The Embodiment Tide

I recently released a podcast episode featuring Scott Zamurut speaking about the Embodiment Tide. The Embodiment Tide is a slow reciprocal motion in the bioenergetic field that moves into expansion and contraction for about 20 minutes in each direction. It is slower than the Long Tide, which moves in 100 second cycles.

Today’s post will include two documents on the topic of the Embodiment Tide. Thanks to Scott Zamurut for providing these documents for the blog.


Scott Zamurut, RCST®, and Roger Gilchrist, MA, RCST®

During the preparation of the first draft of the revised Standards of Practitioner
Competencies (SOPC), the SOPC Committee chose to include information regarding an expression of Primary Respiration that is recognized but not widely discussed within our professional community. We believe it is important to present a complete picture of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST) to ground the knowledge-base and experiential capacities of practitioners, especially through the educational process. We also recognize that acknowledging “what is” will reify perceptual experiences that many practitioners have had over years of Biodynamic practice. Some of these specific perceptions have been noticed and discussed by many practitioners, yet for the most part they remain undocumented in our field. Finally, we recognize that new findings in related fields of therapeutics garner a great deal of attention within our community; however nothing is more essential to our practice than recognizing a subtle and profound expression of Primary Respiration.

The practice of BCST gives great attention in theory and practice to the expressions
of Primary Respiration, the bi-phasic reciprocal pulsation of bioenergy, which is
observable in the biofield, the fluid dynamics, and the tissue motility. William
Sutherland, D.O., originally named this the Breath of Life. Dr. Sutherland also used
the metaphor of the ocean’s tides to convey his perceptual recognition that he was
feeling the whole of the human body breathing as an undifferentiated whole. In
time the word “Tide” became synonymous with the “Breath of Life.”

Over time a number of specific rhythms of Primary Respiration have been recognized, and the qualities and healing properties of each of these expressions have been well articulated. The Tides that are well-known in the field of BCST are the Long Tide, the Mid-Tide (sometimes called the “fluid tide”), and the Cranial Rhythmic Impulse. (The latter is commonly seen as a result of facilitation within the nervous system generating an interference pattern in conjunction with the Mid-Tide.) We also recognize the presence of the Breath of Life in Stillness.

The purpose of this article is to introduce the qualities and healing properties of another,
longer Tide, which some BCST practitioners are now calling the Embodiment Tide. It is possible to perceive a Tidal expansion and contraction that is far longer in duration than the Long Tide. Most often this very long breath emerges once a client’s system has entered a State of Balance. Within a short period of time a subtle expansion begins within the system, emerging from the the inertial fulcrum or from the midline proper. With careful observation it is clear that this inhalation is of a long duration, lasting as much as 20 minutes. The inhalation is followed by an exhalation of similar duration, sometimes with a pause between the two.

An early reference to this phenomenon in the Biodynamic CST literature is found in the
beautiful statement below:

“The Original bioelectric matrix may be directly perceived as an ordering and organizing field . . . the action of the Long Tide within space will be expressed in cycles of 50 second inhalations and exhalations (100 seconds for both). The practitioner may also sense very slow, wavelike cycles of expansion around the body. This has the quality of a pebble being dropped into a pond every 20 minutes. . . . Here, the practitioner is sensing the Long Tide as a wider field of action. This is the organizing wind of life.” i

Another comment discusses further the action of this deeper tidal phenomenon:

“The Long Tide can be perceived within the biosphere to generate deep, airy, powerful tidal motions in 100 second cycles. Its intention may be experienced in a wider field in very slow cycles of expansion (15–20 minute cycles*). The Long Tide generates the most fundamental ordering matrix, a bioelectric form, as a field phenomenon. The Original Matrix of a human being is laid down.” ii

This latter statement points to why some refer to this phenomenon as the Embodiment

Around the same time these comments were published, the authors were working as teaching assistants on the foundation course taught by Franklyn Sills in Boulder, CO. We remember discussions of this phenomenon in teaching team meetings and between Franklyn and the class.

In the statements in the literature, the movement that we are calling the Embodiment Tide was linked with discussions of the Long Tide. In our observation, it is different from that. Admittedly, the practice of Biodynamic CST has grown a great deal since this early writing, and the professional community now has a much more developed experiential base, leading to corroboration among practitioners and a high degree of consistency in their descriptions.

The Embodiment Tide is a respiratory cycle that presents itself as a facet of the Inherent Treatment Plan. During the total cycle of the Embodiment Tide, it is possible to perceive the resolution of inertial forces that organize a variety of unresolved shocks and insults. This Tide demonstrates a particular efficacy in the resolution of the inertial fulcrums which organize embodiment shock, a shock state which arises when the subtle body is early in the process of encountering and entering a new physiological body. The varied and powerful dynamics that are inherent to the process of embodiment can be experienced as profoundly overwhelming, resulting in a shock state with inertial fulcrums commonly found in the bioenergy field.

During both the inhalation and exhalation cycles, and more so during exhalation, the breath will pause at subtle inertial fulcrums within the field. Once the inertial forces are resolved the movement of the Embodiment Tide resumes in the same cycle of expression that was present before the pause. As with any of the subtle phenomena of healing we see in BCST, it is not possible to make the Embodiment Tide appear; yet through the cultivation of our perceptual clarity, it can reveal itself.

It is our hope that presenting this description of the Embodiment Tide adds to the general knowledge-base of BCST; generates new conversations within our community; clarifies perceptual experiences that practitioners regularly encounter; and brings forward new potentials for healing embodiment shock, one of the deepest sources of human suffering.

i Franklyn Sills. (2001). Craniosacral Biodynamics, volume1. North Atlantic Books. Pg. 400.
ii Franklyn Sills. (2001). Craniosacral Biodynamics, volume1. North Atlantic Books. Pg. 418.


An Interview between Mimi Ikle-Khalsa and Stephanie Abramson

Background Information: This is an interview with Stephanie Abramson, a BCST
teacher with the Wellness Institute. Stephanie and I were first introduced to the
idea of the Embodiment Tide while attending a class in Advanced Biodynamics
Shock Resolution class taught by Scott Zamurut, RCST®, in the Washington, DC
area, hosted by the Wellness Institute. The March workshop was the first time that
either of us had recognized the Embodiment Tide happening in a session.

Ikle-Khalsa: Thank you Stephanie for making time today to talk about your
experience. I wanted to start off by asking you, what was the intention of the
demonstration you participated in?

Abramson: After Scott had reviewed the different possibilities on how shock can
be held in the body, it was an open session. We had just gone through the material
so the intention was to see what came up.

Ikle-Khalsa: So the purpose was to look for different ways that shock is held in the
body as inertia?

Abramson: Exactly. I remember being very excited to be chosen to be on the table
so I had a heightened excitement with no expectations. Nothing in mind, just very
open to receiving a session.

Ikle-Khalsa: And as you were getting on to the table, did you have any particular
complaints or physical things that you were noticing and hoping would be
addressed in the session? I remember that you were having some back problems
that day.

Abramson: Actually I was really having trouble moving in class. My walking was
really being impinged. I also remember having a little trouble getting up on the
table. I could feel that it was not so comfortable to begin. My body was in pain and I
was having trouble sitting through all the lectures. I had just babysat my
grandchildren’s dog. He was a pup about three months old and very strong, feisty
and not trained. In walking him I had pulled my back out. Also the first day he had
jumped on me. He turned on me when I was trying to walk him and I did go into a
bit of a shock. Actually a lot of fear came up. I then had two more days to go to
take care of him. My family was out of town and he pulled every time I took him

Ikle-Khalsa: So not only were you physically being pulled on repetitively but you
had an overall sense of fear and trepidation, wondering when he might jump on
you next?

Abramson: Yes. And I knew that I needed to follow through on taking care of him.
I didn’t have an out. Or at least I didn’t think I had an out on the caretaking
responsibility I had signed up for.

Ikle-Khalsa: So you were feeling trapped, by a sense of obligation to your family.
That leads me to my next question. How did you feel as the session began? You
already mentioned it was hard to get on to the table. You had been physically
uncomfortable sitting for the lectures. You were excited about being chosen for the
demonstration, because that was also a surprise in a good way.

Abramson: I was surprised. It was a good surprise. I remember feeling very
comforted by Scott’s presence and where he was sitting. He was on my right side,
between my shoulder and my hip. So I could see him. Yet I didn’t feel crowded. I
felt very much like there was a good, spatial dynamic in where he positioned
himself. I don’t remember him going to the feet or any other place then starting
right there where I could visually see him. I felt like he was holding me from the
very beginning. And I really felt seen without being crowded at all.

Ikle-Khalsa: So what was your experience, if you could just recount what you
noticed? Were you able to track the tides? What came up for you as you received
the work?

Abramson: As I remember, he felt like he was very well paced. I don’t remember
feeling any discomfort in my body as we started. I was feeling relaxed and his
voice and presence created a container that was just exquisite. I do remember
being able to feel the mid-tide, in the beginning of the work. Then there was a
sense of slowly moving out to a very wide field. At that point, I had never done this
before, so I just assumed that the long tide was working. I remember being very
quiet. Later in the session there was a little bit of verbal dialog, but in those early
stages I remember it being silent. I felt like I went out very far into another dimension. After a little while I totally lost track of time and space. Often I’m self-conscious if I’m in the limelight too long. I had no self-consciousness at all. It felt like my body was dissolving piece by piece, and it felt very airy, ether like.

Ikle-Khalsa: And that’s “ether” in the context of the Polarity Therapy element of
space, not ether the anesthesia medication.

Abramson: No, not the medication, the element in Polarity. And this is interesting.
I did feel like there was a bridge. I didn’t feel ungrounded at all with this, very, very
spacious but not ungrounded. It was almost the sense like I was a kite flying and
Scott was holding on to the string. And then at some point, possibly, again, I felt
held without being contained. I felt free. There was a sense of freedom in that. No
one was holding tight, as the body, piece by piece, seemed to just dissolve.

Ikle-Khalsa: So it sounds like, from what I’m hearing, you began with a sense of
the room and a sense of your body on the table and a sense of Scott, in a
relationship, negotiating that initial holistic shift of coming into the neutral. And as
the session went along, what felt like a mid-tide shifted into the long-tide, then even
shifted more and morphed into a sense of a wider, vaster container in which the
various parts of you could expand into something else.

Abramson: Right. It was almost as if I was an inter-dimensional being that was
very much not of this world. A sense of really transitioning.

Ikle-Khalsa: And would you say that that feeling was sort of a hallmark for you
about sensing the difference between the long-tide, as we know it, and the
phenomenon of the Embodiment Tide that was remarked upon by Scott during
your session?

Abramson: Yes. I would think so. And there seemed to be a threshold I had to go
through. It was definitely a threshold to get into a larger field. And yet it wasn’t
uncomfortable. There was no fear with it.

Ikle-Khalsa: Could you say anything more about that threshold? How it felt to you,
what it looked like or how you sensed that?

Abramson: It’s kind of hard to recall but it’s like you are letting go of everything.
For example your history, and everything you might know about yourself. I would
imagine that it is very much like dying, losing a sense of who we are and what we

Ikle-Khalsa: What you are explaining sounds like what might happen if all of life’s
imprints that we have acquired in this incarnation, were to lift away.

Abramson: Lift away, yes… And that’s one of the things that is different. It does
feel like the blueprint has changed. It’s hard to say exactly how, but I feel differently
about my parents, who are both deceased. And even other family members. It’s
very curious because I feel a bit of, I don’t want to say detachment, but yeah, there
is definitely a difference in the way I perceive my relationships, particularly with my
parents. I just feel freer. I feel more positive.

Ikle-Khalsa: Like your relational field shifted?

Abramson: Yeah. It really shifted. Particularly with my father, which is a big deal, a
huge deal!

Ikle-Khalsa: So during this session there was a sense of different, improved
relational fields between yourself and the primary relationships in your life? And did
you notice anything else during the session? How did you notice the returning of
the Embodiment Tide?

Abramson: It felt like I turned around and was coming back in which was gradual.
Scott seemed to stay in the same position and it felt like my body then started to
re-coalesce, you know, bit by bit. When I was out, it felt like in the larger tide, I
don’t think I was aware of Scott. I felt like I was there pretty much alone. Not
connected to this reality. As I came back it felt like pieces of matter than coming
together coalescing to get to a place where I was met by Scott, which really helped
bring that process together. Again his presence made a big difference in slowing
that down for me so that it was well paced and it didn’t feel like a shock at all to my
body. It didn’t feel like a shock going out or coming in.

Then I got to a place where I was able to talk in that process with Scott and he was
pacing the experience and said there were “still things reorganizing”. That was very
reassuring. Then I started to notice other people. First there was Scott, then I
realized I was in the room with everyone. So that was another transition. Definitely
feeling my physical body. Again my body felt totally comfortable. I was not thinking
of the discomfort I had before I got on the table. There was a sense of joyousness.
I was very joyous and light, mood wise. Like a new beginning. Like when you are
with a new born baby. That same field dynamic of a pristine quality, might be the
best way to say it. My process felt very slow. Like I was on the table and then when
I noticed my surroundings I got a little self-conscious. I thought, ”wow, I’ve been
here a long time!” But I had lost all time and space there for a while.

Ikle-Khalsa: Do you remember what you said to him at that point?

Abramson: I don’t. You might remember.

Ikle-Khalsa: The sense that I got from the question was something like “is this too
much, or am I too much, or is this okay?” It was looking for an approval that your
process was not too much or too big.

Abramson: Right. That rings true to me. I didn’t feel ungrounded, but it was a bit
dreamlike. And that continued when I got off the table.

Ikle-Khalsa: So from your account it seems that the part of recognizing the
embodiment phenomenon was noticing a shift from the long-tide to something
bigger, longer, wider. That you were able to see the turn of when the going out,
“expansion” shifted and became a coming back, “contraction”. And that as you
came back in, there were these experiences and ways of noticing coming back in.
And that being met by Scott’s presence allowed that re-introduction or that
negotiation back into self to happen in a gentle and easily digestible way. And as
you became more aware of your relationship to linear time, space and relational
field, that at one point a certain awareness, an affect, came up.

From my experience as a witness, what was interesting to me was that in the
demonstration Scott noted that you had gone into an Embodiment Tide. He said
something to the effect of “her Embodiment Tide was expanding for about five
minutes and that it feels like a long tide that keeps spreading, widening, and
deepening” and what I noticed was when that expanding energy turned around.
And for me, visually, as I was looking at the top of your head, I saw you going out
to what I understood to be a star and then turning around and coming back again.
And as the essence of you came back from that star, there was this sort of
energetic swell, like the swelling of a wave coming into shore. I could see parts of
what I would consider soul contracts or relational fields transmuting, shifting,
changing, to me it looked like sparks. It seemed to be coming from past your left
foot back towards you. I definitely felt a relational field with your parents. So what
you are saying about your sense of relationship with your father is really interesting
to me.

When you came in and made that statement, that awareness to Scott that
you were in the room and wanting to make sure it wasn’t too big or too much, the
voice that you said it with, and we’ve worked together for fifteen years, the voice
was a different part of you, a very young part. Even in the tone and timber. That’s
what I remember from that part. So that makes me wonder how you felt after
getting off the table? He had you walk around and feel into how differently you
were moving after you got off the table. I noticed that you were walking and moving
quite differently, with ease and a deep sense of ground.

Abramson: Yes, I was moving very differently. I do remember that young voice
part, that’s curious that you mentioned it, I did feel young. I mean, I’m 72. I felt very
different in vitality, very, very different. And when I got off the table it was still a
bit dreamlike, people said that was amazing to watch. It was a little hard to identify
with what they said because it was my experience and it felt so personal and so
big. For the whole rest of the day I was in a bubble, in awe and still really “in the
experience”. That followed through the whole workshop, even when I was called to
work with one of the people who was in distress, to partner up with. There felt like, I
don’t want to say a detachment, but…

Ikle-Khalsa: Was it more like the boundaries of your own bio-field got stronger and
healthier and lot more clear?

: Yes, much clearer … much, much clearer. I feel like since that
workshop on I have reconsidered the possibility of having a relationship, going
forward, with a loving partner. That whole context seemed to change where before
it didn’t even feel like that was a possibility for the rest of my life. And I really view
that differently. The healing from the incident with the puppy took till the end of the workshop and it still was working through. The physical felt like it was taking longer to heal. It had started in the demonstration, but there was a bigger shift in the mental, and emotional. That was the big shift. I feel like that’s what this experience was. I moved into another dimension and came back. So I feel clearer that I can help midwife others in this same way, that is the next journey for me. I’m very clear on my own interest in it, and also to be able to bring this to other people.

Ikle-Khalsa: So was this your first experience with an Embodiment Tide?

Abramson: Yes. I don’t think I had ever even heard about that before.**

Ikle-Khalsa: And since you’ve had that experience, have you noticed it occurring
in your own practice, as a practitioner?

Abramson: Not in the same way, not the way that I experienced it, not yet.
I think that whenever there is a class, there is heightened energy, that we have the
field to do this great work. I’m excited about the possibility. But I don’t think I
facilitated it or I’ve been able at this point to revisit it in a session that I’ve been in.
It’s exciting to think of the possibility though. Very exciting for other people. I don’t
know that I need it again, but to revisit it, that’s rather exciting too. And this is the other thing. I feel like I am more on track with revisiting some of my old fears. I have a more clear sense of not getting stuck in the same ways that I have been stuck before.

Ikle-Khalsa: Wonderful. Well thanks so much for taking the time to do this
interview, Stephanie!

Stephanie Abramson and Mimi Ikle-Khalsa have been working with Roger Gilchrist,
RCST®, for the past 15 years and are both teachers for the Wellness Institute.
They live in the Washington, DC area.

**To her surprise and amazement, the day after the interview, the embodiment
wave showed up with one of Stephanie’s clients. The client commented on how
dreamlike it was. They made sure to ground her before she left. They noted a
significant physical change, major heat and inflammation were released. The client
commented on how this really was a life changing session for her.

ryan-hallford-craniosacral-therapistRyan Hallford is a craniosacral therapist and educator. He offers certification programs in basic and advanced cranial work through the Craniosacral Resource Center in Southlake, TX.