I’ve been giving a lot of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy sessions since returning from an advanced training at the beginning of October.
I’ve also done a few trades with other Biodynamics practitioners and received sessions.
I love this modality of bodywork/energywork. It seems to me to be a natural extension of both bodywork and meditation: practicing it exercises light touch, expanded awareness, deeper perception, intention, stillness.
I’ve found it especially helpful for insomnia. I’ve been monitoring my sleep for awhile now, and I definitely experience better sleep after I receive a Biodynamics session. My sleep scores are seeing a slow, steady improvement.
I love this quote from Dr. Andrew Huberman, director of the neurobiology lab at Stanford University who is on Instagram and also offers geeky, fascinating podcasts.
He considers sleep even more important than diet and exercise for its effects on human health.
My clients report sleeping better after a Biodynamics session, including those who experience difficulty falling asleep as well as those with difficulty staying asleep.
It helps with both.
Biodynamic craniosacral helps when your body-mind system is holding on to a dysfunctional pattern, such as insomnia or poor sleep quality.
If you are feeling stuck in a pattern of insomnia, consider scheduling a Biodynamics session, or (even more reinforcing) consider opting for a package of 3 sessions.
Your future quality of life may reach back and thank you.
If you were building a tower, and one of the floors wasn’t level, it would affect the floors above it — unless you somehow compensated.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is kind of like that, only it’s because it has settled unevenly on the ground beneath it. As they built it over the years, it would sink, stabilize, sink more…
The structure of the body is like that too — even when standing on level solid ground.
Because the jaw is near the top of the skeleton, imbalances below can affect the alignment and functionality of the temporomandibular joints (TMJs).
The primary cause of most jaw pain is asymmetrical hypertonicity. Thanks, TMJ Mastery teacher John Corry! That means that some of the muscles that affect the jaw are tighter than others.
I ask about structural anomalies in my TMJ consultations. I’m interested in whether one foot is flatter than the other, whether there’s a leg length discrepancy or a pelvic tilt or curvature of the spine.
I’ve been known to slide my hands under a client’s arches with them standing to see if their arches are symmetrical.
When a client is lying on my massage table, I can check for a leg length discrepancy.
I can also tune into their cranial rhythm and notice whether there’s asymmetry in the flexion and extension motions at the feet, which indicates asymmetry in the pelvis.
I also feel the space beneath the ears between the bones to see whether the skull is sitting symmetrically atop the spine.
When the skull and spine are out of alignment, it can contribute to multiple dysfunctions, with TMJ issues being one of them. (Ask me — I experienced intermittent right jaw clicking and my face drifting slightly to the left in meditation until a chiropractor realigned my AO joint, which also resolved issues that were all on my left side.)
For more on this, including exercises you can do starting at 5:25, watch this video.
The last part of my evaluation for symmetry is to place the pads of my fingers (or have the client place their fingerpads) over the TMJs right in front of the ears and ask them to open and close repeatedly.
Often one side moves first.
Often one side feels closer to the ear than the other.
Sometimes one side sticks out more than the other.
One side may move with more ease than the other.
Try it on yourself. What do you notice?
None of this is super precise. I’m just getting a basic read on asymmetries in the client’s structure that may affect their TMJs.
Have you noticed that you have a dominant side? A side that feels stronger than the other? Most of your issues occurring on one side only?
Have you had a foot, ankle, leg, or hip injury? Can you still tell a difference between the injured side and the uninjured one? Can you balance as easily on your left foot as your right, or is one side weaker?
How’s your posture? How about your sleep posture?
Also, do you primarily chew on one side of your mouth?
Becoming more symmetrical can be a good long-term self-care project that can pay off with more ease of movement, less discomfort, better balance, injury prevention.
Symmetry is an ideal, like perfection. Most of us are doing the best we can. There’s always going to be some asymmetry in the body (our abdominal organs are asymmetrical), but we can definitely address our most dysfunctional areas.
The functional movement screen is a set of 7 movements you do with a trainer, who scores you and can prescribe workouts that strengthen your weaknesses.
FMS was developed to identify athletes who were prone to injury before they got injured. It can work for ordinary people too.
Practices of non-linear movement can help if done regularly over a long period. These movements work both sides of the body and increase neuroplasticity in the brain. They increase flexibility and balance and fluidity. And they are fun! Examples:
yoga, especially alignment-oriented types like Iyengar and Anusara
The type of bodywork that directly addresses asymmetries is called structural bodywork. There are two main schools of training: Rolfing Structural Integration and Anatomy Trains Structural Integration. Neuromuscular therapy also assesses posture and gait pattern and can address imbalances.
What to do if you have jaw issues? I offer a 30-minute in-person TMJ consultation to gather information and evaluate your issues. I also teach clenchers an alternative to clenching and provide known ways to stop grinding, from those who succeeded.
These habits are major contributors to TMJ issues, and you can change them.
If you’re not in Austin, I can do the above as well as help you learn what to ask about when seeking TMJ relief near you. Just let me know if you need a phone or Zoom consultation.
I offer a combination TMJ Consultation plus TMJ Relief session in person in Austin, Texas, and in Taos, NM, in sumemrs. The consultation serves as an intake, so I have a better idea of what your issues are and how we’ll measure progress. Your consultation is free when combined with your first TMJ Relief session. This is a two-hour session.
To be fair, when you’ve had TMJ issues for a long time, or they are acute, you may need multiple sessions to retrain your system to retain the ease and alignment, along with doing your homework to stop clenching or grinding your teeth.
I offer a package of four TMJ Relief sessions for 10 percent off single sessions, best done a week or two apart. These sessions are 90 minutes and integrate various bodywork modalities — including work in your mouth — so that you feel great when you get off the table. They are best done over 4 to 6 weeks.
If you’re really adventurous, you can schedule a 75-minute Self-Treatment for TMJ Issues session on Zoom where we’ll do an intake and I will teach you how to work on releasing the tension patterns that cause problems, including working in your own mouth. You’ll need clean hands and short nails. It’s really not that hard! Learn more about it here.
I can see that my posts about TMJ issues are getting a lot of views. I’ve even gotten a few phone calls.
I am not able to offer any bodywork sessions at this time, by Texas law. I can only offer distance energy healing sessions on a sliding scale basis. Both the recipients of those sessions and I have experienced success with this way of working. It can be even more powerful than doing sessions in person.
I encourage you, if these weird times are bringing up your stuff, to set up an appointment.
Even when it becomes legal to work again, I am holding off until I feel comfortable that it’s safe for you, me, the person who comes in after you, and my officemates and their clients.
I would prefer more testing.
I would prefer more knowledge about antibodies.
I would prefer more knowledge about prevention. (Some not-yet-peer-reviewed research says that those with high Vitamin D levels in their blood had the mildest cases, so please, supplement and get some safe sun. If you’d like to order this and whatever other supplements you need online, you get 30% off using my Wellevate practitioner account: https://wellevate.me/mary-ann-reynolds.)
My safety concerns especially apply to my TMJ Relief sessions, which include working inside the mouth. It will take longer for me to safely bring those back.
If you have TMJ issues, please search for and join my Facebook group Word of Mouth: Resources for TMJ Issues/Dysfunction, if you haven’t already. It includes educational units about TMJ issues, including self-massage, exercises, yoga, and hypnosis that can be done at home.
Silence is not the absence of something. Silence is the presence of everything. ~ Gordon Hempton
The title of this post is a quote from Gordon Hempton, who has dedicated his life to silence. He’s an acoustic ecologist who has circled the planet multiple times recording rare sounds in nature. To him, real quiet is presence, and silence is not the absence of sound — it’s the absence of noise.
Like clean water and seeing the stars at night, Gordon says silence is not a luxury, it’s essential for well-being.
Enjoy his website here. It includes several soundscapes. (Listen with earbuds or a room speaker — laptop speakers don’t capture the full range.)
I’m purchasing some of his soundscapes to play during bodywork sessions. I have a sound machine that plays sounds of rain, a stream, ocean waves — but how much more awesome to play the sound of ocean surf recorded inside a hollow spruce log, the resonant wood violins are made from.
I can’t get enough of Gordon, and if you are a silence lover, a nature lover, sensitive to sound, you may want to know Gordon better.
Krista Tippett interviewed Gordon on the On Being podcast here.