The Circulation of cerebrospinal fluid plays a major role in craniosacral therapy. As a craniosacral therapist makes through touch contact with rhythmical motions related to the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. New scientific insights show the "circulation" or maybe better "movement" of cerebrospinal fluid is much more complex than previously understood. This article summarizes the latest scientific developments on cerebrospinal fluid and the implications of this for craniosacral therapy.
Traditional understanding of cerebrospinal fluid circulation
How the cerebrospinal (CSF) fluid moves through the brain according to the traditional view is explained the best in below picture from Netter"s anatomy atlas. The cerebrospinal fluid moves at the choroid plexus through the blood brain barrier into the brain ventricles. The fluid circulates through the ventricles, the cistern, and the subarachnoid space to be absorbed into the blood by the arachnoid villi (1).
Circulation of cerebrospinal fluid, plate 160 in Netter's anatomy atlas (2)
Circulation of cerebrospinal fluid, plate 160 in Netter"s anatomy atlas (2)
As Netter"s picture shows with the arrows, it assumes an unidirectional flow of the cerebrospinal fluid. This circulation of cerebrospinal fluid is the traditional scientific viewpoint and has been taught to many people in anatomy classes for decades.
Most of the cerebrospinal fluid is formed in the ventricles. The historically view is that the choroid plexus are the major site of creation for CSF fluid. This was based on an experiment that the American neurosurgeon Walter Dandy did in 1913 on a single dog (1). He removed the choroid plexus of the poor dog in one lateral ventricle and occluded the canal between the lateral ventricle and the third ventricle (foramen of Monro). He reported collapse of the ventricle without the choroid plexus and dilation of the other