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News in Brief
National Chiropractic Health Month: Be Proactive; Collegiate Roundup: Academic Appointments at Parker, Logan.
Don't Turn a 2 Into a 10
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale1 is so useful because it can be used by almost anyone. Patients can use the numbers associated with the faces depicted on the scale or select the face that demonstrates their current level of pain from 0-10.
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
CCE Finally Takes a "Baby Step" Toward Reform
During a 16-month period from October 2010 to February 2012, I devoted four separate columns to the heavy-handed attempt by the Council on Chiropractic Education to radically change the chiropractic profession through the accreditation process.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
A Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
November, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 11
Reflex Mechanisms of Massage Therapy, Part II
By Ross Turchaninov, MD
Editor's note: Part I of this article appeared in the October 2001 issue of Massage Today, available on line at www.massagetoday.com/archives/2001/10/05.html.
Why do stimuli from the stomach that are delivered to the central nervous system (CNS) radiate to somatic structures, and why in turn are the stimuli from reflex zones activated by the flow of motor impulses to the stomach? The phenomenon of convergence is responsible for this effect. The number of afferent sensory neurons delivering information from peripheral receptors to the spinal cord is greater than the amount of spinal neurons in the posterior horns of the spinal cord. The posterior horns accept and primarily process this information (see figure 2).
In other words, there is more than one sensory neuron in contact with each spinal neuron in the posterior horns of the spinal cord. In this instance, the information brought to CNS by sensory neurons from the stomach excites the entire neural plate of the spinal neuron. The sensory information delivered by sensory neurons from the peripheral receptors in the skin or skeletal muscles also excites the entire neural plate of the same spinal neuron. This stimulation by sensory stimuli from the stomach or reflex zones activates the lower motor cells in the anterior horns of the spinal cord. They generate motor input not only to the location of the original abnormality (the stomach, in our example), but also to the somatic structures innervated by the same segment of the spinal cord.
Simpler mechanisms of reflex zone formation are applied in cases of somatic abnormalities. This mechanism is responsible for the reflex zones' formation along the pathway of irritated or compressed peripheral nerves. For example, the chronic irritation of the sciatic nerve by overtensed piriformis muscle will produce pathological symptoms through the entire lower limbs. In this manner, irritation of peripheral nerves in the upper part of the body will cause the formation of reflex zones in the lower extremities, supported by the affected peripheral nerve.
Finally, reflex zone formation can be caused by direct compression of the spinal nerve by a herniated disc. As a result of irritation or compression of the spinal nerve, various areas of pathological excitement develop in the spinal cord, especially in the lower motor centers in the anterior horns. Abnormal impulses flow from the spinal cord to the inner organs, and to other parts of the body that are innervated by the affected spinal nerve. Further development follows the same pattern of relation between reflex zones and inner organs or parts of the body as mentioned previously.
Let's now look at another important issue, and ask another important question: "What local events lead to the formation of reflex zones?" First, let's briefly review the physiology of excitation and the conduction of nerve impulses. A nerve impulse or "action potential" is a propagated electrical disturbance originating in the peripheral receptors or in the upper nervous centers; it is conducted through afferent, ascending sensory or efferent, descending motor neurons. Both ascending information to the central nervous system about any kind of peripheral receptors activation, and descending motor commands from the central nervous system, are delivered as a series of action potentials. Any single action potential is the result of changes in the conductance of sodium and potassium through the membrane of the nervous cells. Every action potential has a threshold. A threshold is the firing level of the action potential. This means that if applied stimuli are weak, they are unable to evoke an action potential. In this case, full action potential is replaced by a local response.
A local response is a weak electric excitement that stays within the stimulated receptor, rather than propagating along the neuron. As soon as the stimuli are strong enough, the action potential is generated and conducted through the neuron. This mechanism protects the nervous system from overflow with useless information. Normally, the threshold activation of peripheral receptors has stable electrical magnitude. The continuous radiation of motor impulses to the reflex zones in skin, connective tissue, muscles, or periosteum evokes unusual phenomena in these tissues. The magnitude of the threshold is reduced in all receptors located in these areas. As a result, receptors start to generate action potentials as a response to even the weakest stimulus, even those that normally had subthreshold levels and have never produced action potentials. (Korr, 1947). This phenomenon is called hyperirritability. The affected soft tissues respond by building up tension, especially in contractile elements. Vasoconstriction and local edema are formed, further diminishing blood circulation and decreasing tissue metabolism.
The decrease of the threshold of peripheral receptors, i.e. the condition of hyperirritability, is the starting point of reflex zone formation (Korr, 1947; Glezer, Dalicho, 1955; Kunichev, 1985; Shterngertz, Belaya, 1994; Loginova, 2000). Figure 3 shows how the action potentials are generated, both in the receptors of the normal parts of the body and in the areas of reflex zones.
In 1947, in a series of brilliant clinical experiments, Prof. I. Korr showed that hyperirritability is a key to understanding reflex zone formation. In his experiments, Korr inserted microelectrodes in muscles with clinical symptoms of hypertonic abnormalities, then exposed his subjects to different types of stimulation: physical activity, decreased and increased temperature, loud sounds, bright light, etc. When subjects were exposed to each of these stimuli (even visual and auditory) the skeletal muscles in the area of reflex zones reacted with increased tension, which was detected by electromyography. This caused the additional decrease of peripheral circulation in already-affected areas. Thus, as Prof. I. Korr showed, any type of sensory stimulation of the CNS causes the further development of reflex zones in the tissue which are no longer protected from theactivation of peripheral receptors by subthreshold stimuli.
A number of clinical abnormalities can be found found in the areas of reflex zones in the skin, connective tissue, skeletal muscles and periosteum. During diagnostic examination, the practitioner should detect all abnormalities and record them on prepared diagrams of the body. At the end of the diagnostic examination, the practitioner will have a complete picture of somatic abnormalities for the patient. Such an approach to diagnostic examination allows the practitioner to formulate the optimal treatment protocol.
I. Cutaneous Reflex Zones
II. Connective Tissue Zones (CTZ)
Connective tissue zones are also examined by palpation. Several diagnostic techniques target the CTZ in the each level. In general, the practitoner is looking for following abnormalities in the areas of CTZ:
III. Reflex Zones in Skeletal Muscles
Reflex zones in the skeletal muscles are examined by palpation and direct compression. The moderate compression of muscular tissue elicits sharp pain in the area of hypertonic muscular abnormalities. Patients show the so-called "jump symptom." Sharp pain elicited during moderate compression is another example of hyperalgesia.
IV. Periostal Reflex Zones
The periosteum is the thin connective tissue membrane covering all bones. It supports bone metabolism and remodeling. The periostal reflex zones are available for diagnostic examination only in the areas at which bone structures are covered by skin only. Examination of periostal reflex zones is conducted by palpation and direct compression.
Following diagnostic examination, the practitioner will able to formulate the proper protocol of medical massage therapy. The formulation of a correct protocol is of course key to successful treatment. As mentioned, this protocol is a combination of different methods and techniques. For example, connective tissue massage is the best way to work on the connective tissue zones, but it is useless in the areas of periostal reflex zones, where periostal massage is the most effective therapy. The practitioner must utilize the particular methods and techniques created for the treatment of particular type of reflex zones. For example, if the patient does not have abnormalities in the periosteum, periostal massage techniques must be excluded from the protocol. However, if one measures the clinical validity of different methods of medical massage, I believe that segment-reflex massage is as appropriate as all known methods of Western medical massage therapy. The major advantage of segment-reflex massage is its integrative approach to treatment.The modern protocol of segment-reflex massage includes therapeutic massage, connective tissue massage and periostal massage, as well as its own therapeutic techniques and approaches. This unique combination allows the practitioner to target the reflex zones precisely and deliver an effective therapeutic impact to the affected areas of the body. In any case, the protocol of medical massage therapy must be individually adjusted to each new patient, because there are no two identical cases.
In conclusion, I want to emphasize that reflex mechanisms of massage therapy allow the massage practitioner reach a completely new level of professional expertise. At first, the clinical application of reflex mechanisms of massage therapy is a challenge. However, the professional benefits are far more rewarding than the time spent by the practitioner to achieve this level of expertise.
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