What Is Craniosacral Therapy

Enter the words ‘tissue memory’ in any search engine such as Google and you’re taken immediately to several hundred references. As often as not, these relate the experiences of therapists and healers of all types in dealing with spontaneous recall of past traumas and other events in the lives of people being treated. Such recall can occur either or both to the patient and to the therapist.

The reality of tissue memory has some science behind it: immune system response, for example, is enhanced by the memory T-cells holding information about a previous attack by specific foreign antigens; and muscle memory improves the ability of top class sports people and musicians to perform optimally even under extreme pressure.

There is no science that supports the existence of tissue memory in the way I will describe except with one interesting phenomenon that has been noted by scientists. I refer to memories about donors of organ transplants recalled by the recipients! (Lauren Slater 2003, New York Times Magazine, quoted in ‘The Times’, London, on 16 April 2003).

The fact that there is no science does not diminish the possibilities. It’s just that science has not thought the topic worth researching unless the findings on transplants encourage a researcher somewhere to widen the search for evidence. Nonetheless, the reality that tissue memory is known to exist for some functions within the body strongly suggests that it is much more widespread within the body than science has so far recognised.

Purely as a hypothesis I think that what we call tissue memory is more likely stored in the body’s magnetic fields – rather like the hard disc of a computer – and that it can therefore be read through the merging of the energy fields of the person carrying out the treatment and the person being treated. For those who believe, as I do, that there is a review of our lifetime shortly after we die and that we live through many lives, it’s interesting to speculate that perhaps our whole life experiences are stored in our energy fields to be downloaded and reviewed as part of that post-death experience!

My experience of tissue memory – and its significance in achieving healing – lies with memories that arise while treating illness and injury of all types. The conclusions I draw may not necessarily be true of emotional and mental disturbances that have not lead to either physical injury or an illness; although I have found that everything I relate in this article is just as true for issues such as depression and lack of concentration. Nonetheless, I have no intention of straying into territory that more properly belongs to Psychologists and Psychotherapists!

It’s also rare for clients I work with to experience spontaneous recall, although it does sometimes happen. More usually it’s my obtaining information from the tissues, leading to me making a comment to the person I’m treating, that triggers off the response.

Before I give a few examples of my work with clients, I set out some of the conclusions I draw. For me, reading the tissues is a kind of clairvoyance that occurs once I put my hands on the person being treated – and that sometimes occurs while I’m sitting at their head even before I take up physical contact.

Here are my conclusions (with more detailed explanations following the list):

  1. Much of the illness with which I deal provides a ‘wake-up call’ to the client to attend to an important aspect of their self-development that’s being neglected. In many cases, the self-development issue is a talent that’s either unrecognised or under-used. It’s as though ‘Life’ thrives on all of our talents being unlocked and used for the benefit of the Human Race as a whole!
  2. The only information that the tissues provide is that necessary to remind the client about that self-development aspect. Comments about the primary self-development issue needing attention by the person being treated are often accompanied by advice on how to tackle the issue.
  3. All that is necessary is for the client to acknowledge the issue – without any further debate being required – for the healing process to take place. Healing may still require several more treatments but the acknowledgement removes any previous block to the healing taking place.
  4. Once acknowledged, the significance of ‘listening’ to tissue memory is revealed: that it enables permanent healing to take place instead of temporary relief being achieved, necessitating further treatment later on.

Dealing with these in more detail:

The ‘wake-up call’

Our lives have a purpose. Despite Richard Dawkins’ best efforts to convince us otherwise, Life is not a random accident. We are born with a purpose in mind that we know before we are born but which, through the birth process, we forget. Why? Simply because we’d want to go back rather than face the tasks we’ve set ourselves! Yes, we set our own tasks as part of our overall plan of Spiritual Development that may take many lives to achieve. In that sense, all our lives – and our between-lives experience – are continuous.

I see this sense of purpose being revealed by the tissues over and over again and clients’ lives being transformed as a result: to the point where I confidently assert that our lives have a purpose and that there is a guiding intelligence into which we can tap, when we’re ready to do so.

The way it seems to work is this: our Body intelligence has an awareness of the task(s) we set ourselves to carry out. There is only one way it can communicate with us to remind us what that task is: by changing or interfering with the energy rhythms of the healthy body so that illness results. It’s in this sense that illness provides us with the wake-up call, giving us time to consider our lives and what we’re doing with them.

And does this apply to children and to people born with congenital disease? I generally find less information being available in these cases but have experienced sufficient ‘readings’ of the tissues to say that the answer is still ‘yes’: it’s here that tissue memory might provide a link with an earlier life or with earlier lives with which our current life is one of a sequence. In other words, it provides information on this life being linked to an earlier one; and hence the disease being treated.

Is ‘tissue memory’ an ‘open book?’

The only information revealed is that necessary to help the healing process. We cannot read the tissues as though they were an open book for us to read whatever information we think is interesting. For example, if the illness is linked to a talent that we’re neglecting or failing to develop, all that will be revealed is a reminder of that talent: not the life story of the person being treated!

Acknowledgment is enough

Once the therapist speaks the illness-linked issue, it is enough for it to be acknowledged by the patient. There is no need for any discussion or debate; and nor is there any need for the therapist to understand what the issue is. Advice is often offered about how to deal with it. I stress that the ‘advice’ is not coming from me. As well as ‘speaking’ what I sense is an issue linked to the condition I’m treating, I also feel compelled to ‘speak’ everything that comes to me while the tissue memory is flowing, including advice on what to do about it. Interestingly, ‘speaking’ tissue memory may only take a minute or two in a treatment session lasting about 45 minutes.

Permanent healing

Most therapists have experienced clients who finish their sequence of treatments apparently healed; only to find them returning for further treatment for that condition some weeks or months later. I’ve come to believe that the missing element is that we haven’t listened enough to their tissues or provided the conduit through which the client is enabled to acknowledge some important missing item of self-development in their lives; and that having that item acknowledged enables a permanent healing to take place.


Tissue memory about unresolved trauma sometimes arises during treatment. Abuse of all kinds: sexual, mental and physical are the ones I find appearing most often although other emotional and/or physical trauma can also be linked to illness.

There is no clear pattern of direct correlations between specific types of trauma and the illness that eventually results. Sexual abuse occurring in childhood can manifest as illness or physical injury or weakness many years later in adulthood and frequently affects the pelvic region. This is not its only link, though. As one example it can also appear during the treatment of pancreatic disorders.

I must emphasise that this is definitely not stating that all pelvic disorders have a childhood sexual abuse origin! There are many causes of which sexual abuse may be one. Where it is the cause then it is simply sufficient for it to be acknowledged by the client, without any further discussion, for the body to begin the process of releasing the tissue tension or energy blockage leading to healing.

In this area of trauma sometimes being linked to an illness, I find myself at odds with Trauma specialists in that there is absolutely no need for the trauma to be revisited. Even in the mental field, post September 11 research  suggests that repression provided a healthier outcome than talk-therapy. I have to be careful, though: it’s not my field! However, there have been too many successful outcomes with the therapist identifying the tissue memory, client accepting it without further discussion cycle for me to ignore it!

How do we access tissue memory?

Therapists and healers reading this who have not so far experienced tissue memory may be wondering how to start. The only advice I can give is to trust your intuition and ‘speak’ whatever comes to you during a treatment session. Do not be discouraged if nothing comes. I do not ‘read’ the tissues with every treatment. Not everything we treat has an emotional issue attached to it and nor can we demand access to information stored in the tissues of the people we treat. It will be revealed if it needs to be.

As a simple example of the therapist not needing to understand what’s being revealed, I once treated a patient’s pelvic region that seemed totally locked and encaged. In this case the tissue message was straightforward: there was a needless but nonetheless strong sense of self-blame associated with the pelvis. This was immediately recognised and acknowledged by the patient and, although I hadn’t the faintest idea what this self-blame related to – and I don’t make guesses where tissue memory is concerned – it was clear that this was the only tissue ‘message’ that the patient needed to acknowledge for the healing process to proceed, even though several more treatments were required.

A fuller paper giving specific examples is available on email request to me at peoplemapsdavid@gmail.com.


David Ellis

January 2016.