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3-Primary Rhythms: Part 1 – INTRO

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine once said, “Natural Forces within us are the true healers of disease”.  Much as we in the 21st-century like to think our technology can do anything, healing still comes down to nature doing the real heavy lifting.  The effectiveness of my work or any therapeutic approach depends on these natural forces—the available energy that the body-mind system has on-hand to make a correction and then to maintain that positive change.  If a system is truly depleted, no outside intervention may be able to help.

In this 4-part blog I would like to talk about the 3-primary rhythms of the body, how they are central to increasing these energy reserves and how they can be utilized for healing.  The 3-rhythms are the heartbeat, respiration of the lungs. and fluid-tide which is driven by fluctuations of the cerebrospinal fluid. Please bear with me, I’m going to try to make this easy to understand as I take you on a wild ride down the rabbit hole to see your body and health from a new perspective.  

A lot of my hands-on work on the massage table utilizes these three distinct rhythms for healing. Let’s start by looking at how they originally formed our bodies and how they continue to form and maintain the health of each cell.

We all started out this journey of life with the union of an egg and sperm. Are you with me so far?  Many of us were taught that one lucky sperm beat out all the others—the beginning of our own personal survival of the fittest. Recent research however has shown this isn’t exactly how it happens. In fact the egg seems to choose which sperm to accept and the whole process follows an unfolding driven by some form of “conscious” direction.[1]

This union creates a singular zygote which divides into 2 cells, then 4, 8, 16, and so on. Think of it as a living pulsing fluid motion, which, as the cells divide, begins to align along a central axis with mirrored cellular division—gradually this creates what the old-time osteopathic doctors referred to as the Primary Respiration of the Fluid Tide—our first rhythm. Every motion of every tissue, organ and organ system of our body rides this tidal current from that first moment of conception and throughout our entire lives. It underpins how everything functions and how the cells of the body develop.[2]  These osteopaths observed through hands-on engagement with this tidal rhythm in their patients that there seemed to be a consciousness driving this whole thing that could reestablish the healthy functioning of the body and seemed to know exactly what to do to accomplish that…but more on this later.

Sills, Franklyn, Foundations in Craniosacral Biodynamics, Vol .1: The Breath of Life and Fundamental Skills (2011)
Heart Enfoldment (side view). Sills, Franklyn, Foundations in Craniosacral Biodynamics, Vol .1: The Breath of Life and Fundamental Skills (2011)

This central axis develops into the brain and spinal cord floating in cerebrospinal fluid and surrounded by a thin tough membrane within the bony protection of the skull and vertebrae. However, long before these structures solidify, the heart develops “outside” the body just above the brain. During the 4th week of embryological development the heart folds into the chest cavity and “ignites”, beginning the second distinct rhythm of the body—the pulsing Circulatory System comes online.[3]  It isn’t until the fetus is born, 8-months later, and it take its first breath, that  it finally fully establishes the third rhythm—the Respiratory System.

The harmony of these three rhythms sustains different aspects of health and their dysfunction leads to unhealth. It’s like three dancers responding to different music, but together creating a coordinated masterwork.

So what does all this mean to you and how do we apply it therapeutically for healing?  We will look at each of these 3-rhythms in turn in the next three posts.  Stay tuned!


[1] http://discovermagazine.com/1992/jun/theaggressiveegg55

[2 & 3] Sills, Franklyn, Foundations in Craniosacral Biodynamics, Vol .1: The Breath of Life and Fundamental Skills (2011)

Franklyn Sill weblink:  www.karuna-institute.co.uk

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