Healthcare and Medicine Reference
and endoderm. Sitting literally in the saddle of the sphenoid
(sella turcica), the hypothalamus-pituitary axis is a central
junction box of both the fluid and the neural body, of primarily
ectodermal derivation (Fig. 9.52A). This so-called 'master
gland' sits below the circle of Willis, tasting the blood delivered
fresh from the heart and adding its powerful hormonal spices
and fundamental motor responses to the mix.
Just behind and below this lies the synchondrosis of the
sphenobasilar junction, a central fulcrum of the craniosacral
movement, itself a central feature of the fibrous body, the
mesodermal body - the collagenous net and all the muscular
pulses that produce the fluid waves (Figs 9.52B and
9.53). 121 3
Just behind and below this (but all within a couple of cen-
timeters) lies the top of the pharynx, the central and original
gullet of the endodermal tube, where the pharyngeal raphe
joins the occipital base (Fig. 9.52C). Humans are uniquely
situated so that the direction of the gut (basically vertical from
mouth to anus) and the direction of movement (basically hori-
zontally forward) are not the same. In our faces, 'bite' has been
subordinated to 'sight', and the gut hangs from this crucial
center at the bottom of the skull. Few other animals have so
completely divorced the line of sight and motion from the line
of direction of the spine and gut. This is at least possibly one
source of our psychosomatic split from the rest of the animal
world. 1 4
One wonders about the communication among these ante-
rior 'junction boxes'. Can pursing the lips for a kiss or receiving
a strawberry, or the tensing of the tongue that accompanies
'disgust' be felt in the sphenobasilar junction, or perceived by
the pituitary? One can at least imagine an inter-regulatory
function among these three major systems proceeding from
this point of proximity down the entire organism via the central
nervous system, the submucosal plexus, the cranial pulse, or
the long myofascial continuity from face and tongue to inner
ankle we have traced here.
Fig. 9.52 At the upper pole of the DFL, we see a close
approximation among important structures deriving from the three
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Fig. 9.53 The sphenobasilar junction (SBJ) is a crucial hinge of the
craniosacral pulse, where the 'bodies' of the occipital and
sphenoidal 'vertebrae' meet.
They may also be affected by the techniques of Visceral
Manipulation. These techniques are ably set forth in several
books by the developer of Visceral Manipulation, the French
osteopath Jean-Pierre Barral. 10,1 1
The upper pole of the DFL and the ecto-, meso-,
The very top of the DFL is a fascinating physiological cross-
roads. The posterior track of the anterior longitudinal ligament
joins just anterior to the foramen magnum, the middle track
of the pharynx joins just anterior to that, and the anterior track
of the laryngo-hyoid complex joins, among other attachments,
to the lower wings of the sphenoid.
It is tempting to note the proximity of these points to central
structures deriving from the embryonic ectoderm, mesoderm,