UK's Natural Therapies Website
e.g. yoga, naturopath
e.g. Town ame or city
Thumbnail picture for Fiona McDonaugh        

Fiona McDonaugh

Refer a Friend
Printer Friendly Version

Contact NameFiona McDonaugh
Stroud GL5 4TU
Phone01453 825174
Email Make an Enquiry

Request an Appointment


Welcome to Fiona McDonaugh - CranioRhythm


This massage works into the body via the rhythms of the body (the rhythmic system), most tangibly manifest in breathing, digestion, heart rhythm, circulation, sleeping, warmth and the tone of the muscles.

Many of us are conscious of our experience of stress and its undermining effect on our emotional and physical health. We may have pain, we may feel ill, feel less able to ‘cope’, suffer insomnia, or we may be recovering from an illness, surgery, or we may have had an accident. The list goes on, but in all of these situations the balance of the nervous system and metabolic system is altered, and in all of these situations Rhythmical Massage Therapy can help the body restore its balance.

How can it help me?

Broadly speaking illness falls into two categories, acute and chronic. If our underlying state of health is good, recovery from illness is usually rapid. Sometimes, however, we may need some help to get better again and a short series of massage therapy treatments can restore the balance of good health.

With chronic ongoing conditions we have to find a way to keep the discomfort to a minimum, so we need to keep well, keep our stress at bay and take care of our well being. Rhythmical Massage Therapy does this.

Some conditions that respond well are listed below

Weak Immune System
Menstrual problems
Post Viral Fatigue
Post operative
Shock and trauma
Back problems

When you come for an appointment I will ask some questions about your medical history and current state of health, and although I no longer work within a doctor’s practice I will always suggest that you go to see your doctor if I think it advisable or necessary.

Before beginning the first treatment I ask various questions which will inform me about your wellbeing ie. Sleeping, digestion, breathing and circulation, as the individual’s variations of these systems give a good indication of the balance within the rhythmic system.

During a treatment the therapist directs his/her attention to balancing the rhythmic system, so a back treatment will be followed by a selected area of the body such as the abdomen, legs and feet, or arms and may include what is termed a liver, spleen, or kidney treatment.

A session will last between 20 and 35 minutes followed by a 20 minute rest which is considered an essential part of the treatment, therefore each appointment lasts approximately one hour.

About Rhythmical Massage

Rhythmical Massage Therapy was born out of the work of Dr. Rudolf Steiner and developed by Frau Dr. Ita Wegman and Frau Dr. Hauschka. The underlying principle is the view that as human beings we are made of physical, life, soul and spiritual forces and when these forces are working in balance we enjoy good health.

When these forces are out of balance ill health and un-ease are a consequence. Each of us is unique and as a massage therapist I work to restore balance.


Craniosacral therapy was developed in the early twentieth century by William Garner Sutherland, an osteopath. He identified and named the Primary Respiratory System. This is the fluctuations of the cerebrospinal fluid that as an energy flow passes throughout the nervous system and affects the whole body.

Via experimentation, he found that manipulation applied as an outside force to the body was not the only way to affect adjustment and correction. He discovered that a very light touch with stillness as opposed to movement rightly applied allows the body to adjust itself. The principle is that through this very light touch one can experience the underlying rhythms of the Primary Respiratory System and also disturbances in the balance of normal tension of the nerves and muscles. If through this gentle palpation the body under one’s hands can relax, then the muscle/nerve can resume a state of balanced tension.

We all gather experiences as we progress through life and some leave their mark on us. Such events can leave a residual strain or stress within our emotional and physical life. We are all in various ways subject to tension, either through the impact of things like an accident, surgery, dental work, emotional events in our lives, or even through our own birth process.

Craniosacral therapists ‘listen’ to the tissue, muscles and nervous system of the client through the lightest of touch. It is through this very light touch that a deep stillness can arise and healing within the client can take place. It often is experienced as a very deep relaxation which strengthens the client against their condition.

Conditions that Craniosacral therapy can help.

Recovery from surgery
Shock, physiological, psychological
Any form of trauma
Back pain
Postdentistry or Orthordontistry
Chronic fatigue
Neurological disturbances
Digestive disorders
Ear-ache and baby cholic
Traumatic birth experience for child and mother

What you can expect

At the first appointment I shall take a relevant history and get to know my new client. We will then move to the treatment couch (the client remains fully clothed). When the client feels comfortable and at ease I will gently begin ‘listening with my hands’ to the client’s system/body. Craniosacral therapy is non manipulative. I may start at the feet, or the shoulders or head. The bones of the head and spine carry the main focus but if there is a reason to address other areas, everywhere responds well to the light therapeutic touch. It is a situation of gentle trust during which time the client allows herself to release the tensions which have been impeding her daily life.

Babies and children

The moment of birth is wonderful but for this arrival both mother and baby have been on a long journey together. Sensitivity to the change from being safely within the womb tells us that the baby has in normal circumstances had to push its way through the birth canal, which not only is a tremendous effort, but also a tight squeeze. The design of the baby’s skull is such that it can accommodate such pressure by the bones moving. Every natural birth has this pressure. Some babies are assisted with forceps or other methods, and it may take time for the baby to recover from the compression which inevitably occurs. The bones of the skull left to themselves return to their rightful positions, but it can be that it takes longer to resolve and can be responsible for some early infancy problems: over excited nervous system, perhaps leading to baby cholic, crying a lot, not sleeping soundly, headaches. Craniosacral therapy can offer release. Other interventions such as Caesarian section can also leave the baby feeling shocked.

Treating the baby is sometimes best approached by treating Mum and baby together.

As the baby grows and develops there are moments again when it would be helpful to touch in with this quiet and gentle approach, reasserting the health- giving relaxation that can act as a resource. Children who time and again experience treatments have the advantage of developing a good response to this type of treatment, which we as adults may have to learn.


I have spent all of my adult life working in the medical/caring professions I trained I Rhythmical Massage Therapist in Germany at the Margarethe Hauschka Schule in 1984, living in Germany throughout my training and working in two clinics there to gain experience. When I returned to Britain I became part of a small team pioneering Anthroosophical therapists working alongside GP’s in an NHS practice.

Prior to that I was a State Registered Nurse in Oxford and in my younger adult life worked and lived in a community for children with special needs for seven years where I became interested in becoming a therapist. This led to my taking up nursing and massage therapy.

A few years ago I undertook to train as a Craniosacral Therapist at the Institute of Craniosacral Studies. Since then I have been able to offer both these very gentle but effective therapies and have my own practice in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Service Categories
Craniosacral Therapy, Holistic Massage

   Profile picture for Fiona McDonaugh