Ablution; Brain cooling system; Brain health; Prayer
M. Kemal Irmak
High Council of Science, Gulhane Military Medical Academy; Ankara, Turkey
Received October 8, 2013
Accepted December 29, 2013
Published Online February 25, 2014
Brain is protected from thermal damage by a so-called radiator system: the brain cooling system. As the brain gets hotter, the veins of this radiator system bring in cool blood from the evaporating surfaces of skin and craniofacial cavities. The craniofacial regions important in brain cooling system are very similar to the regions washed or wetted with ablution. So washing the face, oral and nasal cavities, and wetting scalp, ears and nape 4-5 times a day help the brain to remain cool throughout the day.
This obviously means that with ablution cooler the head, healthier the brain. However, when a person is erect, the basal surface of the brain is in close contact with the cranial bones and therefore cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) could not cool the basal parts of the brain in erect position. Of course the relations of CSF to the skull and the brain are reversed when a person stoops (such as bowing and prostrating) allowing the CSF to intervene between the brain and the skull.
Therefore stooping (as Muslims do about 120 times a day with prayer) would be beneficial for cooling the brain entirely by providing the CSF to wash-up the basal parts of brain. As for the other benefits of prayer, grounding is another aspect which provides a basis that restores and maintains natural electrical contact between the human body and the earth.
© 2014 GESDAV
BRAIN COOLING SYSTEM
Brain is protected from thermal damage by a so-called radiator system: the brain cooling system. When human
is under heat stress, high brain temperature triggers brain cooling system under the control of autonomic nerves, which will reduce brain temperature . That’s important since a slightly overheated brain can bring on convulsions, fainting, and brain damage.
Two kinds of veins and a number of craniofacial cavities are the major components of this system. As the men get hotter, the veins of this radiator system bring in blood that is cooled as its heat radiates away through evaporation of water (sweat or mucus) from the surfaces of skin and craniofacial cavities [
1]. Activation of brain cooling system thus protects the brain from thermal damage. Components of brain cooling system in human Emissary and angular veins, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses and tympanic cavity are the major components of brain cooling system in humans.
2) Emissary veins: Emissary veins connect the intracranial veins with veins outside the cranium related to nasal cavities (nostrils), scalp (top of the head), posterior auricular region (outside of the ears) and nape (back of the neck) . These emissary veins serve as pathways through which cool blood from the evaporating surfaces of the head could flow into the cranium and cool the brain under the control of autonomic nerves .
3) Angular vein: The angular vein which drains blood from the eye, the nose, and the lips forms a route to the brain for the cool venous blood returning from the evaporating surfaces of the nasal mucosa, lips and eye corners [1, 2]. Fig.1 shows the craniofacial regions contributing to cooling the brain with emissary and angular veins.
4) Nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses: Evaporative heat dissipation from the upper respiratory tract is known to be a significant source of heat loss during hyperthermia [4, 5]. The evaporation of water at the mucosal surfaces of the nasal turbinates makes the venous blood cooler for brain [6-9].
The paranasal (frontal, ethmoid, maxillary and sphenoid) sinuses which are mucosa-lined airspaces within the bones of the face and skull also form an important component of
the brain cooling system .
The cooling occurs through convection process caused by evaporation of mucus and the transfer of the cool venous blood from paranasal mucous membranes to the brain . The rostral base of the brain is also cooled by conduction to the nearby paranasal sinuses [12, 13].
5) Tympanic cavity: The tympanic cavity communicates with the nasopharynx via the auditory tube which allows air to enter and leave the tympanic cavity, whereas it is in close contact with the middle cranial fossa and the internal carotid artery .
These anatomical arrangements provide an important basis for cooling the adjacent brain lobes and cranial vessels by either conduction or convection. The blood destined for the brain is cooled by these evaporating surfaces of the head [14, 15].
Such vascular arrangements allow a bulky transfer of venous blood from the skin of the head and from nasal and paranasal mucous membranes to brain and provide an excellent anatomical basis for the brain cooling system
caused by evaporation of sweat or mucus .
This cooling system protects the brain from overheating and its efficiency is increased by evaporation of water on
the head and by ventilation through the nose . Temperature changes are then transmitted to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) compartment which in turn influences the brain temperature directly or indirectly . The cooler CSF washes the walls of the brain and the brain temperature decreases.
Thus the concept of brain cooling system implies that the CSF takes up heat from the warmer brain and transfers it to the cooler blood in the veins. So the anatomical arrangements in human provide favorable conditions for the transfer of heat from the whole brain to the skin of the head, tympanic cavity and upper respiratory tract .
Figure 1. ( at the end of this article) Craniofacial regions important in selective brain cooling. The blood destined for the brain is cooled by these evaporating surfaces of the head. Notice that the same areas are washed or wetted in ablution.
POSITIVE EFFECTS OF ABLUTION AND PRAYER ON BRAIN HEALTH
Daily prayer is the cornerstone of religious practice in Islam. The one who wants to establish these prayers must be physically clean with ablution. Ablution is required before all prayers and needs to be refreshed after sleep and any waste is excreted from the body
. Ablution is quite a simple procedure and its craniofacial aspects are performed as detailed below:
-Rinse the mouth out three times,
-Rinse the nostrils with water three times,
-Wash the face from the forehead to the chin, and from
the ear to ear three times
-Using wet hands, rub them over the top of the head
starting at the forehead, wiping backwards
-Using wet fingers, wipe the inside and outside of the
ears, and the nape (back of the neck).
One can easily notice the similarity between the craniofacial regions important in brain cooling system and the regions washed or wetted with ablution (Fig.1). So washing the face, oral and nasal cavities, and wetting scalp, ears and nape 4-5 times a day help the brain to remain cool throughout the day. This obviously means that with ablution cooler the head, healthier the brain.
Therefore wetting the evaporating surfaces of the head drained by emissary and angular veins (scalp,face, nape, ears, mouth and upper respiratory tract) several times a day would be beneficial for cooling the brain entirely. The report that wet hair in cold weather may cause sinus headache and posterior eye pain supports our view about the beneficial effects of ablution for brain cooling system . Nasal, instead of mouth breathing must also be encouraged for keeping the brain cool [1, 17].
Each prayer is a series of postures in which portions from the Qur’an are recited and the believer makes supplications. Muslims pray five times a day: early morning, noon, afternoon, evening and at nightfall. To pray five times a day takes about 40 minutes to perform . As part of the prayer, a person goes through a set of movements such as standing upright, bowing down (40 times a day), prostrating (putting forehead on the ground, 80 times a day) and sitting.
Bowing as a praying position was also explained in Bible;
Exodus 34:8, Nehemiah 8:6, Psalm 72:11. As the brain is slightly heavier than cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the basal surface of the brain is in close contact with the cranial bones in the floor of the cranial cavity when a person is erect. In this position CSF is not present between the inferior parts of brain and the cranial bones. Hence CSF normally cools the superior part of the brain and brain cooling system could not be implemented for the basal parts of the brain in erect
position [1, 2].
Of course the relations of CSF to the skull and the brain are reversed when a person stoops (such as bowing and prostrating) allowing the CSF to intervene between the brain and the skull . So the physical movements during prayer provide the CSF to wash-up the basal parts of brain. Therefore stooping (as Muslims do about 120 times a day with prayer) would be beneficial for cooling the brain entirely.
Other positive effects of prayer on human health As for the other benefits of prayer, earthing or grounding is another aspect which must be considered. The surface of the earth possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons as a consequence of a global atmospheric electron circuit  and it is suggested that barefoot or hand contact with the earth (earthing) promotes health by stimulating the migration of charges into the body .
The beneficial effects of earthing may be a result of direct earth connection with palmar and plantar Merkel nerve endings which enables both diurnal electrical rhythms and free electrons to flow from the earth to the body [22-24]. Wearing shoes with insulating soles has disconnected most people from the earth’s electrical rhythms and free electrons .
In situations where going barefoot on the earth is impractical, putting hands (palms) on earth as Muslims do about 80 times a day with prayer (with a continuous plantar contact on earth for 60 minutes) provides a basis that restores and maintains natural electrical contact between the human body and the earth .
As the cornerstone of religious practice in Islam, daily prayer with ablution has positive effects for both brain and body health through brain cooling system and grounding.
- Irmak MK, Korkmaz A. Erogul O. Selective brain cooling seems to be a mechanism leading to human craniofacial diversity observed in different geographical regions. Med Hypotheses 2004; 63: 974-9.
- Moore KL. Clinically Oriented Anatomy, 2nd edition, Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, MD, pp 794-982, 1985.
- Cabanac M, Brinnel H. Blood flow in the emissary veins of the human head during hyperthermia. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 1985; 54:172-6.
- McFadden ER Jr, Pichurko BM, Bowman HF, Ingenito E, BurnsS, Dowling N, Solway J. Thermal mapping of the airways in
humans. J Appl Physiol 1985; 58:564-70.
- Rasch W, Samson P, Cote J, Cabanac M. Heat loss from thehuman head during exercise. J Appl Physiol 1991; 71:590-95.
- White MD, Cabanac M. Nasal mucosal vasodilatation inresponse to passive hyperthermia in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol1995; 70:207-12.
- Duffin J. Neural drives to breathing during exercise. Can J ApplPhysiol 1994; 19:289-304.
- Hanson Rde G. Respiratory heat loss at increased coretemperature. J Appl Physiol 1974; 37:103-7.
- Mariak Z, White MD, Lewko J, Lyson T, Piekarski P. Directcooling of the human brain by heat loss from the upper
respiratory tract. J Appl Physiol 1999; 87:1609-13.
- Gluck U. The physiological significance of paranasal sinuses in man: speculations for 1800 years. Schweiz Med Wochenschr 1991; 121:925-31.
- Zenker W, Kubik S. Brain cooling in humans–anatomical considerations. Anat Embryol (Berl) 1996; 193:1-13.
- Jessen C. Selective brain cooling in mammals and birds. Jpn J Physiol 2001; 51:291-301.
- Rohr AS, Spector SL. Paranasal sinus anatomy and pathophysiology. Clin Rev Allergy 1984; 2:387-95.
- Mitchell D, Laburn HP, Nijland MJM, Zurovsky Y, Mitchell G. Selective brain cooling and survival. S Afr J Sci 1987; 83:598- 604.
- Brengelmann GL. Specialized brain cooling in humans? FASEB J 1993; 7:1148-52.
- Kaya A, Caliskan H. Does wet hair in cold weather cause sinus headache and posterior eye pain? A possible mechanism through selective brain cooling system. Med Hypotheses 2012; 79:744-5.
- Nagasaka T, Brinnel H, Hales JR, Ogawa T. Selective brain cooling in hyperthermia: the mechanisms and medical
implications. Med Hypotheses 1998; 50:203-11.
- Sayeed SA, Prakash A. The Islamic prayer (Salah/Namaaz) and yoga togetherness in mental health. Indian J Psychiatry. 2013; 55:S224-30.
- Binhammer RT. CSF anatomy with emphasis on relations to nasal cavity and labyrinthine fluids. Ear Nose Throat J 1992;
- Oschman JL Can electrons act as antioxidants? A review and commentary. J Altern Complement Med 2007; 13:955-67.
- Oschman JL. Charge transfer in the living matrix. J Bodyw Mov Ther 2009; 13:215-28.
- Oschman JL. Perspective: assume a spherical cow: the role of free or mobile electrons in bodywork, energetic and movement therapies. J Bodyw Mov Ther 2008; 12:40-57.
- Irmak MK. Multifunctional Merkel cells: Their roles in electromagnetic reception, finger-print formation, Reiki, epigenetic inheritance and hair form. Med Hypotheses 2010; 75:162-8.
- Irmak MK, Oztas E, Yagmurca M, Fadillioglu E, Bakir B. Effects of electromagnetic radiation from a cellular telephone on
epidermal Merkel cells. J Cutan Pathol 2003; 30:135-8.
This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the work is properly cited.
Allah knows Best.