The work in this field began with the discoveries of an Osteopath, Dr William Garner Sutherland. As an osteopathic student at the beginning of the twentieth century, the bones of the cranium fascinated him. While looking at a skull, he realised that it was, “bevelled like the gills of a fish for primary respiration.” This thought led him on a lifetime journey to discover its nature.
Dr Sutherland undertook investigations that proved to him that the living skull expresses movement and motion and that this motion is physiologically important. Dr Sutherland then focused on primary respiration (the breathing and movement of body tissues, as opposed to secondary breathing which is also called lung breathing). He focused on the phased he termed inhalation and exhalation. He wrote about an approach where no force from outside is used, but the potency (life force) is trusted to initiate and carry out healing processes. Dr Sutherland referred to this as the Intelligence of the system and the intentions of the Breath of Life. It was at about this point, when Craniosacral Therapy came into its own as a healing modality, even though at the time, it was still very much a part of Osteopathy. Many practitioners carried on the work of Sutherland within the context of osteopathic practice.
Work outside of the osteopathic community was first taught by Dr John Upledger DO in the 1970’s and was called CranioSacral Therapy. His work continues to be taught by the Upledger Institute which is worldwide and based in America.
Dr Franklyn Sills, DO further developed cranial work, and in particular, the cranial aspects. He orientated to what was called the tidal potency and the fluid tide, and waited for the potency of the Breath of Life to manifest its healing intentions.
In 1982, Dr Franklyn and Maura Sills moved to England and created the Karuna Institute in Devon England. In 1986, Dr Claire Dolby DO, an osteopathic colleague, encouraged Franklyn to begin teaching a form of the work outside of the osteopathic profession. The first cranial training developed by Dr Sills was taught at the Karuna Institute in 1986, assisted by Dr Claire Dolby DO.
In 1992, there was a change in the approach to craniosacral courses, bringing in a clear Biodynamic approach to the work. This approach worked with The Breath of Life to allow the client’s system to heal following the natural order within their body. Franklyn also introduced the work of Dr Rollin Becker DO to the Craniosacral community and helped people orient to what Becker called the inherent treatment plan. It became clear that the practitioner was more of a facilitator, encouraging the right environment in which this could occur. This way of listening to the client’s system and allowing the client’s body to prioritise the healing process was the point of difference to Biomechanical Craniosacral therapy, which tended to be more practitioner led with a series of protocols being followed. It was at this point the Dr Franklyn Sills coined the term Craniosacral Biodynamics.
Over this period of time, Franklyn and his colleagues taught trainings in Europe, including Switzerland, Spain and Germany and in America. This began the worldwide spread of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy.
Franklyn, along with Dr Michael Kern DO, also helped start the Craniosacral Therapy Educational Trust (CTET) in London, which is now an important biodynamic training and therapist registering organisation.
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is a growing and vital field. Trainings and practises continue to grow throughout the world. Consequently, Practitioner organisations have been developed around the world. In Europe, the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association (BCSTA) is the main accrediting body. The Craniosacral Therapy Educational Trust (CTET) covers the UK, while America has the International Affiliation of Biodynamic Trainings (IABT). The Pacific Association of Craniosacral Therapists (PACT) covers Asia and the South Pacific. These organisations encourage the development of Craniosacral Therapy, ensure the professional standards of the schools are maintained, and thus the graduate therapists are fully qualified.