Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy

The word biodynamic has its source in “bios” and “dynamis,” which in Greek mean “life” and “force” respectively. Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is thus a form of craniosacral therapy that acknowledges the inherent life force as the deepest foundation of the human system. This vital life force is sometimes referred to as the Breath of Life and is the most fundamental ordering principle within our system. This is where our intrinsic health, our self-healing capability, lies. Our health is never lost, only obscured by our life conditions and experiences. Illness and dis-ease manifest as a result. The intention of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is to support the client’s system to re-access and realign to this life force. Well-being and ease can be re-established as the ordering potency of the Breath of Life is able to come into relationship with seemingly chaotic and disordered cells and tissues.

The most distinguishing element of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, as opposed to other lineages of craniosacral therapy, is the concept of non-manipulation. This is based on the belief that only the client’s own system knows exactly what it needs and in what order. Any intervention from the side of the therapist, regardless of experience or training, can only be as good as an educated guess. The intention is for the therapist to hold the client in deep listening so as to help co-create a safe and supportive space where the client’s system is able to come back in touch with its own healing capabilities. Healing is non-linear and unique to the individual.

A Brief History of Craniosacral Therapy

This work was developed by the American osteopath, Dr. William Garner Sutherland (1873 – 1954), in the early 1900s and was referred to as Cranial Osteopathy. Dr. Sutherland taught the work to many osteopaths, who later became teachers of the work themselves. Dr. John E. Upledger was the first osteopath to teach the work to non-osteopaths and coined the term “Craniosacral Therapy,” since technically, only osteopaths could practice Cranial Osteopathy. Since then, many other schools of Craniosacral Therapy have been established.

Dr. Sutherland continued developing the work until the end of his life, and during those years, the work went through many phases of change and refinement. Born from the research into cranial bones and the subtle movements that they make, the work evolved into a form of healing that rests primarily in deep listening to the client’s system and facilitating the healing properties of the Breath of Life. This also meant that the work evolved from a more mechanical and manipulative style to a completely non-manipulative, biodynamic style.

In recent years, Franklyn Sills, co-founder of the Karuna Institute, has made significant contribution to the development and teaching of the biodynamic style of the work. Schools throughout the world that teach his 2-year curriculum refer to their work as “Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy” or “Craniosacral Biodynamics.”