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The Primary Respiratory Mechanism

The Primary Respiratory Mechanism (PRM) is one of the many involuntary movements in the body. Although it has been familiar to osteopaths for a long time, modern medicine is just now beginning to discover it, via MRI for example. 


PRM is characterized by 5 distinct components:


- Contraction of nerve tissue (glia cells and neurons)

- CSF (Cerebrospinal fluid) Fluctuation 

- Movement of the meninges (Magpie mother, arachnoid, dura mater)

- Movement of the skull bones

- Movement of the sacrum between the iliacs 


To put it simply: 


Imagine that your skull is a walnut: the shell represents the bones of the skull, the membrane inside represents the meninges and the nut represents the brain. Finally, imagine water inside; this is the CSF. Now you can easily see how all these tissues are connected to each other and why the movement of one inevitably leads to the movement of the others. 


For the osteopath, the PRM is an indication of the patient's general state of health. Indeed, PRM allows the body to maintain homeostasis, a correct balance, and adapt as well as possible to different situations the body is confronted with. Thus it can affect our hormones, our moods, our stress, fatigue, and more. 


Now imagine the consequences that can be felt when the PRM is slowed down or stopped. The main causes of this disruption are violent shocks (such as car accidents) that cause a reflex contraction of the meninges in order to protect the brain and spinal cord. However, the causes are not always physical. A severe emotional shock, fatigue, or burn-out can also be the culprit. 


For newborns, PRM starts when the head passes through the mother's pelvis. Once again the osteopath has a big role to play after this first trauma of life, regardless of if labor well or not.

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