Cancer Risk From CT Scan Radiation

Sedona CranioSacral: CT Scan

CT Scan

I try to post mostly positive thoughts on this blog, but the following research findings are so important I want to write about them, even though they are a bit frightening if you have been exposed to this kind of test or are contemplating one in the future. Here in Sedona, it seems like most people do their very best to avoid any kind of radiation – dental x-rays, EMF from televisions, “Smart” meters, etc. But what about a CT scan? It sounds so modern and “clean”…

What is a CT scan, anyway? It is an imaging technique that uses a computer program and lots of x-rays from different angles to create thin “image slices” of the body. When the slices are put back together, they give a very accurate 3-D representation of the inside of the body. This can be very helpful in avoiding “exploratory” surgery when a diagnosis can’t be determined from symptoms alone, or to screen for heart disease, for example. We have learned so much about the human body, and especially the brain, through the use of CT. But the test itself is not without risk, and it is estimated that 20-50% of them are medically unnecessary.

Dr. Michael Gregor over at has put together a video reviewing the research on the effects of CT scan radiation exposure, and there are some pretty sobering quotes, such as:

“The diagnostic radiation dealt out in one year is estimated to cause 2,800 breast cancers among women in the United States, and 25,000 or so other cancers.”

“One chest CT scan is like getting 400 chest x-rays, and a stress test heart scan can be like getting over 1,000 x-rays.”

“One in every 270 middle-aged women that get an angiogram may get cancer because of that one test.”

The best way to avoid these tests? Live and eat healthy enough to avoid them, be aware of what tests are being performed and exactly what benefit they provide, and be sure you understand the risks (which are not always fully communicated).  This is especially important for young people, whose risk is even greater due to the long development time for most cancers.

What if you’ve had these tests already, and are worried about your risk? It’s the same advice – live and eat healthy to minimize any further risk. When we do SomatoEmotional Release work as part of CranioSacral Therapy, we help the body to release any foreign energies that are stored in the tissues. Traditionally, we’ve thought of these foreign energies in terms of impacts from things like auto accidents or falls. As he developed the concept and worked with more patients, however, Dr. Upledger realized that Energy Cysts can also occur from the effects of surgery, infections, exposure to toxins, emotional trauma, medication, and even excess radiation. By releasing these energies, the body is restored to more optimal functioning.

Of course, no one can predict the effect of a single event or type of healing on one person’s risk of developing a disease. Because each path is unique, we can’t assign a statistical probability to the outcome, and I’m not saying that CST or any other healing technique can completely reverse a carcinogenic process started years or decades in the past. In CranioSacral Therapy, we are only allowing the “Inner Physician” within each of us to lead us on to the path of highest good. Combine that with a healthy lifestyle and informed vigilance when it comes to potential side effects from medical treatments, and then just enjoy your life today!


Door Latch


Mystery Song Lyrics

Sun is up

Today’s post has not much to do with any of my usual blog topics. It’s a holiday, so why not a “fun” topic? Who remembers what song these lyrics are from? And who knows the story behing the song (according to Mia Farrow)?



CranioSacral Therapy Study Group

Sedona CranioSacral Therapy

Study, Give, and Receive CranioSacral Therapy

This Upledger Institute Study Group meets in Sedona on the second Monday of every month, 6:00-8:00pm. Study groups include hands-on practice, techniques review and time available to have your questions answered. Meetings are facilitated by Joy Nanda PhD, CST-D, and take place in her office at 35 View Drive, West Sedona.

Eligibility: For students who have taken Introduction to CranioSacral Therapy or CS 1 through the Upledger Institute. For further information, please call (928) 282-0683 or click on the “Questions” link in the lower right corner of this screen.

The cost to participate is $20. A 25% early registration discount is available when registering in advance by clicking on the date below.

Sedona Study Group:


Head Injury, Homelessness, and (some day I hope) CranioSacral Therapy

head injury

Head Injury much more prevalent in homeless men than in the general population


In a Canadian study , researchers reviewed emergency room records  of the general population compared to men who were either homeless and heavy drinkers, just homeless, or in “vulnerable” housing at risk of being homeless: “In the general population, about 12 in every 10,000 men have a head injury that might involve a brain injury each year. Among the chronically homeless the number is 4,800 every year. Among men who are in low income housing each year, 370 in every 10,000 have such a head injury.”

That is 300 to 400 times the risk! Most epidemiological studies are noteworthy when they find a factor that increases risk by 2 or 3 times. The researchers operate from the model that being homeless (and perhaps intoxicated) leaves individuals vulnerable to being attacked and injured, but they also found that subsequent head trauma became more likely with each previous brain injury, suggesting that disorientation, dizziness, memory loss, or other problems accumulate and make injury a “downward spiral.”

As a CranioSacral Therapist in Sedona, Arizona, I have seen first-hand the difficulties caused by traumatic head injury, even in people who are not homeless, who are in fact fairly well-off. I can’t imagine the compounding effect of head injury in someone who is living “on the edge” already. Despite the known risks of homelessness, seeing these statistics is indeed shocking.

We need to find a way to bring healing to the nervous systems of these people! Not only is it critically important in the present, but what will this population be like in 10 or 20 years, after the effects of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan add to the numbers of men with traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injury (tbi) is considered the “signature injury” of soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. See, for example, this collection of NPR stories on the military’s failure to adequately care for the increasing numbers of soldiers with tbi’s:.

The Upledger Institute has conducted several incredibly successful intensive programs for Vietnam veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It seems these programs are even more needed now, when veterans are returning with sometimes multiple brain injuries as well as the enormous stress associated with combat.

Image credit: lightwise


From My Hands and Heart, by Kate MacKinnon

Here is a lovely video by Kate MacKinnon, explaining what we do as CranioSacral Therapists. Very clear. Kate also has a new book out, that goes into more depth about her journey to CST, including interesting case studies of some of her patients. Nice job, Kate!


Energy Cysts – Post it notes for the body

Energy Cysts

Energy Cysts are post it notes for the body-mind

When I worked in academics, I would often find myself “multi-tasking” between projects, and coming up with ideas and tasks that I couldn’t deal with in the moment. Since the invention of post-it notes in the 1970s, they were a favorite way for keeping track of these future projects. I would just stick them to the wall above my desk. One day I noticed that the entire wall was covered in yellow notes, and realized that I wasn’t keeping up with the demands on my time and energy. My whole system was getting bogged down, and something needed to change. That realization was the first step in my big career change, that eventually led me down the road to CranioSacral Therapy.

Our bodies have a similar system for storing hurts, memories, and emotions that we are unable to deal with fully at the time they arise. This can be because the injury is too big or traumatic to spend energy comprehending until we have dealt with the immediate survival means, like a broken bone, traumatic head injury, or major surgery. It can also be due to the emotional context of a particular event – loss of a parent (actual or perceived), extreme guilt, shame, or fear. The part of our brain that processes messages from the body says “oops, that’s important, but can’t deal with it now…gotta run and deal with staying alive” or whatever. So, it puts the mental equivalent of a post it note on or in the area of the body that is feeling the impact of whatever is happening.

This system works well for a period of time, sometimes a lifetime, if there aren’t too many post its. For the rest of us, it’s like my experience in my academic office. One day, you add one more little stressor, and the whole system breaks down. Maybe it’s the activation of chronic pain somewhere along the spine. Maybe it’s the shut down of an essential organ, such as the gallbladder (one of our body’s favorite place to store unprocessed toxins). Or, maybe it’s a serious new medical diagnosis, such as cancer, heart disease, or multiple sclerosis. In this Energy Cyst model, the site of the breakdown may vary according to the individual, but the underlying cause of the problem is the accumulation of a lifetime of unprocessed trauma, injury, and tension.

Because of this, the way we approach healing as CranioSacral Therapists differs from the type of treatment administered by the standard Western medical system. Instead of trying to “fix” the broken link in the chain, we ask your Inner Physician “Where should we begin today, in order to bring the greatest healing to your overall body/mind/spirit? The answer is often surprising, not only to us as therapists, but sometimes to clients as well. It’s like you walk into your office one day, look at the mass of yellow notes on the wall, and suddenly see the ONE THING that needs to be taken care of in order to make everything else work better. Then, the overwhelm of sticky notes begins to come down, and all the systems begin to flow. And THAT is why we do what we do in terms of CranioSacral Therapy and SomatoEmotional Release!


SEED Meditation

SeedToday, I want to talk to you about SEED meditation, because I have just completed a wonderful meditation teacher training with Sarah McLean of the Mclean Meditation Institute right here in Sedona. I am now certified to teach Sarah’s SEED meditation method, which stands for “Simple, Easy, Every Day.” SEED is a symbol for the seed we plant when we begin to meditate. It doesn’t start out as a big, green tree, but just a tiny seed that we care for and nurture every day until it sprouts, and continues to grow throughout life.

What I learned from Sarah is that meditation practice is similar to brushing your teeth. It is not a big, mystical experience in real time, but if we do it consistently, twice a day, we’ll have healthy teeth and gums for the rest of our lives.

One of the biggest misconceptions that I know I had about meditation was that each experience of it would feel deep and blissful. I’ve been practicing meditation off and on for years, but kept thinking I wasn’t doing it right, because my experiences were more along the lines of “oh, wow, my back really hurts,” or “how much longer do I have to sit here?” So I’d “forget” to do it for a while or think maybe it just wasn’t for me.

Learning the SEED method has really opened my eyes up in terms of what to expect from my meditation practice: a slow, steady improvement in my ability to

  • release stress,
  • be in the present moment,
  • be kind to myself and others

all of which allow me to make better choices, and ultimately to live a better life.

So, thank you for that Sarah!

I’m very excited to begin sharing this meditation practice with others in my own “Introduction to Meditation” class on May 18th. If you’d like to learn more about the class, please check out this post, or give me a call and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.


CranioSacral 3-Session Package


Get a screaming deal on a series of 3 CST sessions, to be used on 3 consecutive days, weekly, or any time sequence that works for you. Package is good for one year from date of purchase, and limited to a single individual. Other than that, customize your package for an intensive while you are visiting, or for continuing maintenance on a longer stay in Sedona.

Cost $295.00


Personal Retreat Day

Personal Rejuvenation Retreats Sedona, AZ

If you are dealing with a health condition or stress build-up, the most effective way to use your time in Sedona is a full-day personal retreat with Pamela Joy. During your retreat day, you will benefit from the best of CranioSacral, Yoga, and Meditation therapy, personalized and combined into a synergistic package just for you.

Your day will begin with a head-to-toe body awareness assessment, followed by gentle yoga and guided meditation. After a healthy lunch and easy walk in nature (custom route will be mapped for your hiking ability and desire, weather permitting), you will receive a thorough, 2-hour advanced CranioSacral therapy session that will release old restrictions and chronic pain while rejuvenating your entire nervous system. Your retreat will culminate with a reassessment of your goals and accomplishments for the day, and a closing meditation that will anchor new awarenesses for your return to your life – refreshed, focused, and fully alive!

Personal retreat days begin at 9:00am and end at 5:00pm, and include lunch. Nearby, recommended lodging list provided.

Cost: $375.00


Brain Health Package for Two


This full-day package for couples, friends, or family members fosters good health and good relationships through total support for healthy brain function. The morning consists of a complete course in the Simple, Easy, Every Day mediation technique, which gives both participants the tools and motivation needed for a daily meditation practice. After lunch and an Ayurvedically-prescribed after meal walk, your time will be split between sessions in Advanced CranioSacral Therapy and


Introduction to CranioSacral Therapy

Introduction to CranioSacral Therapy – May 16-17, 2016

Presented by the Upledger Institute and Joy Nanda, PhD, CST-D
12 CE Units – Tuition $250.00

Dr John Upledger performing CranioSacral Therapy

Dr. Upledger Treating (photo courtesy Upledger Institute)

Here is your opportunity to sample The Upledger Institute’s CranioSacral Therapy I (CST) workshop studied by more than 100,000 healthcare practitioners worldwide. This twelve-hour program is a mix of lecture, demonstration and hands-on practice designed to teach you the benefits of CST along with some basic techniques you can use in practice and for your own health.

CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the function of the craniosacral system — the physiological body system comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Developed by John E. Upledger, DO, OMM, CranioSacral Therapy enhances the body’s natural healing processes to improve the operation of the central nervous system, dissipate the negative effects of stress, enhance health and strengthen resistance to disease.

Among the medical conditions for which CranioSacral Therapy has shown to be effective are:

  • Migraine Headaches
  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain
  • Motor-Coordination Impairments
  • Central Nervous System Disorders
  • Orthopedic Problems
  • Scoliosis
  • Infantile Disorders
  • Autism
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Post-Surgical Dysfunctions
  • Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injury
  • Emotional Difficulties
  • Stress and Tension-Related Problems
  • Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Neurovascular or Immune Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Fibromyalgia and other Connective Tissue Disorders

Course Outline:

Day 1:

9:00 – 10:00 Introduction, History and Concept
10:00 – 11:00 Palpation Lecture/Exercise
11:00 – 11:15 Break
11:15 – 12:30 Listening Stations Lecture, Demo, Hands-On Practice
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 2:30 Fascia Lecture
2:30 – 2:45 Break
2:45 – 5:00 Diaphragm Lecture, Demo, Hands-On Practice

Day 2:

9:00 – 9:45 Sacral Techniques Lecture, Demo, Hands-On Practice
9:45 – 10:45 Dural Tube Rock/Glide Lecture, Demo, Hands-On Practice
10:45 – 11:00 Break
11:00 – 11:45 V-Spread Lecture, Demo, Hands-On Practice
11:45 – 12:30 Stillpoint Lecture, Demo, Hands-On Practice
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 2:45 Review Demo Two Day’s Techniques, Hands-On Practice
2:45 – 3:00 Closure, CranioSacral Therapy I and The Upledger Institute, Inc. information

Payment Options


Learn to Meditate

Sedona Meditation Class

Sedona SEED Meditation Class

Learn to Meditate – Select Your Date and Time Below

Presented by Joy Pamela Nanda, PhD, CST
Tuition $200.00 (for up to 6 people)

The SEED (Simple, Easy, Every Day) Meditation Method training is a 2-hour program designed to give beginners all they need to practice meditation at home. It’s also great for anyone who used to meditate and wants to get back on track with their practice.

In this class, you’ll learn how meditation works and explore a variety of meditation techniques, including a silent mantra and breath meditation practice so effective that you can use it for the rest of your life. You will also understand the types of experiences to expect in and out of meditation.

You don’t need any prerequisites to join this class. All your questions about meditation will be answered, and you’ll leave with your own personal practice.

This class takes place at 35 View Drive in West Sedona. See “contact” page for a map. Registration/check-in begins 15 minutes before the start of class. Please ask each member of your group to print out and complete the Learn to Meditate Student Registration Form and either email it or bring to class.


Cerebrospinal Fluid

So what is this cerebrospinal fluid we CranioSacral Therapists are so interested in? What does it do? Why do we want it to circulate freely? Here’s a really good, simple overview.


In this lesson, you’ll learn that you have holes in your brain and that it’s actually a good thing! You’ll also find out how your brain uses a water cushion for protection and where this water cushion is made.


I just had to tell you….woke up around  3am and my world was so incredibly quiet it was surreal.  The day before i could hardly hear the rain on the skylights because the noise in my head was so loud. I think we’re on to something.  Thank you again. ~ Pam


Mescal Trail Loop

IMG_0275The Mescal Trail is fairly new, accessed from the new parking area on the right side of Boynton Pass Road (152D) just before the Long Canyon parking area. This is not the same as the old Mescal Mountain Trail, which the Forest Service has re-routed to avoid some ruins. The new trail makes a fine loop when combined with parts of the Deadman’s Pass and Long Canyon Trails back to the road.

Winter came late to Sedona this year, making the transition perhaps more of a shock than a gradual cooling through November and December. When a cold rain turned to snow Saturday, many of us in the Sedona Hiking Meetup were ready to give up on this hike. Those that waited for Sunday afternoon were rewarded with stunning views of snow on the mountains and a gradual clearing that warmed our way. A bit of mud on the Deadman’s Pass segment barely slowed us down, and we returned to our cars very much warmed.


Courthouse Butte Loop

Courthouse Butte, from the Loop Trail

Courthouse Butte, from the Loop Trail

This is a classic Sedona hike — 4.6 miles, fairly level, and awesome views all the way. Our hiking meetup group lucked out on a late November Sunday afternoon that felt more like September. Temperatures were in the mid-seventies at least. I couldn’t hold myself back from scampering on ahead of the group to soak up some alone time with the red rocks, but waited for some company on the last leg on the Bell Rock path. There were LOTS of tourists in the Bell Rock parking lot, but surprisingly not that many on the trail itself. I guess most people are content with a snapshot next to their car. While it’s very scenic from there, believe me, those people don’t know what they’re missing out on the trail.


Ridge Trail

View from the Ridge Trail

View from the Ridge Trail

After a few hours of diligent house cleaning, I decided to take some time off on a Sunday afternoon for a hike. First, I had to take the household recycling bins to Sedona Recycles on Shelby Road. After doing my duty there, I hopped across the street to the tiny trail head for the Ridge and Old Post trails. Following signs for the Ridge trail, I traveled through several sandy washes, taking a left turn about 20 minutes in to stay on the Ridge trail. Without really noticing it, I was starting to climb up on the “ridge.” About a mile of gradual ascent brings you over the top, looking south into the magnificent valley carved by Oak Creek over millenia. Rising above the green are Courthouse Butte on the left, Bell Rock nestled in the center (notice how much smaller it looks from this vantage point than in the photo taken from the Slim Shady trail), and Cathedral Rock on the right. This trail continues downward towards Cathedral Rock and Oak Creek, but for today the ridge was my ending point. I turned around and got back to my car about 90 minutes after starting out on this adventure. Quite a view for such a short hike from the center of town!


Broken Arrow Trail to Submarine Rock

View from the Broken Arrow Jeep Trail

View from the Broken Arrow Jeep Trail

It was a cloudy afternoon following two days of unseasonable sporadic showers in mid-October. The grocery stores and movie theater were packed, most tourists having given up on the day for outdoor activities. In addition to the dearth of other hikers or jeep-riders, the recent rains washed out the other bane of this trail, dust. I started from the parking lot at the end of Morgan road in the later afternoon and followed the foot path to Chicken Point until the turnoff for Submarine rock. I didn’t make it all the way up Submarine due to the high water in the wash about 3/4 of the way there. The water wasn’t really that high, but I didn’t feel like rock-hopping or getting wet. Instead, I returned along the wide jeep trail. There was only one jeep out this day, so I had the place all to myself. Cresting a hill, I was amazed by the beautiful light hitting the red rocks ahead. Although I took dozens of shots, I’m not sure the iPhone photos really capture the mystical mood, but take a look anyway. I returned to my car about an hour after setting out, feeling completely rejuvenated.


Thank you again for the wonderful work. In two sessions with you, I have broken through so much! The pain and tension in my head are virtually gone, and I feel more freedom of movement and relaxation in my neck, shoulders and back than I’ve felt in a long time. So much old stuff is getting healed here in Sedona! I can’t thank you enough. ~ Robyn


I am extremely grateful to Joy. I highly recommend her awesome spiritual presence, her expertise with a variety of modalities, her intuitive sense of what treatment is needed, and her very comfortable studio that feels like “sacred space.” I also recommend that you go for at least three sessions if you have a problem area. I just cannot wait to see what opens up for me in session three. Thank you. ~ JM