Meet Hugo! (How Skull Bones Effect the Central Nervous System)

You see here a multi-coloured skull model (nicknamed Hugo). The different colours will help you to understand some of the dysfunctions treated with CranioSacral Therapy.

The brain skins called meninges (connective tissue of the central nervous system) are attached to the brain and the inside of the skull. Therefore if the sutures (gaps) between the skull bones are compressed, either through impact injury (such as a blow to the head), compression during the birth process (e.g. forceps application), or even vigorous dental procedures (affecting the maxilla – the purple bone you see in the skull) these meninges are impaired in their movement. This means the circulation around areas of the underlying brain tissue can be suboptimal.

This, in turn, effects brain function. Here are some common examples:

  • compression of right temporoparietal suture (between temporal bone – brown – and parietal bone-green) and the occipitomastoid suture (between occiput – blue – and temporal bone process mastoid – brown) are associated with dyslexia (trouble reading)
  • compression of left temporoparietal suture is associated with dyscalculie (trouble calculating)
  • compression of temporoparietal suture and underlying tightness of the meninges (especially horizontally oriented intracranial dura mater) is associated with ringing in the ear (tinnitus), balance trouble, recurrent ear aches and reduced hearing (partial deafness)
  • compression of the vomer bone (orange – inside the purple bone) is associated with a reduced suck reflex in infants (trouble feeding)
  • compression of the occipital condyles (blue) is often responsible for hyperkinetic behaviour and the inability to concentrate for reasonable periods of time
  • compression of the occiput (blue) on the 1st vertebra (called atlas) causes chronic tightness in the neck/shoulder region and chronic congestion headaches, trouble with swallowing and tightness around the throat and via the compression of the vagal nerve trouble with the digestive tract (such as colic in infants)
  • compression of the coronal suture (junction of frontal bone – yellow and the parietal bones) is associated with cerebral palsy
  • compression of the sphenoid is associated with strabismus (cross-eyed) or endocrine disorder (due to impaired function of the pituitary gland)

Using the skull bones (=cranial bones) as levers, certain parts of the craniosacral membrane system can be influenced with specific craniosacral techniques:

  • Within the intracranial dura the vertical system (top to bottom) can be mobilised in the anterior-posterior direction (front to back) by a frontal bone (yellow) lift. The superior-inferior (top to bottom) part of the dura gets mobilised by a bilateral parietal bone (green) lift.
  • The horizontal part of the intracranial membrane system can be mobilised in an anterior-posterior (front to back) direction by the sphenoid bone (red) and a bilateral temporal bone (brown) decompression to address the lateral (outer) aspects of the horizontal dura (side to side direction).
  • The craniosacral techniques can only treat the sutural and connective tissue components (esp. dura mater – one of the skins) of these dysfunctions, not structural causes like brain tissue damage due to lack of oxygen or problems due to genetic disorders.

Click here to read the article “The Anatomy of the Central Nervous System and CranioSacral System”.

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