Craniosacral Biodynamics works for serious health challenges

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

Although its cranial roots go back to 1899, Craniosacral Biodynamics began in the 1980s.

Dr. Andrew Weil, father of integrative medicine, received healing work from Dr. Robert Fulford, a gifted cranial osteopath, and understood well how this kind of bodywork can contribute to wellness. Dr. Weil relates this story in his book, Spontaneous Healing.

Reducing the stress load

Imbalances and strains on our bodies come from stressors of all kinds: physical, mental, emotional, energetic. 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 no longer present.

Overwhelming stress can make this difficult, and the stress load does not dissipate.

Making it more complicated, many sources of stress are internal: anxiety about health, relationships, finances, the future. Can you relate?

Our systems’ self-healing capabilities activate in states of relaxation, not in states of stress. Thus, stress is a factor that contributes to chronic illness.

Craniosacral Biodynamics sessions help our systems relax, thus freeing up resources for self-healing.

A Craniosacral Biodynamics practitioner like me palpates the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in a patient’s body. This fluid flows rhythmically and is located deep inside the body.

A good therapist can pick up the motion and read this rhythm anywhere in the body, as well as sense more subtle tides and patterns.

How it works

After establishing rapport with a patient, I invite your rhythm to go into a still point — a pause in the rhythm that feels relaxing.

A still point may last anywhere from a few minutes up to an hour. This stillness interrupts dysfunctional patterns that contribute to dis-ease.

The stillness brings new health-giving resources to your patterns, so that when the still point ends, the revitalized patterns bring more balance, ease, and vitality to your system.

In this manner, Craniosacral Biodynamics sessions facilitate healing from the inside out, and it’s your own system that does the healing. I just help set up the right conditions.

Craniosacral Biodynamics works well alongside health-building practices such as good nutrition, exercise, sleep, rest, and other integrative health modalities.

It helps with chronic anxiety

Patients who have been living with chronic anxiety — which often accompanies chronic illness — often report feeling more resilient after each session, more relaxed, sleeping better.

Sometimes they notice other shifts toward better health in the days after receiving a craniosacral biodynamics session. Because the work is subtle, it can take a few days to really feel the results.

Many choose to receive regular sessions because they work cumulatively, accelerating stress reduction and recovery from illness.

What you can expect in a session

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

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

Body awareness lets your anxious mind take a break.

If you can simply notice your sensations, without judgment, without a story, it strengthens your resources for healing.

I take a little time to prepare myself, and then I place my hands gently on your body, at your head or your feet, and tune in to your subtle rhythms.

I may change positions several times during a session. I’m usually quiet, for the most part. Your communication is welcome.

You may simply rest and be gently aware of changing 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. Some patients tell of dreams or visual experiences.

It’s always interesting to hear your experience!

After your session

Afterwards, it’s always a good to idea to check in with yourself again and notice what’s different.

After leaving, you may want to take some time to relax and integrate the work.

Enjoy your state of reduced anxiety!

Don’t forget to check in with yourself over the next few days, because sometimes the work of optimizing energy patterns takes a few days to manifest into your awareness.

I can’t predict exactly how your system will respond to Craniosacral Biodynamics, but if you feel some improvement, I invite you to schedule another session, which will build on the first.

Musings on feeling energy

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.



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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!

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Source: Waking Times.

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.