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Let Me Drain Your Brain

Sharon Leake

The new discovery of lymphatic vessels in the central nervous system is of no surprise to many manual therapists, especially if you practice lymphatic drainage, like myself. As a bodywork/massage therapist & student of osteopathy this was, and is, an underpinning philosophy and approach to manual manipulation. brainlymph

Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, the father of osteopathic medicine, taught his students the importance of having good lymphatic circulation. "The lymphatics are closely and universally connected with the spinal cord and all other nerves, long or short, universal or separate, and all drink from the waters of the brain." "...your patient had better save his life and money by passing you by as a failure, until you are by knowledge qualified to deal with the lymphatics." - A.T. Still, 1899

The first written account of CSF was by a Swedish scientist, Emanuel Swedenborg in 1741. He described an expansion and contraction of the brain with what he called a "highly gifted juice" or "spirituous essence". He said that this fluid traveled through the entire body and returned to the blood via lymph. Swedenborg also stated that cerebrospinal fluid is secreted by blood vessels in the brain, something science has now confirmed.

The choroid plexi is now said to only have a minute role in CSF secretion. This gives credence to Swedenborg's assertion that the blood vessels secrete CSF. With the newly discovered lymphatic vessels in the dura mater, your manual lymphatic drainage therapist can literally drain your brain. This is something that Dr. William Sutherland discovered when he birthed cranial osteopathy in the early 1900's. Later on in the 1970's, Dr. John Upledger developed craniosacral therapy, a spinoff of Sutherlands approach.

The 'newly discovered' lymphatic vessels and glymphatic system of the CNS is exciting and validating for manual therapists and preventative medicine practitioners. Hopefully this will lead to more research for the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Manual lymphatic drainage along with cranial osteopathy or, craniosacral therapy, may help reduce intracranial pressure, inflammation, chronic sinusitis, swelling, allergies, cleansing and reabsorption of CSF that gently assists with the body's natural detoxification. MLD uses light strokes and is deeply relaxing to the mind, body & spirit.


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