Vault hold: Sutherland's hold
- The sphenobasilar junction (SBJ) can be contacted via either Sutherland’s vault (vault hold) or Becker’s vault hold (modified vault hold).
- In Sutherland’s hold the additional contact with the vault bones can really help you get a sense of the membranes and reciprocal tension membrane dynamics as well as the SBJ and the central nervous system.
- Support your forearms and hands
- Having your forearms and hopefully your elbows supported will help with the contact. Often this means your client will need to go further down the table - it is rarely a problem for clients if their feet hang off the end. Try to keep your forearms at the same level as your hands. It is rare for a client not to need a pillow under their head and this also supports the underside of your hands.
- Be precise in your contact
- Precision in the contacts is important. A very common mistake is to let the contact at the sphenoid slip towards the table. Frequently people wonder why it is hard to sense the sphenoid motion when they are palpating the squama of the temporal bone. The little fingers ideally make contact with the occipital mastoid, posterior to the occipital mastoid suture. With small hands and a big head this can sometimes be difficult. The sphenoid contact is the most important to establish first and then do your best, as your anatomy allows, to reach to the occiput.
- Stay in physical contact with the body
- There can be a huge temptation to let the contact at the greater wings float off the bone as we attempt to create space. It is possible to work in this way, and sometimes it is necessary to lift the contact off if it feels compressive, but there is a sacrifice in terms of the clarity of information that you will pick up. There is something very powerful about staying in contact with the form and working at the edge of where form and energy meet. Working off the body you give up the ability to interact with the form with precision.
- Additional tips to help create space in the contact
- Soft hands, wrists and forearms - let your hands mould to the existing form of the skull with a butterfly touch.
- Staying in contact, imagine your hands flopping out.
- Imagine huge hands and a huge head, this can really amplify your perception of small movements.
- Staying in contact, imagine you hands progressively further from the body - can be a few centimetres to many metres away.
Vault hold: Modified or Becker's hold
Becker’s hold can be a little easier on your hands and, as you are just contacting the sphenoid and occiput, help isolate the SBJ dynamics.
Focus on the head as fluid ballon that is distorted, rather than the bones as a set of cogs.
The sphenoid is in three parts at birth.