Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy
what is it?
Biodynamic craniosacral therapy traces its lineage from the work of William Garner Sutherland DO, who developed it in the early 20th century, Rollin Becker who refined it further, and my own teacher Franklyn Sills, who brought it into its present incarnation. Each session interfaces with osteopathy and mindfulness meditation techniques, qigong and ayurvedic traditions of energy medicine, and the principles of quantum physics. The practitioner is guided through receptive touch to the healing intention as it is called to the forefront within the client's mind-body-energy system. Sessions effectively access the autonomic nervous system to modify the stress response and bring the holistic body into a state of well-being where it can initiate and support its own healing capacities.
A session begins with some talking as the client's history is discussed, as well as the presenting complaint or reason for seeking treatment. The remainder of the session takes place with the client lying fully clothed on the treatment table, mostly face up. Pillows or blankets may be used to optimize comfort. Once the client is settled on the table, practitioner leads client in a simple guided meditation, encouraging the client to identify a resource; an image, a place, an experience that helps the client tune in to a felt-sense of well-being in present time. Having settled into her own resource, the practitioner initiates touch by laying hands on the client's feet. From here, the progression of the session is entirely guided by the client's system, as it makes clear the areas that will need support in the unfolding of the inherent treatment plan. Light-touch holds on the sacrum, along the spine, joints, cranial or facial bones may follow. The progression may involve several holds in quick succession, or a select few, held for longer periods.
During the session, the client may experience a general feeling of expansive wellbeing, or more localized sensations related to the specific areas of focus. There may be feelings of mild tension or relief as fluid and anatomical shifts occur. After a session has completed, clients typically feel profoundly relaxed. The 24 hours post session may be marked by fatigue as the healing process continues and the system rebalances. Sometimes more than one session is necessary for a particular issue to resolve. Biodynamic craniosacral therapy is not intended for the diagnosis or treatment of disease. Rather it serves as a supportive therapy, enhancing the body's own healing capacities.
how does it work and who can benefit?
While there remains an aspect of deep mystery to the work, the essential effectiveness of this practice is best explained by the relatively new science of psychoendoneuroimmunology in which the specific chemical pathways from emotional experience to physical illness or wellbeing are explored in depth. New research supports what we have always intuited, which is that the mind and the body experience and function as one. In this way old physical injuries have emotional experiences bound to them and emotions or thoughts can effect the ongoing efforts at healing and homeostasis of the body. This is nothing new. Qi gong and Ayurveda, ancient oriental healing practices, abide by the same principles of an integrated system.
Biodynamic craniosacral therapy holds that as we are conceived in perfection, we are also subject to myriad conditions of incarnated life from the moment (or even before) our hearts begin beating. Our complex and integrated systems are called upon to negotiate these forces from the very beginning, always as related to a state of inherent well-being. During a skilled BCST session, a meditative, relational state is entered by both practitioner and client, where this inherent source of wellbeing is accessed, and the conditional forces make themselves known. The healing comes not from the practitioner directly, but from the intelligence of the whole system in relationship with the practitioner's supportive intention and anatomical/physiological knowledge. The client may experience a state of complete relaxation and relief from stress, may feel some emotional activation as specific issues are resolving, and may feel attuned finally to a primary sense of profound wellbeing, even in the midst of the conditions arising. The system is thus offered the opportunity to support any and all efforts at regained health and homeostasis.
Everyone who suffers can benefit! Infants and very young children often make great strides in treatment because their systems are so receptive and resilient, and because they are mostly free from the narratives that can complicate injury. CST offers helpful support for babies (and their parents!) suffering from colic, sleep disturbances, recurrent ear or sinus infections, latching and/or nursing challenges, teething pain and torticollis. CST has been used as an adjunct therapy in older children and adults in everything from depression and anxiety to cerebral palsy and Parkinson's. Autoimmune conditions, in particular, with their susceptibility to stress, are often eased by CST as are chronic pain and fatigue syndromes.
how to prepare for a session
Please arrive a few minutes before the scheduled time, dressed in clean, comfortable clothing. Shoes, watches, and belts should be removed before working. Sessions are most effective if you are well hydrated, with a light meal taken an hour prior. Leaving some time for silence and reflection after the session is recommended.
For additional information, please click the link below to the website of the Biodynamic Craniosacral Association of North America: