The Intention of Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy with Michael J. Shea, PhD

The majority of people in Western countries now suffer from an epidemic of metabolic syndromes (such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes). The central locations of metabolic problems are in the intestines and the cardiovascular system throughout the body especially its endothelium. Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy (BCVT) is the application of biodynamic craniosacral therapy principles to the cardiovascular system. This work was begun by the founder of Osteopathy, Andrew Taylor Still in the 19th century when he said that “the rule of the artery is supreme.” That wisdom is still true today.

The following courses are designed for craniosacral therapists who have graduated from a biodynamic foundation training, studied with other teachers or have a clinical practice in craniosacral therapy. Students without prior training in craniosacral therapy but who are licensed manual therapists are welcome and need to be interviewed prior to acceptance in a course.

There are two intentions of these courses. The first is for the therapist and client to experience embodied wholeness and compassion through awareness of the heart and vascular system. The focus is on developing these qualities first in the therapist and then offering them to the client through the therapeutic presence of the therapist and how kindness is expressed through his or her hands when in contact with the client. This intention is based on the therapist’s perception of Primary Respiration (sometimes called the Long Tide in Cranial Osteopathy) and dynamic stillness (sometimes called a stillpoint) while gently contacting the arteries of the client.

The second intention is to understand and sense the cellular metabolism of the client via the cardiovascular system. This especially involves the crucial role in health of the vascular endothelium (the inner lining if the arteries and veins). In this approach, students learn how to positively influence the metabolic system of the client in the blood and its vessels. This includes the immune system in the blood and endocrine systems located in the endothelium. The heart-blood-endothelium complex is contacted with the therapeutic activity of Primary Respiration and stillness already within it. In this way, the therapist and his or her hands is simply reminding the cardiovascular system of its preexisting health.

Primary Respiration is defined as the long tide in biodynamic craniosacral therapy. It is the movement of wholeness. It is one of the three tidal movements that craniosacral therapists might work with in clinical practice. The other two are the cranial rhythmic impulse (CRI) and the mid tide both of which are faster. Primary Respiration was first discovered by William Garner Sutherland, DO, and incorporated into clinical practice because of the therapeutic benefits when both the practitioner and client access a slow rhythm in their nervous system, heart and body– such as Primary Respiration.

The purpose of the whole training is:

  1. To study the new science of compassion and its recovery with Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy. Each class contains mindfulness based guided meditations linking compassion, kindness and gentle care with the experience of Primary Respiration and stillness in and around the body. This is the essence of each course.
  2. To learn new palpation skills to help stabilize and improve the cellular metabolism of the contemporary client specifically in their Fluid Body (the instinct of knowing how to self-heal), intestinal, cardiovascular and nervous systems.
  3. To be learn important new aspects of prenatal development and the cellular metabolism of the cardiovascular system. Human embryology from the point of view of morphology (wholistic movement) will be taught in many classes which informs the palpation skills being taught.
  4. To experience embodied wholeness in one’s self first and then offer that to the client through skillful application of palpation skills based on compassionate touch. This begins in the physical body together with its Fluid Body.
  5. To maintain a Heart to Heart connection. The electromagnetic field of the heart extends 15’ around the body and constantly interacts with other heart fields. Primary Respiration moves within the heart field to generate safety, healing and embodied wholeness. This sensory awareness can be applied in all life situations. Numerous skills will be taught to experience this state.

In these classes, students will learn how and when to blend current and previous learning in all forms of craniosacral therapy as well as manual therapy of all kinds for the most effective treatment for the client. Each year the curriculum of all courses is updated with new research information on the Fluid Body, cardiovascular and nervous systems and its application in clinical practice.