Cerebral Spinal Fluid Circulation
One of the keys to brain health is the circulation of Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF). As the image below shows, it is synthesized in the ventricles of the brain and flows around the brain and down along the spinal chord and then back up to the brain. The fluid is reabsorbed by the tissues that surround the passageways where it flows. Along the journey, among the functions of CSF is to pick up and carry away waste products from the brain.
In order to maintain optimal brain health, it helps to understand how the brain cycles nutrients and waste. Throughout the day, when the brain is most active, it swells slightly and builds up metabolic waste products. When we lie down and go to sleep, the brain shrinks back down as those waste products are filtered out with the CSF and carried away by the circulatory system. This is one of the essential purposes of sleep.
In the morning, in order to get more of the contaminated CSF out of the ventricular circulation system, it helps to move the spine. The Wake-Up Exercises that are demonstrated in the video section of this website begin with some very simple mobilization exercises that one can perform while lying down, even in bed. The first four exercises involved tilting the pelvis up and down, and then swiveling It side to side. Then making circular movements in both directions with the hips. These four exercises are an especially excellent way to get your day started and give your brain juice a refreshing warm up. In practicing this exercises, I find that it leaves me more awake and alert. It basically jump starts my day even without coffee or other stimulants that many people seem to use for a similar purpose.
Mark is a Qi Gong and Tai Chi instructor and gives classes and private lessons in Carmel Valley, CA