Turtle Back Instructors

Margery Chessare, LMT, BCST, RCST®

Owner, Lead Instructor

Wave, fluidity

Margery has been in private practice as a craniosacral therapist since 1995, teaching since 1999. She leads programs in craniosacral therapy, beginner through advanced, and enjoys mentoring practitioners. Invited to be the first craniosacral instructor at the Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy in Albany, NY, she taught there for nearly 10 years.

Margery's perpetual craniosacral education includes several models of this work, all of which she draws on for her own teaching: Upledger CranioSacral Therapy, Hugh Milne's Visionary Craniosacral, and Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, which she studied with Scott Zamurut, Michael Kern, Mike Boxhall, and Michael Shea. She is certified as both Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist and Instructor by the International School of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, and is a Registered Craniosacral Therapist with the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America. Margery is honored to be a teaching assistant, since 2008, with Michael Shea, Biodynamic innovator and author.

The integration of complementary studies, including trauma resolution, embryology, pregnancy and birth, is paramount to Margery's approach to craniosacral therapy.

She is the author of a chapter in the book Working Wonders: Changing Lives with CranioSacral Therapy, published by North Atlantic Press.

To listen to a podcast interview with Margery, click here.

Michael Shea, M.A., PhD.


Michael J. Shea is one of the preeminent educators and authors in the fields of somatic psychology, myofascial release and craniosacral therapy. He presents seminars throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, and is the originator of Biodynamic cardiovascular therapy. He received his master's degree in Buddhist Psychology at Naropa University, and a doctorate in Somatic Psychology at The Union Institute. Dr. Shea was certified in 1986 as one of the first Full Instructors of CranioSacral Therapy by the Upledger Institute and was an advanced Rolfer for 20 years. He held the position of adjunct faculty, teaching human embryology in the pre and perinatal psychology doctoral programs at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute in California.  

As a formal student of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, his teaching style is grounded in his spiritual practice of developing compassion with the use of manual therapy. For many years he apprenticed with a medicine man on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. From these traditions, he brings a unique cross-cultural perspective to teaching health and healing. Because of the influence of the Dalai Lama, Michael's clinical focus is on the treatment of infants and children with neurological problems and developmental delays. This includes teaching clinical skills for adults who carry pre and perinatal trauma.

Michael is the author of a number of books, including Somatic Psychology and Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy - Volumes 1 through 5. He has been a Florida Licensed Massage Therapist since 1976, and is a founding member of the International Affiliation of Biodynamic Trainings and the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge task force (MTBOK).  He makes his home in South Florida with his wife, Cathy.

Michael has numerous videos, some serious, some not, on his YouTube channel. Here's a link to one that offers an excellent example of his warm and brilliant teaching style, from a presentation at the Breath of Life Conference in London, 2013.

Elsie White, MA, LMT, BCST


Elsie White has been practicing bodywork since 2008. Her strong background in therapeutic massage served as a good foundation for the cultivation of her passion, Biodynamic craniosacral therapy. Elsie adds to the palette of her offerings a co-creative intuitive healing modality and therapeutic astrological readings. Her private practice, Peace and Renewal Healing Arts, is in Chatham, NY.

Elsie guides clients into deeper relationship with their own bodies, their connection to the natural world and their innate ability to sense the wide variety of experiences we are privileged to have as embodied human beings. By teaching body awareness and encouraging self-compassion, Elsie empowers clients and students to care for themselves in new and fulfilling ways. 

After graduating from Turtle Back Craniosacral Education, Elsie began teaching in 2018 with Margery Chessare. She is thrilled to have a chance to share the Biodynamic approach that has so enriched her own life and practice. 

Ellen Mossman, CMT, VCSW, BCST


Ellen has been practicing bodywork in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1985. Early in her career she had the great fortune of working with a respected neurosurgeon. This sparked her ongoing interest in orthopedic conditions, chronic pain, and trauma recovery. Ellen began her craniosacral education in 2001 with the Upledger Institute. She completed certification trainings in Milne’s Visionary Craniosacral Work, and Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, and is continually advancing her studies, including recent certification in a three year advanced studies yoga program. 

Ellen loves the vast spectrum Biodynamic work encompasses, from the tangible to the intangible, from the importance of anatomy, structure and function to the wonderful mystery of how this work actually happens! She is passionate about making biodynamic craniosacral education accessible and enjoyable. 

Ellen began teaching craniosacral work in 2005. She teaches her own workshops in California and New York, and with Turtleback Craniosacral Education in New York. Ellen developed curriculum and taught for McKinnon Institute’s Craniosacral Training in Oakland, California for five years. She teaches yoga and anatomy for yogis, and has a background in dance and martial arts. 

Ellen brings inquiry, warmth, and humor to her classes.

Michelle Doyle, CNM, NYS Licensed Midwife, BCST


Michelle Doyle loves what she does. Since 1983, she has safely attended over 1000 births, and been present at thousands more.  She is a registered nurse, and became a Certified Nurse Midwife in 1999. Michelle worked in a high-risk tertiary care Labor and Delivery ward, and at a prenatal clinic with uninsured and undocumented Hispanic clients. She spent ten years caring for the diverse population of Upstate NY and attending births in the hospitals of Troy, NY.  

In 2009, Michelle founded Local Care Midwifery, the first independent midwifery practice in the Capital District offering home birth services. LCM was born of her intense commitment to provide women of New York's Capital District with a local, legal option for home birth as well as personal, attentive well-woman care.

As a certified Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist, Michelle incorporates BCST into her midwifery care and also offers individual sessions to infants through adults.

She serves on the Board for the New York State Association of Licensed Midwives (NYSALM), was the Chair of the NYSALM PAC, and is a member of both the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and the Midwife Alliance of North America (MANA). Michelle is also a founding member of The Pregnancy Project, a collaborative group of pregnancy care providers that supports women and families throughout the childbearing year.

Molly Deutschbein, LMT, CST, BCST, C-ATMAT


Mary “Molly” Deutschbein, LMT, CST, BCST, is in private practice as a craniosacral therapist in Rochester, New York. She empowers her clients to see the healing force within themselves, to recognize that while a "healer" may be a cheerleader, coach and source of sustenance, the healing actually occurs within the client using his/her own tools and resources.

Molly is also an educator who helps her students understand how to tap those tools and resource. She approaches her clinical work with excitement each day because of the joy she gets combining compassionate presence and clinical expertise. Every client is a new adventure.

Molly has a passion for sharing the gentle and humane healing techniques of craniosacral therapy with other bodyworkers. She began studying craniosacral therapy in 1996 and became a licensed massage therapist in 2005 so she could be certified by the Upledger Institute as a craniosacral therapist in 2006. Molly runs a craniosacral therapy study group for Rochester-area practitioners and is a certified teaching assistant for the Upledger Institute. She has TA’d all of Upledger’s core courses multiple times with many different instructors, and she participated in Don Ash’s Craniosacral Alliance. Molly studied Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy with Margery Chessare, Michael Shea and Jan Pemberton.

Patricia Tschannen, MPT


Patricia Tschannen, MPT, a massage therapist since 1993, received her master’s degree in physical therapy from Russell Sage College in 1999.

Pat specializes in manual therapy in her private physical therapy practice in Saratoga Springs, NY. She seamlessly blends Visceral Manipulation, Myofascial Release, Yoga and Craniosacral Therapy into her individual patient treatments.

Pat is also certified as an instructor of therapeutic yoga and offers weekly group classes. She continues to take coursework in every modality she practices and considers herself to be a lifelong learner.

Michael Mina, MD/PhD

Michael Mina, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Immunology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and of Pathology at Harvard Medical School.  He completed his undergraduate education at Dartmouth College in engineering and global health prior to earning MD and PhD degrees at Emory University. Michael’s post-doctoral fellowship research was at Princeton University followed by a medical residency in clinical pathology and transfusion medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital.  

Michael's research interests fall under the broad umbrella of public health and focus on the intersection of infectious diseases, vaccines, and microbial ecology. His lab at Harvard investigates how interactions between pathogens, vaccines and the immune system may have unanticipated effects on microbial transmission and susceptibility to disease. In particular, his work focuses on the long-term consequences of childhood infections. Additional research interests consider fundamental questions regarding the evolution of immune memory and the development of immunity during pregnancy and over the first years of life. 

Along with his research, Michael loves to teach biology and medicine to audiences of all skill-levels. He enjoys the challenge of conveying difficult biological concepts to people with minimal training in biology. With the increase in access to knowledge via the internet, it can be dangerously easy to arrive at medical decisions without any scientific basis. Examples include vaccine impacts, allergies, autoimmune disorders, or the consequences of taking antibiotics. Despite public awareness of many of these questions, understanding them appropriately requires knowledge of how our bodies function. Helping people begin to appreciate the basics is one of Michael's true passions. 

Patricia J. Hilleren, PhD

Professor, Department of Biology, Skidmore College