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Biomechanical vs Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy

This article was written by Sharalee Hoelscher, RCST

Craniosacral Therapy is an alternative healing therapy in which healing of the body and mind is generated by the body’s life force. More than 100 years ago, William Sutherland, an osteopathic physician, recognized a connection between the rhythmic movement of the fluid and membranes around the brain and spinal cord, as well as a corresponding rhythmic movement of the sacrum, with health and well-being.

Today, craniosacral therapy is used to relieve a wide range of physical and psychological problems, including headaches, chronic pain, scoliosis, learning disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder, TMJ pain, anxiety and depression. The craniosacral therapist may use one of two approaches: biomechanical or biodynamic. Each approach produces changes to the body and mind, yet they are different from one another.

The biomechanical approach, craniosacral therapy (CST), adds the methods of another osteopathic doctor, Dr. John Upledger, correcting imbalances in the client’s system using gentle hand pressure. This approach focuses primarily on the relationship of the bones of the head, the movement of the sacrum between the pelvic bones and the movement of fluid around the brain and spinal cord.

The biodynamic approach, biodynamic craniosacral therapy, involves two slower, distinct fluid rhythms throughout the body. Sutherland recognized that patients became ill when the rhythmic movement of life was out of balance and discovered that by helping his patients to re-establish their own balanced rhythm, the regenerative powers of the life force were able to heal and keep them healthy. Healing comes from within the client, rather than from the practitioner.

Sharalee Hoelscher, RCST, is a registered craniosacral therapist. She practices in East Hill Pensacola,


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