Two Powerful Allies:
Integrating CranioSacral and
Flower Essence Therapy

An interview with Nancy Kern
by Jann Garitty

“I approach my work from a place of neutral. I don’t lay hands on a person with the intention of putting energy in or taking it out. I simply pay profound attention.”

Mending the Body and Minding the Soul

CranioSacral Therapy and Flower Essence Therapy are powerful allies in the realm of mind-body healing work. The two therapies can work effectively in tandem to reveal emotional and mental patterns that manifest in the body. Nancy Kern is a practitioner based in Houston, Texas, who attests to their synergistic benefits with her clients. She works with pediatric clients whose parents are seeking alternatives. They have not received answers from the traditional medical community and have endured many traumatic and painful experiences. Below are some case highlights from her impressive healing program.

Oregon Grape: Establishing Trust with Young Children

Many babies and small children have a history of birth trauma, and simply do not want to be touched. Nancy initiates therapy with Oregon Grape flower essence to support these young clients through their initial fear of the healing relationship. These feelings are usually based upon a prior experience of a medical intervention that was extremely frightening and painful, even if done out of medical necessity. Oregon Grape works with many issues of misperceived hostility or paranoia and Nancy regards it as the perfect essence to help young clients overcome feelings of external threat and distrust. She works in the first session to establish herself as a safe person to be around; helping the child to release their anger or fear, a strategy that benefits the parents as well.

Topical Applications of Madia or Fuchsia During Client Sessions

Madia or Fuchsia flower essences are ideal essences when a child is agitated, and cannot make contact in the therapy session. A case example involves Sherry, an autistic child who was “all over the studio, knocking into walls.” Nancy was “duck-walking,” exhaustedly following her and attempting to make contact. She applied Madia essence to the top of Sherry’s head followed by Fuchsia. Nancy observed a remarkable wave of calm pass through the child. Sherry became still and sat for twenty minutes while Nancy worked. Her mother was astonished and had never seen her daughter respond in such a striking manner.

Resolving a Toddler’s Ear Infections with Arnica

Nancy has learned that Arnica is often the best essence for trauma-induced conditions, and is a more effective choice than essences such as Shooting Star or Angelica. She relates the case of two-year old Anna, who was connected to an internal fetal monitor during the birthing process. The child had a history of repeated ear infections, had been treated frequently with antibiotics, and showed weak lung function. By the time Anna was six months old, she needed ear tubes. Anna absolutely would not let Nancy touch her head; she kept pushing her hands away and attempted to avoid Nancy by climbing onto her mother’s chest. Nancy gave the mother a stock bottle of Arnica, and advised her to use it in Anna’s bath, in her shampoo, and any other way that would bring the remedy in contact with the child’s head, even putting it into Anna’s juice.

Upon returning for their appointment two weeks later, the difference was remarkable. Anna sat still, the chaotic energy surrounding her head was gone, and outer layers of stress were dispelled, resulting in a noticeable energetic shift.

Anna continues to use Arnica and no longer has ear infections, nor does she need ear tubes. Anna’s mother has treated her with vitamins and supplements as well. With enough improvement in the acute condition, they are now getting into structural realignments and root causes. On one occasion, Nancy and Anna’s mother supported her gently while she cried deep tears, an emotional release of the separation and trauma she experienced at birth. Following that release of grief, she was given Calendula essence to increase her receptivity. With each session, Anna has indeed become more and more receptive to Nancy’s work and will soon be on “maintenance” visits. Anna is calm and allows Nancy to work for about 30-40 minutes. In working with young clients, Nancy strikes a balance between doing the work and allowing the child to relax and play; she often sits behind them on the table, while their mothers’ read to them, sing, or play with them. Or, as Nancy explains, it’s common for someone doing CranioSacral therapy with children to follow their movements. Some children actually re-enact their birth process—even more than once—pushing, turning, or perhaps going off the table and mimicking the birth process. Nancy encourages these expressions and may work with both the mother and baby on various bonding or emotional issues.

Head Trauma Addressed with Arnica and CranioSacral Therapy

Nancy described the powerful effects of Arnica in another case involving a woman with traumatic head injuries from a car accident. The woman had had plastic surgery to remove the glass from her skull, but her surgeon had told her that at some point, she might find still more tiny bits of glass. Nancy worked with her client to release fears and traumatic emotion caused by the accident. She applied a topical dose of Arnica on the region of the forehead and did “tissue unwinding,” a cranial technique utilizing light touch. In this technique, the therapist is working with the micro movements residing in the injured tissues and the fingers move and work in the reverse direction along the pathway of an injury. Nancy believes that both Arnica and subtle bodywork are much more powerful when used in tandem. In particular, Arnica facilitates the process of reclaiming and healing traumatic memories. After using this technique with the client, more glass fragments were actually released from her scar tissue!

Progressive Healing for a Child Suffering from Seizures

Many young clients have complex and challenging issues requiring careful work through various layers of emotional experience. Nancy relates a case spanning two years with Lisa, who was suffering from infantile seizures and a brain virus when she first began treatment at 18 months old. Lisa was born by caesarian section, along with a twin who has no medical problems. The labor and delivery were challenging for Lisa’s mother who contracted an infection and was hospitalized for three days.

Oregon Grape

In her first sessions with Nancy, Lisa would often scream, kick or fight. Nancy first saw results with Lisa by using Oregon Grape. The angry behavior dissipated, and her mother reports it occurs only infrequently when Lisa is exposed to many people in a new environment. During one of these instances, Lisa’s mother brought her to see Nancy on their way home from the airport; she was frantic and restless. After an hour, Lisa was placid and lucid again. If her daughter goes too long without treatment, Lisa’s mother feels she loses contact with her, but after a session with Nancy, their rapport is re-established.


Nancy describes Lisa as “a child trapped between seizures, digestive upsets, and not being able to communicate verbally—a feeling of being so frustrated, with a fear of the painful seizures.” A key remedy to help transform Lisa’s anger and open her feelings of connection with others was Holly, applied topically to the front, back, and crown of her head. Lisa also receives other therapeutic intervention and Blackberry has been an important essence to stimulate her will to master the challenges of these healing programs.

As Lisa released various forms of energy trapped in her body, Snapdragon was used for her tendency to bite. This flower essence was applied topically to her jaw, and also administered internally, resulting in a marked change in her biting behavior. (Nancy notes that Snapdragon is quite helpful for her adult clients with intense issues regarding job stress, TMJ, or teeth-clenching. She recommends that it be used in baths, externally on the jaw area or even on one’s toothbrush.)

Lisa has reached a place of stability and vitality and Nancy is able to work in increasing levels of depth with her. As the emotional layers are peeled away, Lisa has gone through a healing transformation and has become increasingly receptive to deep structural work; she remains calm and sometimes even falls asleep.

Rosemary Provides Immediate Transformation for an Infant

A mother consulted with Nancy because she felt that her four-month old baby boy, Christopher, was not “present.” He appeared dissociated, was pale, had cold hands and feet, and bowel movements just twice a week. Nancy used Rosemary topically and could see Christopher pink up immediately. The transformation was quite dramatic and amazing—a vitality appeared that wasn’t there before. He also had a bowel movement! Nancy observed, “that’s what is so beautiful working with babies—how little it takes for them to shift and experience being in their bodies.”

NANCY KERN is a CranioSacral Therapist and a certified practitioner with the Flower Essence Society. After graduating in pre-law studies from Rice University in 1975, she pursued her passion for art and healing. Nancy began to use Bach flower essences in 1977, when she was working as an apprentice lay midwife. Following the home birth of her first child in 1978, she became a massage therapist specializing in polarity energy work. In 1984 she took a 9-year hiatus from her practice in bodywork to earn a graduate degree in painting, become the mother of two more children and embarked on a demanding inner journey of deep recovery using energy work and shamanism.

Nancy has completed Advanced CranioSacral Therapy, The Brain Speaks, Pediatric CranioSacral Therapy, Somato-Emotional Release I and II, and CranioSacral Therapy I and II with the Upledger Institute, where she works as a teaching assistant. She is a certified Infant Massage Instructor, with a background in women’s self-help and midwifery. She is also a painter, poet and drummer, and shares sweat lodges and dances with the Buffalo Moon Lodge Community. She has taken levels I, II and III in Akashic Record reading. She lives and works in Houston, Texas.

For more detailed information regarding her work, visit Nancy’s website.


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