How often should I come for Craniosacral Therapy sessions?

I recommend that for most issues, you schedule weekly at first, and as your health returns, to taper off to every other week and then monthly until you feel well.

Although changes you can feel do occur during sessions, most of the activity of optimizing your health occurs between sessions. Subtle changes in your physiology that begin during sessions continue to work after you leave my office.

Thus, Biodynamics sessions may seem subtle, sometimes almost as if nothing happened, but by the next session, you notice improvement.

I myself have suddenly noticed weeks after receiving a Biodynamics session that an issue I had sought help with no longer existed. It had simply disappeared.

Occasionally after a session, a client may feel worse, because a strain pattern that was quietly causing problems suddenly woke up, and it’s feeling grumpy, causing discomfort.

If that happens, call me. Sometimes it’s best to wait it out until your next session and self-soothe, knowing your system is reorganizing itself. If you experience too much discomfort, come in sooner.

Some people have found Biodynamics sessions so enjoyable, they schedule a regular monthly session to maintain their well-being.

What are the different kinds of craniosacral therapy?

Dr. William Garner Sutherland, DO, 1873-1954, devoted his osteopathic medical career to exploring the craniosacral system, which surrounds the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).

The whole field started in 1899 when Sutherland, then a medical student, noticed that the cranial bones seemed designed to breathe, which he explored after becoming a doctor.

His earlier focus was on the bones, fluids, and membranes of the system, a biomechanical way of working.

His research, which he labeled the cranial concept, resulted in the development of the medical specialty of cranial osteopathy.

Dr. Sutherland and other cranial osteopaths that he trained noticed that the fluid in this system moved rhythmically, like tides, influencing every cell from deep inside the body.

They recognized that dynamic processes in the tides could augment the health and vitality of the entire human system.

This way of working with the system’s capacity to seek health came to be called biodynamic. It includes and expands on Dr. Sutherland’s earlier discoveries about the biomechanics of the system.

In the 1970s, Dr. John Upledger, DO, began to teach non-doctors how to work on people biomechanically, based on Dr. Sutherland’s earlier work. He coined the term craniosacral therapy.

Legend has it that Dr. Upledger was well aware of the biodynamic aspects of the work, and that he chose to teach just the biomechanical aspects to make it more acceptable to the general public and the mainstream medical establishment of the day.

Today the Upledger Institute is an internationally known and respected training and research facility. Its teachers have taught craniosacral therapy to multitudes of practitioners and benefitted millions of receivers around the planet.

I’ve taken courses with the Upledger Institute and plan to take more.

Franklyn Sills, while an osteopathic student in the 1980s, became fascinated with Dr. Sutherland’s later work and that of other cranial osteopaths whom he taught, which was more holistic at a time when holistic healing modalities were beginning to emerge in Western culture.

Sills began teaching biodynamic craniosacral therapy to non-doctors in the 1990s. Read his history of craniosacral biodynamics here.

My current Biodynamics teacher, Roger Gilchrist, studied and trained to teach with Franklyn Sills.

I’ve previously studied both biomechanical and biodynamic CST with Ryan Hallford, creator of The Craniosacral Podcast who is now teaching internationally for Body Intelligence as well as independently.


I invite you to work with me!

MaryAnn Reynolds, MS, LMT, BCTMB
Austin, Texas
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy • TMJ Relief
online scheduler: maryannreynolds.as.me
text or voicemail: 512-507-4184

How Biodynamic CST works for serious health challenges

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is in the same family of manual therapies as original osteopathy, cranial osteopathy, and craniosacral therapy. 

Although its roots go back to 1899, the current form began in the 1980s.

Reducing the stress load

Imbalances and strains on our bodies come from stressors of all kinds. Until they dissipate, they maintain a stress load in the system.

The human stress response helps us stay alive in the face of threats. Ideally the system returns to a relaxed state when threats are not present. Overwhelming stress can make this difficult. 

Our systems’ self-healing capabilities activate in states of relaxation, not in states of stress. Chronic and acute stress may remain in place long after onset — until given an alternative. 

Inviting the system to reorganize

A biodynamic craniosacral therapist palpates the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in a patient’s body. This fluid flows rhythmically and is located deep inside the body. A therapist can pick up the motion and read this rhythm anywhere in the body. 

After establishing rapport with a patient and their system, the therapist invites the rhythm to go into a still point — a pause in the rhythm.

A still point may last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes or even hours while the intelligence within considers how to reorganize toward greater health.

Then the rhythm returns with more balance, ease, and vitality.

Reading the rhythm can also show a therapist where the system is constrained locally, for example in a joint or bone or soft tissue.

The therapist invites these imbalances in the rhythm to pause. As with still points, the patient’s system reorganizes locally toward more balance and ease. 

Sometimes these shifts occur spontaneously during sessions without still points. It’s as if the deep relaxation and gentle touch of the therapist’s hands encourage strains that are ready to release to do so.

Freeing healing resources

Releasing strains reduces the stress load, freeing up even more healing resources in the system to get to work.

Patients who have been living with stress often report feeling more resilient after each session and that regular sessions work cumulatively, accelerating stress reduction and recovery.

In this manner, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy may be considered healing from the inside out. It works well alongside other health-building practices such as good nutrition, staying hydrated, movement, sleep, meditation, yoga, and other treatments.

What you can expect in a session

After you have checked in with your present physical, emotional, mental, energetic state, you’ll get on the massage table. You’ll remain clothed, minus shoes, belt, and big jewelry.

The therapist will help you feel comfortable, with a bolster, pillows, a blanket, or a table warmer, as preferred. She will invite you to tune into your breath and to let your body weight surrender to gravity, letting the table provide all the support you need.

The therapist will take a little time to prepare herself and then she will place her hands gently on your body and tune in to your subtle rhythms.

She may change positions several times during a session.

You may simply rest and be softly aware of sensations in your body, changes in breathing, and other indicators of transformation.

Sometimes patients are aware of strains releasing. Sometimes the work is so relaxing, patients fall asleep. It’s interesting to hear the patient’s experience.

The therapist will let you know when the session is nearing its end.

Afterwards, it’s always a good to idea to check in again and notice what’s different. After leaving, you may want to take some time to relax and integrate the work.


I invite you to work with me!

MaryAnn Reynolds, MS, LMT, BCTMB
Austin, Texas
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy • TMJ Relief
online scheduler: maryannreynolds.as.me
text or voicemail: 512-507-4184

Would you like a nervous system reset?

Stress. Nearly everyone experiences too much of it.

Take driving in Austin. Rush hour. I-35.

Or reading/listening to the news. Loud voices convinced they are right, trying to persuade you to believe them. Politics, vaccines, polarization. Anger. Blame.

How about work/life balance? Money. Family and relationship issues. Social media. Injustice. The list of potential stressors goes on.

Stress is everywhere, affecting our body-mind systems. It can be acute, a physical reaction to a threat, where ideally our systems return to a calm, alert state when the threat is gone.

It can also be chronic, a long-term condition affecting the health of the entire system.

Chronic stress affects sleep, blood pressure, muscle tension and pain. It can cause headaches, panic attacks, anxiety, depression. It can contribute to addictions and obesity and chronic diseases.

You would have to live in a thick bubble not to notice and experience the effects of stress on our systems, our lives, living in these times.

Something you may not realize is that your body-mind system performs most of its health-maintaining and prolonging functions when you are relaxed.

Relaxation slows your heart rate and breathing (less wear and tear on those organs) and improves the functioning of your entire digestive system (more availability of nutrients to cells).

When you are stressed, your system’s resources are focused on managing threats.

Relaxation in this modern life takes some effort. It involves many choices made over time.

If you are feeling the effects of chronic stress and would like to reset your nervous system in the moment, you can slow your breathing and make your exhalations longer, practice the physiological sigh (3 times), or do the 4-7-8 breath (4 times).

Try them all and discover what works best for you, at least twice a day. Then use it when a bad driver nearly hits you, or you get an unexpected or unaffordable bill, or…whatever stresses you.

You can commit to a daily meditation practice. Ten minutes is a good length to start with. Even one minute of silence and stillness, with your attention turned inward, makes a difference, if you use it several times a day.

You can also jumpstart your nervous system reset by getting a craniosacral therapy session.

How does it work? In both biomechanical (i.e., Upledger trained) and biodynamic craniosacral therapy, still points play an important role.

A still point is a pause in the fluctuation of your cerebrospinal fluid, a subtle rhythm that affects your entire system from deep inside your body.

When a still point occurs, it gives your autonomic nervous system a chance to pause and rebalance.

With repeated still points, which can be brief or last 20 minutes or longer, as well as choices you make to minimize stressors in your life, the equilibrium of your autonomic nervous system can move toward more relaxation and greater health.

Link to a pilot study on the effects of craniosacral therapy on the autonomic nervous system.

Simply put, recurring or continuous stress that the body is unable to deal with affects us physiologically, structurally and emotionally. Eventually we reach a point of constant alertness, which depletes the body, and downgrades its ability to balance itself. By stimulating the rest and recovery systems of the body, the subtle work of CST allows the body to resource its powers of rehabilitation and revival.

Craniosacral Therapy Association, UK

What is a still point?

Like the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, and other systems in the human body, everyone has a craniosacral system. This system consists of the bones, membranes, and fluids that surround your central nervous system — your brain and spinal cord.

Cerebrospinal fluid is produced in the brain in a tide-like, rhythmic manner. Craniosacral therapists can feel this subtle rhythm. It is palpable bodywide. It’s subtle but not magic — most of us learn to sense it in an hour or two of training.

With experience, we learn to read its qualities (weak, strong, fast, slow, whether it’s symmetrical in both sides of the body, etc.). These qualities vary from person to person, day to day, even moment to moment.

Still points occur when this rhythm pauses. They occur naturally and spontaneously. No one knows precisely why they occur, but they are regenerative. It feels as if the system is gathering resources during these pauses.

Still points can also be induced biomechanically or invited biodynamically, depending on the craniosacral therapist’s training or preference.

They help rebalance the autonomic nervous system, which because of stress often tilts to the sympathetic branch. The parasympathetic state feels more relaxed and refreshing. The body has more resources in this state for repairing and renewing itself.

Someone experiencing a still point may enter a state of internal stillness that feels deeply peaceful.

When the rhythm resumes, it feels as if the body has reorganized itself in the direction of greater health and well-being.

Still points can last for a few seconds or much longer, 20 or 30 minutes.

Craniosacral therapists stay connected to still points and can usually feel a difference in the qualities of the rhythm when it resumes. They may invite (or induce) multiple still points in a session as well as note when the client has spontaneous still points.

I enjoy inviting still points at the beginning and end of every session, including TMJ Relief sessions.

The poet T.S. Eliot wrote about this pause in 1936. I am not aware of whether he was familiar with craniosacral still points, although they were known to cranial osteopaths at the time. He captures the in-between state, the pause, the gathering, well in these words: