What kind of modality is Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy?


Talking to people and reading many articles and books about this wonderful modality, there is often a want to place Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST) into a box that explains what the work is about. Most therapies seem to fall within a distinct field of either psychological, physical or energetic. There are many that have some overlap in a couple of these fields but this tends to be because of a consequence of change, not because of directly working in that area. BCST is a technique that seems to fit them all, yet lacking the obvious definition that would ground it as being notably one form from another.

Within a treatment there is an enormous amount of detail paid attention to in the physical state of a person. The practitioner has developed the skill to quiet their own system and offer a perceptive awareness, without involving a need to actively change patterns that show in the client. When the body is truly listened to, it opens up the intricacies of every part of our physiology. The muscles, bones, fascia, skin, nerves, membranes, hormones, blood, lymph, CSF, etc all have a different sensory expression that the practitioner has the ability to notice. It is this attention to the physical state and the structural changes that occur that many people label BCST as a physical therapy. It is also not surprising considering its origins come from the Osteopathic field. The big difference with BCST to other mechanical forms of physical therapies (including the more mechanical forms of Craniosacral therapy) is that the practitioner does not actively engage in trying to change the physical state they are aware of.

“How could you ever fix a problem then without ‘doing’ something?” I hear you ask. Having my background in science, I am passionate about developing an understanding of what is happening (see my following articles for more about this).  Time and time again though I am mesmerised by the undeniable changes that continue to happen, despite not necessarily knowing the absolute science of why (how much do we truly know about the body anyway?). When the body is paid attention to in the way that BCST offers, there is an engagement with the naturally occurring mechanisms that heal. One of the more interesting realisations in recent years is that when we form as embryos following conception there is a driving intelligence that shapes us. This intelligence does not come from our genes. Our genetics don’t actually start to inform our body of how things should be until about 6 weeks into the developmental phase. So this underlying intelligence is the true healing and shaping force that still continues to be present until we die.

For Craniosacral therapists the more informative expressions of health are perceived as a fluid expansion and contraction (tide) through the whole body. For Biodynamic therapists, there are perceptually different speeds with which the tide shows itself and a dynamic stillness that can arise. The open awareness offered to the body allows for a natural expression of the different tides which engage with either more local structures in the body or larger whole body and environment states. When the body is given the space to engage with these slow and subtle movements, change occurs. The physical begins to morph, let go, smooth out and even engage where necessary. I still regularly get people say “this is really weird, my body did this, but it’s like I wasn’t involved”.

We know that everything is made of energy, and particularly our body which emits a bio-electric field. You could mount a case that any form of therapy to be considered an energetic one. However I would only label something as energetic when it is directly worked with. When you look at these underlying tidal expressions a practitioner is in relationship with, you could say that BCST is also an energetic therapy. Once again though, we are not directly manipulating, channelling or conjuring the energetic expressions. A relationship is made to what is present and stability offered through grounding in our own system, allowing changes to occur.

BCST has also been labelled as a psychotherapy, but without the talk. The body we have today is shaped by all the experiences of the past and present. It is not only the verbal spoken word that can build a relationship with these experiences, but touch as well. We are listening to the story that unfolds before us which is expressed in the physical and energetic body. Our mental and emotional states are held within our tissues and fluids. We all know how we hold our shoulders after a long stressful day at work. The same happens with every level of our physiology, throughout our life experiences. Our emotionality is the story of our physiology. BCST offers the chance to be listened to without judgement or expectation. The body does not need to figure out mentally what is present and change can often happen more effectively when our brain gets out of the way.

When you look at the ways in which BCST works with the body, you could say that it is in fact a physical, energetic and psycho therapy. Yet there is something distinctly different from the norm. For me I want to put BCST into a box that is labelled “relational therapy”. The practitioner offers their own system as a place for resonance and we are creating an intimate relationship with all the different expressions that the body has to offer. On top of this we are also witnessing the different relational states the clients body has from within and to the external world. It is the changes that occur in these relationships that allows for the greater ease, happier self and more vibrant health. These changes can often be perceived to be subtle because a response is not forced, yet there is an obvious improvement in health that is achieved.

My next article I will delve a little deeper into the science and philosophy of the relational state that BCST offers and the change in structures, health and spirituality and that can come about from it.

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