The international Breath of Life Conference brings together pioneering practitioners and scientists involved in grounding breaking research and the application of body-mind therapeutic approaches. It explores key factors that organise how we function, beyond just the physical form, providing a forum and meeting place for exchanging ideas at the cutting edge of health.
A number of people have asked me where the name “Expression of Health” came from.
In Craniosacral Therapy one of the key things to look for is where the vitality and energy is within the body, this is referred to as “the expression of health”. It relates on a physical level to where the energy is strongest, this could be shown through a healthy circulation pattern, a deep warmth in the body, grounded calm or a number of other ways. It is where the health is rooted in the system.
Over the years as a Movement Therapist I have come across some incredible and inspiring reads. These are all within the realm of the body, our health and movement. In some they are playgrounds of exploration and possibility, in others they are a support for riding the waves of injury rehabilitation.
Written in 1977, this is an incredible collection of information working through the body, exploring the mind-body connections from numerous disciplines. He writes in the preface:
“During the six years I spent researching this book, I set out to explore the bodymind from a variety of perspectives. My intention was to blend my own findings and observations with the discoveries of several of the pioneers in this field, such as Wilhelm Reich, Alexander Lowen, William Schultz, Ida Rolf, Moshe Feldenkrais, Fritz Perls, Stanley Keleman and Hector Prestera, and with several of the yoga disciplines in order to articulate a definite yet simple system of bodymind reading and mapping.”
This he certainly does. In fact it was reading this book, which inspired me to study Structural Integration (as he includes some of his own experiences as a student and practitioner).
Separated into chapters for different parts of the body, he methodically explores the connections between physical form & life patterns. How patterns in the feet can relate to stability within life, the balance of right & left & links to personality, tendencies in character & emotion relating into specific tension patterns in the body.
It is an eye-opening book to understand the incredible connections between our physical form and the way we perceive and experience the world.
For those curious, it is easily available on Amazon.
Following on from the work of Dr. Andrew Taylor Still (1828 – 1917) in developing early Osteopathy, Dr. William Sutherland (1873-1954) discovered that there were micro-movements between the cranial bones.
Contrary to the earlier Victorian beliefs that cranial bones fused in adulthood, he found the cranial bones to be separate and observed the presence of groove marks along the edges where they were in contact with other cranial bones. Within his research, looking at the temporal bone (the cranial bone at the side of the head, underneath the ear), he saw that the contact edge was “beveled like the gills of a fish, indicating respiratory motion for an articular mechanism.”
In essence, there was a sliding motion occurring between the temporal bone and the parietal bone above. The groove marks not only indicated the presence of movement, but also the direction.
He found that by using light touch on another persons head, he could feel these small movements as they occurred.
What he then wanted to know was what would happen if there was compression in the system restricting these movements. It led him to conduct a number of experiments on himself where he bound parts of his head to restrict different directions of movement. What he discovered was that the different compression patterns caused dysfunction in a variety of body systems – one direction affected his digestive system, another his sleep cycles, another his anxiety. In one instance his wife even came into discover him passed out on his office floor. It was at this point she put an end to his self-experiments for putting at risk his own health.
He had found that compression in the cranium not only affects the head but the function of systems within the whole body.
In Craniosacral Therapy it is these cranial movements that are felt through light touch. When compression arises either from injury, patterns from birth or restrictions arising from daily stress, gentle contact can help re-establish the balance of movement and restore function, health & vitality to the whole body.
Research Tettembel, et al. Recording of cranial rhythm impulse. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 1978;78:149. Frymann V. A study of the rhythmic motions of the living cranium. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 1971;70(9):928-45. Adams T, Heisey R, Smith M, Briner B. Parietal bone mobility in the anesthetized cat. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 1992;92:599-622.