The Journey from... Acupuncture to CST

Rob Williamson, BRCP, CCATCM, AOM  

Interviewed by Susie Carrdus

As a child, I was severely asthmatic and I somehow got into complementary medicine aged 14, when I threw my inhalers away and started running 6 miles each night before I didn’t do my homework. Wanting to strengthen my lungs led me on to rock climbing, cycling and Buddhism. A couple of years later, I took my first Yoga class, to help my climbing and to impress girlfriends. The yoga had a hugely positive effect on my asthma, far more than the running. I hurt myself plenty, falling off bikes and rock faces – but I always came back to yoga.

In my twenties, I had a full-time IT job as well as teaching yoga and Tai Chi. I was always after knowledge, interesting hobbies, different ways of dealing with things. This took me on to kinesiology, which is what identified my dyslexia – weak as a kitten, I was, during the muscle testing. That explained a lot of things to me. At around this time, a gorgeous acupuncture teacher asked me out, we got married, and we set up our joint clinic in 2002. I’d say now that my main disciplines are a combination of acupuncture and CranioSacral Therapy, but I’ve definitely done the rounds. For example, when I was learning acupuncture, I knew it was only one small part of traditional Chinese medicine – there’s also Tui Na, which is an osteopathic physical therapy, a really manual intervention, as well as a Japanese system, ‘the Way of the Skull’. What got me interested in CST was the Therapeutic Imaging and Dialoguing, because I found that, while I was working with clients, I was getting lots of emotional stuff from them and needed to learn how to work with it. So I added in a neural imaging course and a hypnotherapy course on top of the full CranioSacral training. It all united to make the SomatoEmotional Release go wonderfully! I actually met John Upledger, and like to hope that I will always have his open-minded approach to using whatever works as well as his constant questioning of himself and his therapy.  Nothing is static.

A big thing for me is that CST has a Chinese philosophy feel to it  –  it’s pragmatic and eclectic. I can tell you, acupuncture is constantly being refined in the hands of Chinese practitioners  – and CST is similarly always developing. In CST, you endlessly refine your technique; you become more and more gentle and person-centred; it’s less about fixing and all to do with the clients; you become far more respectful. What bowls me over about the Upledger CST family is that they pull no punches when continually working on themselves. They become more rounded, emotionally healthy individuals, they get their egos out of the way. I suppose there are always politics in any group, but in all my years as a teacher of various modalities, CST is the closest, least bitchy, most self-supporting group I’ve met. You’d be a fool to distance yourself from that.

CST makes me humble as a person because I’m forced to realise the scope of the human condition – perhaps it’s why we don’t always promote ourselves as other therapists do. The soul-searching and inner work done creates such a safe place for clients to come in to and to work in; and the success of the clinics proves this again and again.

There’s a tendency in therapy to talk about things that have happened, that are startling, ground-shaking, but the miracle cures are just that: occasions when the stars align and things work out and you can stroke your own ego. CranioSacral work appeals because even without the trumpet moments you still get astonishing effects. The first step with clients blows me away, time after time, day after day.


Rob works from The Plumb Blossom Clinic, Chelmsford, Essex in partnership with his wife, Alison Williamson, BSc, MBRCP, CCATCM, CST MCSS

He also moderates our UK Upledger Student Group on Facebook, a closed site for those who have done the courses, where we all can respond to questions folk have from the training or their practices, and share CST-related things!  




See also   The Journey from... Osteopathy to CST     and     Massage to CST 


Susie Carrdus is an ex-headmistress who, in her retirement, came across CST and found herself so fascinated by it that she is now studying it. She is living proof that it is never too late! (She was also the person in the Why we Love Upledger in 60 secs video who wished she'd found it 30 years ago.... but then just think what all those kiddies would have missed!)