resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
What's New in the NCCIH Strategic Plan
The NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) released its draft strategic plan 2016-2021 for public comment in early spring of 2016.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists more than 80 common autoimmune diseases including asthma, Crohn's disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
Are Probiotics Doing More Harm Than Good?
Considerable controversy exists concerning the efficacy of probiotic supplements. Very few human studies show any real positive impact on the microbiome or health. The "promise" of probiotics is based on the few animal studies that suggest a positive effect.
Illuminating the Hidden, Freeing the Source
Amongst the Primary Channels, from a classical point of view, the small intestine is perhaps the most important channel to understand. It is one of the least used acupuncture channels in modern acupuncture, yet it within it can be found a wealth of theories from the Ling Shu.
Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in Taiwan Hospitals
This spring, a team of Western medical doctors and TCM practitioners from Cleveland Clinic traveled to Taiwan to visit Kaiser Pharmaceutical Co. (KP), and China Medical University (CMU), Taiwan's leading integrative medicine hospital.
A Study of Relationships
Sa-Ahm's five element acupuncture method is known to be one of the most effective acupuncture techniques in Korea because it gives an instant response at the time of treatment and has a high success rate in resolving chronic problems.
Adventures with the Pericardium
My previous column on the San Jiao deserves equal time for SJ's loving partner, the pericardium. I nicknamed SJ the travel meridian – but pericardium can also play a crucial role in air travel.
International Congress on Integrative Medicine
"Bridging Research, Clinical Care, Education and Policy" was the theme for the International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health 2016 (ICIMH).
Analyzing Acupuncture Case Studies
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Take this case study as an example. After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse during cold weather.
What are the Meridians?
The meridian and collateral system (jing luo, hereinafter referred to as "Meridians") is comprised of the main meridian channels (jing mai) and the collateral vessels (luo mai). Jing takes from meaning of the Chinese word pathway (also jing) and are the main branches of the system.
Lessons from Functional Neurology
Chiropractic neurology, also known as clinical neuroscience or functional neurology, is moving the chiropractic profession forward by leaps and bounds.
The Professional and Practice Benefits of Political Activism
Welcome to election season, a vital part of our American culture. Every two years, without fail, we are bombarded with TV, print materials and phone messages seeking our vote.
Don't Ignore the Lower Half of the Pelvis (Part 1)
When your patient complains of lower back or pelvic pain, but your usual treatments are not getting the job done, what do you examine and treat? You may be missing important structures in the lower half of the pelvis.
Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes (Part 1)
More than 45 million children ages 6-18 participate in some form of organized athletics, and 75 percent of American families with school-aged children have at least one child participating in organized sports.
Time to Fight for Your Medicare Right
I have heard a lot of noise and a lot of debate about what is going on with Medicare. As an ACA delegate, I often get asked: 'What is the ACA even doing?'
Guidelines for the Use of Modifier -52
Modifier -52 identifies that a service or procedure has been partially reduced or eliminated at the physician's discretion. This is to indicate the basic service described by the procedure code has been performed, but not all aspects of the service have been performed.
Know Your Research: Tips for Evaluating Literature Reviews
Clinical and experimental studies are not the only types of published research we might encounter as we look for evidence to inform our practices. One of the most useful types is the literature review, which summarizes a group of studies.
Less Time Than Required
Q: When is it appropriate to use a modifier -52? Can I use it for a timed service when I do less than the time required by the code?
Chiropractic in the Eyes of the Public: 2nd Gallup-Palmer Poll
The second Gallup / Palmer College poll has been completed, yielding significant additional data regarding Americans' experiences with and perceptions of chiropractic care.
Work Stress and Musculoskeletal Health: Do Your Patients Get the Connection?
Most people underestimate the impact their job has on their health, especially if that job isn't particularly physically demanding. Big mistake.
MPA Media Wins More Publishing Awards
The American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) has honored Dynamic Chiropractic with a national award and two regional awards for editorial excellence, and sister publication DC Practice Insights with two regional awards for graphic design excellence.
November, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 11
The Pressurestat Model Explains the Craniosacral Rhythm
By John Rollinson, D. Eu, CST-D; guest author for John Upledger, DO, OMM
The Pressurestat Model illustrates the mechanism behind the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid through the semi-closed, hydraulic craniosacral system.Originally defined by Dr. John Upledger and a team of researchers at Michigan State University in the 1970s, the model explains the palpable, rhythmic expansion and contraction of the craniosacral system.
The brain and spinal cord are surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This fluid transports nutrients, hormones and peptides. It removes metabolic waste and toxic substances. It serves as a shock absorber, floating the brain to counteract gravity. It even influences respiration and cerebral blood flow, among its many functions. Given all this, it's easy to see how essential it is for CSF to flow unimpaired. If an area of brain tissue is even partially deprived of optimal CSF motion and flow, that area will be forced into some degree of functional compromise.1
Cerebrospinal fluid is held within the dural membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. This tough, watertight sac takes the shape of the interior of the cranium and intervertebral canal. Though dura mater doesn't stretch much, this fluid container is flexible and allows for CSF pressure changes. When pressure increases, the dural membrane expands, and the bones of the cranium and sacrum move along with it. When pressure decreases, the reverse occurs.
This filling of the craniosacral system is known as flexion, and the emptying is known as extension. During flexion, the head becomes wider transversely and shorter in its anterior-posterior dimension. The whole body externally rotates and widens. After flexion, this motion passes through a neutral zone on its way into extension, during which the head narrows and elongates and the whole body internally rotates.
Under normal circumstances, the craniosacral system proceeds cyclically through flexion and extension at a rate of about six to 12 cycles per minute. We can feel this rhythm at various places on the body because "this whole-body response is probably due to the pumping effect of the cerebrospinal fluid upon the motor system ... which causes a rhythmical tonification and detonification of the myofascial system in response to rhythmically fluctuating nerve signals."2
Tracing the Flow of Cerebrospinal Fluid Through the Craniosacral System
So, we have a hydraulic system that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. To understand how it is semi-closed, we must first understand how CSF enters and leaves the system. Within the ventricles of the brain, you'll find a capillary network - the choroid plexus - that produces CSF. In essence, blood circulating through the choroid plexus is "turned into" CSF, which then enters the craniosacral system.
The choroid plexus has stretch- and compression-sensing receptors within the saggital suture of the cranium. As CSF is added to the craniosacral system and its volume increases, the dural container expands, spreading the bones of the head. The parietal bones then move apart and spread the saggital suture. When this happens, the whole neuromechanism signals the choroid plexus to stop or greatly reduce the production of CSF. As the fluid drains from the system, the dura and cranium shrink and the parietals come together, compressing the saggital suture. The pressure-sensing nerve endings connected to the choroid plexus then send a signal to resume CSF production and the cycle repeats.
Normally, the system seems to operate on a cycle of about six seconds; CSF is produced for about three seconds and then production ceases for about three seconds. This creates the rhythmical rise and fall of fluid pressure within the system.
From the lateral ventricles, CSF enters the third ventricle via the foramina of Monro, then the fourth ventricle via the cerebral aqueduct. The CSF then enters the subarachnoid space and the central canal of the spinal cord via the foramina of Luschka and of Magendie, where it joins the CSF that is already bathing the brain and spinal cord, and all neural tissue enclosed by the dura mater. The fluid then circulates down and around the spinal cord and up and around the brain.
Cerebrospinal fluid passes out of the semi-closed hydraulic system via folds - called arachnoid granulation bodies or arachnoid villae - of the arachnoid layer of the cranial meninges that project through the inner layer of dura mater into the venous sinuses of the brain.3 CSF is reabsorbed into the venous blood through these arachnoid villae, which are primarily in the saggital venous sinous.
Although the rate of reabsorption is fairly constant, it seems to be regulated (think of a car idling) by a cluster of arachnoid granulation bodies found at the anterior end of the straight sinus. From its position at the "crossroads" of the intracranial membranes, this cluster can become aware of any tension within the membrane system and may regulate the outflow of CSF accordingly.
To summarize in a different way, the craniosacral system is like a leaking toilet with the tank cracked into pieces and lined with a giant exam glove (which is the dural membrane). The float-switch in the toilet tank is the saggital suture, which causes an inflow whenever enough water/CSF leaks away down the drain (sinuses).
Generating Whole-Body Effects
The craniosacral system is intimately related to the nervous, musculoskeletal, vascular, lymphatic, endocrine and respiratory systems. Just as abnormalities in the structure or function of any of these systems can influence the craniosacral system, abnormalities in or injuries to the structure or function of the craniosacral system can have profound and deleterious effects on the development or function of the nervous system, especially the brain.4
There are also ways in which the craniosacral system directly influences important, ongoing physiological processes. For instance, the continuing rhythmical movement of the system may serve to "milk" the pituitary gland and affect the neuroendocrine system. The rhythmic motion may also be an important stimulus for the development of the brain. Similarly, the motion around the skull sutures may pump the newly formed red blood cells out of the flat bones of the skull and into the general circulation.5
Of course, any abnormality of the craniosacral system could impact the body or any of its parts through the central nervous system. Any deficiency in circulation of CSF could affect brain and nerve functioning. Any restriction of nerves passing out of the craniosacral system due to restrictions in the cranial sutures or membranes may affect their end organs. Thanks to the Pressurestat Model, we can see why.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
John Rollinson practices full-time in Northampton, Mass., and at several school clinics in the area. You can contact him at www.rosetrust.org.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.