How does opposed motion relate to flexion/extension?

+ How does opposed motion relate to flexion/extension? – October 05

Hey JD,
Enjoying your Q and A’s.
Here’s my Q.
How does opposed motion relate to

B.F. London.


Glad you’re enjoying the NL, B.F.
I’m guessing you do a lot of text messaging on
your ph.
Here’s my C’s.

When you first learned cranio sacral, you were
probably told how the cranio sacral system moves
in flexion and extension.   ‘In flexion, the
parietals flex and extend around a medial axis
running along the sagittal suture.’ and so on . .

That’s called the similar motion model.  The
main characteristic of which is that everything
moves symmetrically around the midline of the

What you will have found in practice is that
some people just don’t flex and extend in
symmetrical way.

The fact is that no person fits into the
theoretical models of flexion and extension all
the time.  Some never.  No person’s head moves in
the same way from one day to the next.

It is important to learn flexion and extension
in the beginning so that you can refine your
palpatory skills to really be able to perceive
flexion and extension in all its nuances.

With the opposite motion model flexion and
extension are felt asymmetrically.  When one
parietal is moving into flexion the other one will
be going into extension.  This creates an
asymmetrical peddling motion within the whole

The frontal bone will move anterior and
inferior on one side (flexion) while the other
side moves superior and posterior (extension).

The squamous portion of the occiput will flare
and move inferior and slightly posterior as it
tucks under (flexion) on one side while the other
side is narrowing and moving superiorly

The sphenoid torsions around its body.  One
greater wing will nose dive  (flexion) while the
other side will be arching superiorly.

It’s probably easier to get a mental visual of
it all if you think of the membranous balloon
lining the cranium, filling on one side while it
empties on the other.  This will help you make
sense of what the bones are doing.

Trying to figure out every bone movement in the
opposed motion model will do your head in.

Not recommended.

Get the idea of the way the membranes move and
the bones will follow.

You’ve probably felt this motion already and
may have put it down to your inability to feel
flexion extension correctly.

Well you were right, there is a motion like
that and it’s called opposed motion.

Some days our system will move in similar
motion flexion and extension and on other days it
will have this opposed motion feeling.

Hope that was of H.


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