Welcome to My Practice • Gerry Clow, RCST®, BCPP
Bowen Island, British Columbia • Bellingham, Washington
As I begin my twenty-second year as a healing arts professional, I have a lot to be grateful for: My teachers, who have shared so honestly and creatively what they have learned in their years of practice…My fellow practitioners, who have awakened me to my own body’s expressions of health and who have shown me the many paths to wellness…and most of all my clients, from the ones who sat on my piano bench as they received spiritual healings in the early days, to the ones who now come to my studio on Bowen Island to receive Biodynamic Craniosacral and Polarity Therapy sessions.
And as I look back, I am able to see the pattern of my work, to see where my own expression of my training has been effective, as well as where it has not. This new posting (July 2017) marks the beginning of that new vision and makes it easier for you, the potential client, to make an informed choice on whether my work is what you are looking for.
I’d like to begin with a question asked of me by a special friend of mine, Fred Olsen, a famous Japanese-trained potter living and working up at Pinyon Crest, California. “Gerry, why would I come to you for a session?” was his question. I paused, knowing that I was not going to give him a standard answer, as I watched his kiln stream a plume of fire into the night sky. I wanted to come up with an answer that would connect my work to Fred’s. “Fred, I treat the human body with the same reverence and wonder that you treat your pots,” was my answer. And this is a good lead-in to how my practice has developed at the present time.
This work is about transformation, the way fire turns formed clay into a unique work of art, which is why I call my practice, “Transformative Healing.” Occasionally the clay of our bodies needs to be reworked and rediscovered through intentional, focused sessions, and that clay needs then to be transformed in the fire of life that follows. Those of us working in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy are often asked, “Are these sessions powerful? All you do is sit and listen to our body!” And the answer is, in the listening, in the revealing, this work becomes one of the most powerful treatments you will ever encounter.
Having said all this, let me describe the direction my work is traveling in, in case it may be of interest to you. First, after ten years of working in two related modalities, I can say I am finally happy with how they have integrated. Both Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST) and Polarity Therapy (PT) come from the same source-the seminal work of three successive generations of American osteopaths: Andrew Taylor Still, William Sutherland, and Rollin Becker-which means the two modalities are pursuing the same outcome using similar perceptions and insights. Thanks to additional trainings in BCST that I have received over the past three years with Scott Zamurut of Boulder, CO, I’ve been able to use both modalities interchangeably and in a complementary fashion, as they both connect with your body’s ability to heal itself.
Second, I realize my most successful clients are those who “stay the course” and come for multiple sessions. Using the analogy of peeling an onion, we work from layer to layer. This involves developing through repetition an ever-easier place of trust, from which the client’s system is more easily revealed. I therefore recommend that new clients commit to three sessions in approaching this work for the first time, as well as following those three with three more within six months. To better understand the range of the work, please read down to Part 3 that gives you an overview of BCST.
Third, I have increasingly begun to see the relationship between multiple sessions and the nine-dimensional model that my partner and wife, Barbara Hand Clow, and I taught for many years as “Journeys through Nine Dimensions.” The first session, as we settle, as we feel density, and gravity, as we for the first time in a long while become present, we are essentially dropping into the realm of the First Dimension, which geologically is the iron-core crystal at the center of our Earth. The second session, we often work with the elemental, microbial forces of the Second Dimension, the realm of Earth from the core up to the crust. And in the Third Dimension, we enter a new into the realm of time-and-space and feel present in our current reality more fully than ever before. So, why stop there? Six more dimensions are described in our 2010 book, Alchemy of Nine Dimensions.
I am offering clients, therefore, the opportunity to receive BCST and PT treatments while simultaneously holding the resonance, during that session, of a particular dimension. This means doing each of the nine dimensions and then the tenth-the vertical axis of Earth, which holds the resonance of all nine-over the course of ten sessions. Let me know if this additional level of work may be of interest to you. I’m happy to offer a discounted price to those choosing to go ten sessions within twelve months.
Welcome to my Studio (Bowen Island, BC)
I work from my home studio on Bowen Island, BC, a twelve-minute drive from Snug Cove. My workdays are Sat/Sun/Mon/Tues, and my preferred hours are 10-12 and 12-2. Those times coincide with the ferry schedule and are adjustable if you are an island resident or staying over on Bowen for the night. To book an appointment, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you’re booked, I will send more information about your session and how to find me on the Island. I also work occasionally at Wise Awakening in Bellingham, WA, during summer months, and in Palm Desert, CA, during the winter months; for details, contact me at my email address.
Bowen Island is served year-round by BC Ferries (bcferries.com) from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, and in summer months by a new water taxi service, English Bay Launch (eblaunch.com) from Granville Island in Vancouver. Bowen Island Community Transit (“C10 Bluewater”, tel. 604-947- 0229) meets the 9AM and 11AM ferries from Horseshoe Bay and will drop you off at Emily Lane, just up the hill from Bowen Bay; this route takes approx. 20 minutes. The return buses coincide with session times.
Once you book your session, I will send you more information on the ferry services, on how to find me, and on Snug Cove restaurants. You can also browse Bowen’s new travel website, tourismbowenisland.com, for where to stay. For those of you wishing to make a weekend of it, I offer a special package for three sessions (Friday 4-6PM, Saturday and Sunday, 10-12).
The cost for sessions is as follows (effective 1/1/17):
- One Hour: $60 USD/$80 CAD
- 1.5 Hour: $80 USD/$100 CAD
- Two Hours: $100 USD/$120 CAD
For new clients, I recommend three sessions initially, after which shorter sessions are usually effective. Two-hour sessions are recommended for your first session as well as for those who wish to go to the deepest levels of healing and awareness. My intake form is below (Part 2), and to better understand Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST), please read Part 3.
Gerry Clow, RCST®, BCPP
Registered Craniosacral Therapist/Board Certified Polarity Practitioner
Welcome To My Practice (Part Two) – Gerry Clow, BCPP, RCST®
Part 2 – Intake form FormPart2 Click here.
Welcome to My Practice (Part Three) – Gerry Clow, BCPP, RCST®
An Overview of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST)
“The bioenergy of wellness is the most powerful force in the world. It is dynamic. It is rhythmic. It is a force field that begins with the moment of conception and continues to the last moment of death.” (Rollin Becker, DO, 1965)
What is it?
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is a treatment of the physical body that connects client and practitioner (client and therapist) to the primary breath in the body. This breath is deeper and at a longer pace than respiratory or secondary breath and expresses itself as “tides” of movement, felt by the competent practitioner within the fluids, connective tissue, vertebrae, and paired bones of the body. Primary breath is the signature of the health within all of our bodies, and the practitioner’s job is to establish contact with that health and let it optimize its benefits for the client. The practitioner’s job is to listen through light touch, to be curious and present, but not to input any energy or force into the system they are listening to. For the client, this means dropping into a deeply relaxing and resourced state, which is the foundation for all future expressions of health.
How does it work?
Our bodies, energetically, have natural fulcrums, which operate at both the physical and non-physical level. BCST treats the client at the physical level, and allows the client to re-establish their natural fulcrums that may have been rendered into “inertial” fulcrums due to trauma, injury, or disease. The sacrum and occiput are good examples of natural fulcrums, given their location in the body. Occiputs can hold compression and torsion from birth trauma throughout our lives, and also retain the effects of sports injuries or accidents; once that trauma is released, our whole body can start to relax. Our sacrums are often the first landing spot in a fall, and our sacroiliac (SI) joints are critical feature in fluid hip/leg movement. Sacrums can also hold a lot of sexual and birthing trauma, and their freedom of movement is essential to spinal and visceral health.
What’s it good for?
BCST is good for anyone who is experiencing chronic or acute pain or who has had a recent physical or emotional trauma. It is also good for clients wanting to better optimize and maintain their body’s ability to heal itself. And emotionally, it helps clients reconnect in a healthy way to their nervous system and “find their center.” Therefore, this work is ideal for all ages, from newborns through elders. BCST has also been an effective treatment for hospice patients wanting a more grounded way to face their transition from one realm to another.
What are the key terms used by BCST?
Key terms used by BCST practitioners with their clients are:
- “The tides”
- classically, the movement at the point of contact, then within the body itself, and then a longer tide that engages the larger field of which the body is just a receiver-with each tide having its own distinct pace from faster to slower
- The vitality found within the fluid tide of the body
- “The midline”
- The vertical center within all of us that arises from our earliest embryonic development of cells, tissue, and fluid
- The process of achieving a deeper state of relaxation; coming into contact with gravity in the present moment
- When tidal motion comes to a deep state of stasis; the point where your inherent treatment plan takes over
- “Relational field”
- The intentional field of interaction established between client and practitioner
- The key ingredient in establishing, and maintaining, an effective relational field with yourself and others
Where did BCST come from?
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is a direct outgrowth of the practice of Osteopathy. Its founder, Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO (1828-1917), was proud to call it “an American invention” back when so many other inventions in science and industry were happening in the late 19th century. Dr. Still was another of these individuals who sought deeper understanding as to the nature of health in human beings. Having witnessed the slaughter of thousands of soldiers in the Civil War, as well as the sudden, unstoppable deaths of three of his children to spinal meningitis, he announced, “Medicine is poison!” and pondered other ways to bring healing to his clients. Gifted with a vision in June 1874, he realized the human body is capable of healing itself, provided it has proper structural alignment, allowing arterial flow. His four principles have become the tenets of Osteopathic practice today:
- The body is an integrated unit of body, mind, and spirit. (“All parts in the whole body obey the one eternal law of life and motion.”)
- The body possesses self-regulatory and self-healing mechanisms.
- Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
- Rational treatment is based upon applying these three principles along with a sound and thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology.
Dr. Still founded the American School of Osteopathy, in Kirksville, MO, in 1892. One of his early students was William Garner Sutherland, who during his senior year in 1899 viewed a specially prepared and mounted human skull. He noticed the intricate beveling in the suture between the sphenoid and temporal bones and the thought occurred to him: “Beveled, like the gills of a fish, and indicating an articular mobile mechanism for respiration.” He then spent the next thirty years working out the relationships of the “cranial mechanism” as he called it. Sutherland’s cranial concept is organized around the” primary respiratory mechanism,” includes the following components, all of which organize themselves around primary respiration:
- the fluctuation in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), what he called “the potency of the Tide”
- the reciprocal tension membrane-the strong dural tissue connecting the cranium to spinal cord to sacrum
- the ability of the brain and spinal cord to subtly change shape (“like a tadpole pulling in its tail”) during respiration
- the ability of the cranial bones to subtly move at their articulated surfaces
- the involuntary movement of the sacrum between the hips
The work of Drs. Still and Sutherland was carried forward by yet another great osteopathy, Rollin Becker (1910-1996), who is credited with naming such terms as “biodynamics,” “bioenergy of wellness,” “inherent treatment plan,” and “rhythmic balanced interchange” when discussing the nature of the work. Dr. Becker also is credited with describing the three stages of a healing session: “Seeking, settling, reorganization/realignment.” His work inspired yet another generation of biodynamic craniosacral therapists and teachers in the United States and England, including Franklyn Sills, Michael Shea, Roger Gilchrist, and Scott Zamurut, all of whom are practicing and teaching today along with thousands of BCST practitioners worldwide.
What is a Session Like?
Sessions are pretty straightforward. I sit with you for a few minutes to have us both settle. I ask you what your intentions are for the session today, and if you have any questions. As you do this, I assess the relational field setting up between us, as this work begins before there is any form of touch. The relational field is a felt sense of presence, much as when you meet someone and you pay full attention to them, not just mentally but with your whole body, finding the right space and connection to establish between each other.
At the table you remain fully clothed and placed under a sheet for comfort and coziness. Comfort is the operative word, and the work does not begin until you are really settled, really comfortable, on the table. The same is true for me as the practitioner, as I settle on my stool next to the table.
I tune into my own body, my own primary breathing, and then I do the same with you. Each person is unique in how his/her “system” runs. This is the beauty of the work, to find again and again an expression of life that is unique to that person. We each express life and vitality in our own way, based on our singular creation, from fertilization to birth to life experience.
Favorite contacts to your body are at: your ankles, from where I can read the tidal rhythms of your whole physical body; your sacrum, which is the primary grounder for your fluid body; your shoulders, from where the upper torso speaks; and your cranium, which is a world unto itself yet the creator of the CSF which flows rhythmically down your spine and then into your body as well. A whole session can occur from just one hold, but usually several are used during the 80-minute session.
Communication is key in the work, and I will ask you from time to time to share what you are noticing in your body, in your field. This keeps you involved and aware, and also helps guide me and reinforce my own assessment. Speaking of “force,” this work proceeds without any force being put into your body; the only force is the forcefulness of your own health, your own vitality, your own potency, speaking.
Generally, we both become aware of your tides, your midline, and an area of your body that is asking for special attention. Focus will go on that area, sometimes from a distance, and sometimes more directly. The result is deep relaxation, and deep self-healing, as your body is given the opportunity for full focus of its healing mechanisms.
How Often Do I Need to Come for a Session?
Some clients simply need a “tune-up”, a chance to find their energy field and rebalance it. Others need to set up a short program (3-6 sessions) during which a particular pattern in your body needs to be recognized and reintegrated into your system. We speak of “natural fulcrums” and “inertial fulcrums” in the work, and any inertial ones need to be addressed in order for your body to running at its full potential. Generally, coming for a minimum of three sessions is a good idea, as the first establishes the relational field between client and practitioner and often identifies an area needing more attention; the second deepens the work from the first session; and the third integrates the work into the whole field of the client.
How Much Do You Charge for a Session?
I charge $100 USD/$120 CAD for 2-hr sessions, $80 USD/$100 CAD for 1.5-hr sessions, and $60USD/$80CAD for 1-hr sessions.
I look forward to serving you!
Gerry Clow, RPP, RCST
Three recent client testimonials
“Well, I’ve experienced a courage to relax, a willingness to be led, a recognition of a former self-and in all of this I feel the refreshment of new and renewed friendships, fun, and mostly of a sweet calling towards a new destiny. I can say that I have experienced things I have not experienced before, and overall these past three months have been unlike anything I have ever known. The intentions I set out before working with you and my subsequent experiences are connected by the enlivening energy I experienced in your studio . . . . I feel in many ways very similar to you, I appreciate your wide-open curiosity and patience, the way you took time to do the detail work on the table. It all makes a difference. There is new initiative taking root from deep in my being, touched off by energies surrounding our work together, accessible only when I get quiet enough to hear it and then let myself be led by it. Even in writing this I feel a renewal of this same energy, animating the core, and singing with new inspiration. Tonight and before I sat down to write this, I was being “led about” but it feels now again like my strength or core inspiration is doing the leading. This connection to my core is what I suspected was waiting to be discovered, and it contains in it a new kind of rapture.”
“I am so very fortunate that you are in my life: validating what I’m doing on my own, stimulating me to reach further, and healing me with what always feels like magic. Thank you for another amazing session. I really like my new postures and today went spontaneously into a Sun Salutation after rolling upward from your series . . . . The model you and Barbara have set of creating our own ceremonies has been crucial to me in learning body dynamics; I’m formally thanking you for it and the magnificent release it has brought to my life. And I’m very grateful for your sensitivity, experience, and intuition in bringing me to exalted moments of wholeness.”
“Thanks for reminding me of (my) strengths… I keep forgetting and trying hard and hard to be ok and safe in my night dreams. The last session seems to calm down my hungry ghost-like searches to feel the deep inner peace. Now I think my body knows its ability to feel and enjoy deep inner peace. That was a lovely experience and will be wonderful to be confident with my body ability to hold that deep peace. Thanks very much for the sessions and see you again for deepening experience and understanding.”