We often say during a session that the body tells the truth. The mind may be wrapped up in its own story, with a certain framework, and the body may be saying something very different. The breath is the same. Feel the texture of your inhale and your exhale. Is it smooth? Is it easy? Is it full? Then the body will be happy.
One of the good things about Lockdown for me was signing up to Mark Whitwell’s online yoga course. He teaches us how to breathe happily again, how to move within the envelope of the breath and how to use to our breath as a guide. Conscious breathing allows us to be intimate with our own lifeforce. This feels pretty wonderful. And can be done easily in a confined space!
In a craniosacral session, practioners are listening to the inhale and exhale of the whole body. This is different from the breath in the lungs and usually happens at a slower tempo. The whole body feels as if it is expanding into the space around us and then there is a coming back to the midline of the body. When it is felt, it is a sign of the vibrancy and health in your system: that your body is able to exhibit wholeness: that it is able to open out to the environment and receive, and then be strong in your own centre. It feels good.
I have spent many hours this summer at the beach. It is my happy place even when the sea is cool: sometimes swimming, sometimes walking barefoot, sometimes sitting and gazing out to the horizon. I keep my togs and swimtowel close to the front door so that if I have a spare hour or so I can take off to the Bay. I always return feeling revitalised and “more in my body”. I feel how Nature lies at the heart of any true healing practice. Being at the beach allows me to slow down, be present and connect to my vitality. And if I sit for a while looking out on the vastness of the ocean I can feel my own immense spaciousness inside and that I am part of Nature too.
This “wholebody” experience often happens during a long craniosacral session; you get an opportunity to slow down and be present. The practitioner supports the connection to the health inside you, amplifies the stillness at your core and allows the body to power up and choose new healing possibilities. You return from the session feeling nourished and more embodied; like you have become part of the vastness of the ocean.
No wonder most of us resonate with the sea; our fluids inside us have a composition very similar to sea water and are the major constituent of our bodies. Every fluid in the body from blood plasma to joint fluid has interstitial fluid as their source. The interstitium is a gel-like medium that suspends and surrounds all our cells. Containing collagen and dissolved nutrients and hormones, it acts as a message and transport system for all the cells in the body. As it crosses different membranes it changes into blood, lymph, cellular fluid, synovial fluid or cerebro-spinal fluid.
Cranial practitioners become skilled at interpreting the body when we touch it. Each fluid in the body has its own quality; from the vibrant earthiness of the arterial blood to the more ethereal flow of the cerebro-spinal fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord. Sometime in a session, clients can feel tide-like rhythms in their body as they become more deeply relaxed. Their body is identifying with the sea inside.
“In order to cure the human body, it is necessary to have a knowledge of the whole of things” Hippocrates
Biodynamic means “working with nature” and is a word often associated with a form of farming where the land and crops are nurtured as a living whole. Each part is understood to affect the whole. The farmer works with the natural rhythms of nature and embraces the strengths of her particular location. Nature always knows best.
In biodynamic craniosacral therapy (BCST) the word has the same meaning. The biodynamic approach connects to the health that is always present in every client no matter what dis-ease they are experiencing. BCST honours the connections and relationships that exist in the body and appreciates how each part affects the whole system. This makes it a powerful and uplifting form of healing as the client becomes more embodied and connected to their own health. Rather than focusing on the parts of the body that are “going wrong”, being able to sense your health at work in your body can be profound and can offer a change in perspective on your situation.
Craniosacral work has its roots in osteopathy and so believes that the body is capable of self healing when enough resources are present. In a session most clients can feel parts of their body adjusting from within as their body’s intelligence decides which parts need releasing or rebalancing.As a practitioner it is inspiring to feel the forces of nature at work. These are the forces of nature that we grew ourselves with and now the ones that repair us.
BCST practitioners have a skilled touch that can listen specifically to the anatomy of the body and create a safe space for the system to change. We are also interested in deep and subtle rhythms that express in the fluids of the body. When these are experienced it can feel as if the whole body expands and contracts and almost as if the body is “being breathed”. It is a sign of accessing forces of deeper health when these “tides” are expressed and significant shifts can occur in the client’s body, mind and spirit as a result. BCST sessions also allow the client to build up their resources so that the body has some “juice” to use to make adjustments in their system.
Biodynamics offers an approach that listens to the body in detail and then allows the inner wisdom to carry out the healing. The decisions are made by the body and not the practitioner. The body’s own intelligence will always know better.
Craniosacral therapy can result in profound and long lasting changes in physical and emotional states. As well as the relief of any physical symptoms such as inflammation, tension and pain, clients often feel less stressed, more at ease with themselves and reconnected to the world. It can be like when you take a moment to look up at the sky and pause; life can seem much simpler.
Modern day living can mean that our sympathetic nervous system is constantly firing without any real opportunity of quietening. This will have implications for all our body systems and explains why so many people have digestion problems as we cannot “rest and digest” when the body is primed and ready for action.
Throughout life we experience change, stress and injuries. We can be transformed by these events, but they can also be too overwhelming for the body to process fully. The body then contains these experiences in the tissues as tensions and restrictions. This compensation is a survival mechanism so that the body can continue to function as best as possible.
Many healing traditions believe that our bodies have an inner wisdom and are self correcting. We have the potential to release the health at the centre of any disturbance in the system. If this “trapped health” can be released the body will be able to function more optimally. These unresolved stresses in the body may develop into more serious conditions and underlines why it is important to de-stress and take care of ourselves physically and emotionally.
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST) is a gentle but profound form of healing derived from osteopathy that treats the whole body, mind and spirit. The practice encourages the flow of the intrinsic healing power of the body, no matter how much “dis-ease” is present.
A skilled practitioner is able to create a space where the client’s body feels listened to and able to express its priorities for healing.
The practitioner will place their hands on the body, often at the sacrum or the head, and wait for the body to respond and show areas of health and also of stress. As the body reorganises, clients may feel internal movements, tingling, expansion, changes in body temperature and a deep state of relaxation.
A healthy system has subtle, rhythmic, wave like expressions that can be felt in the fluid of the body. During a treatment, with deep listening from the practitioner, the body’s inner healing power moves to release the most important stresses at that time and allows the expansion of the body down to a cellular level. This allows all the body systems to function more optimally.
BCST allows the body to restore its “original health” and bring all the body systems back into a greater sense of balance and wholeness. Often clients report a greater sense of well being and clarity after a session as well as reduced pain and restriction.