Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy in Osteopathic Medicine

Roger Gilchrist, MA, RPP, RCST

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy has created a revolution in osteopathy over the last two decades, bringing new insights to this important profession in the healing arts. Craniosacral Biodynamics has some unique features that distinguish it from other forms of craniosacral therapy used in osteopathy. Of course, all styles of craniosacral therapy share common origins and have many similarities, yet the Biodynamic approach is considered by many practitioners to be a leading edge in the modern practice of craniosacral therapy.

Craniosacral therapy is derived from a specialty within osteopathic medicine that was developed by William Garner Sutherland, D.O. Dr. Sutherland found a subtle wave-like pulsation that passes through the entire body and all of its tissues and processes. He felt this rhythmic pulsation was a fundamental organizing force in the life process. This fundamental life function was so important to Sutherland, he called it a "Primary Respiratory Impulse." He felt it was an extension of a universal force he called the Breath of Life. Sutherland and his followers found ways of utilizing these natural forces in the therapeutic process that frequently led to remarkable results.

Craniosacral Biodynamics was developed by Franklyn Sills, who attended osteopathic college in England. As a unique approach in craniosacral therapy, Craniosacral Biodynamics traces its roots more directly to cranial osteopathy than other approaches. Many of the skills are classical osteopathic skills, while other biodynamic skills add a degree of precision and a holistic focus that transcends traditional approaches. Additionally, Craniosacral Biodynamics creates a perspective in clinical practice that is often more profound than other approaches.

Some of the unique features of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy are an emphasis on practitioner/client relationship, an orientation to dynamic processes rather than static tissue strains, a skill base that is more directly drawn from the osteopathic roots of craniosacral therapy, and a direct acknowledgment of the spiritual dimension of being.

Like all forms of craniosacral therapy, Craniosacral Biodynamics works with membranous strains in the dura and other connective tissues, the position of bones and dynamics of the joints and sutures, and the overall relationship of structure and function in the client. Additionally, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy gives greater emphasis to fluid dynamics, both in the cerebrospinal fluid and in other fluid systems of the body. Furthermore, the Biodynamic approach reveals a rich understanding of the dynamics of potency (the energy and organizing forces) within the fluids, tissues, and processes of the body. While Dr. Sutherland emphasized the importance of working with this potency within the client, the Biodynamic perspective has developed a much higher appreciation of what this really means in clinical practice.

In this way, Craniosacral Biodynamics makes a relationship to the energy dynamics that are operating within the body processes. As we begin to understand both health and dysfunction from a perspective of dynamic processes rather than static positions, an entire universe opens up and we find ourselves working in cooperation with the dynamics of life. A deep regard for life is fostered, as well as a profound understanding of how life organizes itself through its energy, function, and structure that continues to deepen throughout our professional practice.

Roger Gilchrist studied Craniosacral Biodynamics with its founder, Franklyn Sills, in the mid-1990's and became a tutor in Sills' teaching program. Gilchrist teaches Craniosacral Biodynamics in the USA, Australia and Europe.


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