Andrew Taylor Still
Andrew Taylor Still
«To find health should be the object of the physician.
Anyone can find disease.»



The method has its roots in Osteopathy, founded in 1874 by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917).
The osteopathic concept views all creation as perfect, and as the expression of a higher ordering principle.

Student of Dr. Still, William Garner Sutherland (1873-1954), practiced osteopathy in the first half of the 20th century. It was he who identified and recognised those involuntary rhythmic movements of the skull, the brain, the meninges, the cerebrospinal fluid and the sacrum, which are now part of the fundamental concept of the cranial method.

Dr. Sutherland noted that the movement of these structures acts within a unified system, which he called Primary Respiratory Mechanism (PRM). He developed a method of evaluation and treatment based on the understanding of these involuntary movements, which he called cranial osteopathy.

His teaching is based on the perception of the inherent motion of the elements of the PRM, a movement that is expressed in rhythms, cycles and regular fluctuations.

His hypothesis, developed by empirical observations, suggests that such movements were generated by a "primary respiration" (PR), an intrinsic cellular breathing, already present before the pulmonary respiration.

He spoke of the "Breath of Life" as the vital impulse, which generates these rhythmic cycles, and which coordinates, maintains, regulates and regenerates the body.

In the last 10 years of his life, Dr. Sutherland observed that the rhythms of PR presents the characteristics of a fluid system. Such rhythms can be perceived as fluctuations in a body formed by a liquid substance. He then began to describe these rhythms as "Tides", associating them with the cyclic motion of the ocean tides.

Newer history

The term craniosacral therapy was coined for the first time in the 70's by the American osteopath, Dr. John E. Upledger (1932-2012).

Dr. Upledger began to use the term "craniosacral system" to describe the primary respiratory mechanism, and "craniosacral rhythm" for the primary respiration.

In the 80's his terminology began to influence a new generation of therapists external to the osteopathic field, to whom he made the method accessible.

Up to date

The term "biodynamic" was introduced to the work after the death of Dr. Sutherland.
The biodynamic concept wants to highlight the presence of vital forces responsible for shaping matter and therefore forming and maintaining the body. 

Although the biodynamic approach appears to be a new concept, in fact the biodynamic vision is related to the discoveries and original principles of the method. Looking at the biodynamic development of the cranial concept is a return to the roots of the work.

The orientation towards the vital aspects emerged with greater clarity in the mid-90s, time when the expression "craniosacral biodynamics" was coined.
The terminology and the biodynamic approach are oriented to the fundamental concepts, underlying the observations of Dr. Sutherland and the work he has done over the last 10 years of his life.

At the same time, the method is redefined for the new millennium, with a language revised and adapted to today's understanding.

The primary respiratory mechanism is seen as a unified system, whithin this system, rhythmic tidal motion express metabolic processes, as a whole. The tides are generated by potencies, which are in turn guided by an innate organising principle, according to an original matrix.

Interventions and methods of approach have been improved to support the healing process and the innate ability of self-regulation of the body.



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Network and associations

International Affiliation of Biodynamic Trainings

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America

Cranio Suisse®
Swiss Association for Craniosacral Therapy

Italian Craniosacral Association

Swiss quality management certificate

Swiss registry for complementary medicine

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