The story of the jaw, the face and trauma

A few months ago I wrote an article about why issues with the sphenobasalar junction (SBJ for short) can affect us in a variety of ways. From my recent studies on biodynamic craniosacral therapy, I now have a more complete picture of how this can happen – and it’s all based around the dynamic of the SBJ and the face!

In biodynamic craniosacral therapy, many people seem to think that all we work with is the cranium (i.e. the skull) and the sacrum. But it’s important to actually have a wider view at the human body, to understand that even the cranium connects to various other structures (like the facial bones and muscles) and that in term has a cascading effect down the rest of the body.

So once again, I’m going to indulge you in on a quick anatomy lesson!

The cranium (in particular the SBJ) and facial bones

I’m not going to go into depth regarding all of the bones here but you can see from the pictures above that the sphenoid actually connects or articulates with a number of facial bones (e.g. the ethmoid, the maxilla and the palatine). As the sphenoid bone is an integral part of the SBJ, it follows that any issues or movement in the SBJ will ultimately reflect itself in the various facial bones and facial tone. Similarly, any issues with the facial bones (and the mandible/jaw is one of them), could very well reflect back on the SBJ. The two are clearly related to each other!

Many of us know that our jaw can hold a lot from an emotional and even physical perspective. For example, if we are quite stressed out or angry, many of us will grit our teeth and grind our jaw. This then leads to the muscles around our jaw being really really tight, which, without the right release, will continue to hold our jaw in that way. This can place significant force on the orientation and bones in our SBJ (in particular the sphenoid and the occiput), which then leads to symptoms of headaches, blurry vision, mental fogginess, etc.

What I also discovered during recent studies was the amount of trauma and emotional stress that can be held within the jaw. For example, how many of us were subjected to the “torture” of wearing braces as a child? Similarly, how many of us had various dental procedures that weren’t that relaxing to sit through? You know, the long procedures where you have to hold your mouth open and wish you could just close it to give your mouth a bit of a break!

When my mandible (i.e. jaw) was worked on during a biodynamic craniosacral therapy treatment 2 months ago, memories came flooding back to me about what I had endured when I had 4 of my teeth taken out by the dentist when I was younger to allow more room for my teeth to move when I got my braces on. I remembered sitting in the dentist chair with tears streaming down my face knowing what was about to happen, seeing the huge metal needles going into my gums to numb it, and then feeling the dentist put all of his muscle and weight into yanking out my 4 teeth because they stubbornly did not want to leave my mouth! Whilst the memories came back into my mind during the treatment and I could feel a little bit of the panic that I felt back then, that feeling was gone in an instant and I knew that we (i.e. the practitioner and I) had successfully resolved the trauma of that time.

Can you imagine that perhaps you might be holding some trauma (or another word I like to use for it is stress) from some of the dental work you may have received? How many of us have implants, crowns or had the dreaded root canals? For those with braces, imagine the amount of stress your jaw undergoes under those elastics which are used by orthodontists to realign the position of your jaw/bite. Remember that just because we received work on one aspect of our body, it doesn’t mean that other aspects of our body are not impacted. Similarly, the impact from that fall that you may have had as a child could still be stored in your body and manifested itself as say, for example, a shoulder or a knee problem!

As a little aside from the trauma stuff, I asked my teacher whether biodynamic craniosacral therapy would affect the movement of teeth as I had braces TWICE because my teeth moved, and he said that it wouldn’t. Why? Because biodynamic craniosacral therapy is such a gentle technique that it would not be able to compete with strong physical forces like wearing elastics or having braces on themselves. However, he said that the therapy was particularly useful for assisting the body with integrating the physical work – i.e. making sure the work actually sticks! A part of me wishes that I had known about this before so I could’ve saved on the thousands of dollars my parents spent on giving me another set of braces during my university days! *sigh*

And to take things a bit further…. consider the fact that our jaw or mouth is the beginning of our digestive tract. So it can hold onto many issues/stresses in our day to day lives that we physically or energetically do not want to digest and/or process. You know that what I’m talking about… it’s like that kid with their fingers in their ears going “I don’t want to know/hear about it/la la la I’m just going to ignore and avoid this issue right now“. That’s food for thought isn’t it?