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By Michael J . Shea P hD.


The work of Erich Blechschmidt (1977, 1978, 2004) in human ~embryogenesis is profoundly important in understanding the d ynamic stilln ess and its unfoldments. His principle of a p h en omenological understanding of emb ry ology is an important influence on Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. He coined the term "biodynamic" . The actual sensation and lived experience of a Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy session of work is fo und in contacting th e formative forces in the body of the Long Tide and the body of the Mid Tide. These ar e found in the embryo during the first 8-10 weeks post conception and throughout the lifespan. Thus, the p ractitioner may hav e more contact with emb ryological p rinciples than with an ato my and p h ysiology when layin g h ands on a client. All the formative fo rces aris e ou t of the stilln ess. The dynamic s tillness at th e cor e of the n oto ch ordal midline invit~ ~ and organizes -the form ( geometry an d

.£ fopo rtio n ) in the emb ry o to arise. This is th
.£ fopo rtio n ) in the emb ry o to arise. This is th e mean ing of b iodyn amic.
elation s hips w itll adjacent metabolic fields s uch as the relations hip o f the fas t develOp in g neural tu be in th e
emb _ ry o to th e s lo w _ growing vascu lar sys tem attached to it. The second important prin ciple is that th e
su bmicroscopic
mo lecular mo v ements
in the fluids
are motive
and decis iv e
for th e p roces s
TIlls mo v ement
pass es thr o ugh
ev ery stru cture in th e embryo as w ell as the adult.

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is a metabolic model. It seeks to form a relationship with the sum of the metabolic processes found in the fluids that are involved in the build up and breakdown of the shaping processes found in the cytoplasm and fluids that make u p the majo rity o f th e human emb ryo. M etabolic fields of activity have two prin ciples. The fi! st is that thes e la~ g e fields of fluid activity h ave ~spatial )

F u rth ermore, these metabolic mov ements are ordered and precise in terms of their direction and tempo (Blechschmidt 2004).

A blueprint of one's totality, essence, wholeness and form is maintained and is accessible throughout life as a perceptual e>qxrience via the medium of the Lo ng Tide and the Mid Tide located in the fluids rather than through the genetic structure. The Long Tide and Mid Tide are symbols for a range of unique tempos or movements in the fluid fields throughout life (Seifritz 1954). They start in the fluid fields of the embryo as metabolic mo v ements that cause organization, o rientation and form in the who le. As Dr. Sutherland said this is not an "idle dream".

An interpretation ofBlechschmidt' s work includes:


Dynamic Morph ology, the principle of the intrinsic mo v ements shaping and f orming the embryo as the gestures of sentience and behavioral expression.


Epigen esis , the principle that the motiv e forces (Long Tide and Mid Tide) in th e fluids carry the blueprint of wholeness rather than being pre-formed in the genes .



Stillness , The princip le that the metabolic fields in the embryo carry the original


formativ e intention from the d ynamic s tillness located in the fulcrum and the midline.

4) Metabo lic Fields, Pr imary Respiration catalyzes the body o f the Mid Tide (after it originates from the stilmess) as an embryo condenses into p r ecise shapes and spatial relationship s.

Some of th e embryological principles incorporated in Bio dyn amic Craniosacral Therapy ar e:


The human embryo is distinctly h wn an and whole from the moment of conception. It is a whole and complete human bein g at each stage of d ev elopment, fro m the cell n u cleus to its total form. Conception is viewed a s the next p hase in a developmental process r ather than the start o f a n ew lifo (v an der Wal2004b) . A human ~ mbryo cannot be known from the comparative study of other vertebrate and no n - vertebrate embry os . One can only kno w the hmnan embryo by stud y ing the human embryo .


The emb ry o develops in approximately

the first seven w eeks , guided by the cr eative impulse of

Primary Respir ation mo ving throughou t it. Genes are pas s ive but n ecessary at this time. Th e fluids

and the membranes co v ering it are the active influences. This is called epigenesis. Dr.

Blechschmidt said the g ~ . ~s ~~e the letters, the fluids £!eate

human body is no t p r ef o rmed in miniature in the g enes . Bio dy namic metabolic forces (discreet tempos) in the fluids, rather than biochemistry, direct the process of differentiation. MQ]!gJllent i£

the wo r ds. The blueprint of the

@1{.Se. Th e deeper forces initiating and maintaining human dev elop ~~nt are f ound
@1{.Se. Th e deeper forces initiating and maintaining human dev elop ~~nt are f ound in the fluids.
Thus , m otility of the flu id s precedes mo bility o f th e tissu e.
of the Div ine (Long Tide) and the Intelligence of Nature (Mid
Tide), expressed as a simultaneous po lyrhythmic harmon y . The emb ry o 's - i;er co nn ectedness to
su"Zh is embo died in the fluids. This des cribes incarnatiQn a s a co ntinu a l process of becoming
over time, with co n stant renewal, revelation and creation available a s resources . Health requ ires
biological syn chro nization with the tempo of the Lo ng Tide and the Mid _ Tid e.
of the Mid Tid e. Em b ryon ic
m otio n
a n d g r o wth
are viewed
a s s en tient gestures .
co nsciousnes s afthe em bryo is capab le of expressing its elf as h aving an aver sion to p ain and a
preference for plea su re. The embryo is the visible gesture of the invisible act of incarnation . In
other wor ds, the gr owin g g esture is a form of unique psych o logical and sp iritual ex pres sion from a
phenomeno logical viewpoin t (van der Wa12004a) .
Order and orientation are carried in the hmnan body thro u gho ut life as coupled biodynamic
functions (homologo u s links ) . The emb ryo must learn to orient to su rviv e. The capa city to orient
is one of its primaryfunction s and rema in s s o throughout lifo. Firstly , it occurs through radial
synnnetry around a fulcrum in th e first two w eeks of embryonic dev elopmen t and secondly as
axial symmetry aroun d a midline that forms at thr ee w eeks po st con ceptio n . Thirdly , th e embryo
cy cles through a period o f flexion an d finally exten sion during the final w eeks o f its growth (van
der Bie 2001) . These principles of ho w human development is ordered (organized) remain
throughout the life in the bo dy .
Clinical work in a Biodynamic Cr aniosacral Ther apy is focused on the interchangeable context of
tlle fulcrum, the midline, an d embryonic flexion and extens io n as the core organization al and
orienting p r ocesses in health and h ealing . Th e function of the metabolic fields of the emb ryo is to

3 ) Th e embryo carries the Intelligence

4 ) The dynamic morphology of the embryo is an expression of Primary Respiration and the potency


create structur e and mai~ tain f o rm. This is because a metabolic field has a wu q ue fluctuatio n o f mo v ement, specific direction and is spatially oriented (pr o portion ed) to. th e w h o le via the fulcrum or the midline.

6) The fulcrum appears fir st at conception as mentioned above. Th e midline then arises two w eeks


post fertilization. Bo th the fulcru m and the midline are at their co r e d y namically s till. All m id lin es ar e fulcrum s , ho wever, all fu lcrum s are no t mid lines. Th e stillnes s in vites all differeiltiatio n s to

arise in the

emb ry o an d ad ult (Blechs clunidt 19 7 8) . In other ~ wo rd s , the fluids are s patially ordered

around th e co r e o f s tillness in bo th th e fulcrum and th e midlin e. All propo rtion, orientation and

g eometrical p ro portio n in the form and s tru ctur e o f the bo d y ar e in direct relatio ns hip to the stilln ess.

7 ) The d yn amic s tillness gen er ates Primary Resp iratio n via tlle Br eath o f Life~ The potency of the Mid Tid e simultaneo u sly energizes th e to tal soma. These tw o s tates and their resulting tempos

indiv id ually arise fr om the s tilln ess an d are also coup led to each other tlrrou gh out life in order to


s y n chronize all b iological flmctio ns.


The emb ryo als o r es po n ds to its tTan s -gen er ation al histo ry an d w ill take s hape accordin gly. In ertial iss u es brou g ht fon , ' ard g enetically ar e bein g recognized and held b y Pr imary Res p iration an d Th e Mid Tide fr o m th e first moments o f life~ Th ese imprin ts are carried in the cell n ucleus , the cell membr an e, \v ithin th e cyto p lasm and the morph o g enic field s u rr oun ding the bo d y (Sheldrak e 1995) . Th us , two th in gs aris e in th e pro cess o f concep tio n: o n e's relation ship to th e divin e an d one's trans - g en era tio n al h istory. The mo rp h og enic or qu antl.llll field (McTag gart 2002) o u tside the bod y (periphery) in f o r ms th e bod y v ia its connection to th e midlin e an d the fulcru m.


Th e emb ry o g en er ates two bodies. O n e is the periph er al bo d y compo s ed o f the membr an es of the emb ry o nic cavities. This represen ts a field o f function o uts ide an d aro u nd the inn er cen tral bod y. It maintain s v is cer al- en do dennal fun ctio ns (su ch as liv er and kidu ey) b y projectin g tllem out to the periph ery prior to th e actu al bod y s tructur e bein g formed . Th e s eco n d bo d y is the central bod y which will become the actual soma. D uring the early stages of emb ry o nic development, th e cen tral bod y is an en velope consisting of tw o lay ers of cells. I t has no middle in the foml o f bod y parts or viscera~

his mea ns tha t jim ction pr eced es s tr u cture, a n d p r o jectio n offimction o u ts ide the b ody un til the



tru ctu re is built to b r ing th e flmc/ion back in , is a n a tura l p ro cess th r o u g h out life .



) AlLadult fu n ction is pr e- exercised

in the em b r yo. For instance, tho racic resp ir ation

starts at

con ception , · ", ith the initiation of a suction motion in the embryo. Tho racic respiration is

the ?.! des t

fu nction iI r th -e1Jod y ~





1 1 ) There is no growth without resistance. Th e develop men t


f the car d io v as cular

sy stem is

slo w and d ramatically

gesture o f the h ear t is to tell the br ain to s low do w n .

inhib its the rapid gr o w th

o f the cen tr al n erv o us

s y s tem. The

12) Th e n eces sity

to ho ld s p ace for a 3rd f u nctio n

or p o ssibility

to arise o u t of the polar ity

of center and perip h er y

stages o f d y n amic mor ph ology . H omo sapiens h as the high est k n o wn rate of embry o s

th at d o not co me to ter m. Many are los t in th e tran sitio ns

mo rp ho logy. co rrespo nd s

stage co rres pon d s through w eek eight.


in the embryo . This is seen in the tran s ition s

b etw een

b etween the fo ur

each of the s tages of its Th e s econ d week

Stag e on e co rr es p o nds to the first w eek p o st- fer tilization.

to th e secon d week, the third stag e to th e third week an d fin ally the fourth

to the r emaining

time in the embryo n ic -

p er iod . This is fr om week four



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