The Breath of Life

Within that crebrospinal fluid there is an invisible element that I refer to as the “Breath of Life.” I want you to visualize this Breath of Life as a fluid within this fluid, something that does not mix, something that has potency as the thing that makes it move, Is it necessary to know what makes the fluid move? Visualize a potency, an intelligent potency, that is more intelligent than your own human mentality ~ W.G. Sutherland DO
I have been studying CranioSacral Therapy for my CEUs (continuing education units) this year. I am taking a course in a modality I haven’t had before. In my two year program at Intellitec Medical Institute, I had many modalities included in my classes. Each class had a modality as its lab where you were tested on the human body as well as a written test. This is one modality we really never learned. We did learn to hold our hands behind someone’s head and feel for the pulse of the cerebral spinal fluid. We had to learn the bones, muscles, nerves, and systems of the body. I even had pathology class.
While taking this course I was given the history of CranioSacral. It seems a Dr. William Sutherland in 1898 or sooner was looking at the human skull. He noticed the sutures on the skull and started to come up with ideas about them. One of his ideas is that sutures breath. They inhale and exhale just as the lungs do. I get this. I think it can be a reasonable argument. He even made some sort of helmet to test his theories. He ended up with headaches, nausea, and other problems which led him to believe these sutures do breathe.
Sutures are joints that hold together each bone in the skull. They are made of fibrous connective tissue. Connective tissue is like glue in the body. It holds everything together. It keeps on regenerating too. That is why doctors who operate on you tell everyone to just cut it out and throw it away. That really isn’t a great idea since that is how scars are formed. As medical doctors learn more about the human body, they start realizing that things they did in the past are really stupid ideas now. People wouldn’t have so many scars from surgery if they wouldn’t cut off the extra connective tissue.
Connective tissue has many functions it binds, it allows oxygen, nutrients, carbon dioxide, and waste to pass, it allows resistance to stretching and tearing, structural and functional support, provides cushioning,  compression, its elastic, and is found everywhere in the human body including the nervous system. Think of connective tissue as a framework to your house. Your body is a house and connective tissue is your wood, metal, pipes, electrical lines, and anything else you need to glue your home together. I like to think of it as breathable glue. It lets in air and lets out the toxic waste.
Knowing what I do about connective tissue, I can totally understand Dr. Sutherland’s position. The body breathes. All your cells breathe. You need oxygen to go everywhere in the body and you need carbon dioxide taken out. That would lead anyone to the logical conclusion that cells breathe. You need some way for carbon dioxide to leave your body. Carbon dioxide is made in your body so it must be released somehow.
The brain has a blood brain barrier. That means you need a special blood to go to your brain. That “blood” is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or cerebral spinal fluid. That specialized fluid is like oil for your engine. If transmission fluid gets into the engine oil or antifreeze gets into the engines oil, your engine is toast same with the brain if blood gets into that. The engine has movable, breathable parts to keep combustion going just like your brain and skull. Your engine has wires and spark plugs coming out of it as does your brain. Your brain has a stem and nerves going down your spine. Actually, your spine is a specialized casing to protect your spinal column. Your spinal column is a cord of nerves that are like a trunk of a tree. It branches out into roots like a tree branches out its roots They nerves then go to other towns in your body. Think of your spinal column as the interstate and the nerves as highways and the roots as dead end roads you are traveling. They are filled with electricity so be careful. Just like the wires in your house that turn on the lights or allow you to charge your batteries.
Think of yourself as an electric battery. Electricity seems to have the power to explode or distribute oxygen, from which we receive the vitalizing benefits. When it plays freely all through your system, you feel well. If you shut it off in one place, congestion results ~ Dr. A.T. Still
This pulsating fluid that runs down your spinal column and around your brain is what craniosacral therapist are looking for. This is not like your pulse in the circulatory system. This is like a very slow blop. It isn’t even timed correctly from person to person. When I was in massage school, I found it on several of my classmates. Each had a pulse from this fluid that would pulsate every 6 to 30 seconds. Each person was different. It is hard to find this pulse so it could be everyone’s is the same but you have to find it and hope you keep it so you can count it. The circulatory system really takes the lead on pulses. If you really sit and feel you can also find the lymphatic flow as well. You find that pulse easier at the junctions where there are lymph nodes.
Another reason why everyone I tried finding the CSF pulse on had different times could be different health issues. One person in our class had back issues, one had anxiety, one had hip problems, one had uterus issues, one was healthy, one was obese, and then we could take into consideration age. There are many variables to why each pulse was different. I had several classmates with all kinds of pathologies. Each of these health issues could easily explain why the CSF pulse was different or maybe even tell us if there are restrictions one doesn’t even know about.
There really isn’t a whole lot of research into certain areas of the body. The medical community just takes it for granted and instead of being curious they just go with what they knew over 200 + years ago. Since we have so much technology today, I wish the medical community would start to investigate the human body more. I wish they would do more research and update their findings with something more concrete. It is like saying the earth is flat and the sun rotates around the earth. At some point you need to leave the dark ages and expand your horizon.
It has been an amazing journey taking my CranioSacral Therapy (CST) class. With that and my ramblings, I leave you with another quote from Dr. Sutherland who is considered the pioneer of the craniosacral movement. It is an interesting idea that doctors have different ideas of what is the breath of life or even what is a soul.
Dr. Still envisioned the cerebral spinal fluid as an intermediary in the movement of Divine intelligence, a channeling of creation into embryological segments and irrigating them with life, giving form and function and order and intelligence to our existance ~ W.G. Sutherland DO
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September’s 5 Minute Challenge.

I am inviting all my readers to a challenge. I will be doing this challenge as well. As you know exercise can reduce stress, decrease your weight, and lower your blood pressure. You need a diet high in protein when you are building muscle but you shouldn’t over look your other nutrients. There are other important vitamins and minerals for your muscles. They include calcium, magnesium, potassium, omega-3, iron, copper, zinc, vitamin c, vitamin d, vitamin e and the b vitamins. There are a few other vitamins you need. They are as important as the muscle builders because they help with the immune system and with circulation. I am talking about vitamin A, vitamin K, and biotin. I am starting you out simple. One exercise and one food after the work out. If you are allergic to a suggested food, do not eat it. If you have any chronic problem where your physician said not to eat or drink something follow their advice! 
This months challenge is:
Running in place for 5 minutes. That is it. I want you to take out your cell phone, pull up the stopwatch, and set it for 5 minutes then run in place. If you can’t do 5 minutes at once, try it in one minute increments. Do it while you are watching tv, taking the subway, at the office, before bed, after you wake up, or anywhere that is safe. You can do it while standing in line at Starbucks waiting for your coffee.

Running in place is great for your heart which is a muscle by the way and will help with building your leg and hip muscles.  Most think you won’t build any muscle but you will build some.

When you finish running in place for five minutes, I want you to then eat a banana. Bananas are great sources of potassium which you need to build muscles. I am going to post the Banana nutrition information at the bottom of this article. It is good for everyone to know the nutrition facts of what they are eating.
Very simple this month.  Next month we will have a new challenge.
    1. Nutrition Facts
Bananas
Amount Per 1 medium (7″ to 7-7/8″ long) (118 g)
Calories 105
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.4 g 0%
Saturated fat 0.1 g 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 1 mg 0%
Potassium 422 mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 27 g 9%
Dietary fiber 3.1 g 12%
Sugar 14 g
Protein 1.3 g 2%
Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 17%
Calcium 0% Iron 1%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 20%
Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 8%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Movement of Sweeping

Have you ever watched yourself sweeping? You place your feet apart (at least I do) to steady your back, you grab the broom, place one hand at the top and the other near the middle, then you gently push the broom forward collecting all the dirt into a little pile. You grab your dustpan, bend over at the waist, and with your other hand, sweep the pile onto the dustpan

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Have you ever wondered what muscles you use to sweep the floor?

I have.

You really use mostly your shoulder and arm muscles but if you are walking you also use your legs, hips, and feet.

If you do plenty of sweeping for your employment, you start seeing how this simple job can turn into a gigantic pain.

Watch how you sweep. 

As you are watching how you sweep tune into your body. Feel which muscles you are moving. You can do this with any activity. Just focus. Focus on your breathing and what you are doing. As I type this I can feel the muscles in my hands and forearms. I am aware of which muscles are moving so I can type each key.

The main muscles you use for sweeping are:  

  1. Pectoralis major
  2. Coracobrachialis
  3. Deltoid
  4. Biceps brachii
  5. Infraspinatus
  6. Teres minor

Walking alone uses fifty-one different muscles.

We use other muscles as well but if you are standing in one spot these are your major muscles.  We tend to walk as well when we are cleaning our house. We tend to bend down on our hands and knees. We use our hand muscles for cleaning with toothbrushes in filthy corners. We use our wrists for vacuuming various sites. Every grandmother on the planet has told their grandchildren to put some elbow grease into that scrubbing. Walking is one of the first fitness ideas everyone does when they try to lose weight, but you can also clean your house to lose the extra pounds as well. Cleaning your home involves taking steps meaning you must walk around your house to clean it. You have to reach high to clean a shelf. You have to bend down to sweep up a pile of dirt. Have you considered all the muscles you are using?

People always forget that simply cleaning your house is a workout.

Cleaning your house is a workout. Sweeping helps to burn calories when you need to get rid of a few extra pounds. Put in mopping on your hands and knees, you will really see more calories burned. This is also going to make your muscles sorer. Epsom salt baths are great for helping your muscles to heal themselves after any type of workout.

Remember you burn calories while even breathing. Some people have to sweep and/or mop daily for employment. You can see how this can lead to back problems, hip issues, foot soreness, arms hurting, and other pain. This is really why people who have manual labor jobs need massage therapy.

You should be aware of your posture as well when you are in employment that requires physical labor. You twist just right and there goes your erector spinae.  The erector spinae is one of your back muscles and one of the muscles that causes lower back pain. We use our muscles in different ways every day. Just sitting you use your muscles. How else are you able to keep your head up when writing? That takes the strength of your neck muscles. The body moves like a dance that is well performed by a dancer. You’re not even aware of how each muscle should move or when it should move but your body does. Each muscle has its own special movement in the body. Some muscles take on double duty.  Here is how we tell if a muscle will do double duty. If a muscle only crosses a single joint then it is usually for extension or flexion for example.  A muscle that is biarticular crosses two or more joints and can be used to do both.  There are a few muscles that cross three or more joints. These muscles will either be for extension or flexion plus be able to provide pronation or supination of the muscle. Remember to love your muscles daily. They do so much for you.

What are muscles?

When you are attending massage school, one of your main classes is muscles class. Massage therapists are expected to know the names, origins/insertions (aka attachment sites), location, and each muscle movement. Massage school is never easy.

What are muscles?

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A muscle is fibrous tissue that contracts and relaxes to produce movement or maintain a position.

What is fibrous tissue?

It is a band of specialized cells used together which allows the body to do something special like move your arm or digest your food. I am not sure of the percentage of your body that is made up of this tissue, but I can bet it is 100% or less. We are nothing but cells formed together to make the human machine. Each of these cells decide what kind of tissue they will make and then a white band of tissue will connect everything together some call it fat but really it is connective tissue.

tendon-white fibrous tissue100xThis is tendon white fibrous tissue

What are the different types of muscle tissue?

While you are in muscles class you learn about the different types of muscle tissue. The three types are smooth (visceral), skeletal, and cardiac. Cardiac is a muscle tissue all its own and really only found in the heart. Smooth or visceral muscles are what your organs are made up of. Massage therapist usually don’t work on smooth muscle unless they have a certification in lymphatic massage. Massage therapist  work on skeletal muscles.

In all we have between 600-700 muscles in the human body. Each performs a movement or set of movements in conjunction with other muscles.