How it happened.
MaryAnn received craniosacral therapy regularly for several years after deciding that since she had experienced both cranial and sacral injuries, this modality would likely be of benefit.
Although she didn’t understand then how this often-subtle practice worked (and she still doesn’t completely understand it although she’s in awe of its capabilities), she would ask herself after each session what was different.
What she noticed was a sense of being calmer and more centered in herself and a sense of being more resilient and of having more equanimity.
Over those three years, most of the sessions were fairly subtle, but they were cumulative.
One session in particular allowed her to experience relaxation at a deeper level than she could ever recall experiencing.
This led her to wonder how relaxed she could possibly become while awake and substance-free, which became a mission that involved practicing and studying meditation, and later craniosacral biodynamics.
After three years of sessions most months, she felt revitalized and restored from a history that included both trauma and stress.
Her practitioner was highly experienced in Upledger (biomechanical) techniques and was also at that time training with John Chitty in craniosacral biodynamics, which didn’t mean anything to MaryAnn at that time.
Both styles of craniosacral therapy were developed by the same man, William Garner Sutherland, a student of Andrew Taylor Still, the father of osteopathy. The more biomechanical way was developed and taught earlier in his career, while the biodynamic way emerged after several decades of experience.
Fast forward a year, and MaryAnn found herself quitting a secure but joyless job and embarking on a new profession, licensed massage therapist.
She began studying biomechanical CST while still in massage school.
Six months later, a chance encounter with a stranger looking at a mysterious bone led to a conversation in which she learned about biodynamic CST. He asked her, “Why aren’t you a craniosacral therapist?” She rearranged her work to take her first biodynamics workshop three days later.
(The bone was a sphenoid, and the man shared an office suite with MaryAnn’s CST practitioner and had taken the same biodynamics training with John Chitty.)
MaryAnn studied CST with Ryan Hallford from 2013 to 2018, taking (and later TAing for) six biodynamics courses and two biomechanics courses. The latter is where she was introduced to the intraoral work she uses in her TMJ Relief sessions — she has since trained with a Canadian teacher in TMJ techniques as well as Upledger biomechanical intraoral techniques.
Still curious about the biomechanical style, MaryAnn began taking courses from the Upledger Institute in 2016. She’s been a teaching assistant for Upledger as well.
At present, she is looking forward to continuing her training and deepening her practice.
Since 2016, she has shared an office suite with other craniosacral therapists, including the one she first saw (Nina Davis, CST with Upledger, BCST with John Chitty), Christian Current (BCST with Franklyn Sills and John Chitty), and Liz Baker (Upledger, specializing in pediatrics).
What’s the difference?
Both types of craniosacral therapy help receivers relax more deeply, release restrictions, and experience their systems reorganize in a more optimal way.
Both are done using light, gentle touch with receivers staying clothed.
The main difference is that in biomechanical sessions, the practitioner is more active, touching the body in various places to palpate the cranial rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid, releasing strain patterns, inducing still points, and decompressing the sacrum and the cranial bones to release tension surrounding the central nervous system.
In biodynamics sessions, the practitioner is quieter and may only lightly touch the receiver in a couple of places while attuning to tides and shifts in the whole body-mind system, allowing still points to occur naturally, and augmenting the system’s ability to use its innate healing capacity to restore health and functionality.
Which should I get?
You may request biomechanical or biodynamic craniosacral therapy.
If you’ve never received either, I usually start with biomechanical work, unless I have a sense that the receiver needs more stillness.
I’ve combined the two for people who are familiar with both. For example, one receiver loves having a still point induced at the beginning of the session, having her sacrum and occiput rocked in time with her cranial rhythm, and decompressing her cranial bones. The rest of the session is biodynamics.
You may also be interested in a Zero Balancing + Craniosacral Therapy session, which aligns the structure to free up the energy flow, and then applies the benefits of craniosacral therapy.