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The Biodynamic Craniosacral Model

All life expresses itself as motion. In the human body, all cells subtly move together in rhythmic waves that travel throughout the body’s fluid system. Biologists and embryologists, especially osteopathic physician William Sutherland began the study of these rhythms over 100 years ago. After many years, Dr. Sutherland theorized that these rhythms were generated by a life force carried in the fluids. He called this force the Breath of Life, and the slowest and most stable rhythm that springs from it he called Primary Respiration.

Trust in this slow rhythm of Primary Respiration is what distinguishes the biodynamic approach. Dr. Sutherland observed how his work became more precise and effective when he allowed this subtle rhythm to guide treatments of his patients, rather than imposing his own judgement. This led to an understanding of the nature of health as actually being inherent and never lost in the human body.

Subsequent osteopaths, particularly Rollin Becker, DO, expanded the applications, and in the early 1970’s John Upledger, DO, introduced manipulation of the body’s fluid systems to those outside the osteopathic world. Some current well-respected teachers working to refine the biodynamic model include Franklyn Sills, Michael Kern, DO, and Michael Shea PhD.

In studying the human embryo, scientists have observed that all growth and ordered fluid motion is related to a center of stillness. All around this stillness, Primary Respiration guides the formation of the embryo and continues to work throughout our life to create, organize and maintain structures and functions in the body.

All living organisms experience stress. Scientists are constantly learning about the impact that elevated stress has on our overall health. From a biodynamic perspective, our fluid systems become shaped by our experience in life and stress can interfere with our fluid rhythms. This is especially true early in life when we are more vulnerable and difficulties have a greater potential to imprint the developing brain and body. This leads to patterns held in the body which change the density and shape of the fluids, leading to abnormal physiology.

When Primary Respiration is expressed in fullness and balance to other important fluid tides in the body, our intrinsic health emerges and sense of wholeness and well-being automatically follows.

A BCST Session

It is through the light touch of my hands that I feel your flow of deep life impulses, originating from Primary Respiration, the Breath of Life. We call this movement the Tide, which naturally has patterns of movement and stillness. Remaining respectfully present to this most intimate revelation of a person’s aliveness, I attended to your inherent health as it reveals itself through the Tide. At this point, patterns of disturbance and imbalance may show up. If they are able, they reorganize and reintegrate as flow. Thus a gentle, powerful transformation occurs.

Think of how a river, in its strong impulse to find its course following gravity, will always find a way around and through whatever rocks, logs and other obstacles appear in its path. The shape of its course may be affected, the strength of its flow may be diminished, but its inherent nature as flow is never diminished.

The role of your therapist is to patiently facilitate your body’s self-healing through balancing the Primary Respiration System in the fluids. In a session, you will lie down fully clothed on a treatment table. I begin a session by sensing the rhythm of Primary Respiration in myself and establishing a sense of feeling grounded, present, and peaceful. I will make hand contact on your head or feet for example, while orienting to my own slow Tide and resting in stillness. I then attune to the subtle motion of the Tide in your body. I allow my own calm nervous system to resonate with yours, and your mind and body becomes more coherent. I then slowly focus on your fluid body’s subtle rhythms and their interactions with areas of distress or congestion. When I detect disturbances in the various fluid motions, I attempt to empathetically sense the underlying trauma patterns and bring about a therapeutic resolution, via careful facilitation of the fluids back to a normal motion. This is done in a non-invasive way with light, sustained, hands-on contact often for 5 to 10 minutes with each hand position.

The area of contact and the quality of my attention act as a powerful catalyst to heal trauma in the central nervous system and body, to restore natural balance.

BCST is a non-cathartic treatment modality. With Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, you do not have to relive a trauma for it to be resolved.