If you are ready to take the next step in your personal healing and professional growth, blending the practical skills of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST) with your other modalities can offer more complete support to your clients and extend your career for many years to come.
Many massage therapists report that the addition of BCST skills to their practice greatly enhances their satisfaction in their work, providing a greater variety and depth. They also tell me BCST multiplies their clients’ results exponentially. Empowered to support a wider population of clients, therapists can see more clients per day, which leads to increased income.
Clients of BCST often experience a gentle and natural release of stress and trauma held in their systems; resolution of chronic issues; more rapid injury recovery and restoration of resiliency; deep relaxation during sessions and improved quality of sleep afterward; and a greater sense of coherence, emotional stability and overall well-being, all of which add up to profound transformation across all areas of their lives.
How Does BCST Work?
BCST can garner the results reported above because it is therapy for clients’ whole being. BCST practitioners support healing at its core level. They work within an awareness that the energetic, fluid and tissue systems are a deeply interlaced web. By understanding and addressing this web directly, BCST practitioners meet their clients as whole beings.
Based on the late-in-life teachings of founder and osteopath W.G. Sutherland, DO, BCST, is a subtle approach to craniosacral therapy; it is a highly effective, fully-clothed modality.
Watch the video, “An Introduction to Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy,” here.
Because of its focus on wholeness, BCST promotes resolution and integration of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of the client’s dis-ease. What sets this work apart from other craniosacral practices, and is the foundation for all biodynamic training philosophy, is focus on the Inherent Treatment Plan — a healing process that organically unfolds from within the client’s system — rather than a plan or protocol that comes from the practitioner.
We yield to and support the system’s innate capacity to heal itself. By taking cues from the client’s system on how the session is unfolding, we follow the direction and pacing of inherent healing forces as they emerge in each session. When given the optimal container of safety, relational warmth, present-moment attention and spaciousness, there is a natural unfolding and return to health and balance.
What is BCST?
Massage therapy utilizes a variety of types of touch, accessing the musculoskeletal system to support the client; BCST utilizes gentle, still touch, accessing the craniosacral system to support the client.
The craniosacral system is defined as:
• The dura (the connective tissue surrounding the central nervous system)
• The central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and cerebrospinal fluid)
• The directly connected bony and ligamentous structures (cranium, spine and sacrum)
Variations of craniosacral work can be found in healing systems throughout the world. In current Western practice there have emerged many streams, from cranial osteopathy to various forms of craniosacral therapy. All these originated from Sutherland’s teachings at various stages of his career.
History of BCST
Early in his practice, Sutherland became aware of subtle movements in the craniosacral system driven by pulsatory rhythmic pressures in the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding and supporting the central nervous system. What he palpated is a gentle, tide-like motion that rises and swells toward the cranium, then recedes and pools toward the sacrum. Because the body is a fabric of connection, our whole system rises and expands, then recedes and narrows with these rhythms.
In the beginning, Sutherland treated his patients in a biomechanical manner — assessing imbalance in the movement of structures and gently manipulating them into place in rhythm with the cranial rhythmic impulse (short tide). As he deepened in the work, he began to perceive even slower and more basic rhythms.
In BCST, these slower rhythms are our focus.
Sutherland found that the potency of the tidal movement within the system was a more powerful force for healing than any outside force he could apply. He also discovered the profound regenerative state that would happen when the tides rested in stillness. Through transformative experiences later in his life, he felt he was face-to-face with an alive, intelligent and aware presence that was infusing and breathing potency into all living systems. He called this the Breath of Life.
BCST was born of this appreciation shared during the last six years of his life. BCST practitioners focus primarily on the potency of the Breath of Life that drives all the tides, which in turn infuse the fluids and tissues with health.
In BCST, the larger intelligence of The Breath of Life guides each session.
An Evolving Therapy
BCST is an art and therapy that is continuing to evolve. After Sutherland’s passing in 1954, his students and colleagues continued to develop and share the work. There are now many approaches based on these basic principles flourishing all over the world.
In the 1980s, Franklyn Sills brought together his many studies including osteopathy, polarity, Buddhism, and pre- and perinatal therapy to bring forth his current teachings of BCST. Sills stresses the importance of compassionate and present-moment practitioner relational skills for setting the tone for inherent healing forces to emerge.
The training and practicing of BCST is a transformative process for the therapist both personally and professionally. Because the work is sustainable and regenerative for the practitioner, many therapists have found BCST to be work they can do well into their older years. It is easy on the body, endlessly stimulating to the mind, and every time you give a session you also receive the benefits of being in a quiet and meditative state.
The core of practicing this work is the continuing development of subtle perceptual skills based on a deepening ability to settle one’s own nervous system and to rest in resonant relationship. This practice is life-changing. It necessarily demands an open commitment to learning and surrendering to the mystery of healing. To give and receive this work is to humbly engage with a continually profound and transformational way of being.
Learn More About BCST
The best way to learn more about BCST is to experience it firsthand for yourself. This is the ideal way to understand the depth and breadth of this work.
About the Author:
Robyn Michele Jones, CMT, RCST, a teacher and president of the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America, practices in Santa Cruz, California. A certified massage therapist since 1984, she is deeply drawn to the fluid interface between the energetic and the physical, and is passionate about working with the body as a web of wholeness. Listen to her podcast here.