In this second part of the interview with Punya, Bhadrena talks about the benefits of this therapy method, about embryology and the advantages her students get thanks to the recent accreditation of her school.
Read the first part: Craniosacral Biodynamics – How and why does it work?
What is Craniosacral good for? What are the benefits?
Craniosacral Biodynamics is very good in supporting the start and the beginning of life, e.g. during a stressful pregnancy, after a difficult or traumatizing birth, when mother and baby don’t connect, when there is a lot of pain and crying and when something is in the way of their bonding. We can give them a booster start, to clear things from their system that might influence their full expression of health. We are very good at supporting mothers and babies.
In a baby there is little life history and it hasn’t solidified yet. The body is still gel-like and fluidic. A baby has an immature or an unripe nervous system. The whole physiology is still developing. A practitioner needs to be very, very delicate.
If you look at the other end of the spectrum, as people move towards the end of their life, the bodies are often frail and also cannot take a lot of input. It’s not about curing them anymore, but about helping towards a transition, making the steps towards letting go easier.
I find that of all touch-therapies Craniosacral Biodynamics is offering the most respectful listening presence, holding space and orientation to Health. At the end of a life span, the life force is still there. Life in that way doesn’t end. It is the spirit that needs to liberate from the matter. Matter and spirit that were bound together through a whole life need to disengage and let go of each other. That disengagement uses energy and can be a challenge. People might not have practised letting go. In the last few years we have developed wonderful programs for Craniosacral practitioners to work with death and dying.
Across the arch of a whole life span, this work supports all the transitions:
- when the body needs to do big adjustments, e.g. as a teenager or during menopause with all the hormonal changes
- in moments of transitions, when life changes you; ou move location, change job, a relationship comes to its end, the kids leave home, you meet new ideas, are challenged with the unknown…
- during loss, when you lose a beloved one and you are grieving; you are internally reshuffling everything
Craniosacral is very supportive and helpful in these big life changes.
– Repair and recovery
It works well to resolve and integrate any traumatic experience, any event that has been overwhelming, any physical trauma that has happened through accidents, falls, injuries but also operations, surgeries – and then it supports convalescence and rehabilitation. After an overwhelming event it helps the body reconnect with its center and core and regain stability.
Treatments also act as prevention. They strengthen the system so that it becomes more resilient and can take in more input and information. It can hold more and absorb more. If there is more inner space inside, more can be integrated of that which comes from the outside. The neuro-endocrine-immune-perceptual system gets strengthened, to use a term of our method.
– Physical level
It alleviates stress and stress-related symptoms, like sleeplessness, panic attacks, tachycardia, digestive problems, hormonal imbalance, menstrual irregularities… Craniosacral brings order and normal natural function to the chaos and disorder.
It is good for any pain symptoms like headaches, backaches, joint pain, tension pain… Pain is the voice of the body telling us, “Hey, I need something here. I need a little bit of care!” Pain is actually a great flag that brings people to our sessions, but it is not the focus of the session. As we discussed earlier, a practitioner cannot do anything to the pain and the symptom itself, but can support the flow of fluids and expression of vitality and potency from within. Then those pains start getting better and recover, seemingly by themselves.
There is a whole list of symptoms Craniosacral Biodynamics works well with and at the same time we don’t focus on these symptoms, we rather attempt to get to the origin of it, which can remain hidden for some sessions. We go on a journey of discovery and exploration together to excavate the forces of Health, which are always present, and support them to be more obviously expressed.
Why are you still doing this work after 40 years? What keeps you interested?
There is an enormous development in science, in neurobiology, in the knowledge about how the brain works, in how the cells work, in how embryology is informing us about the early formation. All this keeps me interested and curious.
You keep mentioning embryology. I know what it means but why, what is the relation with Craniosacral Therapy?
The embryo is a symbol of wholeness. It’s one fluidic, gel-like substance that gets formed. When we observe the development of the embryo, we see life at work, we see our becoming in front of our eyes. Every minute something new is happening. We see being and becoming in action.
Sutherland had an intuition about that. The studies of embryology were not as developed as they are now. Yet he felt an expansion and retraction in the whole and the “sea around us”, as he described it. Each one of our present cells has the memory of the first cell, the first cell of the embryo that is full of fluid that is expanding and contracting with the rhythm of the Breath of Life.
Today we know how that one cell is developing into a mass of omnipotent stem cells. In the third week the embryo differentiates and forms a mid-line and a heart. The embryo creates all the differentiation out of one undifferentiated fluidic cell. That fluid nature is present from the beginning and we never lose access to this original information. When we as Biodynamic Craniosacral practitioners tune into the fluidic nature of our body, we are connecting to our origin, to the source.
Because as an embryo we must have known that state? We know it from that memory?
We know it intrinsically. The knowledge is in-built. We just forget or disconnect sometimes. We think we are fragmented, but actually, we can never be not whole. Embryology informs our work. We can witness the being that is becoming, constantly changing. That is still happening, moment to moment, even as we sit here and talk to each other. We are constantly changing.
You ask me, why I am still doing this work. My love for the work is unchanged and my curiosity and willingness to explore uncharted territory and discover the unknown persists. It is the kind of work that needs to develop as mankind develops. For me, the human being is fascinating. There is no end to exploration. I cannot imagine retiring. You cannot retire from life…
I love what I do. I wouldn’t be doing it for 40 years, if I wouldn’t love it. Love for the Biodynamic approach is the spark that keeps me going. I love teaching it. I love igniting it in others.
What do you not like to do so much?
If anything, it is the administrative part, the bookkeeping, the writing of quality management and accreditation papers for external authorities. It’s just a necessary part of being in the marketplace.
This brings me to the last question. I am glad that I finally managed to meet and talk with you, because in the last few years you were so busy having your institute accredited in Switzerland. I understand that your school can now train students for a higher education, complete with a Swiss Federal Diploma in Complementary Therapy.
In Switzerland we have a new profession as a complementary therapist, which finishes with a federal diploma. In order to be able to accompany our students to that level, our school had to get accredited, basically proving our quality, standards, level of competence, documenting the curriculum, practicum, processes of learning, etc. We always knew that we had an exceptional quality, the hours and the content. But we needed to document every detail in order to be accredited.
At the end it was very helpful to write everything down. But it was a lot of work, months and months of paperwork.
Why was it helpful?
It was a process of about ten years to get the approval of the Swiss government and the approval of the official boards. We are now offering a training with over 2200 hours. We know it is good, yet the process of documenting it all gave us a bigger appreciation of what we actually do.
It was also worth it for our students. An accredited school can take the students from the beginning of their training to the higher diploma in complementary therapy and they have officially a new profession: Complementary Therapist.
This September 2017 the Swiss government released a new law; not only is ICSB, the International Institute for Craniosacral Balancing®, accredited but our students now get 50% of their training expenses reimbursed by the state. For me this is the most amazing decision made by a state: to make money available to train people in alternative, complementary, holistic therapies that also have a preventative aspect and are paid by health insurances.
How long did it take you to write this paper? It was like a book?
Between the papers for the official quality management label for continuous education and the accreditation papers as a school for complementary therapy, it could certainly fill a book. At the end I could also see how much we have actually worked towards that standard over the last 35 years. And that was satisfactory.
Did you do all this on your own?
The quality management and accreditation process I did on my own, since it needed to be written in German. The actual work, creating programs and teaching them, I have been doing since 1994 together with my ‘business’ partner, Kavi Gemin. After 15 years of teaching craniosacral work he made a point of studying osteopathy and biodynamics in the osteopathic field. He wanted to go back to the roots of the work to bring forth the wisdom of the old in combination with innovative new approaches.
Between the two of us we bring additional skills in trauma resolution, pre-perinatal work, Diamond Logos Teachings and Systems Centered Therapy. This is what makes the work fun: we can share and play off each other, stimulate and learn from each other.
I understand you don’t just teach in Switzerland.
We teach all over Europe and also Japan, India and Canada, in the past also in Australia, and starting up in Taiwan soon. Everywhere we go, we have a good team of assistants and supervisors. We have a great support team and a big network.
Are you usually invited to come and teach?
I am usually asked to come and teach the whole foundation training or support a local teacher. Like in Japan, where we have been working since 1994, we now have one teacher that is doing some of the foundation courses. I come in once in a while to support her and her trainings. In other countries we offer advanced courses or are speakers at Craniosacral conferences. In this way we support other teachers and the bigger Craniosacral field.
You just need an accountant.
Absolutely. A craniosacral manager would be great.
Thank you very much, Bhadrena.
Interview taken by Punya
Read the first part: Craniosacral Biodynamics – How and why does it work?
Bhadrena has been working in the field of Human Growth and Healing Arts as a therapist and teacher since 1976. Born in Switzerland, she was educated as a teacher and psychologist, lived and trained in the USA and worked in Osho’s Commune and the Multiversity in Pune for over 30 years. Her work has been informed by the early Human Potential Movement, Gestalt Therapy, Body-centered Psychotherapy, Trauma Resolution, Diamond Logos Teachings and Systems-Centered Therapy. She pioneered Craniosacral Trainings since 1986 and has been essential in developing and spreading the method internationally. www.icsb.ch