resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
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.
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