Curriculum Overview

The Explorations in Wholeness™ (EiW) curriculum is composed of 6 modules which continually build on skills learned in previous modules. This curriculum is designed to develop a broad spectrum of touch skills which will expand your ability to contact the body as a whole. You will study and experience the inherent healing aspect of the osteopathic concept of the “Fluid Body” and understand how to work with and support it’s ordering and integrating functions. You will experience Wholeness as a felt sense instead of a concept.

The EiW curriculum flows from anatomy, to fascia, to fluids, to the tidal body and the bioenergetic body. We start with the extremities in the earlier modules and progress to the axial complex and the cranial sacral mechanism.   You can take as many or as few Modules as you want but they must be taken in order.

We begin life and develop our adult form in the fluid environment of the embryo and the womb. Science tells us that 70% or more of the adult body is fluid. Yet, when we touch our clients or patients, we primarily relate to the bones and muscles which make up the other 30%. We study and memorize the 30%.

The intention of the EiW curriculum is to guide you through the necessary and proven steps to contact and work with the fascia, fluid system and the inherent healing function of your clients. Fascia is the most abundant tissue in the body and along with the fluids provides the environment in which the other 30% lives and functions. You’ll discover that by finding ease and states of balance within this environment, the contents (30%) will have ease and a state of balance.

Osteopath Dr. Sutherland described 3 models of cranial sacral therapy and their whole body responses. These models are biomechanic (the manipulation of bones and membranes), functional (interaction with the rhythmic movement of fluids) and biodynamic (alliance with the inherent health of the body, guided by what is called primary respiration). What is presented in this curriculum is based on osteopathic principles and is an exploration of the laws of nature which are the foundations of the osteopathic biodynamic model.

Learning the skills necessary to work with all components of fascia is the beginning step to interacting with the Fluid Body and Inherent Motion. The beginning EiW modules provide proficiency in using these skills and is important before we contact the very sensitive cranium and axial complex.

The skill acquisition to work in concert with the fascial components leads to a more comprehensive access and understanding of the vast significance of the biodynamic model. Many non-osteopaths who have been introduced to the this model tend to skip over the necessary developmental contact skills learned through study and interaction with the biomechanic and functional models of cranial sacral therapy. By skipping these developmental steps, interaction with the whole body is limited and the richness of the biodynamic model is diminished.

You will learn about and begin to explore the the 3 models of cranial work as well as learning various hands – on techniques from direct to indirect. The ability to shift between the 3 cranial sacral models and a wide range of contact skills is important to learn so as to be able to work with all aspects of your client’s being.

You will be able to work deeper with much less effort. It will be easier on your hands, you’ll have more effect with less strain on your clients/patients and your interventions will be aligned with your client’s inherent healing function.

For a more detailed explanation of these models and the foundations of the development of this curriculum, read Bones to Fluids in the Reading List.

MODULE 1 – Foundations

The content of Module 1 teaches the fundamentals needed for every Module that follows. Each skill and topic in Module 1 will be reviewed and expanded upon in each succeeding class. Much of this Module will be oriented toward exploring the felt sense of “presence”  as embodied Wholeness and how it enhances and expands your perceptions. The science and the foundational concepts of Wholeness will be introduced and experienced using hands-on explorations. The fluidic nature of fascia is the medium for these explorations. You will be introduced to the steps necessary to find states of balance within the fluids and fascia. Instead of having a conceptual understanding of fascial continuity, you will experience it.

We will study and experience the inherent healing aspect of the Fluid Body and how it functions in creating order and integration in the body throughout life from the embryo to the adult. We’ll begin experiencing inherent motion and how it’s function applies to the whole body.

You’ll understand the wholeness principle as an experience instead of a concept.

This allows you to:

  • enhance integration
  • work more efficiently, deeply and effectively with less effort
  • more completely resolve layers of dysfunction and disorganization within all layers of fascia including bones and ligaments
  • bring the body’s innate reorganizing resources to injuries allowing fascial interventions to be more comprehensive and longer lasting

We will focus on:

Inclusive Attention and neutral

Continuum of Contact™

The autonomic nervous system and the therapeutic relationship

The 3 models of cranial sacral therapy and their whole  body responses

Introduction to “listening hands”

2 hands working

2 hands listening

1 hand working / 1 hand listening

Finding the state of balance in the fascia

Introduction to Wholeness and Primary Respiration

Embryology of Wholeness

Module 2 – SOMA – Balanced Membranous Tension in the Extremities 

Module 2  expands on and refines the foundational skills learned in Module 1. The focus of this module is learning how to find States of Balance in the fascia called Balanced Membranous Tension (BMT). Learning how to find BMT develops the skills to find other States of Balance  present in the 3 models of cranial sacral therapy. We will continue to learn how to hydrate stuck fascia and balance it in a more advanced, predictable, and complete way. We will cover how to decompress and untwist bones, find the mid-lines of the joints and bring the resources (“life force”) back to injured areas so that our fascial interventions are much easier and more effective.

Working with Balanced Membranous Tension in Module 2 develops the skills to work efficiently with the fluid qualities of the fascia and is the precursor to relating to the WHOLE of the body through the Fluid Matrix and more dynamic States of Balance. You will leave class with knowledge, tools and experience which can be easily integrated into your  sessions.

We will focus on:

Arms and shoulder girdle, legs and pelvic girdle

Fascial anatomy

Expand on: 1 hand working / 1 hand listening AND 2 hands listening

Finding Joint midlines

Balanced Membranous ( fascial) Tension

Bones – interosseous relationships and intraosseous decompression

CRIAAR – structural and energetic responses to trauma

Connecting the girdles to the primary (axial) midline

Motion present – Inherent Motion as an assessment, therapeutic and integration “tool”

Deepening into Whole body Inherent Motion


Module 3 – SOMA – Balanced Membranous Tension in the axial complex and torso 

With your experience of listening to the many qualities of fascia and your increased ability to change your contact and presence to interact with the various subtle signals from your clients bodies; this module will focus on the torso and introduce you to the cranial sacral mechanism and spinal bio-mechanics. Using your growing skills you will explore the functional movements of the axial complex and the biomechanical interventions for resolving spinal dysfunctions. You will also work with the relationships between the axial and appendicular complexes.

We will focus on:

CRI – an introduction to the biomechanic model of cranial sacral therapy

Longitudinal fluctuation

An introduction to the biomechanics of the axial complex

The sacrum / occiput and coccyx / ethmoid connection

Connecting the girdles to the primary (axial) midline

Module 4 – The Fluid Body and Inherent Motion  

Module 4 will focus entirely on Inherent Motion as an expression of Wholeness experienced in the Fluid Body. This class will expand on working with the legs, arms and torso. As you continue to develop your abilities to choose at what level you interact with your clients’  systems, you will move on to learning to recognize the Inherent Healing activity that continuously functions in your clients. You will transition from relating to dysfunctions (lesions) to synchronizing with the self ordering and organizing aspects of Inherent Health as expressed in the Fluid Body. In this Module you will learn how to evaluate your client’s system on subtly significant levels. You will also learn to relate to and balance the fluid expressions of Wholeness which will inform your interventions and integrate your work at a systemic level.

We will focus on:

Torso and appendages

Lateral and longitudinal fluctuations

2 hands listening

Balanced fluid tension

False fulcrums

Mid tide

Homeostasis – ease / still points / stillness

Fluids as assessment and integrative tools

Module 5 – The Fluid Body and Inherent Motion in the Axial Complex

By now you will find that your choices and abilities in interacting with your clients has become much more diverse. Though the mechanics of this work seems simple, maintaining the presence and awareness to work at which ever level you wish is not easy.  The hands-on explorations in this module will emphasize the cranial sacral complex. You will learn to address the functional aspect of the central nervous system trusting and allowing the Inherent Health of your clients system to be your guide.

We will focus on:

The axial complex and cranial sacral therapy

Deepening into the Functional model of cranial sacral therapy

Primary midline

Module 6 – Primary Respiration

Module 6 is an introduction to the Tidal and bioenergetic body. The Tidal body is the most subtle of our physicality. Your ability to synchronize with this aspect of your client’s system can allow and enhance the most profound shifts in your client’s whole being. This requires your ability to hold a very broad and attentive awareness of the client / practitioner field and the presence of Primary Respiration. This also requires that you learn about transparent or disappearing hands. In Module 6 you will experience synchronizing with Primary Respiration in yourself and in your client and witnessing its dramatic ordering effects.

We will focus on:

Transparent / disappearing hands


Long tide

Primary respiration in self and client

Embryological Seams

Integrating all 6 Modules into a session.

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