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Endocrine Glands

Endocrine Glands

suggestions for experiential exploration

1. Perineal Body

  • Location: midway between pubis and coccyx & between the 2 sit bones (ischial tuberosities) at the central tendon of the pelvic diaphragm Reflex point: center of the pelvic diaphragm
  • Spatial direction: line of gravity in uprightness Associated joints: pubic symphysis, sacroiliac joints Embryological origin: beginning of primitive streak Developmental pattern: pre-spinal?
  • Supports: discs, soft spine, prostate in men Function: balances reproductive system? Quality: centering, resilience

2. Coccygeal Body

  • Location: anterior tip of coccyx
  • Spinal energy center: skin over anterior tip of coccyx
  • Reflex point: front tip of coccyx up through posterior anus to back wall
  • Spatial direction: lengthening forward before rooting down into overall spinal length Associated joints: sacrococcygeal & other coccygeal joints, lower spine & hip joints Embryological origin: ectoderm?
  • Developmental pattern: homolateral yield & push from lower limbs
  • Supports: central nervous system, glands of the head
  • Function: blood cell formation through secretion of erythropoietin? modulation of sympathetic nervous system through decrease in lymphocytes
  • Quality: rootedness

3. Gonads

Ovaries:

  • Location: inside pelvis midway between navel & pubis, a thumb’s length from midline Reflex points: on the belly skin anterior to the glands, and on either side of the rectus abdominis midway between navel and pubis
  • Spinal energy center: center of sacrum
  • Spatial direction: headward from ankles
  • Associated joints: ankles, foreleg rotation of tibia & fibula
  • Embryological origin: intermediate mesoderm
  • Developmental pattern: homolateral yield & push from upper limbs
  • Supports: arches of feet, glands of the throat
  • Function: reproduction, secretion of estrogens & progesterone
  • Quality: unity, creativity

Testes:

  • Location: inside scrotum
  • Reflex points: on the scrotum, and on belly skin anterior to highest points of ductus deferens (on upper lateral edges of the bladder), midway from pubis to navel on either side of the rectus abdominis
  • Spinal energy center: center of sacrum
  • Spatial direction: headward from ankles
  • Associated joints: ankles, foreleg rotation of tibia & fibula
  • Embryological origin: intermediate mesoderm
  • Developmental pattern: homolateral yield & push from upper limbs
  • Supports: arches of feet, glands of the throat                             
  • Function: reproduction, secretion of androgens, testosterone, androsterone
  • Quality: unity, creativity

4. Placenta

  • Location: inside uterus during pregnancy
  • Spinal energy center: ?
  • Spatial direction: concentric
  • Associated joints: ?
  • Embryological origin: intermediate mesoderm
  • Developmental patterns: navel radiation
  • Supports: fetal growth & maintenance of pregnancy
  • Function: maintenance of pregnancy through secretion of progesterone and estrogen, development of fetal reproductive organs through secretion of gonadotropins, orchestrating fetal hormones through secretion of pituitary-like hormones until fetal pituitary is mature enough to take over
  • Quality: guidance, nurturance

5. Adrenals

  • Location: on top of kidneys at about T11-12 on either side of spine
  • Reflex points: on skin of back behind the glands, and in navel & sacroiliac joints
  • Spinal energy center: lumbar spine opposite navel
  • Spatial direction: headward from thighs, radial through navel
  • Associated joints: knees, femurs, sacroiliac joints
  • Embryological origin: intermediate mesoderm (cortex), neural crest (medulla) Developmental pattern: navel radiation
  • Supports: intestines, kidneys
  • Function:
    • Medulla (inner portion – ganglia of the sympathetic nervous system but without axons and dendrites)  – fight/flight responses through secretion of adrenalin & noradrenalin + some secretion of dopamine
    • Cortex (outer portion) – (a) electrolyte/water balance through secretion of aldosterone, (b) metabolism of carbohydrates, fat & protein + anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive responses through secretion of cortisol, (c) from inner cortex: male sex characteristics through secretion of androgens
  • Quality: courage, strength

6. Digestive tract

  • Location: scattered cells within the lining of stomach and small intestines (the largest collection of endocrine cells in the body)
  • Reflex points: around navel?
  • Spinal energy centers: mesentery?
  • Spatial direction: horizontal?
  • Associated joints: lumbosacral
  • Embryological origin: endoderm
  • Developmental pattern: mouthing
  • Supports: digestive organs, enteric nervous system
  • Function: control of exocrine digestive secretions, enteric blood flow and intestinal muscle motility through secretion of many different peptides (gastrin, secretin, cholecystokinin [CCK], peptides that stimulate the pancreas to release insulin
  • Quality: nourishment

7. Kidneys

  • Location: in retroperitoneum on either side of the spine between T11 and L3, slightly lower on R side
  • Reflex points: under front lateral arch of foot, skin surface over floating ribs            
  • Spinal energy center: upper lumbar
  • Spatial direction: inward
  • Associated joints: knees, costovertebral joints of floating ribs
  • Embryological origin: intermediate mesoderm (pronephron, mesonephron, metanephron)
  • Developmental pattern: bilateral
  • Supports: blood, bone marrow
  • Function: secretes erythropoietin (stimulating red blood cell formation), renin (stimulating the release of aldosterone to conserve sodium), medullipin (decreasing blood pressure), calcitriol (stimulating calcium absorption)
  • Quality: hope

8. Liver

  • Location: beneath the right thoracic diaphragm and costal arch
  • Reflex points: right inferior attachment of ribs to diaphragm
  • Spinal energy center: thoracolumbar junction
  • Spatial direction: outward
  • Associated joints: facet joints of the spine?
  • Embryological origin: endoderm invading splanchnic mesoderm
  • Developmental pattern: homologous yield into the lower limbs
  • Supports: skeletal system, blood
  • Function: supports bone growth through secretion of somatomedin, increases blood pressure through secretion of angiotensinogen, stimulates platelet production through secretion of thrombopoetin, regulates iron homeostasis through secretion of hepcidin
  • Quality: power

9. Pancreas

  • Location: solar plexus, extending back to the left under stomach (the endocrine cells of the pancreas cluster near its tail, close to the spleeen), at about L2
  • Reflex points: at midline half way between xiphoid process and navel and between the cartilages of the 10th ribs
  • Spinal energy center: solar plexus and top of the lumbar curve
  • Spatial direction: vertical
  • Associated joints: fingers, toes, TMJ?
  • Embryological origin: endoderm invading splanchnic mesoderm
  • Developmental pattern: homologous push from the lower limbs
  • Supports: extremities of hands, feet, head, tail
  • Function: balances blood sugar level through secretion of insulin, glucagon & somatostatin
  • Quality: passion, assertion

10. Thoracobody

  • Location: behind xiphoid process, embedded in the thoracic diaphragm Reflex point: skin over the middle of the xiphoid process
  • Energy center: xiphoid process, T12
  • Spatial direction: horizontal?
  • Associated joints: inferior and superior joints of the sternum
  • Embryological origin: intermediate mesoderm?
  • Developmental pattern: pulsation?
  • Supports: breath
  • Function: initiates breath?
  • Quality: inclusion

11. Heart Body (or Bodies)

  • Location: behind either side of the sternum between the nipples, at about the 4th or 5th costal joint to the sternum, in the heart at the AV node at the septum of the wall of the R atrium (with fibers passing to both R and L sides of the heart) at the center of the heart’s spiral
  • Reflex point: skin over the sternum at 4th rib level
  • Energy center: center of sternum
  • Spatial direction: horizontal
  • Associated joints: radioulnar, wrist
  • Embryological origin: splanchnic lateral plate mesoderm
  • Developmental pattern: homologous yield & push from upper
  • limbs Supports: fluid balance
  • Function: balances inward & outward flow, regulates blood pressure (through secretion of atrial natriuretic factor [ANF] which inhibits sodium reabsorption, and of atrial natriuretic peptide [ANP] which lowers sodium levels and blood pressure, and of brain natriuretic peptide [BNP] which reduces blood volume)
  • Quality: love

12. Thymus

  • Location: behind manubrium but extending up to lower edge of thyroid and down as far as 4th costal cartilage (after puberty: also distributed throughout lymphatic system) Reflex point: the skin of the sternal notch above the manubrium
  • Spinal energy center: at the level of T1, radiating power out upper limbs into space
  • Spatial direction: horizontal
  • Associated joints: acromioclavicular, glenohumeral
  • Embryological origin: pharyngeal mesoderm from 3rd pharyngeal pouch
  • Developmental pattern: homologous reach & pull of upper limbs
  • Supports: immune system
  • Function: secretes thymosin which helps to develop and mature T-lymphocytes
  • Quality: protection

13. Thyroid

  • Location: wrapped around front of trachea just below thyroid cartilage
  • Reflex points: skin at the center of the thyroid cartilage, skin over thyroid gland
  • Spinal energy center: behind thyroid cartilage
  • Spatial direction: omnidirectional
  • Associated joints: elbow, hyoid, sternoclavicular, sternocostal, vocal diaphragm
  • Embryological origin: pharyngeal endoderm from the forming tongue
  • Developmental pattern: homologous reach & pull of lower limbs
  • Supports: voice, all cells
  • Functions: (1) growth and metabolism through secretion of thyroid hormone, and (2) decrease of blood calcium levels through secretion of calcitonin
  • Quality: expression

14. Parathyroids (2 superior, 2 inferior)

  • Location: the dorsal surface of the thyroid gland on either side of the trachea
  • Reflex points: on skin of neck over the 4 parathyroids, and on skin of sternal notch above manubrium
  • Spinal energy center: below thyroid, behind the sternal notch in front of C7
  • Spatial direction: cross-patterned
  • Associated joints: ribs to scapulae, sternocostal joints, aretynoid cartilage Embryological origin: pharyngeal endoderm from 3rd and 4th pharyngeal pouches Developmental patterns: contralateral reach & pull of upper limbs (sequencing from superior to opposite inferior), contralateral reach & pull of lower limbs (sequencing from inferior to opposite superior)                                    
  • Supports: articulation of ribs on opposite side of each parathyroid side, ribs top & bottom in relation to bottom and top parathyroids (an inverse relation), aretynoid register of voice
  • Function: increases calcium in blood through secretion of parathyroid hormone
  • Quality: relation to others

15. Carotid bodies

  • Location: in the bifurcation of each carotid artery
  • Reflex points: the surface of the horns of the hyoid bone, below & deep to angles of jaw Spinal energy center: C1, the atlas vertebra
  • Spatial direction: vertical
  • Associated joints: atlanto-occipital, whole spine, costovertebral
  • Embryological origin: splanchnic lateral plate mesoderm
  • Developmental patterns: spinal yield and push from tail
  • Supports: balance of the head, softness of spine, ease of speech
  • Function: registers oxygen levels in blood moving to the brain, stimulates either breathing or heart rate through the glossopharyngeal nerve
  • Quality: effortlessness in expression

16. Pineal body

  • Location: on midline above anterior cerebellum and behind 3rd ventricle, on a diagonal line from nasal cavity out the top of the back of the head Reflex point: center of the top of the back of the skull
  • Energy center: birthing crown, top of the visual cortex Spatial direction: sagittally upward toward the back Associated joints: ossicles? otoliths?
  • Embryological origin: ectoderm
  • Developmental patterns: spinal yield & push of the head
  • Supports: hearing, equilibrium, perception of tone & vibration, back of the head
  • Function: secretes melatonin, balances circadian rhythms, influences immune function, ageing, involved in Down’s syndrome
  • Quality: intuition

17. Mammillary bodies

  • Location: behind the infandibulum of the pituitary gland
  • Reflex point: upper point of the front wall of each ear canal, center of the top of the head Energy center: center of the top of the head
  • Spatial direction: directly upward
  • Associated joints: atlanto-occipital? spheno-basilar?
  • Embryological origin: ectoderm
  • Developmental patterns: spinal reach and pull of the head
  • Supports: sense of smell, memory, cranial diaphragm, middle of the head
  • Function: opens senses in relation to smell, stimulates sucking and swallowing reflexes, plays an important role in long-term memory
  • Quality: mindfulness

18. Pituitary (anterior & posterior)

  • Location: in the sella turcica of the sphenoid bone, behind palate, suspended from 3rd ventricle by a stalk (the infundibulum)
  • Reflex point: at midline on forehead skin above eyebrows
  • Energy center: between the eyebrows (3rd eye)
  • Spatial direction: saggitally forward in midline
  • Associated joints: intervertebral, front of the head
  • Embryological origin: ectoderm
  • Developmental patterns: spinal reach and pull of the tail
  • Supports: vision
  • Function: ‘master gland’ governing function of thyroid, pancreas, adrenals & gonads, influencing metabolism, cell growth, water balance, blood circulation and birth; anterior pituitary: secretes somatotropin (growth), thyroid-stimulating hormone(TSH), adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), gonadotrophic hormone, prolactin, diabeticogenic principle
  • posterior pituitary: secretes vasopressin or antidiuretic hormone (ADH)
  • Quality: compassion

19. Skeleton

  • Location: all bones, oxytocin, bridges between the nervous and endocrine systems
  • Reflex points: ?
  • Energy centers: ?
  • Spatial direction: antigravity
  • Associated joints: joint capsules?
  • Embryological origin: mesoderm
  • Supports: action
  • Function: secretes FGF23 which inhibits calcitriol (and thus digestive calcium absorption) and also increases phosphate excretion + secretes osteocalcin which increases insulin production (balancing blood sugar and creating usable energy)
  • Quality: support

20. Skin

  • Location: covering the whole body
  • Reflex points: ?
  • Energy centers: ?
  • Spatial direction: eccentric
  • Associated joints: synovial fluid?
  • Embryological origin: surface ectoderm (epidermis), dermatomes of paraxial mesoderm (dermis)
  • Supports: calcium absorption
  • Function: secretes cholecalciferol (inactive Vitamin D) which is converted to calcitriol (active Vitamin D) in the liver and kidneys
  • Quality: radiance

21. Fat tissue (adipose)

  • Location: beneath the skin, around organs, in yellow bone marrow, in breast tissue
  • Reflex points: ?
  • Energy centers: ?
  • Spatial direction: no direction
  • Associated joints: joints between organs?
  • Embryological origin: mesoderm
  • Supports: energy production, heat retention
  • Function: secretes adiponectin (protects blood vessels from inflammation and atherosclerosis – levels of this hormone rise with weight loss), leptin (binds to brain neurons to produce satiety), estrogen, resistin and cytokine (especially TNFa)
  • Quality: abundance

©Erik Bendix, 2010, 2017, 2019
summarizing and expanding on writings (and videos) by
Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Amy Matthews, Linda Hartley, Lisa Clark and others

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