The tidal expression of Cerebrospinal fluid and the yogic practice of pranayama, breath observation
It's not just the ocean that has tides. Within our bodies a tide like motion takes place all the time. The physiological tidal expression is generated by the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and the corresponding response of tissues and nerves in the body. This tidal ebb and flow takes about 3-5 seconds in each direction and is sometimes called the cranial rhythm. The quality of this rhythm reflects a lot about the state of health of the person. The flow is influenced by our breath. That is why yogis practice prāṇāyāma and focus on the breath during the physical practice. The breath is the axis around which the entire body moves and heals. Prāṇāyāma is a Sanskrit word meaning 'life force extension'.
CSF is the lifeblood of the body and is vital for our existence. It is produced in the choroid plexuses of the ventricles of the brain and surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It's role is not just to protect these delicate aspects of the central nervous system but also to supply much needed nutrients to nerve tissue and remove waste products from cerebral metabolism. It also transports key hormones, neurotransmitters and other neuropeptides throughout the central nervous system.
CSF responds acutely our daily life experiences and to our states of emotions, especially difficult ones. It responds directly to our breath, especially if it is weak, strained and shallow because of stress. If normal circulation and turnover is disrupted over a long period of someone's life, with the progression into old age where CSF production can drop by 50%, the ground is laid for the potential development of neurodegenerative conditions such as Dementia, Alzheimer's disease and neuroinflammatory conditions such as MS. This is because CSF plays such a key role in the functioning of the CNS.
By working with this tide a craniosacral session can help to induce a regular flow of CSF around the body. It can create conditions that allow the nervous system to relax and for the breath to deepen. It can help tissues which have become held and tensed in response to stress and illness release and become more spacious. Working with this natural tide, in a non invasive way, can help people prevent, manage and resolve orthopedic and neurological conditions that many other treatments cannot address.