Attunement, Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Biodynamic Terminology, Coherence, Coherent Breathing, Embodiment Practices, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Metabolic Syndrome, Mindfulness, Therapeutic Presence

What is Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Part 8

Question: Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers that I have forgotten?

Answer: The important thing in all of this is for the practitioner to feel the movement of his or her heart. I probably should have said this at the very beginning but the biodynamic process starts with mindfulness of the therapist’s body especially the heart. This is a very direct and personal relationship I have with my body called interoceptive awareness. Research clearly says that sensing the movement of our own heart changes our brain structure. It reinforces the self-regulation capacity of our brain and consequently our heart. So for me biodynamic practice is about rebuilding a strong connection between the heart, the brain and the body. This connection is based also upon the perception of PR and Stillness. Strengthening this connection builds resilience so that we stop wasting emotional and physical energy. In this way our natural biological instinct for compassion becomes stronger. PR and stillness are the ground of compassion. The heart is the path.

And that means compassion for ourselves and others. It also means a greater sense of contentment and happiness can be achieved. All of which are qualities rooted in our biology and can start to wake up with attention on PR, Stillness and the heart. They are located in such small seeds in the ground of our heart, brain and body at the moment. So if we can decrease the compulsive thoughts and disturbing emotions we can water the seeds of happiness and compassion with PR and Stillness.

NOTE:  This is the final posting in this series.  I hope that you enjoyed it.  Next week I will begin a series called:  Release Based Cathartic Therapy: Cautions and Considerations. Thank you for being a part of this community.

 

Once again, I wish to invite you to join me in NYC for this weekend’s free lecture and next week’s class on Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy.  This course will instruct on new cutting-edge research on the embryonic development of the heart and blood and changes in the field of cardiology with light touch manual therapy as a mindfulness-based practice.  In this introductory course we will focus on applying craniosacral therapy skills to the cardiovascular system and learn new techniques to reduce systemic inflammation and reduce cortisol and stress levels.  I hope to see you there.  Click here for info and to register.

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Attunement, Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Biodynamic Terminology, Coherence, Coherent Breathing, Embodiment Practices, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Metabolic Syndrome, Mindfulness, Therapeutic Presence

What is Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Part 7

Question: You have been the student of a medicine man on the Navajo reservation in Arizona for a long time. In the workshop you have compared the 3-dimensional perception of our physical body and the perception of Primary Respiration and Stillness with the medicine wheel, bear skin and rattle of a traditional healer. All these therapeutic “tools” support “containment” for the – sometimes lively and intense – healing processes, you said. What do we need this containment for? Why is it so important and helpful?

Answer: Containment is the therapeutic model that I teach in biodynamic practice. Containment specifically relates to the self-regulation that I mentioned earlier and it has a traditional meaning from these ancient healing rituals. First from a contemporary context, our culture has had a long fascination with emotions and releasing emotions. This includes some quite strong cathartic therapies. It is interesting to note that there is no research validating the efficacy or value of emotional release therapies for the long-term health and wellbeing of the person. It’s very strange to me that even in our field of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy there is still such a misunderstanding around this need for containment rather than for a release.

I certainly myself practiced and taught emotional release therapy early in my career until I noticed exactly what the research was saying: my clients and students for the most part were not improving in whatever dimension of their mind-body continuum that they were engaged with. Containment requires a lot of patience and a lot of attention to the whole theater of healing. This includes the table, the room, the props we use, the symbols we have on the walls and shelves of our office, and especially the availability to see and hear and maybe even smell the natural world outside the office. Each of these layers of the container participates in the therapeutic process with the client. This is where the contemporary and traditional models of containment start to merge. I am not that exclusive person that delivers health and healing to the client at all. The Greek word for therapist originally meant “the manager of the healing space.”

So I see myself as a manager much like John Nelson the medicine man I studied with. A manager is also a conductor of a symphony as different tones begin to occur during a session whether that’s thunder and lightning, bird song, a cell phone going off, or a car horn blowing outside, and so forth. Everything influences the therapeutic relationship as a basic principle of containment. The therapist as manager has to make choices about what’s relevant and not relevant by the quality of their attention and palpation. It is important to develop the palpatory skill of sensing the environmental influences occurring during the session in the client’s body. Otherwise, a bear skin, a rattle and eagle feathers are nothing more than museum pieces.

These tools are used to connect the client with the healing power of the world of nature. We are using our perception of PR and stillness in the natural world of our bodies and the environment as the bear skin, rattle and so forth. You can feel the effect of the natural world in the client and the improvement in the healing trajectory of the session. Traditionally, since their effects could be strong in combination with the prayers being said by the medicine man, the medicine man had to help “contain” these effects so they did not overwhelm or injure the client.

In a contemporary biodynamic practice, containment is the perception of PR and Stillness as the major influence on what the therapeutic and transformational process occurs in the client. This of course includes motion present in the fluid body, vascular and nervous system of the client. PR and Stillness operate best in a container of wholeness built by the perceptual process of the therapist. Containment then means the place to remember wholeness. It needs a place to observe the whole container from a palpatory point of view and that point of observation is the surface of the client’s skin via the hands, as well as the practitioner’s own heart and body. This is coupled with a perception that is attuned to the environment or the larger whole of the natural world. In this way perception and palpation dance back and forth all session. Containment also means that the client learns how to self-regulate internally without any demands to perform emotionally because at a deep level it is impossible to know what the client is working with spiritually. This means that ultimately containment is a spiritual principle.

It sounds easy but our minds can get in the way and I for example frequently fantasize about what I might want to purchase on Amazon that evening. So it’s a constant process of coming back to the ground of the container of my own body, the office and the natural world as one living whole that contains the transformational energy of PR and Stillness in the healing process of the client.

 

Once again, I invite you all to attend a course I will be teaching titled:  An Introduction to Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy: A Training for Health Practitioners. This course will take place in New York City at the New York Open Center, February 1-3, 2016.  In this introductory course we will focus on applying craniosacral therapy skills to the cardiovascular system and learn new techniques to reduce systemic inflammation and reduce cortisol and stress levels.  I invite each of you to join me.  Let’s hope the snow stays to a minimum! 

Visit this link for details and registration:  http://www.opencenter.org/events/an-introduction-to-biodynamic-cardiovascular-therapy-a-training-for-health-practitioners/  I look forward to seeing you in the Big Apple.

Attunement, Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Biodynamic Terminology, Coherence, Coherent Breathing, Embodiment Practices, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Metabolic Syndrome, Mindfulness, Therapeutic Presence

What is Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Part 6

Question: If we look at the heart-to-heart connection of a mother with her child from the embryological view as being the basis for our treatments, meaning we look at our hands and arms being the connecting stalk or umbilical cords, we invite a kind of prenatal symbiotic relation.
a.) Is this appropriate for a therapeutic situation and helpful? Where are the risks?
b.) How can we still feel, appreciate and support our independence and also the one of our clients?
c.) How can we let go of this symbiotic experience at the end of a session, or how can we support our clients to let go of the therapeutic container and become independent, empowered adults.

Answer: I like to think of the therapeutic relationship as a biological metaphor. There are so many ways especially in early development that we have a shared biology and a shared physiology. It’s natural that sometimes we might feel as if we are a parent loving a child, a mother recently conceived, or like a mother carrying a full-term child that might be kicking her diaphragm. I see no risks at all when I inhabit these biological metaphors from early development. This is because my perception is focused on PR and Stillness. At the level of early development, PR and Stillness is more related to love as a living part of our biology than anything else.

Of course, we live in the age of numerous prenatal therapies associated with early trauma. But biodynamic practice in the long-tide model of PR does not focus on prenatal trauma at all but rather the health experienced with PR and Stillness. I know that it is not easy sometimes with clients to focus on love rather than on trauma.

It’s also important to understand the emerging science of interpersonal neuro-biology (IPNB). This field states that the therapeutic relationship is a two-person-biology, in which our nervous and vascular systems start to synchronize. From this point of view we are already connected regardless of our therapeutic intent. I remember earlier in my career when I was taught that I need to shield myself or protect myself from the clients’ energy. Now I know that’s not possible. Once again, I employ the movement of PR heart-to-heart, in which I allow the client in their totality to move through me and for my heart to expand and transform the pain and suffering of the client into a sense of well-being. This requires that the therapist spend more time sensing their own body and staying in resonance with PR and Stillness.

One teacher of mine said “Breathe in the bad, exhale out the good”. This speaks to the constant exchange that is happening between a therapist and client at an unconscious level. In biodynamic practice we want to bring that whole unconscious biological domain to conscious awareness through the body first. Sometimes that’s difficult to do when we are tired or stressed. The critical factor in creating differentiation between the client and therapist, is for the therapist to spend the majority of the session sensing his or her own body. There is a natural cycle of attunement in which the therapist moves their attention towards the client, and then away from the client. It turns out that we are both experiencing the two-person-biology and two autonomous human beings at the same time. This is called self-regulation, in which I regulate via relationship and I also regulate autonomously. Resonance through attunement then is a critical piece to the therapeutic and I might say any human relationship. Animal lovers also speak about such resonance with their pets.

Both developmental vectors are present from conception onwards through the lifespan with obvious differences in the ratio of one to the other. It depends on one’s age and to a certain extent, on one’s spiritual aptitude and development. But the direct application of this information is accomplished in the therapeutic relationship by the therapist moving their attention between themselves, the client, and the natural world in the tempo of PR, waiting for an oceanic stillness and then abiding in that stillness until PR beckons the therapist. I call this the cycle of attunement. It couldn’t be simpler for achieving therapeutic benefits and much deeper sense of resilience and self-regulation.

So then how do I feel at the end of the day after all of this exchange with clients? When I practice with PR I usually feel better or clearer at the end of the day. But I always take time at the end of the day to give it all up, first through prayer and meditation, which I do every evening as a gratitude for being given the opportunity to be with other people in this way. Secondly I like to pick weeds and work with my mango trees. Once my hands get into the earth whatever is left from the client drains immediately out of my mind and body. It is important for every therapist to find their own cleansing ritual at the end of the day or between clients. When I was doing tissue work for many years I always put my hands under ice-cold water after every session. Some people like to burn incense. Whatever works!

 

I am looking forward to a course I will be teaching titled:  An Introduction to Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy: A Training for Health Practitioners. This course will take place in New York City at the New York Open Center, February 1-3, 2016.  In this introductory course we will focus on applying craniosacral therapy skills to the cardiovascular system and learn new techniques to reduce systemic inflammation and reduce cortisol and stress levels.  I invite each of you to join me.  

Visit this link for details and registration:  http://www.opencenter.org/events/an-introduction-to-biodynamic-cardiovascular-therapy-a-training-for-health-practitioners/  I look forward to seeing you in the Big Apple.

Attunement, Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Biodynamic Terminology, Coherence, Coherent Breathing, Embodiment Practices, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Metabolic Syndrome, Mindfulness, Therapeutic Presence

What is Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Part 5

Question:  We can enhance the power of Primary respiration (PR) by synchronizing it with secondary respiration. How does this function? And does this connect with the discovery of Steven Porges that slow exhalation supports the parasympathetic nervous system as well as slowing down the heart rate?

Answer:  There are really two questions here. The first answer is to understand that secondary respiration or diaphragmatic breathing is in direct relationship with PR. One of the therapeutic evaluation tools in biodynamic practice is to determine whether or not the potency of PR has increased by the end of the session. This is not the potency referred to by teachers of the mid-tide model in biodynamic practice. The potency or amplitude of PR is an expression of Health in the osteopathic system. So in order to generate more potency of PR, it is vital that the practitioner be able to synchronize their primary and secondary respirations. Typically when PR changes phases to its expansion cycle, there will periodically be a spontaneous full inhalation with the respiratory diaphragm. This can be coordinated in a way that the practitioner can enhance the amplitude of PR by using his or her breath especially the inhalation cycle. This requires the ability to feel that relationship between the two breaths. It takes practice and can be used in clinical practice by the practitioner, which will reflect into the clients PR and potentially enhance it and thus create more health. The bigger issue with this type of synchronization is ignition taking place within the phase change and amplification process with secondary respiration, but that is another big story for later.

Regarding the second part of the question, Porges did his early work on what is called heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is a measurement of the resilience of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) at the atrioventricular node (AV) in the right atrium of the heart. Every heart beat is different because of the constant metabolic changes in the body and the ANS must have the flexibility to adjust the heart beat accordingly or the heart can become overworked by staying the same. It turns out that breathing slowly especially at five cycles per minute can greatly enhance HRV and thus lower the heart rate if it is too high. This is called coherent breathing and there is very good research about it and its impact on not only slowing the heart but allowing the heart to open up to more subtle emotions like gratitude, equanimity, empathy, compassion and so forth.

That’s pretty good for six seconds of an inhale and six seconds of an exhale. The researchers recommend 5-20 minutes a day of coherent breathing. I find that I can do it more frequently lying in bed when I wake up in the morning or when I go to bed at night. I also practice it when I am a passenger in a car or in a plane. I have found it very beneficial in creating much more resilience in my ANS and consequently more of a felt sense of embodied wholeness. This is a practice I teach in class because it is also very subtle and coaching helps a lot.

 

I invite you to join me for a course I will be teaching titled:  An Introduction to Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy: A Training for Health Practitioners. This course will take place in New York City at the New York Open Center, February 1-3, 2016.  In this introductory course we will focus on applying craniosacral therapy skills to the cardiovascular system and learn new techniques to reduce systemic inflammation and reduce cortisol and stress levels.

Visit this link for details and registration:  http://www.opencenter.org/events/an-introduction-to-biodynamic-cardiovascular-therapy-a-training-for-health-practitioners/  I look forward to seeing you in the Big Apple.

Attunement, Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Biodynamic Terminology, Coherence, Coherent Breathing, Embodiment Practices, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Metabolic Syndrome, Mindfulness, Therapeutic Presence

What is Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Part 4

Question:  You experiment most probably with different hand positions i.e. the palm up positions. You touch with the back of your hands instead of the palms, Or only with one hand, and the other rests on your lap or knee. What’s the idea behind that and which experiences do have with them?

Answer:  I am not sure when I decided to turn my hand upside down but I know it works well to restore continuity in the fluid body. The basic idea came from a CD by Jim Jealous DO that I listened to some years ago. He said that many clients and especially babies have lost the continuity of their fluid body between what’s below the skin (he calls that zone A) and what’s above the skin around the body (he calls this zone B). This is the area called the biosphere according to Dr. Becker. I think of this area as a warm, wet, electric cloud breathing with PR because it is filled with water evaporating off the body. 3-7 liters of biological water evaporate off of the skin of our bodies every day. It generally condenses in a space around the body up to around 30cm. So there is a continuity of the fluid body and I found it is breathing with PR. Recent research indicates this “cloud” as it is called by the researchers contains a rich microbiome. This area is also known to be monitored by sensors in the fear center of the brain called the amygdala. Thus it is a very active biological zone of our body.

Dr. Jealous said that the window between zone A of the body and zone B around the body has been closed due to stress and needs to get opened for its continuity and wholeness. The skill that’s necessary is the ability to sense the cloud around the body breathing with PR and moving through the hands. I initially taught skills with the palms down on the client and placing all the attention on the back of the hands. Then one day when I was sitting at the ocean studying the fluid body of the planet I suddenly saw quite clearly the biosphere of the ocean as a warm, wet, fluid cloud filled with heat. Of course it was the summer and I live in the tropics, so I thought to myself why not turn my hands upside down as if holding this same warm, wet, fluid cloud around the client’s body? Now with the back of my hand on the surface of the client’s skin it became much easier to restore the continuity above and below the skin of the fluid body by sensing the transparency of PR moving through my hands and the skin of the client. This opens the window of the fluid body according to Dr. Jealous and I have had this experience.

It must also be noted that embryologically the fluid body of biological living water is our original body and all there is in the embryo in the first two weeks post fertilization. Then in the third week the heart starts to form and in the fourth week the brain. So I simply teach palpation skills based on this developmental sequence. I call it bridging, which means the skills of restoring the fluid body, then de-pressurizing the vascular system back to normal and finally occasional traditional skills impacting the brain via the cranium and sacrum which most all practitioners are familiar with.

 

I will be teaching a course titled:  An Introduction to Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy: A Training for Health Practitioners. This course will take place in New York City at the New York Open Center, February 1-3, 2016.  In this introductory course we will focus on applying craniosacral therapy skills to the cardiovascular system and learn new techniques to reduce systemic inflammation and reduce cortisol and stress levels.

Visit this link for details and registration:  http://www.opencenter.org/events/an-introduction-to-biodynamic-cardiovascular-therapy-a-training-for-health-practitioners/  I look forward to seeing you in the Big Apple.

 

Attunement, Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Biodynamic Terminology, Coherence, Coherent Breathing, Embodiment Practices, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Metabolic Syndrome, Mindfulness, Therapeutic Presence

What is Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Part 3

Question:  In Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy we do not concentrate on symptoms, pains or deficits. We rather learn to establish “embodied wholeness”. When I think about that philosophical path I ask myself why do we use specific hand positions on special body parts? Wouldn’t it be enough using the pieta position? And if I go even further the question comes to me: Do we need any hand contact at all to establish this “embodied wholeness” in our clients to support them?
Answer:  My feeling is that every single biodynamic practitioner needs to own this work and develop it as much as they can. I do not want people to become a “Michael Shea clone.” I’d much rather provide new research and information that can be applied in clinical practice if the practitioner desires to do so. Secondly, it is absolutely true that Dr. Still said “Find the health, anyone can find disease!” Up to now we’ve been talking about symptoms and so forth. Yet, when we actually make contact with an artery the intention is to synchronize with PR and Stillness. It turns out that the heart and all the blood vessels develop in relationship with certain types of cells that are dynamically still. They are called “quiescent cells”. At the same time PR moves locally in the blood throughout the body as well as globally throughout all the tissues of the body including its continuity and interconnection to the natural world outside.

The contemporary client has a much greater challenge in their metabolic/cellular processes than ever before. And I believe it is important and ethically necessary for biodynamic therapists to be informed of current information on metabolic syndromes and their causes. At the same time, we still apply the same perceptional process with PR and Stillness, particularly towards the cardiovascular system. Same skills, different palpation. In this sense, the part is always a part of the whole.

Since I believe everyone practices differently, it is certainly possible to work off the body. I know of several practitioners that work off the body biodynamically for a whole session. It’s interesting because I teach and practice in a way that the first few minutes are spent without making contact. I use my whole body to receive PR and then I sense PR moving between my heart and that of the client. So in this way anyone who practices like this is working off the body. Of course I have a few friends that claim they can do a biodynamic session through the phone. But I have not been able to find that APP in my IPhone yet!

 

I invite you to join me for a special course on working with head injuries.   This course is based on new research.  The course will take place at Cortiva Institute in Scottdale, AZ.  Course dates are Jan. 22-24, 2016.  Contact kgough@cortiva.com to register.

Attunement, Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Biodynamic Terminology, Coherence, Coherent Breathing, Embodiment Practices, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Metabolic Syndrome, Mindfulness, Therapeutic Presence, Uncategorized

What is Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Part 2

Question:  Being a lymph drainage therapist myself the idea of working with the lymph system craniosacrally looks quite appealing to me. Mainly because it is also a vast body system with many branches all around the fluid system of our body. Also the lymph should be moved by the Primary Respiration. What do you think about this? What experiences do you have?

Answer:  That’s a very good question especially because of the new research that the brain has a lymphatic system. It turns out that the lymph system of the brain is attached to the major arteries of the brain. And of course this relationship between the vascular system and lymphatic system continues throughout the body. Once again there is an important relationship in the nature of the molecules and cells of the immune system as they are transported between lymphatic vessels and blood vessels. The contemporary client needs a lot of help in shifting the metabolism of the vascular system because this will shift the lymphatic system and thus also the immune system towards normal.

Of course a lot of this research states that the core of the problem is in the intestines where 80% of the immune system is located. Most metabolic problems originate in the lining of the gut as it becomes inflamed due to food sensitivities and emotional stress. It must be stated that important neuro-transmitters like Dopamine and Serotonin are produced principally in the gut more so than the brain. Once again a good starting place for this new emerging model of biodynamic practice with the vascular system is the arteries of the intestines.

 

I invite you to join me for a special course on working with head injuries and is based on new research.  The course will take place at Cortiva Institute in Scottdale, AZ.  Course dates are Jan. 22-24, 2016.  Contact kgough@cortiva.com to register.