An Almond, a Pea & a Pinecone

I recently graduated and became a fully certified Bio Dynamic Craniosacral Therapist. It’s quite a mouthful isn’t it?! You need to study quite a lot of anatomy and physiology for this course… Here is a fascinating essay that I wrote as part of my homework.

Btw, in case you are wondering what exactly is bio dynamic Craniosacral therapy… Will make a video about it as soon as WCF 2016 is done! 🙂

This picture has nothing to do with this post... or does it?!

This picture has nothing to do with this post… or does it?!

The spinal cord starts at the base of the brain and runs through our backs with nerves emanating from it that go to every single body organ and part. This forms the nervous system that through this sophisticated network of nerves relays information from different parts of the body to the brain and from the brain to various parts of the body. The nervous system is completely electrical in nature.

The endocrine system on the other hand is completely chemical in nature, and influences almost every cell, organ and function of our bodies. It plays a role in regulating mood, growth and development, sexual functions, tissue function and the reproductive process. In general the endocrine system watches over the “slower” functions of our bodies, like cell growth for example. “Faster” functions like breathing and body movement are controlled by the nervous system. Both the nervous system and the endocrine system are totally separate systems of the body, but they have to work in tandem to help the body function properly as a whole.

Fundamentally, the endocrine system is made up of hormones and glands. The hormones are the body’s chemical messengers that move thru the blood stream and transfer information and instructions from one set of cells to another. Many, many different types of hormones move thru the blood stream at any given point in time, but each type is designed to affect only certain types of cells.

A gland is a group of cells that produces and secretes these hormones. The endocrine glands that make up the endocrine system release more than 20 major hormones directly into the blood stream.

The major glands of the human endocrine system are:

The Hypothalamus

The Pituitary



Thyroid and Parathyroid


Reproductive glands

The Hypothalamus is located just above the brain stem. It is an almond shaped little gland and it’s main function is to maintain homeostasis or the stability of the internal environment of the body. The hypothalamus is the main link between the endocrine and nervous systems of the body. It controls the pituitary gland by creating chemicals that either stimulate or suppress the hormone secretions from the pituitary.

The Pituitary gland is as small as a pea. Located at the base of the brain, just beneath the hypothalamus it is often called the Master Gland because it creates the hormones that control almost all the other glands of the endocrine system.

The production and secretion of the pituitary hormones are subject to changes in environment, like changes in seasons and emotions. The hypothalamus steps in here and provides this information to the pituitary which it gets from its (the hypothalamus’s) connections to the nervous system of the body.

The pituitary secretes hormones that:

Stimulates growth of bone and tissues,

Play a role in the body’s handling of nutrients and minerals

Activates milk production in women who are breast feeding,

Stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones,

Stimulates the adrenals to produce their hormones,

Reduce feeling of pain,

Signals the reproductive organs to make sex hormones,

Controls the ovulation and menstrual cycle in women,

Help control the balance of water in the body,

Trigger the contractions of the uterus in a woman having a baby

So you can see that almost nothing in the body moves (or stops moving) without the go ahead of the pituitary and that doesn’t happen unless the hypothalamus tell the pituitary to make it happen!

The mysterious Pineal gland is 1/3rd of an inch long and shaped like a pinecone from where it get’s its name. It secretes just one hormone – Melatonin that affects our awake-sleep cycles. Less of it is secreted during the day, more during the night and the secretion is dependent on light. It was the last discovered gland and has an aura of mystery surrounding it. Much is still unknown about it and many have linked it to “higher consciousness”. It is the gland that is most affected by Yoga, meditation and other spiritual practices.

It’s almost unbelievable that three little clusters of cells, one the size of an almond, the other the size of a pea and the last a tiny pinecone control almost everything that happens in the body!! An almond, a pea and a pinecone make us tick!!


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