Understanding our Symbiotic Virtual Organ.

Advanced Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy 4-day workshop.

Dates: May 4-7, 2018
Cost: $800 CAD (non-refundable deposit $100)
Location: Lillooet, BC (venue TBA)

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Over the past 10 years our knowledge and understanding of how our health is completely reliant on the health and diversity of our microbiome has completely revolutionized our understanding of our bodies. This exciting field is exploding with research – new studies are coming out every day challenging our concepts of self by underlining how essential a healthy microbiome is for brain development, nervous system health, immunity and more.

In this workshop we will explore this cutting edge research in a way that gives us direct experience and the felt sense of the various interactions and ways that our body somatically communicates within itself as well as with its environment and the people and other organisms that we are connected to both physically in the moment as well as across time and space.

This is a vast field and we are learning more about it every day so the information presented may change depending on new research. The main topics we will begin to explore in this workshop are:

Fetal Development and our Microbiome: Our nervous system development is dependent on our microbiome. More and more studies underline the importance of microbes during critical developmental periods both before and after birth.

How our Microbiome Influences our Epigenetics: Repairing the brain and nervous system with fermented foods and Low Carb, High Fat diets; Ketogenic Diet, SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) or GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet; provides nutritional resources for exponential healing.

Gut-Brain-Microbe Axis and Gut Motility: The connection between leaky gut and leaky brain, the vagus nerve as bi-directional communication highway as well as the intimate relationship between the trigeminal nerves and the gut.

Differentiating the Felt Sense of Neurotransmitters: There are more neurotransmitters in the gut than in your brain. A healthy microbiome manufactures seratonin and dopamine and other nutrients (Vit K, D, etc) as well as optimizing mineral absorption.

Interaction of the HPA axis and our Microbiome: A compromised microbiome creates all kinds of nervous-system disturbances including brain-fog, depression, chronic fatigue, dissociation, PTSD symptoms, flashbacks, altered perception of reality (paranoia) and more.

How to Talk to your Client about Their Digestion: Digestion is a subject that we are very good at dissociating around, it is often a subject people feel a lot of shame around from cultural norms and personal events. Often people don’t even realize that having diarreah or constipation isn’t normal or optimal. In client intakes I have found simply asking “How is your digestion?” or “How is your diet?” is too open-ended. To really find out what is going on with a client’s digestive rituals questions need to be more tailored and specific.

Inflammation and Immunity: Our gut houses 60-80% of our immune system. If we have systemic inflammation in our intestines we will feel the effects of this in a wide variety of very individual symptoms throughout our bodies. Brain inflammation results from gut inflammation and often shows up as enlarged ventricles.

Quarum sensing – Lateral transfer of Genetic Material and more: This is an incredibly fascinating aspect of what the microbes in our bodies can do. Understanding how this happens can translate into an understanding of how our instincts work and our multidimensional ability to communicate with our clients in somatic and non-linear ways.

Other topics that might be discussed are:

  • The interactions between gut health, microbes and dreams/altered states
  • Birth and the seeding of our microbiome including attachment and addiction potential
  • Brain plasticity, glial cells and the nutritional resources
  • The neuro-enteric system and how the parasympathetic and sympathetic systems operate on the gut level
  • Importance of daily rituals around diet, fermented foods, relaxation and movement (qi gong)
  • Somatic communication between individuals via their microbiome
  • Understanding how various traumas impact our microbiome, for example concussions, parasites, developmental trauma, nutritional trauma, medical/pharmaceutical trauma
  • How to recognize and work with someone’s dysbiotic trauma ego

From How The Microbiome Challenges Our Concept of Self

The human is not a unitary entity but a dynamic and interactive community of human cells and microbial cells.

The microbiome is not “influencing” the genome; it is co-constituting the metaorganisms we humans are.

Microbiome science is confounding a long tradition in anatomy and physiology that defines our individual identity in terms of the higher functions of the human brain mediating self-awareness, personality traits, and emotional state.

Meet the Teacher:

Renee Hella has been fascinated with the social aspects of rituals of eating and food preparation ever since she was a little girl growing up in Papua New Guinea. Her mother taught her to make yogurt when she was old enough to heat milk and she learned how to make bread as soon as she was strong enough to turn the handle on the family bread bucket. Renee started her career as a culinary anthropologist, world renowned chef and food writer in 1994.

Renee has been practicing Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy since 2003. In 2010 she started to notice the difference in how her clients were healing. Some of them were eager to work on their diet and paid attention to foods that were triggering symptoms and some of them wanted to have nothing to do with any discussion of food and digestion. After years of studying these dynamics it became clear that clients were regaining healthy balance much more successfully when they worked with optimizing nutritional resources and their microbiome.

After spending the past 6 years exploring the Pre and Perinatal Psychology field and working with early attachment and family patterns Renee has come to the conclusion that the best way to heal all of these parts of ourselves is to have a good foundation of a healthy, diverse microbiome. Renee cured her own gut dysbiosis which was showing up as cyclical vomiting syndrome or abdominal epilepsy with the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet) as well as BCST and PPNP work.

Renee is an approved teacher of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy by the North American Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association.


Lillooet, BC is an incredibly beautiful little town on the Fraser River, about 240 kilometres (150 mi) or 4 hours drive North from Vancouver (2 hrs North of Whistler). Lillooet has no airport but is only 2 hours drive from Kamloops. Nestled into the rivers and mountains, Lillooet is a rugged, natural location that is truly unique. There is something very special about this place for healing, culture and feeling the symbiotic interactions of human and non-human. A perfect venue for facilitating the deepening of our understanding of our microbiomes.

There are several lovely campsites with great facilities located in and around Lillooet as well as hotels and B&Bs in the area.

There are several campsites with amazing views and good facilities in and around Lillooet as well as hotels. Lillooet is an important location in Aboriginal history and culture and remains one of the main population centres of the St’at’imc (Lillooet Nation), and today it is one of the southernmost communities in North America where indigenous people form the majority. First Nations communities assert the land as traditional territory since time immemorial. Considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited locations on the continent, the area is reckoned by archaeologists to have been inhabited for several thousand years. The immediate area of the town attracted large seasonal and permanent populations of native peoples because of the confluence of several main streams with the Fraser and also because of a rock-shelf just above the confluence of the Bridge River which is an obstacle to migrating salmon. Many archaeological and heritage sites are in the vicinity of the town, including Keatley Creek Archaeological Site, one of the largest ancient pit-house communities in the Pacific North West.

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