Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy at Rancho La Puerta
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Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy at Rancho La Puerta

Why Try Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy?

If you want to experience less pain, reduce stress, have more ease of mobility, or help diminish a host of other conditions, then try Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. It is a deeply relaxing light-touch healing modality, and in one session patients tend to feel calmer, lighter, and more balanced. But how does Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy work? And what is it exactly?

What a Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Session is Like

I visited with Michael Brightwood, the resident Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist at Rancho La Puerta. When my time with Michael began, we discussed what I wanted to address: my digestive issues. I climbed onto the treatment table and he gently cradled my head with his hands. Michael explained what he was doing, but I didn’t grasp a word of what he said because I immediately felt incredibly relaxed. I do remember him asking me if I clenched my jaw or had TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome), to which I answered “yes.” Michael began tenderly moving his hands on my jawbone (near my cheekbone), and then asked if I had just consumed caffeine, to which I replied “yes” again. Yet despite my mug of green tea, I quickly fell asleep. The next thing I remember was Michael announcing that he was going to softly place his hands around my back and stomach, so that he could examine my liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. He had me feel my own liver, and notice the subtle pulsing and rhythms. Michael’s hands were soothing – they hardly moved – and before I knew it I was sleeping like a baby. About an hour later Michael gently woke me up and shared a detailed account of what he had observed, suggested that I take digestive enzymes, and recommended that I get liver and pancreas panels at my next doctor’s visit. I was relieved to hear that my issues were not serious, and I left his office in a sleepy and blissful haze.

How Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Works

First, Michael listens with his hands (energetically and via touch) to what is going on in the body, specifically the central nervous system. He does this by observing the fluids and tissues within the body; their pulsing, rhythms, directions, and the subtle sounds they make. Ideally, the fluids move in rhythmic and symmetrical waves. Why? Because the central nervous system generates a palpable respiratory impulse, and it also produces an electromagnetic impulse that is in the radio field. In Western medicine, this electromagnetic impulse is known as a biofield, and it is known as an aura in the east. If something is off kilter in the biofield, Michael’s trained hands will know because he can sense when tissues have constricted or there is a perturbation in the fluids. Michael then uses a light energetic touch to encourage, engage, and facilitate the body’s own self-healing response. In other words, Michael places his hands on the area of unease and holds it in a way so that the central nervous system releases its constrictions and begins to bring health back to the area.

Until I had this treatment, the words “Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy” confounded me. It is not a therapy that I was familiar with, and I had a hard time comprehending how it worked. I’m happy to finally understand the why’s and the how’s of this powerful holistic therapy, and look forward to my next session with Michael.
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy at Rancho La Puerta

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist: Michael Brightwood

Michael Brightwood began working in the healing arts in 1977 as a massage practitioner, combining Shiatsu, Swedish, and deep-tissue massage techniques in his practice. In 1995, having completed his studies in psychology, he began counseling professionally in England. He then trained at the Karuna Institute in Devon, England, under Franklyn Sills— a leader and innovator in the field of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. In 1998, Michael established a private practice in San Diego, California, while initiating a Craniosacral Therapy practice at Rancho La Puerta. Returning to England in 2003 to further his studies in Craniosacral Biodynamics, Michael received the advanced diploma in Craniosacral Biodynamics from the Karuna Institute.  He is now involved in clinical research in craniosacral therapy and energy medicine and is a member of the Craniosacral Therapists Association of North America and the International Massage Association. To learn more, see our post, Interview with Craniosacral Therapist Michael Brightwood.
Michael can be reached at, and appointments can be made online in advance of your stay at Rancho La Puerta here or by calling 858-925-1214, extension every day from 8am – 5pm.

*Barry Shingle is pictured with Michael Brightwood, above.