Here are some reasons people have come to me for Craniosacral Biodynamics sessions in the past few months. Most of the time, people had multiple issues going on. I’ve consolidated them into general categories.
integration after trauma, recovery from multiple traumas, physical and emotional childhood trauma
re-regulation after long COVID, reset after multiple challenges during pandemic
emotional upheaval, severe emotional shock after break-up, feeling unsettled from work
managing bipolar condition
empty feeling at solar plexus, chaotic feeling at solar plexus, engaging personal power instead of hiding
better heart rate variability
stress, anxiety, wanting to feel secure and relaxed, anxiety about upcoming presentation
holding heaviness in part of body
adjusting to new nightguard
wonky atlas, cranium feels unbalanced
withdrawal from psychiatric drug while waiting for new one to kick in
reset after various health issues
addressing a layer of inertia
three past untreated concussions
You may be curious how one bodywork modality can work with so many different issues.
The simple reason is that Craniosacral Biodynamics augments your own system’s ability to heal, no matter the cause of dysfunction. Everything in your system has a pattern, and sometimes patterns become unbalanced or strained.
Practitioners trained in Craniosacral Biodynamics can help your system move these patterns toward resolution — if they are ready to change.
We all have multiple strain patterns, and there is always something ready to transform.
How does it work? During a session we both get very quiet and still. You sink into a state of deep relaxation. Some people fall asleep. Others stay awake enough to feel shifts occurring within.
I tune into your system, and with attention and support, it pauses, gathers potency (intelligent energy), and starts reorganizing the patterns that are ready to optimize.
When I do distance sessions or craniosacral therapy sessions, I start with my feet plugged into the ground. It’s like my legs and feet form a two-pronged electrical plug, and the ground is an electric outlet.
When I start a session, I am plugged in.
Unlike an electric cord receiving power through the outlet (originating from whatever generates the electricity in the first place at the dam or power plant), in my body, the current flows both ways, from the ground up into me, and from me down into the ground.
Energy from the ground flows up through my system to the crown of my head and out. I think of it as being connected to earth and heaven (as in Chinese medicine).
In the Q’ero belief system, energy flows from the ground up through the body and out the top of the head into the center of the cosmos. It also flows down, from the center of the cosmos through the body and goes to the center of the earth.
In the art of Alex Grey, the energy forms a torus around the body, flowing out of the crown and coming down in an oval or spherical shape and moving back up into the feet, up through the center of the body, out the crown, in a continual flow.
I don’t think about images like this when I work. I’m simply aware that I’m connected to Source, or whatever you want to call it, through my body from feet to crown, because I can feel it. It has a sensation.
It permeates every cell of my body and extends outside my physical body. There’s a strong central channel along the midline of the torso and head, where the chakras are located, seen as balls of colored light in the image above.
This channel is a powerful energetic resource.
Altogether, this energy system may be known as the subtle body (although once you gain some experience with it, it’s not that subtle), or the energy body.
Some yogis talk about the body having sheaths, the densest of which is the physical body, and then the energy body, the mental body, the wisdom body, and the bliss body. I do not experience them as separate.
The energy body is not a new concept — it’s been around for a long time in various cultures. If you had been doing yoga for 30+ years, you would easily sense it in yourself too.
It doesn’t take 30 years, though. You can learn to sense it.
It responds to intent.
More on that in another post, but for now, I will just say that when I am grounded and filled, and we are sharing an intent and holding space for your brilliant cellular intelligence to optimize the places where you feel less present, free, and functional, we create a shared field in which transformation can occur.
Dear readers, I hope you are staying grounded during this time of uncertainty and fear. I recommend going outside in your bare feet and walking around on some grass, as often as you need.
Feel your feet sink slightly into the grass atop soil, perhaps softened by recent rains, with each step. Enjoy the coolness, the textures, and the sensations in your feet.
Imagine this connection with Mother Earth moving up your legs, into your torso, touching all of your tissues, permeating all of your cells, and leaving your body through the crown of your head.
You are connecting to earth and to heaven! This energetic experience is about being fully alive in the present moment. It’s a renewing and restorative experience to counter upsetting news, conflict on social media, fears for ourselves and our loved ones, uncertain futures.
Integrative tele-healing sessions
I’m changing the name of my new online service to Integrative Tele-Healing Sessions. Bear with me as I navigate my way through this rapid change…as I’m sure you’re doing as well.
Quite a few CST practitioners are adamant that working remotely is not craniosacral therapy. (Plus the words “remote” and “distance” run counter to the connection we make with our voices, intentions, and energy fields, even when we’re not in each other’s physical presence.)
This stance is coming both from those who are Upledger-trained and those who are biodynamics trained.
I’ve trained in both, and I’ve trained in Reiki, which can be done at a distance. Current conditions make this the perfect time for me hone these skills, and if you are in need of caring attention to your body-mind system, it’s also the perfect time to try a session for yourself.
In my ninth year of offering bodywork, I can only say that when I work, everything I’ve ever trained in and experienced informs my work. What I’m using at any given moment is what comes into my awareness as the most appropriate
That could be what I’m sensing in your body, what you’re sensing in your body, shifts in our blended fields, where your system leads me, the changes we notice as our session unfolds. “The work” flows through us both.
Years ago, it became clear to me that I could not do bodywork without also being aware of my energy, your energy, the energy in the room, and the power of our intent to influence energy. For experienced massage therapists, especially those who are also yogis or Qi gong practitioners, bodywork is also energy work.
The shortest distance between two points is intent.
~ Dr. John Upledger, founder of Craniosacral Therapy
This may sound woo-woo to some, but for me, energy is real and can be sensed, usually as subtle sensations but sometimes not so subtle. This energy is described in the ancient traditions of shamanism, yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, Qi gong, and Chinese medicine.
If you’re a doubter, rub your palms together briskly for about 30 seconds. They will feel warm. Now hold them a few inches apart. Can you sense something between your hands? Perhaps a field that joins them? Practice moving your hands apart and together. Notice. What you sense between your hands is energy.
We have energy centers and channels in our bodies. We have awareness. We have intent. We have our senses, our speech, our imaginations, our discernment, our intuition, and we have technology that minimizes physical distance. We’ll put these to use in our sessions.
Anyway. Other practitioners are calling it energy work, remote healing, distance sessions, shamanic energetics, virtual healing, long distance healing, etc.
I prefer Integrative Tele-Healing Sessions. Clear and simple and not too woo-woo.
Here’s how it works: You schedule your session online when you will have some uninterrupted time for a session. (You could call first, but it’s not required.) You make yourself comfortable in your home (seated or lying down), and open yourself to relaxation and receiving. We bring awareness to your system, and we explore what wants attention, what shifts, what emerges.
I stay connected with you during sessions, including during periods of silence that allow “the work” to go deeper.
I want you to feel free to share what’s coming up for you in real time, if you wish.
At the end of the session, you can schedule another session if you would like.
I’m talking about the feeling of energy that radiates throughout the body and in the space around it when meditating, doing qigong, or giving a biodynamic session in my work. I don’t know what this energy is exactly, but it is palpable, and it feels good.
I’ve read the theory that it is electromagnetic energy, and that the fluids in our bodies somehow manifest it, or perhaps electromagnetism or something else somehow manifests the fluids, or maybe it works both ways, because it does seem like this is a non-dual experience. If being somewhat fluid is a prerequisite for this energy, then I guess all of Earth’s life must have this energy, because water is part of every living thing, right? Perhaps this energy is the life force.
When I measure my heart rate variability (through HeartMath, using a sensor that clips to my ear lobe, and an app, Inner Balance), the stronger I sense this energy field as radiance emanating from my body, the higher my heart rate variability (HRV) is. HRV is an indicator of well-being. It measures the resilience of the autonomic nervous system, from what I understand.
In that sense, feeling this energy is the opposite of feeling stress. I feel relaxed yet aware in a state of higher HRV, and I’m training myself to maintain it at higher and higher levels. I can sometimes feel it in others too. Once I did 10 minutes of biodynamics on a client after a 90-minute integrative massage, and his energy field felt so dense and potent, I wondered if I dropped a quarter several feet above him if it would bounce off his field! (Having about 50 years of experience as a martial artist probably contributed to that.)
I notice that when I engage in words, either talking to someone or engaging in internal dialogue, my HRV goes down. When I focus my attention on sensing my body or on this surrounding energy field, it rises. Sensations occur in the present moment (unless we’re remembering or imagining vividly). Talking and internal dialogue are less present. Thinking and words are involved. My mind loves thinking, and my awareness loves silence and sensing. Sometimes they compete for dominance, which at this point in my evolution, is a bit entertaining, at least when it’s not annoying. Awareness is winning, more and more!
I started taking qigong classes this year, and in the third class, after learning the moves, I noticed this energy. Qigong is about gathering and cultivating energy. In qigong energy anatomy, we have three dan tiens (energy centers), lower middle, and upper, as shown at right.
These are also the second, fourth, and sixth chakras in yoga anatomy, which adds a few other energy centers so there are a total of seven physical chakras in most schools. I’m more used to tuning into my chakras, having lived in the yoga world for over 30 years, but my dan tien cultivation is coming along nicely.
In the Gurdjieffian model of energy anatomy, humans have the thinking center in the head, the feeling/emotional center in the heart, and the instinctive/moving center in the pelvis.
This head/heart/gut recognition of energy centers could easily be fairly universal in those subcultures and practices in which energy is considered important (i.e., not in modern Western culture). There’s something archetypal about it, based on our structure, our bones, our containers.
Energy is also a key component when giving biodynamic sessions. It has qualities such as rhythms, pressure, temperature, and density. One of the metaphors in biodynamics is the sensation of sitting on the bottom the sea, feeling slowly moving currents and tides swirling around and through one.
I once had a dream in which I was in a living room on the sea floor. The water around me was body temperature, and breathing was not a problem. It felt very comfortable. The living room, which didn’t have any walls but just faded into darkness, was furnished with an easy chair, an end table, a lamp, a rug atop the sandy ocean floor, perhaps some book shelves, a refrigerator — and a tiger casually walked past me in that beautiful way tigers walk, just going about its business! I marveled during and after this dream. I could not take my eyes off the tiger and felt graced by its presence.
This was before I had taken any biodynamics classes. I had felt the sensations of sitting at the bottom of the sea surrounded and penetrated by currents before in meditation, and thought of them as a by-product of prolonged stillness. To me, it felt wondrous and healing. I felt held in place, surrendered, without will, content.
When I finally grokked that the sensations of this meditation experience were what’s called the tides in biodynamics, it was an aha moment! Later I remembered the dream and connected it with biodynamics. The tiger was a symbol I could understand for potency (a biodynamic term for strong energy), and with hindsight, it was as if my dream life was predicted my outer life, as has occasionally happened. Sometimes my conscious mind needs help connecting the dots and understanding my path.
I understand feeling doubtful about this energy stuff. I did, for a long time, even though I’d had a major crown chakra opening in my 30s. The culture around me didn’t exactly support it, and I had other things on my mind.
You can feel this energy by placing your palms a few inches apart, facing each other. Move them closer and farther away, and see if you don’t feel a magnetic attraction between them! It’s real, it’s palpable, it’s just not visible — to most people. You can develop it into healing energy. I find it fascinating and want to explore more.