About Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy

Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy is a hands-on approach that involves “listening with the fingers” to the body’s subtle rhythms and patterns of trauma or congestion. The emphasis of treatment is to encourage and enhance the body’s own self-healing and self-regulating capabilities, even in the most acute injuries and illnesses. Treatment consists of manual manipulations of bones, soft tissues and fluids to return tissues to healthy motion thus encouraging self healing. Practitioners trained in biodynamic therapy normalize the bones, membranes and fluids of the head and the entire body.

Biodynamic therapy takes a whole-person approach to healing. The inter-connections of mind, body and spirit are acknowledged, as well as how the body reflects experiences and retains the memory of trauma. It is an effective form of treatment for a wide range of illnesses, helping to create the optimal conditions for health, encouraging vitality and facilitating a sense of well-being. Craniosacral therapy is suitable for people of all ages, including babies, children and the elderly, and can be effective in acute or chronic cases.

Life and Motion

Life expresses itself as motion. At a fundamental level of our physiological functioning all healthy, living tissues subtly “breathe” (expand and contract) with the motion of life. This is a phenomenon that produces rhythmic impulses which can be palpated by sensitive hands.

The presence of this subtle rhythmic motion in the body was discovered by osteopath Dr. William Garner Sutherland about 100 years ago. He undertook many years of research during which he demonstrated the existence of this motion, and concluded that it is produced by the body’s inherent life force, which he called the Breath of Life. Furthermore, Dr. Sutherland realized the motion of cranial bones is closely connected to an integrated network of tissues and fluids at the core of the body. This network includes the brain and spinal cord, the membranes surrounding the central nervous system, the sacrum and the motion of cerebrospinal fluid.

He discovered that the Breath of Life was expressed as subtle layers of impulse within the body that could be palpated as a tide-like rhythm throughout each of the body’s systems. He also determined that every aspect of the body registers the presence of this life impulse with it’s own unique form of motion. The ability of tissues to express their natural rhythmic motion is a critical factor in determining their state of Heath. When the body’s Health is compromised in any way, it is noticed as a change in the expression of these tide-like motions within the body. An awareness of these motions can therefore yield a wealth of information to an experienced practitioner.

As we go through life, we accumulate many insults to our bodies. birth trauma, physical and emotional injuries, stress, , and toxicity are but a few. At first they are minor burdens that lurk below our awareness. One day, for no apparent reason, the cumulative load becomes too heavy and we develop headaches, neck pain, body pain or a perception of numbness. The natural motion of the central nervous system and the rest of the body has become hindered.

Imagine a tadpole shaped water balloon with a bulbous head and a long tail. Now imagine that if you were to push your finger into any water balloon, the entire shape of the balloon and its contents would be affected. Also, when the finger is removed, the balloon will return to its original shape.

Surrounding our central nervoius system is a similarly shaped structure called the dura. Within the dura is cerebrospinal fluid (the water in the water baloon) and within this fluid the brain and spinal cord literally float. This whole mechanism, as well as the rest of the body, “breathes” with a subtle expansion and contraction. If we have any kind of insult into the dura ( finger in the water balloon) the entire mechanism will be affected. A fall on the tailbone, a concussion, back surgery , rotations of the vertebrae or other injuries can accumulate resulting in several “fingers in the balloon.” A fall on the tailbone can create migraines. A relatively minor blow to the head can shift the delicate bones of the head affecting the dura. Just as with a water balloon, once the affects of trauma have been removed, the dura will tend to return to its original shape and function.

Through the development of refined palpatory skills, the biodynamic craniosacral practitioner can read the life story of your body – its expression of heath, history and conditioning – by sensing patterns and qualities of these rhythmic motions. The healing intention in craniosacral therapy is to help free areas of trauma so that the ordering forces of the Breath of Life can find expression in the tissues. When this happens, there is a restoration of balance and symmetry so the body can return to normal functioning.

The essence of this approach then is the ability to listen through the hands to the body’s own story within, its patterns of motion and pulsation. This deep listening is very similar to the way you would read someone’s pulse at their wrist. You don’t actually need to do anything to feel a pulse! It becomes obvious once you pay attention to it. So, for the biodynamic therapist, their quietness and stillness is an acquired skill in listening. Listening to what is within the body and then interacting with the body’s fundamental ordering and healing potency.