‘The skull of a man who had been kicked by a horse. This caused a swelling which slowly increased in size; his left eyeball and the jawbone were gradually squeezed outwards. Eventually, the swelling started leaking and began to stink. After 21 years of suffering from the swelling, the man died in 1771. He was dissected by Andreas Bonn.’ Text from exhibition: ‘De ontdekking van de mens. Anatomie verbeeld’ Bijzondere Collecties Dec 2011

Above are images of  a skull I saw in an exhibition about representation of the body in Amsterdam at Bijzondere Collecties. You can clearly see how over a period of 21 years the growing swelling caused the bones to grow into a different shape. Bones grow in response to the forces exerted on them – Wolff’s Law.

You would never see a skull like the above in todays world; hopefully modern medicine, and we would say cranial work, would be able to stop the underlying swelling.

In the cranial paradigm the most common conditional forces that distort skulls are due to birth processes and/or head trauma. Unresolved conditional forces from early experiences continue to shape the ongoing dynamic production of bone. The images show that if we change the forces acting on a skull even adult bones will remould themselves.

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