What is Craniosacral Biodynamics? The name may not mean much if you are unfamiliar with this type of hands-on therapy.
It helps to share why people seek it, so I write these seasonal summaries of what my clients are seeking.
Craniosacral Biodynamics is different from most types of bodywork in that it works from the inside out, with internal rhythms and patterns, rather than working from the outside in, like massage therapy.
It can help with a wide variety of issues.
In every session, receivers shift into a deeply relaxed state in which the innate intelligence in their system can pause, reflect, and reorganize their tissues, fluids, and energies toward greater health.
One of the benefits of this modality is that it affects specific physical issues as well as whole body issues. The deep relaxation that clients experience empowers the body’s innate healing abilities for all kinds of issues.
Some clients come in with one issue, others with three or four. Often there’s a mix of specific physical issues and whole body issues.
Changes occur during sessions and continue afterwards. Sometimes clients notice a week or so later that an issue has disappeared.
The work is also cumulative. Often issues do not reoccur, and in subsequent sessions the work addresses deeper strain patterns and imprints of overwhelm, releasing these bound energies to return you to greater wholeness and vitality.
Specific physical issues
tension in thoracic inlet atlanto-occipital joint tension pain around C1 transverse process frontal headache tight cranial bones mid-back strain chest and upper back tension neck, shoulder/s pain or tension jaw tension or pain sacrum unbalanced dysfunction from old knee injury structural asymmetry from playing a musical instrument energy block at back of heart vestibular cranial nerve and brain stem issues foot pain hip joint popping
Whole body issues
healer burnout work-related stress long-term stress dysfunction from trauma deep attachment trauma reorganizing after releasing deep attachment trauma fixations from Enneagram type post-partum recovery overwhelm from mothering young children insomnia anxiety depression PMS overwhelm from excessive heat
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.
What conditions is Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy helpful for?
Feeling energetically unbalanced
Other chronic conditions
Because BCST is so gentle and non-invasive, there are few contraindications for treatment. It works on the whole system and is especially effective at balancing the autonomic nervous system and allowing strain patterns to release.
The number of sessions needed varies. I recommend three sessions to start, to give this sometimes-subtle modality a fair chance, and then evaluate the benefits.
If you decide to continue with regular sessions, I offer a package that can save on the cost.
A neurology practice noted that of its patients who had restless legs syndrome (RLS), 60% also had bruxism (grinding teeth during sleep). Eighty-three percent had RLS and migraines, and 52% had RLS, migraines, and bruxism.
Do you relate?
The lead neurologist for this study speculated there is a gene that links these conditions.
It gets more interesting. Both restless legs syndrome and bruxism are involuntary movements occurring during sleep. Is bruxism “restless jaw syndrome?”
I’m always happy to see new research about TMJ-related issues, especially because there are so many factors that play a role in jaw dysfunction and pain.
This may be something to show your doctor, or you may be interested in taking a supplement or adding foods to your diet that help your body produce more dopamine (more info below).
More about bruxism.
Bruxism includes clenching and grinding the teeth. Some distinguish these as “waking bruxism” and “sleep bruxism”.
They may have different causes.
Sleep bruxism, in contrast to daytime clenching, is harder to treat because it occurs when you’re unaware of your behavior and unable to change it.
Waking bruxism is a habit that can change with awareness and practice. I’ve helped many clenchers learn how to relax their mouth position.
Some things I’ve noted about bruxism in my manual therapy practice:
Many people don’t know they grind during sleep until a dentist tells them they have damaged teeth.
Sometimes the noise of grinding during sleep is loud enough to wake up family members or housemates, and that’s how people learn they have sleep bruxism.
People who grind at night often wake up with jaw, face, or neck pain, earaches, and/or headaches.
Bruxism often results in the need for expensive dental work: mouthguards or splints to prevent further damage, crowns to fortify cracked or broken teeth, and sometimes implants.
Over time, bruxism can seriously damage the temporomandibular joints to the point of requiring surgery. It’s so much better to address jaw issues before it gets that bad.
Dentists and jaw issues.
Many people expect dentists to be experts on jaw issues, yet their domain is treating the teeth and gums.
Learning about TMJ disorders is not required in dental school. It’s an elective.
General practice dentists can prevent further tooth damage with appliances like mouthguards and splints. They can repair existing tooth damage or replace teeth with implants.
Some dentists may try to adjust the positioning of the TMJs, and a few more recently-trained dentists also address airway issues (like sleep apnea, which may accompany sleep bruxism) in their work.
Dentists do not address stress or tension in the jaw muscles, which contribute so much to jaw pain. Any overworked muscle will tighten, be painful, and perhaps spasm. The jaw muscles are no different. Sometimes they get taut bands within the muscle tissue that limit range of motion.
Working with muscles is the domain of massage therapists.
I receive referrals for TMJ Relief consultations and sessions from some of the best dentists and hygienists in Austin.
Solutions to try.
If you grind your teeth during sleep, it is possible to stop by using hypnotherapy or EFT (tapping).
I don’t know if it works for everyone, but it’s soothing — I always fall asleep before it ends.
Less stress is always desirable.
I’ve also heard from someone who did this that starting a regular meditation practice can reduce or stop bruxism completely over time. There are many types of meditation. If you want to try this, choose a type of meditation that is relaxing and includes body awareness. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is taught online.
As mentioned above, dopamine agonists are prescribed for low dopamine levels.
Dopamine is released when your brain is expecting a reward — when you anticipate a pleasurable activity such as eating a delicious meal, spending time with someone you love, or receiving a big check.
It’s sometimes called “the happy hormone” because it affects your enthusiasm, motivation, and focus.
If you suffer from bruxism, before going the pharmaceutical route with dopamine agonist drugs, you may want to consider nutrition — consuming foods or taking supplements that raise your dopamine levels.
In particular the amino acid tyrosine increases dopamine.
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.