Optimizing Presence

Jennifer Hudson, RCSTĀ®, LMT, BCTMB, MNLP

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy

What is Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST)?

BCST is a healing art that works with the energies that create and maintain health in the human system. While not a manipulative therapy, it has its roots in osteopathy and has evolved to include influences from human development, pre and perinatal psychology, trauma resolution, and recent advances in neuroscience. BCST supports nervous system regulation and allows the resolution of conditions resulting from stress and trauma. Practitioners use an educated, gentle, non-invasive touch  to engage with the expressions of health in the system.

How does Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy work?

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy begins after a level of safety is created for the client. This is achieved in the communication between client and practitioner who together negotiate the space and contact between therm. Once contact is established, the practitioner listens deeply to the fluctuations of the cerebrospinal fluid within the craniosacral system.

The fluctuation of the cerebrospinal fluid creates a variety of tides within the system. As the practitioner — from a place of stillness — listens to these internal tides, the client’s system begins to access its own inner resources, little like finding keys to previously locked doors. The cerebrospinal fluid — as it bathes and protects the brain and spinal cord — carries an intelligence and potency (life force), which becomes mixed with other bodily fluids via the dural membranes. A Biodynamic Craniosacral therapist learns to listen deeply to the system, tapping into its inherent intelligence, while focusing on the system remembering its original blueprint of health.

The therapist encourages the client’s system to access its resources, offering new choices and possibilities for the system at every level. Training, then, includes deep perceptual and centering skills as well as extensive study of the anatomy, physiology, and inherent motion of the craniosacral system.

What is a Session Like?

Sessions will vary from practitioner but generally your session will begin by sitting and talking with your therapist about any of your health concerns. Together you will discuss a brief health history and what you would like to get out of the session.

During the session, you will be fully clothed, sitting in a chair to start and then lying on a massage table in a supported and comfortable way. It is important that you feel comfortable and safe at all times so you will want to ask for any adjustments you need to the lighting, temperature, etc. Your therapist may ask you from time to time what you are experiencing, and will help you to stay present with whatever your experience is.

When the session begins your therapist will check with you to make sure that you are comfortable. Then there will be a period of dialogue before your therapist makes physical contact with you. Sometimes it takes some time and dialogue to get your comfort  just right so you can relax. You will be guided through this process. Establishing comfort is an important first step that ensures that what unfolds in the session is about you and not occurring in reaction to a feeling of lack of safety with the therapist or comfort on the table.

When contact is made the therapist will check in again to make sure the touch is right for you. Session work involves a very light, gentle touch. Your therapist may begin at your feet, at your head (cranium) or on your sacrum (the triangular bone at the bottom of the spine). During your session, depending on your areas of concern, your therapist can go to any area of the body that needs to be worked with, using the contact that feels best for you.

Sessions can last anywhere from a half hour to an hour or an hour and a half depending on the therapist you are working with and your needs. During that time, the therapist will quietly, gently hold parts of your body, listening to the subtle rhythms and tracking changes in your system. In this process the therapist will listen for your body’s expression of the order of priorities for this particular session which will lead to your desired outcome. It is important to note that while a single session can have noticeable effects, it often takes multiple sessions to achieve the results you are seeking.

During the session, you may:

  • Relax so deeply that you fall asleep
  • Enter a quiet meditation-like state
  • Feel as if you are dreaming while awake
  • Experience memories or insights while on the table
  • Enjoy a pleasant sense of warmth, softening, widening or floating

At times, you may experience other kinds of sensations as energy that has been held in the body is released. If this occurs, just stay present with your breath and bodily sensations and allow this energy to discharge. The session quite often involves a process of letting go of patterns that inhibit your health and vitality. Once these patterns begin to shift, the therapist may notice changes in your fluids, tissues, bones and potency. You may experience a sense of integration in your body, mind and spirit.

At the end of the session, you may:

  • Feel relaxed, but also energized
  • Find yourself breathing more fully and deeply
  • Stand straighter and taller
  • Feel more comfortable in your body
  • You may be surprised to feel a new sense of peace and ease as you leave the office to return, renewed, to your life
  • Notice an improvement in your sleep patterns

No matter what your experience, your therapist will take some time with you after you are off the table to check in about how you are doing. This is a great opportunity to find words for your experience and reflect on how differently you feel after your session. The effects can also be felt even after you leave your session.

Take time in the next 2-3 days just to notice how you are in the world.

  • What is the quality of your sleep that night?
  • How is your digestion?
  • How is your overall experience of life?

By paying attention to the lasting effects of this work you will be able to gauge what the ongoing use of this work might offer you.

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals
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