What is biodynamic craniosacral therapy?
Biodynamic craniosacral therapy is a profound yet gentle form of bodywork which supports the body’s ability to repair itself. It is a very subtle approach to health and yet extremely effective, not only in restoring vitality and resolving physical pain, but has much wider implications both psychologically and spiritually.
The defining insight of the ‘biodynamic’ approach to craniosacral therapy lies in the fact that all form expresses an inherent rhythmic movement that is essential to life; and that this rhythm strives to maintain the balance and health of the whole. The skill in this work comes from how the therapist perceives and interacts with these rhythms in another’s body and allows change to come naturally from within, according to the body’s own inherent intelligence, rather than introducing any kind of force from outside.
‘Cranio’ describes the bones in the skull or cranium and ‘sacral’ the large triangular bone or sacrum at the base of the spine situated between the hipbones. It is at the cranium and sacrum that subtle rhythmic movements within the body are most evident to skilled hands. In fact, these various rhythms occur not just in the bones, but in relation to and within all structures and organs in the body right down to a cellular level. Their movement is much the same as how the lungs breathe, but at much slower pace of expansion and contraction.
How does it work?
Craniosacral biodynamics restores health through being in relationship in a subtle and subliminal way that is beyond our conditioned responses to things. You might say that this approach is ‘silent psychotherapy’, in which we listen through the body rather than through cognition. Whether our response to trauma and wounding is acute or chronic pain, extreme defensiveness or dissociation, or oppositional reactions of anger, doubt or edginess, the therapist’s role is to be fully relational and present, so as to meet the client’s story.
In craniosacral biodynamics as with many traditional systems of medicine, health is not just seen as the absence of pain and disease but as its own dynamic expression of subtle rhythmic movements in response to the knocks and bumps of life. The therapist attunes to these information-rich rhythms that point to where and how their movement has been compromised perhaps in response to overwhelming force or emotional shock from the past.
The intention is to connect with the dynamic stillness that lies at the centre of all pathologies, just like the centring forces within the eye of a storm. By doing so, the original intention of what became compromised is allowed to return in the present, reorganisation takes place, and habits formed out of the past are at last allowed to subside.
Who can benefit from craniosacral therapy?
Excellent clinical results can be achieved in freeing up and dissipating acute and chronic pain and the associated tightly held emotional layers of trauma that often surround it.
For people suffering serious diseases, craniosacral therapy can help to contend with side-effects of medication, and support coming to terms with diagnoses.
For those who have experienced overwhelming life events, it is excellent for normalising symptoms of shock and trauma. It is possibly one of the best therapies available for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks.
For those with chronic fatigue or energy problems and associated symptoms of insomnia, muscle and joint pain, headaches, etc., craniosacral therapy supports the nervous system by improving the flow of cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, positively affecting the entire body.
Craniosacral therapy helps process unresolved emotional stories and powerful emotions of grief, fear, depression and anger.
It can reduce stress and increase well-being helping many aspects of life from strengthening the immune system to improving interpersonal relationships.
Please note that craniosacral therapy is intended to complement, not replace, the relationship you have with your medical practitioner. If you have or suspect you may have a serious health problem, please see your doctor. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of anything you have read on this website.
Craniosacral therapy is undertaken with exceptional care and sensitivity to your system. In a typical craniosacral session, you will usually lie (or sometimes sit) fully-clothed on a treatment couch. The therapist will make contact by placing his or her hands lightly on your body and tune-in to what is happening by ‘listening’ with the hands. All contact is made in a safe negotiated manner by which the therapist explains his intention to move to different parts of your body.
This calm and gentle contact which is held still for long periods of time, reassures the system that it can release and deepen. The first thing you will probably notice is a sense of deep relaxation, which will generally last throughout the session. With subsequent treatments this release of tension often extends into everyday life. Sometimes the benefits are not immediately noticeable but become obvious on returning to a familiar environment.
Most people find cranial sessions pleasant and relaxing, leaving them with a sense of having been deeply heard and accepted. Sometimes people feel sensations such as warmth, coolness, floating, tingling or numbness or they may experience momentary pain related to past events. The work can involve resolution of these past experiences and is often profoundly relaxing, deeply moving or exhilarating.