anatomy and clinical relevance with special attention to infants & the birth process. You’ll come away with a clearer understanding of how to asses and treat restriction in this important cranial nerve.

Lisa Gillispie, BSW, LMT, CST, CPT-RES – Alignment for Optimal Pelvic Floor Function: Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond
The number of American women with at least one pelvic floor disorder will increase from 28.1 million in 2010 to 43.8 million in 2050. In this presentation, we’ll explore the link between alignment, movement habits and pelvic floor function. You’ll increase your understanding of how alignment and movement habits impact the pelvis and position of the baby during pregnancy as well as the ability of the pelvic floor to yield during birth. In this dynamic and interactive presentation, you’ll gain skills to objectively evaluate your own alignment from a biomechanical perspective as well as basic correctives that will help you improve your alignment and support long-term pelvic floor function.

Molly McDonald, LMT – How to Run a Healthy, Vibrant, Balanced Practice
Many body workers, lactation consultants, healers, helpers by nature, have difficulty thinking beyond one-on-one work and may have difficulty setting a valued price tag. This lecture will be designed to get us all to think outside the “box of the martyred bodyworker”.

This presentation will be part lecture, part discussion, part exercise (in our own roadblocking thought processes). By exploring our own road blocks to running a healthy, vibrant, balanced practice, we are able to offer our clients better direction in healthy, vibrant, balanced coping through the struggles of pregnancy, postpartum and new parenthood.

Sunshine Tresidder – Crystal Bowl Sound Healing & Clearing on the Rooftop Deck
Experience crystal bowl vibrational sound cleansing and healing, crystallizing our intentions and clarifying the energies shared during our conference and infusing all our healing work.

Etienne Peirsman – First a Lecture, Then an Experience of Birth, Death & Bliss
Etienne will present stories about infant and child CST treatments illustrated with photos from his book. Then, we will participate in an experiential process of birth, death and bliss.

Tanja Martinson, LCBE – The Ins and Outs of Baby Wearing
Which carriers are best for moms? Which ones are best for babies? What should we be recommending to parents and why? In this session Tanja will introduce what a Certified Babywearing Educator does followed by a discussion on the roots of babywearing, the basics of its benefits and important safety considerations. You will also learn about and see a demonstration of commonly used carrier types. She will explain the developmentally appropriate use of various types of carriers.  We will also have time for Q & A and hands-on exploration of the carriers. Milagros has generously agreed to supply us with sample baby wearing carriers to examine and wear during the presentation. Thank you Milagros!

Melissa Larimer, LMT – Discussion for Empowered VBAC
This lecture will open the discussion about the services paradigms, anatomical realities and cultural beliefs that affect a woman’s journey towards achieving a VBAC. This presentation and model is the beginning work for facilitating a discussion between the woman’s prenatal and birth team to help her identify barriers to VBAC. This model encourages women to look at their personal strengths and philosophies that may help or hinder the VBAC journey.

Rachel Davidson – Movement Practice on the Rooftop Deck
Yoga and Connection
As a caretaker and body worker, you provide so much nourishment for the community, but are you taking care of your personal physical and mental health? Join Rachel for a 1/2 hour of movement, stretching, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. This class will emphasize your intention for the practice, specific openings into your body through a progression of postures, and breath work to conclude and close. Yoga and Connection is designed as a Hatha Yoga class for beginners, but open to all levels. If you experience low energy or would like to get “grounded” before your day of learning this may be the breakout for you!

Barbara HarperEmbracing the Miracle: Birth Is a Basic Human Right
Birth creates our “source” experience in the body. We are all conscious participants in our own birth. We learn and make decisions in utero and birth helps define our subsequent mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Sensory affectional deprivation syndrome is the name for a complex pattern of depression, violence, and fear created by a lack of affectional bonding and touch, especially in the pre and perinatal period. This presentation points out how common birth and immediate postpartum rituals create neurological pathways leading to alterations in brain development, primarily due to separation and will be contrasted to the infant who experiences a secure birth and immediate placement into the habitat on mother’s chest.

Melissa Cole, IBCLC, RLC – New Thoughts on Post Frenotomy Care of the Infant
A hotly debated topic among tongue tie professionals is post-frenotomy care. Infants may have varying degrees of suck dysfunction and tongue mobility issues even after release. In addition, the labial and lingual incision sites can be prone to re-attaching. Melissa Cole, IBCLC, RLC will present some post-frenotomy care basic she utilizes in her own clinical practice that have proven to improve post-frenotomy healing outcomes. Parents are often exhausted from the physical and emotional roller coaster that feeding a tongue tied infant presents and sensitive care for the whole family is needed. Melissa also recognizes that post-frenotomy care ‘best practice’ is still in its infancy and she proposes a call to research this subject matter further.

Jennifer Curtiss, ND, HPC – Food for Mood
One in seven women experience post-partum depression and 80% of women experience the “Baby Blues” during the 12 months after giving birth. The incidence of child-hood mood disorders increases in children whose mother’s experienced anxiety and/or depression during pregnancy. Dr. Curtiss will share dietary and nutritional support to treat and prevent mood disorders in the perinatal and postnatal woman and their children.

Michelle Emanuel, OTR/L, CST, NBCR, CIMI; Carol Gray, Midwife; LMT, Alison Hazelbaker, PhD, IBCLC, FILCA, CST, RCST – Torticollis & Plagiocephaly – Breastfeeding Impacts, Treatment Plans & Prevention Strategies
Michelle, Carol and Alison will each talk for 30 minutes. Carol will discuss causes and prevention strategies, Alison will discuss breastfeeding impacts and Michelle will discuss treatment plans. Then all three will take questions from the audience.

Rae Mullin, Pelvic Heath Specialist, Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement Teacher, Nia
 – Pelvic Pulse
Are you preparing your body for pregnancy, already pregnant or in post-partum? Do you desire a deeper connection to what is happening within your own body? Thankfully your body always tells the truth. Through guided movement and dance we will map your habitual thought and movement patterns and connect the brain and pelvis together. The the pelvic bowl is often referred to as the “other brain” and when we tap into our power source of inner wisdom, a whole world of information opens up for a true mind body communication connection.


View Conference Presentation Videos Here


Deborah Merkle, CRS – Qualities of Presence
An experiential presentation exploring the qualities of presence which can enhance the healing process. How do we as practitioners listen to the client’s body and respond to the “conversation of the moment” rather than impose treatment?  How do we listen with our hands, our heart and our whole body presence?

Heather Hunt, DC – The Pregnant Female Pelvis From a Chiropractic Perspective
First we review the anatomy of the female pelvis with special attention to the ligaments and muscles involved in pregnancy/childbirth. Next we learn how to evaluate when a pelvis is out of balance. Then we get hands on instruction on how to palpate the important landmarks and release the ligaments/muscles involved in the imbalance. Webster technique will be addressed, but not fully taught.

Meg Stalnaker, IBCLC – Biological Breastfeeding
Biological Breastfeeding is an approach to breastfeeding that takes into consideration the explosion of research on infants brain development and their reflexive and instinctive abilities to find the breast and to initiate their own feeding. As mothers and caregivers have a greater understanding of babies and their primitive neonatal reflexes which act as breastfeeding stimulants, we can help facilitate a new neurobehavioral approach in helping mom and baby breastfeed with greater ease and understanding. The presentation will incorporate videos to illustrate this approach to breastfeeding and we will practice how to help new moms and babies with this approach.

Michelle Emanuel, OTR/L, CST, NBCR, CIMI – How Craniosacral Therapy Can Help Plagiocephaly
Michelle will describe Plagiocephaly and the varying presentations and extraneous factors contributing to Plagiocephaly. She will include palpation tips, treatment techniques, interesting stuff, Tummy Time education and support. She will also discuss her on-going research related to this topic.

Ananda Elise Foley – Movement & Breath: Preparing for Ease in Transitions
In terms of CST treatment, we know what to do for our clients, and what we receive from our own bodywork sessions with skilled bodyworkers. And then there is what we can do for ourselves, for cultivating lifelong strength and supple connective tissue. Join Ananda 30 minutes each morning, gently guided in coming home to yourself. Your facia, muscles and ligaments will lengthen and oxygenate as we ease into, and hold, basic gentle stretches and arcs of movement.  Breathing through resistance and opening to expansive potential, start your day attuned to your center as you learn basics to share with your own clients, and for being with change.

Alison Hazelbaker, PhD, IBCLC, CST, RCST – Infant Suck Physiology for Craniosacral Therapists and Bodyworkers
Craniosacral Therapists and Bodyworkers will increasingly face the challenge of working with infants who cannot properly coordinate suck-swallow-breathe. Dr. Alison Hazelbaker covers the anatomy and physiology of infant suck in this interactive 90 minute presentation. Participants will come away with a better understanding of normal suck-swallow-breathe and will learn how the energetic and bodywork modalities can normalize suck disorganization and dysfunction.

Tami Kent, MSPT – Birth Energy: Effects on the Baby Body & Mother/Baby Bond
While developing a framework for engaging the energy system in the female pelvic bowl––now outlined in her book, Wild Feminine––women’s health physical therapist and energy reader Tami Kent made another fascinating discovery. By working on the birth energy connection from the womb, the energy bond between mothers and babies can be enhanced and particularly healed in the case of birth trauma or any birth intervention that disrupts the natural energy process of birth. Tami will share information, a birth energy meditation, and healing stories in this lecture which is also highlighted in her upcoming book, Wild Mothering (due out on her oldest son’s birthdate 2/21/13).

Amy Watson, DC – Postpartum Pain Syndrome- Evaluation, Management, and Prevention
Amy’s presentation includes approximately an hour lecture followed by demonstrations of stretches and stabilization exercises, plus group discussion.

Michelle Gerbi, DC- Manual Therapy for Pelvic Floor Issues
Michelle will address clinical indications for pelvic floor manual therapy, types of treatment options, and a basic outline for a musculoskeletal assessment/treatment of the pelvic floor area.

Nancy Eastwood, RN, IBCLC & Doris Onnis, RN, IBCLC – Craniosacral Therapy for Weaning From Nipple Shields
The use of nipple shields is common in supporting early latch issues. Yet, long-term use can be detrimental to the breastfeeding relationship. Doris and Nancy will demonstrate CST interventions they have developed to assist the mother and infant through the process of weaning from shields.

Alison Hazelbaker, PhD, IBCLC, CST, RCST – Craniosacral Therapy and Tongue Tie
As more health care professionals realize the potential for Craniosacral therapy to effectively treat tongue-tie syndrome, it is becoming a popular go-to therapy to prepare infants for tongue-tie surgery and to help reorganize the infant’s suck post-surgery. In this 90 minute presentation, Dr. Alison Hazelbaker defines tongue-tie, teaches how to recognize it and its corresponding impact on the entire body then shows participants how to effectively address the syndrome pre and post-surgery.

Lisa Gillispie, BSW, LMT, CST – Fluency: Experiencing the Intracranial Membranes and Ventricles
The more clearly we understand the anatomy of what is underneath our hands, the more in depth and nuanced our conversations with the body can be. Join Lisa as we deepen our awareness of the anatomical details of the membranes and ventricles. We’ll explore this territory within our own selves, deepening our internal connection to it, and then carry that experience with us as we put hands on and listen with a new awareness to those structures in our partner. You’ll come away with an increased understanding of what is under your hands. You’ll develop a greater trust in your ability to hear what the body is sharing with you and then respond to its guidance appropriately and effectively.

Melissa Cole, IBCLC, RLC – Infant Gut Health: Common Concerns and Useful Support Strategies
This session will focus on common concerns regarding infant gut health and useful support strategies that care providers can incorporate into their work with families.  We will discuss what’s normal and what’s not in regards to stooling, spit up/reflux, colic/fussiness, and more.  Many parents are coping with babies that are uncomfortable and unhappy due to gut health concerns.  Dealing with a such a baby is emotionally and physically draining.  Having a basic understanding of infant gut health and care strategies that optimize comfort and aid in overall gut healing can be useful tools for any type of practitioner working with infants.

Wendy Davis, PhD – Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood Disorders
We all strive to know how to address maternal mental health while we support the essential mother-infant relationship, and the emotional health of the whole family. Our challenge is to prevent the risks of untreated mental health disorders without increasing the shame and fear that women often feel when they are struggling during pregnancy and postpartum. This presentation will focus on the role of the childbirth professional in addressing maternal mental health, including effective assessment, prevention, and intervention strategies that can help families feel empowered and proactive. Wendy will discuss signs and symptoms of pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders, methods to nurture positive and authentic attachments, and local and national resources for support, education, and treatment.

Teresa Robertson, LMT, CST – Craniosacral Therapy for Toddlers
This presentation is a combination of lecture and interactive experience. We will explore some of the challenges and joys of working with this unique age group. We will learn about growth milestones, behavioral/emotional disorders, physical disorders, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADD/ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder(s), plus how to adapt our work environments to treat toddlers and (of course) ways to work with a moving target.

Jeffrey Burch, CAR, MS, LMT – Restrictions Associated With the Lungs in Mothers and Babies
Oxygenation, and effort required to achieve oxygenation are vital elements of health for everyone. Both elasticity and glide issues in the pleural system are common in people of all ages. These issues both interfere with oxygenation and lead to large scale musculoskeletal compensations. Anatomy of the pleural system will be reviewed with attention to support membranes and glide surfaces. Methods to assess and treat restrictions in the pleural system will then be taught. Differences in approach between adults and babies will be presented.

Alice Stroud, MA Psychology, LMT – Moving Toward Resolving Birth Trauma
This presentation will give us tools for addressing birth trauma – both for babies and their parents. Alice will present effective strategies for helping traumatized parents and/or their babies get started on the healing path. We will practice these easy-to-learn techniques in small groups. We will also learn when to refer to another or an additional practitioner.

View Conference Presentation Videos Here