Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST) is a light touch form of treatment that has roots originating in Osteopathy. Dr. Andrew Taylor Still was the first Osteopathic Doctor. He believed that structure and function in the body are interconnected and that the body is a self-correcting system. His teachings impacted Osteopathic students such as Dr. William Sutherland, who spent much of his life showing that the cranial bones (bones of the head) move. (Note: We are talking micro millimetres here, not movement like at your elbow joint, but it is still big deal therapeutically.) This discovery makes one wonder how cranial bones move. Sutherland noticed that the system as a whole moves around the motion of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF runs in a rhythmic motion along the spine, into the cranium, and back down the spine to the sacrum (the bone at the bottom of the spine just above the tailbone). He referred to this involuntary movement as ‘primary respiration’. As this fluid interacts with the structures around it (such as membranes, bones, joints, muscular tissue, etc.), a Craniosacral Therapist can get a sense of restrictions, holding patterns, balance, and health within the body as a whole. As the body interacts with the therapists touch, often times it will lead the therapist to where those restrictions or "patterns of experience" reside within the tissue. In this sense, we are honouring Dr. Still’s original belief that the body is a self-correcting system that communicates its intelligence and wisdom with the acute perceptual touch of a Craniosacral Therapist.
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, in particular, has two big ideas (Sumner and Haines 2010):
- The whole body expands and contracts in a rhythmic or tidal way.
- There is an intelligence expressed through the whole body.
The first belief can be generalized in the image to the right. The second idea, that the body has an intelligence, is key to Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapists. To connect to tension and dysfunction, we first have to acknowledge the presence of health. Often times the system can get caught up in pain cycles that make it hard to discern where exactly the dysfunction started in the first place. This response is natural, but can oftentimes be frustrating for clients dealing with chronic pain.
The therapist can assist with this by creating a touch that connects not just to tension and dysfunction, but also to health and vitality. When this type of touch is created between the therapist and the client's system, the body as a whole delegates where and how the treatment plan unfolds. This often leads the therapist to areas more involved with the root of the dysfunction, rather than the symptoms of the dysfunction, which may be felt elsewhere in the body. This also allows the clients system to integrate shifts at a more tolerable pace, as not to overwhelm the system. It’s frequently said in the Craniosacral world that “the most intelligent thing in the room is the body”.
- Sumner G & Haines S. 2010, A Practical Guide to Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Cranial Intelligence, Singing Dragon, London
- Pacific Association of Craniosacral Therapists / Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy
Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) Kristin Jones has completed an extensive two-year program in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. Her entire practice focuses solely on BCST. She offers this treatment to who seek it, from infants and children to pregnant and non-pregnant adults, men and women, young and old.