resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
A New Era of Injury Awareness Means a New Focus on Prevention
Despite a dramatic Super Bowl last month, the National Football League has taken quite a few hits lately concerning player injuries, particularly concussions.
Reflections: The Art of Teaching Asian Medicine
Over the past three decades, my global workshops have been translated into German, Swiss German, French, Romansch, Spanish, Lithuanian and Xhosa. Time to offer you new teachers a few tips!
The Conscious Evolution of Healing, Part 2
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Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 1)
Maintaining joint health should be a daily focus for athletes. Joint health is a complex issue for everyone, but for athletes it poses a greater concern.
What's Triggering That Point?
An orthopedic friend recently saw a patient of mine. He felt an injection of a trigger point (TP) at the upper trapezius and surrounding areas was necessary, since that was the patient's area of chief complaint and there was a tender, radiating nodule.
Connections Worth Making
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Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
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It's Time to Create a Strong Acupuncture Footprint
Footprints in the sand. Footprints in the snow. Where do these footprints go? Some are big, some are small, but footprints are made by all.
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
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Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
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We Get Letters & E-Mail
We Have Come a Long Way – But There's a Long Way to Go; Grounded and Connected.
Leg Length and Pelvic Fixations
A common component of low back pain is sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Signs of SIJ dysfunction can include fixation with reduced range of motion, and localized pain or joint laxity and inflammation.
Online Efforts That Convert Traffic Into Patients
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Adjusting the Occiput on the Atlas
You may never see a particular set of patients in your office – the ones who are either afraid of neck adjustments or have had a bad experience. A vast majority of those who had a bad experience did not have a life-threatening vascular event.
The Easy Way to Learn How to Document ICD-10
The 2015 Work Plan for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) includes a focus on chiropractic services. This means chiropractors can expect to see more audits and reviews in the coming year because private payers pay attention to the OIG's focus as well.
September, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 09
Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction
By Tad Wanveer, LMT, CST-D; guest author for John Upledger, DO, OMM
Editor's note: Tad Wanveer, author of this month's "CranioSacrally Speaking" column, has been the guest author for several previous "CranioSacrally Speaking" columns.
Dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) may be central to impairing the quality of one's life and contributing to severe illness.CranioSacral Therapy (CST) has been shown to balance and correct dysfunctions of the ANS through gentle manual techniques.
The nervous system can be simplified into five basic branches dedicated to sensory processing, muscle planning and activity, memory processing, emotional processing and basic survival. The ANS is a component of the basic survival branch. It controls the body's vital functions, working to maintain homeostasis (a steady internal state) and optimal conditions for cell and tissue function. The ANS has two divisions, each having motor and sensory components: sympathetic division (known as fight/flight/freeze) and parasympathetic division (known as rest/relax/renew).
Both divisions innervate the internal organs, smooth muscles, cardiac muscles, exocrine glands and metabolic cells. The sympathetic division also controls blood flow, sweat gland activity and hair follicles. The ANS partly mediates the regulation of immune and inflammatory responses within the gut, lungs and skin.
The ANS divisions continually work together to maintain optimal function and create the most balanced operation of bodily systems. Normally, when one is more active then the other is less active, as in the control of blood pressure. If blood pressure suddenly rises, parasympathetic activity to the heart increases and sympathetic activity decreases. This slows the heart rate and brings the blood pressure back down. If blood pressure is low, sympathetic activity increases and parasympathetic activity decreases, which helps blood pressure rise.
There are times when a division becomes chronically hyperactive (overactive) or hypoactive (underactive). The cause might stem from physical trauma, stressful experiences or biomechanical strain, to name a few. The effect is a body functioning in a non-optimal state, with its cells and systems excessively strained and overworked. The bodily stress can become enormous, leading to conditions ranging from mild chronic pain to devastating illness.
All organs, vessels, glands, nerves and cells of the ANS and every other part of the body are wrapped in fascia. The craniosacral system (CSS) is a specialized container that envelops the fluid and tissues of the brain and spinal cord within three continuous and interrelated layers of fascia.
The parasympathetic division also is referred to as the craniosacral division of the ANS because its motor cells originate in the brain stem and sacral portion of the spinal cord. The vagus nerves (there are two) are the primary parasympathetic nerves. Their route to the viscera begins in the brainstem. They exit the cranium by passing through the jugular foramina (two openings at the base of the skull) and traveling to the organs. Abnormal fascial strain may exist anywhere along the route of the vagus nerves, affecting the brain stem and spinal cord and resulting in altered structure and compromised function of the tissue with which it communicates.
CST techniques are used to locate and reduce adverse strain of the fascia. As the fascia returns to normal patterning and motion, neurological strain can subside and diminish the adverse strain on the smooth muscles, heart muscle, glands, blood vessels and organs. In response, the sensory input from the viscera to the nervous system can greatly improve.
Enhancing the mobility and balance of the CSS, also can increase the efficiency by which cerebrospinal fluid cleanses irritating elements from the brain and spinal cord tissue while delivering nutrients to the cells. These changes can help correct and improve the function of the ANS, which can significantly increase health and vitality.
Common causes of strain on the sympathetic division are stress, chronic illness or infection, scar tissue, traumatic impact and anxiety. Another is experiencing a highly stressful situation that the body is unable to process adequately. Sympathetic division strain can lead to dysfunction of central processing areas of the ANS (within the brain and spinal cord), particularly portions of the limbic system (emotional and memory processing area), the hypothalamus (internal regulatory area) and the reticular alarm system (vital function area). A chronic internal state of fight, flight or freeze can occur, causing relentless challenges leading to dysfunction and illness.
CST can help correct ANS dysfunction by reducing adverse biomechanical forces that are straining the harmonious movement of body fluid and tissues. For example, strain of the dural tube (the CSS membrane layers surrounding the spinal cord tissue) can cause sympathetic division cells to become irritated and overactive, leading to chaotic neurological communication and visceral dysfunction.
Another example is abnormal strain on the muscles at the base of the cranium, which can strain the vagus nerves and compromise the body's ability to regenerate and heal. A third example is when disruptive information embedded in the tissue causes flashbacks. The flashbacks usually occur in response to some form of sensory input that brings about a reaction in the compromised tissue and ANS. This causes certain cells to communicate in a way that unexpectedly triggers the recall of past events.
CST, as well as a spontaneous therapeutic process called somatoemotional release, helps the body find tissue-movement patterns that can liberate and integrate disturbing cellular patterns to normalize neurological, vascular, biomechanical and biochemical processing. Since overall health is realized within the parameters set by the function of the organs and systems controlled by the ANS, increasing ANS function this way helps elevate the body to its optimal levels of vitality, well-being, balance, self-correction and harmony.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
Tad Wanveer, LMT, CST-D, is a certified instructor for The Upledger Institute, where he was a staff clinician for more than five years. He earned his diploma in massage therapy in 1987 from the Swedish Institute of Massage and Allied Health Sciences in New York City. He currently runs a private practice in North Carolina’s Raleigh-Durham area specializing in CranioSacral Therapy.
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