International Institute for Craniosacral Balancing
The International Institute for Craniosacral Balancing® has been founded 1986.
It offers a thorough foundation training of over 900hrs., to support and guide students through different stages of learning and development. The craniosacral model presented in our training, is based on an understanding of the natural life forces, which organize and maintain our form and function.
This approach sustains the organism in self-regulation and reorganization and supports the forces that underlie the function of systems. Our studies over the last 25 years in this field allowed us to deepen the work and expand it to a comprehensive practitioner training, also accredited by the association Cranio Suisse® of Switzerland, with equivalent standards to the craniosacral associations of the UK, USA, Canada and Italy.
The method is inspired by the teachings of the originator of cranial osteopathy, Dr. William Garner Sutherland, and his pioneering approach with the Breath of Life and primary respiration.
We are grateful for the teachings of the many traditions that bring awareness and mindfulness to our work
The craniosacral method is an approach to bodywork based on the principle of the Breath of Life.
The Breath of Life is the life force, which connects us to our being, our core and inherent health. It is a therapeutic force expressing itself as slow and self-directed tidal movement. This subtle motion resembles a deep inner breath and is therefore also called primary respiration (PR). It is observed that the motion of primary respiration can be sensed through the whole body and witnessed as an ordering and organizing principle, an inherent intelligence of the body-mind.
To contact and cooperate with the intelligence of primary respiration for the benefit of the client, a practitioner needs to develop a finely tuned perception, a capacity to listen with the hands and with a compassionate, friendly heart, an open non-judgmental mind and an ability to be patient and still.
The trained practitioner can perceive primary respiration and use it as a guide to evaluation and treatment.
In this professional training the fundamental principles and concepts are taught and extensively practiced.
The teachings include embryology, anatomy, physiology, holistic studies and principles of trauma resolution.
The studies of these subjects have the purpose to provide the student with the necessary tools to recognize and support the expression of inherent health of the organism.
A practitioner can work with different ages and expressions of health to support maintenance and an inner equilibrium of the organism.
Who is this training program for?
It is for bodyworkers, therapists and healing professionals. For interested lay people in a time of reorientation. For anyone interested in self-exploration and inquiry through body-mind-spirit awareness. It is also for craniosacral therapists who want to be trained in the resource-oriented fluid and potency approach.
- Experience in a body oriented therapy form
- Personal experience of the craniosacral method
- Experience of other holistic forms of therapy
Course curriculum ICSB
The craniosacral training of ICSB is a comprehensive training program. Three distinctly different parts form the course curriculum:
- Teaching program (class room hours)
- Practice (between seminars)
- Self-studies (between seminars)
1- Teaching program
The training extends over two to three years and 500 class room hours.
The teaching hours in class are divided in
- 350 hrs. craniosacral specific teachings (content of seminars below)
- 150 hrs. method specific basic knowledge in
- Embryology, anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology
- Psychosomatics, trauma resolution
- Resource oriented case history intake, evaluation, ethics, hygiene
The program has 7 seminars. Most of them are each divided in 2 parts with a break between the parts to integrate the material.
- 150 practice sessions between seminars, written up and documented. Practice sessions are given outside of class with non-fee paying clients.
- 2 extensive case studies
- 20 hrs. supervision
- 3 Feedback sessions/tutorials with teachers/assistants
- Practice days under supervision
- Receiving sessions
- 20 sessions from 3 different craniosacral practitioners (in North America 10 from RCST®)
- 40 sessions as inter-vision with peers
- Designated homework
- Reading of method related specific literature
- Studies of the course material
- Studies of method specific anatomy
- Completion of a written, creative research project
Practice and self-study outside the teaching hours can add up to an additional 450 hrs. and are part of the course curriculum.
Student skills and educational objectives are evaluated through:
- Feedback sessions, tutorials and supervision
- Discussion of the documented sessions, case studies and homework.
This training does not only teach anatomy or impart scientific knowledge and clinical and practice-oriented skills, but also provides opportunities for personal experience and growth.
All students experience the work on themselves. Therefore the learning occurs largely via observation and exploration. It is from this inner learning and knowing that we meet the clients. The training methods include:
- Teachings and lectures
- Awareness and perceptual exercises
- Visualizations and meditations
- Movement exercises and creative expression
- Use of visual aids
- Session demonstrations
- Guided sessions
- Exploration and inquiry practices, either verbal or hands-on
- Small group feedback, debriefing and sharing
- Practice sessions
- Feedback sessions
Content and learning objectives of teaching program
Coming into contact – building a safe therapeutic relationship
Seminar 1 is resource and health oriented.
It addresses the state of the practitioner and development of perception.
Students learn the necessary skills to come into appropriate relationship with the health of the human organism and with its expression, the primary respiration.
The emphasis is on facilitating the vitality within each of us, encouraging a fuller expression of life and of our potential as physical and spiritual human beings.
- History and evolution of craniosacral work
- Fulcrums and presence
- The state of the practitioner
- Establishing a safe relational field
- Developing perceptual and listening skills
- The matrix of health
- The primary respiratory system and biodynamic principles
- The Breath of Life
- Primary respiration and its manifestations
- The primary respiratory mechanism, anatomy and physiology
- Mobility and motility
- The neurocranium
- General listening positions
- Settling into stillness
Seminar 2 introduces further fundamental principles of the approach.
Embryology is taught as a phenomenological approach to understanding forces in action.
The art of listening is practiced and refined.
The importance of systemic neutrality is taught in different contexts.
When the primary respiratory system settles, it reaches a state of unity. This state supports the relationship between the body and the organizing forces of health.The practitioner learns to deepen the settling processes.
- The three settlings of practitioner and client
- The holistic shift: coming to a sense of neutrality and wholeness
- Trusting the Breath of Life and primary respiration
- Refine perceptual skills and sensory awareness
- Morphological and phenomenological embryology
- The formation of the midline and embryonal development
- The body of fluids and its expression, the mid-tide
- History and health expressed through primary respiration
- Reciprocal tension membrane and its motility
- Structural and functional inter-relationships between the bones of the neurocranium
- The felt sense as a tool to support autonomic nervous system regulation
- Stillness and the exhalation process
- Inherent treatment plan part 1: Settling and remembering wholeness
Having completed seminar 2 the student will practice simple, yet profound health oriented perceptual exercises where self-regulation and regeneration is supported.
After seminar 2 the student will be able to:
- Differentiate aspects of unity and neutrality
- Recognize and interact with different manifestations of soma, fluids, forces and stillness
- Perceive tissues, fluids and potency as a unit of function
- Sense and define mobility and motility of structures
- Recognize potency in action and the forces of health in the body
- Facilitate the regulatory forces of the autonomic nervous system (ANS)
- Practice the principles during individual sessions
- Perceive regulatory changes in the client’s system
The core of support – relationships between midline and the whole
The main subject of seminar 3 is the exploration of the different midlines and their relevance in organizing and maintaining unity and wholeness.
The embryological model is at the basis of the understanding of the forces that underlay the expressions of life in structure and function.
The teaching program will follow the structures from the core to the periphery.
In the practice sessions we develop skills and tools to support resolution of patterns and strains of the spine and the fascia system.
Additional tools for the resolution of trauma will be presented and practiced.
The biodynamic view, which treats the individual and not the symptom, allows the organism to resolve its issues in a holistic way.
- The different midlines: quantum midline, primary midline, fluid midline and structural midline
- Biodynamic forces and biokinetic forces
- Natural fulcrums and inertial fulcrums
- The process of the state of balance
- Natural augmentation processes
- The duraltube
- The spine and vertebrae
- Clinical skills with fluids and potency
- The horizontal fascia layers: the diaphragms
- The occipital triad: occiput, atlas, axis
- The function of the autonomic nervous system in self-regulation and stress
- Stillness and the inhalation process
- The inherent treatment plan, part 2: Orientation to the state of balance
- Perceive and work with different midline dynamics
- Distinguish between conditional motion and expressions of health
- Work with the state of balance with articular structures and fascia
- Support normalization of vertebrae dynamics
- Cooperate with the inherent forces of health and support their expression
- Apply skills for resolution of traumatic stress
- Differentiate between stillness processes
- Have a deeper understanding of the concept of the inherent treatment plan
The cranial base and reflections of the whole
Seminar 4 deepens the studies of classical approaches while keeping the orientation to the expression of life forces and wholeness. The influence of birthing factors, trauma impacts and clinical issues relating to cranial and pelvic patterns are presented.
The sphenobasilar junction (SBJ), a natural fulcrum for the primary midline, allows physiological compensatory adjustments that reflect the history of the individual.
In this seminar the student learns tools to work with the different patterns of the cranial base and its relationship with the temporomandibular joint and the pelvis.
- Inertial forces and their effect on the foramen magnum and jugular foramen
- Venous sinuses and drainage
- Physiology and anatomy of the cranial base
- Classical dynamics of the temporal bones, occiput and sphenoid
- Patterns of the SBJ
- Pelvis and sacrum in relationship to cranial base
- Temporomandibular joint
- Additional tools for trauma resolution: activation and discharge of the ANS
- The inherent treatment plan, part 3
After seminar 4 the student will be able to:
- Recognize stagnation in fluids and facilitate drainage and flow
- Perceive and recognize physiological cranial base patterns and support their resolution
- Understand and work with the relationship between cranium and pelvis
- Work with the mandible to support resolution of related TMJ issues
- Deepen the understanding of trauma and facilitate the self-regulatory capacities of the ANS
Interaction with the world
In this seminar we will study the dynamics of the face, hard palate and stomatognathic system. The viscerocranium is the part of our cranium, which grows and transforms the most from childhood to adult life. Its balance is essential for the full expression of health.
The laws of the tidal body and the expressions of the tide are deepened. Orientation toward field phenomena supports the building of potency for the healing process. We will learn to recognize and appreciate igniting forces of potency and their vitalizing action.
The work with the motility of the CNS and of the ventricle system is explored from an embryological point of view. It is an important approach for the expression of the vitality and for the embodiment of the human being.
- The stomatognathic system: anatomy, physiology and therapeutic approaches
- Embryology and the pharyngeal arches
- Neurocranium and viscerocranium
- The relationship between structures of the viscerocranium, motility and mobility
- Resolution of inertial patterns of the facial structures
- PR and motility of the CNS and the ventricular system
- Resource oriented case history intake
- The inherent treatment plan, part 4: Orientation to the tide and the tidal body
After seminar 5 the student will be able to:
- Recognize inertial patterns of the face and stomatognathic system and support resolution
- Compile case history intakes in a resourceful way
- Relate to the field of the tide
- Perceive and interact with the motility of the CNS and ventricles
- Recognize processes of ignition and support embodiment of life forces
- Work according to the principles of the inherent treatment plan
Posttraumatic stress and the facilitation of the nervous system (NS)
The orientation towards health is our guide to work with the functions of the NS. Various levels of facilitation in the nervous system will be looked at in local and systemic approaches. De-facilitation allows the NS to perform its functions of communication, regulation and integration according to the project of the original matrix.
- Trauma resolution skills
- The psycho-physiology of trauma
- The social nervous system
- Polyvagal theory
- Practice of verbal communication skills
- The tide as an antidote to trauma
After seminar 6 the student will be able to:
- Recognize the onset of trauma affect in a session and effectively support the client towards resolution and integration
- Support discharge and normal response to nervous stimuli
- Help the clients to contact inner resources and to recognize and enhance their relationship to health, even if traumatic issues are present.
- Offer antidotes to the after-effect of traumatic events
Deepening and completion
Seminar 7 intends to ground the students in their knowledge and skills and to further their competences for individual practice. The study program is completed with specific principles of evaluation and work related to birth dynamics and fascia tracts.
- Sequences and transitions
- Continuity and coherency
- From stillness to soma
- Ignition processes, processes of embodiment
- Birth dynamics
- The fluid-crystal matrix
- Extremities and their natural fulcrums
- Fascia tracts
- The inherent treatment plan as evaluation and treatment, part 6
- Final certification
After seminar 7 the student will be able to:
- Sense continuity and coherency in the system
- Work with sequences and transitions
- Appreciate the forces of the tide
- Work with fascia and whole body patterns in an integrated way
- Be comfortable with different treatment approaches
- Use different skills according to the inherent treatment plan
- Support the reconnection with their inherent health and reorient to a deeper connectedness to self.
Content and sequence of material can change, according to the needs of the class and development of skills.
Prerequisites for graduation and certification:
- Completion of course curriculum
- Competences and skills assessed and evaluated
- Written project presented
- All exams passed
A certificate as craniosacral practitioner is issued after completion of all prerequisites. We support self-study and practice, with the intention that they can all be completed at the end of the program. Students may also elect to not acquire a practitioner certification. Practice and self-studies between seminars are still part of the program and necessary to be able to follow the curriculum. Certification Options
All graduates can apply for membership with ICSB, the International Institute for Craniosacral Balancing® and are permitted to use the name Craniosacral Balancing® and the logo. For a nominal yearly membership fee certified practitioners can also be listed in the international practitioner registry.
Graduates can become known as
BCST (Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist) or
RCST® (Registered Craniosacral Therapist)
BCST comes from ICSB as part of its membership in IABT (International Affiliation of Biodynamic Trainings) and requires no renewal; once attained, it is permanent.
RCST® comes from BCTA/NA (Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America) on the basis of our status as an approved training; it requires ongoing membership in BCTA/NA and adherence to its practitioner requirements and regulations. North American graduates have the possibility to register for RCST®.
Dr. Andrew Stills – D.O
Father of Osteopathy