What Is Craniosacral Therapy?

Biodynamic craniosacral therapy is a healing paradigm which is focused on health rather than pathology; a paradigm where the intention is to reconnect a person to the wholeness that underlies everything. In the biodynamic model this wholeness is referred to as the Breath of Life. It is the original blueprint of a person which precedes genetics and emotional and physical trauma.

This approach is exceedingly respectful and gentle. It involves deep listening at many levels to the story told in words and to the story told through the tissues and fluid movements in the body. The practitioner’s intention is to be totally present to the client throughout the session and to wait for the emergence from the client of the inherent treatment plan. The client’s own system reveals the portion of the story that will be addressed in that particular session. The practitioner holds the story, which is often referred to as one’s conditioning, and at the same time holds the inherent wholeness. Over a period of time the client’s system and consciousness start to orient to wholeness and a deeper sense of well-being can be experienced.


Biodynamic craniosacral therapy has it roots in the work of an osteopath named William Sutherland. Dr. Sutherland had an open and inquisitive mind which led to an important insight about the sutures of the cranial bones. While examining a skull he noticed a beveling of the sutures of the sphenoid bone and became curious about the purpose of that distinctive feature.  During this time  a “guiding thought” came to him:  “beveled, like the gills of a fish, indicating articular mobility for a respiratory mechanism.”  At the time the assumption was that the cranial bones were not able to express movement.  This led to many years of research and the conclusion that the bones indeed have a small degree of movement. He became aware of a subtle rhythmic motion which can be palpated as an upward expansion of the tissues and fluids through the midline, followed by a contraction and downward movement. Dr. Sutherland came to believe that this inherent motion was driven by the potency of the Breath of Life and was an expression of the intelligence of life.


The Breath of Life produces three very subtle rhythms in the body which can be palpated by your practitioner. The fastest and most superficial of these is called the cranial rhythmic impulse which has a rate of 8-12 cycles per minute. This level holds our conditioning and history. The next level called the mid-tide is much slower at 2.5 cycles per minute and is the fluid tide. The third rhythm, referred to as the Long Tide has a very slow rate of about once every 100 seconds. It is at this level where the universal forces are contacted; the forces of our original wholeness.

Dynamic Stillness

Dr. Sutherland made reference to the dynamic power in the stillness. All spiritual traditions speak of entering the stillness as the way to find God. It is in contacting this level of stillness that the most profound healing can occur. It is not something that can be forced to happen by practitioner or client, but something which can arise spontaneously during the course of treatment.


Treatment consists of gentle facilitation intended to facilitate the expression of the Breath of Life so that the body’s capacities for healing and self-regulation can be expressed. As patterns arise and are released they can be accompanied by emotional expressions. The practitioner helps to slow down the process and makes sure the client stays in contact with resources, so the process can be one of true healing rather than re-traumatization.

Conditions Responsive to Craniosacral Therapy

Conditions that are responsive to craniosacral therapy include:

  •      Headaches including migraines
  •      Low back pain and neck pain
  •      Fibromyalgia
  •      Early emotional trauma
  •      Falls and automobile accidents
  •      Stress, Anxiety, and Panic Attacks
  •      Attention Deficit Disorder