Over the last month, I’ve been revisiting some anatomy as part of my biodynamic craniosacral therapy studies. In particular, I wanted to revisit the spheno-basalar junction (SBJ for short), which is the area where the sphenoid bone (this is a bone inside your head which you can’t really touch except for the sides of the greater wings which are pretty much where your temples are) and the occipital bone (the bone at the base of your skull), meet. Here’s a picture of it circled in red for you below (the view is from the top of your head looking down). The sphenoid bone is the top half and the occiput bone is the bottom part highlighted in green.
I can’t really emphasise enough the importance of this area for your body. Many issues that a person faces will somehow be related to what is going on at this particular junction. In fact, the sphenoid bone connects to every other bone in the cranium, so any issues with the movement and motility of this bone has a potential to affect the other cranial bones, which in turn affects certain areas of your body.
The sphenoid is a butterfly shaped bone (the above picture doesn’t really do this gorgeous bone justice) and within the sella turcica (Turkish saddle) of the sphenoid is where the pituitary gland hangs delicately. For anatomy geeks, the pituitary gland regulates the majority of the hormones in our body, and surrounding the pituitary gland is the saddle of the sphenoid on the bottom, as well as the tentorium (which is a layer of dura mater which runs alongside some of our cranial bones including the temporal bone and ends in the sphenoid). Craniosacral therapists work a lot with understanding and feeling the tension within the tentorium and the falx.
So given this, any trauma to the sphenoid and any tension on the tentorium can result in a variety of disorders ranging from mild headaches to personality disorders! For those who are more interested in the esoteric nature of things, the pituitary gland in some mystery schools is believed to be associated with the third eye or the seat of consciousness within the human body. So issues with your perception on life and having a clear “inner vision” may in fact come back to what’s going on around the sphenoid.
Below is a picture I sketched of the sphenoid bone from two different angles – one where you would be looking at it from the back (i.e. looking at it from the back of your head looking forward) and the picture below is the view of the sphenoid if you were looking at it straight on (i.e. where it sits behind the nose and eyes).
But let’s get back to the SBJ – throughout history, osteopaths and craniosacral therapists have noticed certain lesion patterns that exist at the SBJ itself. Some of the patterns in the SBJ would be associated directly with physical trauma (e.g. being hit in the face straight on or on the side by an object), and other patterns that present can be associated with physical trauma and/or emotional and/or mental trauma.
Here’s a quick summary of some of the findings (based on Hugh Milne’s book called The Heart of Listening 2: A Visionary Approach to Craniosacral Therapy Work):
- An issue with the movement of the two bones away towards each other as opposed to away from each other may lead to people getting dull headaches, sinusitis and perhaps lower back pain. Whilst people with these lesions tend to be pretty extroverted and like to try new and different things… if they have to look within themselves and have some down time however, they might have a tendency towards depression!
- For those with an issue with the opposite direction (i.e. there’s more of an issue with the movement of the bones towards each other than away from each other), there is a tendency to get severe headaches and migraines. People with this issue may prefer to spend time alone with themselves and are introverted, though they don’t mind exercising. Some may even lean towards a more mystic or esoteric lifestyle as well.
- Dyslexia is apparently an important symptom of a torsion pattern at the SBJ. People who have torsion patterns may also have some sort of torsioning in their spine (e.g. scoliosis) or have issues with their jaw (especially when it comes to a change in their bite). From an emotional perspective, those with this pattern may have conflicting priorities – e.g. being torn between which side to choose.
There has also been some evidence to certain patterns at the SBJ being linked to schizophrenia, feelings of depression and being disassociated with the world (to name a few).
I’m a firm believer that our own experiences (including our birth experience) can really affect us (whether physically, mentally and emotionally) – so it is great affirmation to me that these sorts of issues can be “seen” and/or “felt” physically, and that there is a way to work through it. This is one of the reasons why I love biodynamic craniosacral therapy… whilst I do like massage and the energy healing component of things, I find that this modality really looks at you from a holistic perspective and can ground all the esoteric stuff into the physical world (i.e. so it makes me sound less ‘mad’ ;p).
Imagine what else the body is trying to tell us! If we only just listen and respond to what we perceive.. our world would definitely be in a better place!