Past, present, future
1999 – I had just completed both the McKenzie diploma and chiropractic rehabilitation specialty course. I knew many musculoskeletal conditions didn’t heal due to a ‘faulty’ repair process. A goal of therapy was to ‘remodel’ collagen fibres in the correct orientation by taking the affected joint in its physiological end range. This would prevent contractures. Remodelling collagen (scar tissue) takes 6 weeks. Surprisingly, I found some of these patients responded after 1 or 2 visits. I asked Colin Davies, a senior McKenzie instructor, mentor, and a friend of mine how this could have happened? He replied that he often wondered the same and sent a paper along. Thank you, Colin. [Overuse syndromes of the upper extremity: Rational and effective treatment]
The affected tendons have high levels of proteoglycans, edema and a lack of blood elements. Eureka! Blood flow was curtailed due to increased tissue pressure. These conditions may not be a collagen problem at all. My successful treatment had a different mechanism of action. In the process of moving the joint to a physiological end range, I was actually increasing pressure in parts of the tendon. The increased pressure would cause the edema to leave the area. Tissue pressure has now decreased and blood flow and oxygenation returns. This insight changed everything. The goal of therapy was now to increase pressure at the affected area. The patient’s response during the procedure gave me the information on how to conduct the treatment. Stretching to a physiological end range had little to do with outcomes.
We learned in college that collagen and proteoglycans have a trade-off role in the musculoskeletal system. Fibrocytes produce both chemicals at different rates, more collagen in tendons and more proteoglycans in cartilage. [Anatomy/Physiology]
Development of the Discovery
2000 – I heard a medical doctor on CBC radio saying that some CFL players suffer from post concussive syndrome and may not be improving. Could this have a similar pathophysiology as tendons, a case of an impaired healing response? Eureka! Degenerative brain conditions did show edema, too much proteoglycans and a lack of blood elements. How in the world could one produce a therapeutic pressure within the brain to allow the edema to drain? Total body acceleration would do it. (Not unlike the spin cycle in a washing machine).
2001 – Perhaps other illnesses exist that have poor recovery rates. There are many of them: chronic pelvic pain prostatitis syndrome, wet macular degeneration, inflammatory bowel disease, avascular necrosis of bone, stress fractures and pulmonary edema are some examples. Could all of these conditions have a similar underlying pathology? They often do.
Around 2005 – Where do these proteoglycans come from? There are not a lot of fibrocytes in the brain. I soon learned that most cells produce proteoglycans. I am now no longer dependent on fibrocytes and connective tissue as part of my theory of treatment. Eureka! The nerves themselves produce proteoglycans. Some people produce more of these chemicals than others (genetic). How can I test their physical properties? Perhaps the other tissue derived from the ectoderm (epidermis) produce similar proteoglycans. Gathering epidermal proteoglycans may be easier to do and their properties may be similar to PG’s secreted by nerves. Hey, wait a second, fish have a slimy epidermis. Eureka! Let’s look at fish. [Gel]
2015 – Hag fish epidermis produce copious amount of proteoglycans when it is mixed with sea water. This means the edema seen interstitially in humans is also probably a gel. Proteoglycan gels can be physically thinned either through shear or resonant wave forces. Eureka! Certain vibrations did thin hagfish gel.
2015 – Perhaps marine creatures’ nerves also produce proteoglycans when stressed. I asked myself why would a marine creature want to decrease blood flow to an area? Eureka! To reduce the load on the heart.
Take a look at the two points on page 91 in Circulation in Fishes. Our neural proteoglycan response to stress may be an evolutionary vestige.
2016 – Back to Bamfield trying more vibrations. One in particular clears the gel in 15 – 30 seconds and is also effective in resonance thinning. Similar vibrations are now helping with my treatments.
2016 – Hypoxia markers (HIF) have shown hypoxia exists in many conditions. Anywhere there are nerves, I suspect. Eureka! The body does not only react to hypoxia via cell death, degeneration and pain. Through homeostasis, the body also tries to get oxygen back into the area. In some cases, in the attempt to restore oxygen, the body has ‘gone awry’ (probably genetic) resulting in hemorrhage, inflammation, autoimmune responses or even tumour formation and malignancy. [Hypoxia and inflammation are two sides of the same coin]
2017 – Let’s test the hypothesis. See in Bamfield Paper for more information.
Surprisingly, this new “cause-and-treatment” is an echo of what therapists diagnosed and how and why they treated thousands of years ago.
Hypoxia as a cause for illness is not a new idea. Ancient therapies such as Thai massage, yoga, and traditional medicines which assess chi energy all believe that a lack of ‘air’ to the affected body part is an underlying pathophysiology. They feel that somehow, the air in the lungs is blocked from entering the affected tissue and by finding and freeing these blockages with mechanical means, the patient will respond; thus, they also have a mechanism of action. It must be remembered that the heart and circulatory system were not discovered until well over a thousand years later. In freeing the blockages, ancient therapists were actually normalizing tissue pressure gradients so blood flow would be restored.
I think they were correct. Modern imaging studies and biochemical analyses now show that increased tissue pressure and hypoxia are commonly associated to more and more conditions. [Hypothesis]
I’m still just as ardent and even more excited. Science is now revealing how ubiquitous this pathophysiology is, even in diseases outside of the musculoskeletal system. My techniques continued to improve every week until what you see here today. This evolution all resulted from following the two simple mechanisms of action: fluid dynamics and shear thinning.
What we do is to test and assess for three related phenomena: lack of blood flow, lack of oxygen supply, and an increased tissue pressure. Increased tissue pressure will also alter the actual shape of the structure. Misshaped upper thoracic and lower cervical vertebral bodies along with their discs are great examples.
Our hypothesis is easily disprovable scientifically. It bodes well for future research. Parameters such as blood flow, pressure, and oxygenation are quantitative properties that can now be measured.
Increased tissue pressure exists outside the musculoskeletal system as well. In these instances assessment and treatment should be conducted by medical specialists. Having a solid base of evidence now will attract research departments of various medical specialties to investigate further. For example, some cases of atrial fibrillation will be due to increased pressure and hypoxia surrounding the conducting system in the affected muscle.