Rhythmic Breathing, lymphatic drainage and cerebrospinal fluid – 3 mind-blowing facts!

Did you know that

Read on….

HI everyone, it’s Rachel here again, Rose Tint Your Life.

Rhythmic Breathing

So, I thought I would do a little video about one of my favourite topics, which is breathing. I’m actually feeling a great need to share this information. I am feeling pretty sad right now because one of my longest-standing patients, or clients, has just left. He received a few months ago a very sad diagnosis of ALS which is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease. Most people might know it as Lou Gehrig’s disease, I think it’s what Stephen Hawking had. Anyway, ALS is incurable, we don’t know why people develop it, and obviously as it’s progressive, people get sicker and sicker. Some people have a longer period of living with it and some people have a shorter one.

He’s just left and I was giving him a lesson on breathing. His breathing is becoming increasingly troubled, he’s having difficulty swallowing, difficulty speaking. I gave the same piece of advice to him as I give to a lot of my yoga students, especially when I’m at SHA, where I do private classes, but also here when I do massage. I told him about rhythmic breathing.

The importance of rhythmic breathing.

A lot of people have been told at one point or another to breathe into their belly or whatever. They know that breathing is really important but maybe haven’t heard about rhythmic breathing. The way I try to describe it is by likening it to the pistons in a car. That’s an image that a lot of people can connect with. If you have four pistons in a car, they have to be moving in a synchronised rhythm because otherwise the car is either not going to go, or it’s going to shudder and judder all over the place.

Irregular breath rate

What I have observed in my many years of working as a therapist is that most people have a very, very irregular breathing rate. Rhythmic breathing without breath work or pranayama education is almost non-existent. Not only do people breathe too fast, 15-20 breaths per minute even in states of deep relaxation like whilst receiving a massage. I observe patterns where people will breathe in for 1-2 then out for 3…it’s all over the place, and people are just not conscious of the incredible impact that this has on the body.

Why should breathing be rhythmic?

The breath is like a pump. It’s like a piston. The diaphragm is moving up and down in the body and as it does so, it creates pressure differences in your thorax. The reason I know about this is from lymphatic drainage.

The lymphatic system

In lymphatic drainage we put a lot of emphasis on the breath and that’s because we know that deep breathing is one of the main if not the main motor of lymphatic flow. The lymphatic system doesn’t have a heart. It needs rhythmic breathing to push the lymph around the body. Of course there is also the muscle pump and there are little muscles on some lymph vessels. But what really moves the lymph is the pressure differences of the diaphragm pumping and pulling the lymph in the middle of your body. This push and pull, this pump, is created by rhythmic breathing.

Coming back to the piston thing, if you want to have an effective pump, say pumping water out of a well…you wouldn’t be going randomly, you would be pumping 1-2-1-2…because you need that rhythmic element.

Back to the case of ALS, which is a neurodegenerative disorder, and there are a lot of them out there, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, even Brain Fog, we don’t know what’s going on there.

Glymphatic System

The brain is a highly specialised organ, it is the prime user of oxygen and glucose in the human body. Every thought is a neurotransmitter…but the interesting thing about the brain is that it doesn’t have lymphatic drainage, or practically none. Now a couple of years ago some researchers were finally able to elucidate the glymphatic flow, or the glial lymphatic system. What they were able to understand is that there are these spirals that come down the nerves coming out of the brain and that helps to clean the brain.

Why is that important? The lymphatic system in the garbage collection system of the body. The way I just described it to the gentlemen is that it’s like leaves that fall off the trees in autumn. Of course if you leave them there on the ground they will eventually decompose, but they will rot, and smell bad and clog your drain, so it’s probably in your best interest to rake them up and put them in the compost.

By-products of metabolism

Well, it’s the same with the broken down neurotransmitters and all the by-products of metabolism of the human brain. Every single thought is a neurotransmitter, and when we metabolise we produce metabolic waste. In the rest of the body, the lymphatic system picks up this waste, but in the brain the lymphatic drainage is extremely limited. But, we are lucky because we have another system that can help to flush the brain: the cerebrospinal fluid.

Cerebrospinal fluid

The cerebrospinal fluid is somewhat similar to lymph (NOTE: It does not have lymphocytes). It is a clear, somewhat dense fluid that sits both in the sinuses inside of the head. Your brain isn’t completely full, there are some pockets of liquid, cerebrospinal liquid, and it sits in these sinuses but it also runs in the meninges.


Most people know the word “meningitis”. Meningitis is swelling of the meninges. What are the meninges? The meninges are membranes. There are three of them. One of them is only in the brain but two of them go all the way down the spinal column. One of them goes all the way down to the tail bone!

These membranes are carrying lymph-like liquid that somehow has to move all the way from the top to the bottom and back. Now, we talked about the pump. Are you with me? What do you think moves the cerebrospinal fluid? The breath!

Cerebrospinal fluid flow in Alzheimer’s

There was an interesting piece of research published not too long ago about cerebrospinal fluid flow in Alzheimer’s patients. When there is deep breathing, the cerebrospinal fluid instead of just trickling along like a sewer or a river begins to flow in a wave-like motion—woosh! And they think that this could be more efficient to flush the brain and when we flush the brain we get rid of the by-products of metabolism.

I am not a physiologist and that’s as much as I know. I guess that if we are flushing these by-products out of the brain there must be linkages from the spinal column to the peripheral circulation or the central circulation. that’s something that I will have to check out for the next video.

Rhythmic breathing pranayama breath work lymphatic system cerebrospinal fluid.

For the time being, what I want you to understand is that rhythmic breathing moves the lymphatic system, moves the cerebrospinal fluid and it gives us a much better chance of cleaning up all the by-products of metabolism.

Rhythmic Breathing technique

It’s simple! The simplest technique of rhythmic breathing is this: All you do is you breathe in and out through your nose, and as you breathe in you count 1-2-3-4 and as you breathe out you count 4-3-2-1….

So you have some homework, try doing that, let me know in the comments how it goes for you, I would be happy to help you.

Massage oil, 100% pure organic coconut.

Pure coconut oil for massage

Check out my YouTube video about the organic massage oil I use in my treatments, then read on ↓. I will explain a little about massage oil in general, then get into some basic organic chemistry so that you can understand what fatty acids are and how they influence the quality of massage oil.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

  1. Coconut Carrier Oil
  2. Fatty Acids
  3. Saturated Fats
  4. How to book

Hey guys, Rachel here again, from Rose Tint Your Life. I’m on a roll because I am just loving😍 the new blind behind me. I finally have a backdrop for my videos! So, I thought I would talk to you today about my carrier oil.

Coconut Massage oil

This might seem really boring at first, but natural massage oil actually, makes all the difference in holistic and healing massage. Just behind me, in the video, you can see my little tea light warmer with the ceramic jar on top. I warm the oil because I use pure coconut massage oil 🥥 as my carrier oil. Now, pure coconut oil is only the fat fraction, so that means that it doesn’t have the proteins and it doesn’t smell like coconut.

As coconut massage oil is solid at room temperature, I keep it on a tealight warmer. Heated massage oil is an extra special treat, especially in winter!

Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids

Coconut oil for massage is far and away the best choice. Why? Because it has medium-chain fatty acids. Those are 8, 10-carbon fatty acids. These fats are lubricating but they are not greasy. It is absorbed into the skin and it is really, really nourishing. Coconut oil also contains good amounts of Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol, for the chemistry nerds out there). Vitamin E is the main anti-oxidant for anything fatty. You know that Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant, right? Well Vitamin C protects in a watery medium…Vitamin E protects in a fatty medium.

What are fatty acids?

Fatty acids are the name that chemists give to the long chains of carbon and hydrogen that make up fats. Mostly, fats are found as “triglycerides“. This means that three (tri) fatty acid chains are attached to a backbone of glycerine, which is also a carbon molecule. In fact, it’s pretty much all Carbon! We are talking about some very simple organic chemistry, which is the chemistry of carbon or the chemistry of life!

coconut massage oil 
contains medium-chain fatty acids of 8-10 carbons.  This makes it highly nourishing and lubricating.

Medium-chain fatty acids

When I say that coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids, I am saying that you are going to find chains of carbon that contain 8-10 or even 12 carbon atoms attached to that glycerine backbone.

These medium-chain fatty acids are saturated and stable. Stable in chemical terms means that they are not likely to react to things like heat or oxygen. They are chemically inert. Something unstable would be gasoline, which is also a carbon chain, but is liquid at room temperature, has a strong smell (so it is evaporating spontaneously), and is highly combustible, which is why you don’t smoke at the gas station!

Saturated fats

Generalizing wildly, animal fats are often saturated and vegetable fats are more often unsaturated. Meat and eggs contain cholesterol, a saturated fat. Because saturated fats are more solid and inert, they are often involved in nasty things like arterio-sclerosis and fatty liver. Hence the recommendation to eat more vegetable-based fats and reduce animal-based foods. But coconut is different. It has saturated fats of vegetable origin.

These, then, are vegetable fats that are similar to animal fats. They are more like the fats that our own skin produced to protect and lubricate itself. Coconut oil really is a wonderful massage oil!

How to Book

Do you like what you have read today? Come on, check it out, come to have a massage and Rose Tint Your Life! My massage studio is open Tuesday-Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings. I only work by appointment, so if you’re interested in bodywork, please do get in touch via my contact page. 📍If you want a home visit, this can also be arranged in the Marina Baixa area (basically Benidorm to Altea la Vella).

Strong massage: 1-10 how much ouch is enough?

Strong massage: no pain, no gain? How much ouch is too much?

Strong massage: how much ouch is too much? One of the greatest misconceptions about massage therapy is: it has to hurt to be effective.

Rose Tint Your Life massage therapy
Oil massage

No pain, no gain? 😥 A great misconception…

Now, a lot of people think “no pain, no gain”. That’s something that is really deeply implanted in our culture. But, actually, I don’t really think that’s effective in the context of massage, even strong massage. That is why it is one of the greatest misconceptions about my art!

The true art of massage

So many times people will say “I like a really strong massage”, but actually what they are saying is “I find it really hard to relax”. This is where the Art of Massage comes in. A truly skilled and experienced therapist will find the line between pleasure and pain and stay there!

When something starts to hurt, you tense up. This a perfectly natural reaction when someone sticks an elbow into the middle of your back! This is counter-productive because the whole point of massage is to help you to relax your muscles.

When we talk about relaxation, it’s not only about chilling out in your mind. We are talking about physically de-contracting your muscles, which means that you are getting the real benefit of massage.

Skeletal muscle is controlled by your motor neurons. Unless you have a pathology (Parkinsons’ Disease, or ALS, for example) or a severe nutritional deficiency (Magnesium, Potassium, etc), the degree to which your muscles are contracted is largely determined by the messages that they are receiving from your central nervous system.

Most modern adults are subject to chronic stress. We tend to overuse caffeine to counteract the lack of rest. Caffeine causes the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline. Adrenaline causes the heart rate to accelerate and the muscle fibers to contract. When a muscle is chronically tense (think of your poor shoulder muscles…), some of the fibers may lack adequate blood supply causing them to dry out and even atrophy! This means that the muscle is largely unable to de-contract.

The ability to tell your muscles to relax is classic Mind-Body work. In today’s world, it’s almost like a superpower! A skilled massage therapist, using the correct pressure and in the right space, facilitates the relaxation of these poor, tense muscles without causing pain. No pain, no gain? Not always.

On a scale of 1-10, spiritual healing would be a 1. Manual Lymphatic Drainage massage would be a 2, maybe 3 at most. Aromatherapy massage is usually gentle, maybe 4 or 5. Swedish massage sits between 5-7. Deep tissue and fascial massage, both of which are strong massage techniques, would be at the top end of the scale. Hot stone massage can be used to intensify the treatment, especially if the stones are used to massage. However, placement stones bring the intensity of the treatment down as they prepare the tissues for manipulation.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage has four main movements: stroking, rubbing, kneading, and tapping. Any of these can be used with varying degrees of intensity to get the desired result.

What type of massage should I get?

Massage therapy should always be personalized. No two people are the same, so no two treatments will be the same. Even the same person can have different needs depending on the day or what they’ve been doing. In general, if you are a sporty type, I would recommend the fascial and deep tissue massage, maybe even a hot stone massage. If you have a more delicate constitution or have been through a tough time recently, I would recommend a gentle, holistic treatment with aromatherapy and some head, neck, and face massage. There is always enough time to have a chat beforehand so that we can agree on your needs.

Where can I find a strong massage near me?

You’ve come to the right place if you’re in the Altea, Albir, or Benidorm area of Alicante province. My massage therapy studio is conveniently located in the center of beautiful Altea. Altea has lovely shops and restaurants, a gorgeous seafront and good public transport links. There is paid on-street parking, an underground parking garage only a 2-minute walk away and loads of free parking within a five-minute flat walk.

So, get in touch, come along and give it a go! You can use the Whatsapp button in the bottom right corner, of just text me at +34667997532. I offer professional therapeutic massage, hot stone massage, deep tissue massage, and manual lymphatic drainage from my beautiful therapy room in Altea. Whether you are here year-round, or just on a visit, I am sure that you need and deserve to relax, unwind and manage your stress levels. That is what I am here for!

Rose tint your life! 🌸