Crohns & IBS Investigation

Over the course of the next 3 months I will be conducting an investigation into the treating of Crohns disease and IBS/IBD in an effort to release and heal any existing problems with a view to devising my own 3 month treatment plan. With recent successes treating Reflux and Diverticulitis I have decided to cover some other challenging digestive ailments using my skills along with some products that I believe will remove harmful bacteria and help heal any existing internal scars. The investigation will incorporate 4 abdominal treatments for fascia release by myself free of charge, and the use of FLP Aloe Vera Gel and a UMF brand Manuka Honey over a 3 month period which will be supplied at cost (or for free if we can get an endorsement from the companies involved). Ideally the participants will live locally to Tonbridge or willing to travel there over a four week period for the abdominal fascia treatment. We will keeping our participants anonymous unless they wish to contribute to this blog along the way, and I will be sharing my findings with other professionals here and via social media. If you wish to take part please use the comments section below to put your name forward for the trial stating your location and type/length of illness.

                                                                                                   Thank you ~ Michael Sterling

crohns

Periods | Pains, Cramps & Infrequency

Muscle Fascia Integration Therapy can help women with menstrual and premenstrual syndrome symptoms. Picture the fascia tightening like a powerful three-dimensional net around the pelvic structures. Then as the woman begins to bloat as her menstrual cycle begins, the combination of fascial tightness and increasing internal pressure begins to exert heavy pressure on nerves, blood vessels, etc., and the cramps begin, the back tightens and all the other unpleasant effects are a reaction to the abnormal internal pressure. Abdominal release can treat the unpleasant and/or painful symptoms of pregnancy and childbirth, recurrent bladder pain and infection, frequency, urgency and/or incontinence, painful intercourse, sexual dysfunction, elimination problems, coccygeal pain, painful episiotomy scars and the list goes on. These problems can, in many cases, be substantially alleviated or eliminated by abdominal release, nontraumatically and gently.

Inflammatory processes, such as endometriosis, can cause the fascial layers to adhere to adjoining tissue, creating pain and symptoms. Scars from abdominal, pelvic & hip surgery, Caesarean section, trauma, sterilization or episiotomy scars can also create havoc in the pelvic area, causing menstrual dysfunction, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, constipation, diarrhoea and hemorrhoids. Recent statistics have shown hysterectomies are performed, on average, every 45 seconds in the U.S., and it has been determined that more than half a million of these procedures a year are deemed unnecessary.

Periods | Pains, Cramps & Infrequency

Another common problem encountered is coccygeal disorders from trauma, pelvic torsion and childbirth. A misaligned coccyx can cause a multitude of problems in the pelvic area, including some of those just mentioned, as well as back and neck pain, and/or headaches due to the influence of the dural tube. When the coccyx moves closer to the pubic symphysis, the musculoaponeurotic fibers from the pubis to the coccyx become so slack, they lose their tonus. If the origin and insertion of a muscle move closer together, a great portion of the muscle’s power is lost. A misaligned coccyx can lead to a general decrease in the motility of the entire body, and it should be checked in people who are devitalized or suffering from general depression. Typical symptoms of a sacrococcygeal lesion in a female client are the inability to sit for long periods of time, declining quality of sexual relationships and cystitis.

The nontraumatic, gentle nature of Muscle Fascia Integration Therapy is reassuring to clients, since these effective procedures will not worsen the client’s symptoms or cause harm, it is not meant to replace the important techniques and approaches you currently utilize, but to act as an important added dimension for increasing your effectiveness and permanency of results in relieving pain and restoring function, as well as the quantity and quality of motion. – MFIT

pelvic diaphragm female

Pelvic Floor

Pelvic Floor



The Second Brain | Our Enteric Nervous System

Your body contains a separate nervous system that is so complex it has been dubbed the second brain. The enteric nervous system (ENS) is a part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the reflexes of the gastrointestinal system.

It comprises an estimated 500 million neurons – about five times as many as in the brain of a rat – and is around 9 metres long, stretching from your oesophagus to your anus. It is this brain that could be responsible for your craving under stress for crisps, chocolate and biscuits

Michael Sterling on The Second Brain - Our Enteric Nervous System

Michael Sterling on The Second Brain – Our Enteric Nervous System

Embedded in the wall of the gut, the enteric nervous system (ENS) has long been known to control digestion. Now it seems it also plays an important role in our physical and mental well-being. It can work both independently of and in conjunction with the brain in your head and, although you are not conscious of your gut “thinking”, the ENS helps you sense environmental threats, and then influences your response. “A lot of the information that the gut sends to the brain affects well-being, and doesn’t even come to consciousness,” says Michael Gershon at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York.

If you look inside the human body, you can’t fail to notice the brain and its offshoots of nerve cells running along the spinal cord. The ENS, a widely distributed network of neurons spread throughout two layers of gut tissue, is far less obvious, which is why it wasn’t discovered until the mid-19th century. It is part of the autonomic nervous system, the network of peripheral nerves that control visceral functions. It is also the original nervous system, emerging in the first vertebrates over 500 million years ago and becoming more complex as vertebrates evolved – possibly even giving rise to the brain itself.

Digestion is a complicated business, so it makes sense to have a dedicated network of nerves to oversee it. As well as controlling the mechanical mixing of food in the stomach and coordinating muscle contractions to move it through the gut, the ENS also maintains the biochemical environment within different sections of the gut, keeping them at the correct pH and chemical composition needed for digestive enzymes to do their job.

But there is another reason the ENS needs so many neurons: eating is fraught with danger. Like the skin, the gut must stop potentially dangerous invaders, such as bacteria and viruses, from getting inside the body. If a pathogen should cross the gut lining, immune cells in the gut wall secrete inflammatory substances including histamine, which are detected by neurons in the ENS. The gut brain then either triggers diarrhoea or alerts the brain in the head, which may decide to initiate vomiting, or both.

You needn’t be a gastroenterologist to be aware of these gut reactions – or indeed the more subtle feelings in your stomach that accompany emotions such as excitement, fear and stress. For hundreds of years, people have believed that the gut interacts with the brain to influence health and disease. Yet this connection has only been studied over the last century. Two pioneers in this field were American physician Byron Robinson, who in 1907 published The Abdominal and Pelvic Brain, and his contemporary, British physiologist Johannis Langley, who coined the term “enteric nervous system”. Around this time, it also became clear that the ENS can act autonomously, with the discovery that if the main connection with the brain – the vagus nerve – is severed the ENS remains capable of coordinating digestion. Despite these discoveries, interest in the gut brain fell until the 1990s when the field of neurogastroenterology was born.

We now know that the ENS is not just capable of autonomy but also influences the brain. In fact, about 90 per cent of the signals passing along the vagus nerve come not from above, but from the ENS (American Journal of Physiology – Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, vol 283, p G1217).

The feel-good factor

The second brain also shares many features with the first. It is made up of various types of neuron, with glial support cells. It has its own version of a blood-brain barrier to keep its physiological environment stable. And it produces a wide range of hormones and around 40 neurotransmitters of the same classes as those found in the brain. In fact, neurons in the gut are thought to generate as much dopamine as those in the head. Intriguingly, about 95 per cent of the serotonin present in the body at any time is in the ENS.

What are these neurotransmitters doing in the gut? In the brain, dopamine is a signalling molecule associated with pleasure and the reward system. It acts as a signalling molecule in the gut too, transmitting messages between neurons that coordinate the contraction of muscles in the colon, for example. Also transmitting signals in the ENS is serotonin – best known as the “feel-good” molecule involved in preventing depression and regulating sleep, appetite and body temperature. But its influence stretches far beyond that. Serotonin produced in the gut gets into the blood, where it is involved in repairing damaged cells in the liver and lungs. It is also important for normal development of the heart, as well as regulating bone density by inhibiting bone formation (Cell, vol 135, p 825).

But what about mood? Obviously the gut brain doesn’t have emotions, but can it influence those that arise in your head? The general consensus is that neurotransmitters produced in the gut cannot get into the brain – although, theoretically, they could enter small regions that lack a blood-brain barrier, including the hypothalamus. Nevertheless, nerve signals sent from the gut to the brain do appear to affect mood. Indeed, research published in 2006 indicates that stimulation of the vagus nerve can be an effective treatment for chronic depression that has failed to respond to other treatments (The British Journal of Psychiatry, vol 189, p 282).

Such gut to brain signals may also explain why fatty foods make us feel good. When ingested, fatty acids are detected by cell receptors in the lining of the gut, which send nerve signals to the brain. This may not be simply to keep it informed of what you have eaten. Brain scans of volunteers given a dose of fatty acids directly into the gut show they had a lower response to pictures and music designed to make them feel sad than those given saline. They also reported feeling only about half as sad as the other group (The Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol 121, p 3094).

There is further evidence of links between the two brains in our response to stress. The feeling of “butterflies” in your stomach is the result of blood being diverted away from it to your muscles as part of the fight or flight response instigated by the brain. However, stress also leads the gut to increase its production of ghrelin, a hormone that, as well as making you feel more hungry, reduces anxiety and depression. Ghrelin stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain both directly, by triggering neurons involved in pleasure and reward pathways, and indirectly by signals transmitted via the vagus nerve.

In our evolutionary past, the stress-busting effect of ghrelin may have been useful, as we would have needed to be calm when we ventured out in search of food, says Jeffrey Zigman at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. In 2011, his team reported that mice exposed to chronic stress sought out fatty food, but those that were genetically engineered to be unable to respond to ghrelin did not (The Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol 121, p 2684). Zigman notes that in our modern world, with freely available high-fat food, the result of chronic stress or depression can be chronically elevated ghrelin – and obesity.

Gershon suggests that strong links between our gut and our mental state evolved because a lot of information about our environment comes from our gut. “Remember the inside of your gut is really the outside of your body,” he says. So we can see danger with our eyes, hear it with our ears and detect it in our gut. Pankaj Pasricha, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology in Baltimore, Maryland, points out that without the gut there would be no energy to sustain life. “Its vitality and healthy functioning is so critical that the brain needs to have a direct and intimate connection with the gut,” he says.

But how far can comparisons between the two brains be taken? Most researchers draw the line at memory – Gershon is not one of them. He tells the story of a US army hospital nurse who administered enemas to the paraplegic patients on his ward at 10 o’clock every morning. When he left, his replacement dropped the practice. Nevertheless, at 10 the next morning, everyone on the ward had a bowel movement. This anecdote dates from the 1960s and while Gershon admits that there have been no other reports of gut memory since, he says he remains open to the idea.

Gut instincts

Then there’s decision-making. The concept of a “gut instinct” or “gut reaction” is well established, but in fact those fluttery sensations start with signals coming from the brain – the fight or flight response again. The resulting feeling of anxiety or excitement may affect your decision about whether to do that bungee jump or arrange a second date, but the idea that your second brain has directed the choice is not warranted. The subconscious “gut instinct” does involve the ENS but it is the brain in your head that actually perceives the threat. And as for conscious, logical reasoning, even Gershon accepts that the second brain doesn’t do that. “Religion, poetry, philosophy, politics – that’s all the business of the brain in the head,” he says.

Still, it is becoming apparent that without a healthy, well-developed ENS we face problems far wider than mere indigestion. Pasricha has found that newborn rats whose stomachs are exposed to a mild chemical irritant are more depressed and anxious than other rats, with the symptoms continuing long after the physical damage has healed. This doesn’t happen after other sorts of damage, like skin irritation, he says.

It has also emerged that various constituents of breast milk, including oxytocin, support the development of neurons in the gut (Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, vol 55, p 1592). This might explain why premature babies who are not breastfed are at higher risk of developing diarrhoea and necrotising enterocolitis, in which portions of the bowel become inflamed and die.

Serotonin is also crucial for the proper development of the ENS where, among its many roles, it acts as a growth factor. Serotonin-producing cells develop early on in the ENS, and if this development is affected, the second brain cannot form properly, as Gershon has shown in mutated mice. He believes that a gut infection or extreme stress in a child’s earliest years may have the same effect, and that later in life this could lead to irritable bowel syndrome, a condition characterised by chronic abdominal pain with frequent diarrhoea or constipation that is often accompanied by depression. The idea that irritable bowel syndrome can be caused by the degeneration of neurons in the ENS is lent weight by recent research revealing that 87 out of 100 people with the condition had antibodies in their circulation that were attacking and killing neurons in the gut (Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, vol 18, p 78).

If nothing else, the discovery that problems with the ENS are implicated in all sorts of conditions means the second brain deserves a lot more recognition than it has had in the past. “Its aberrations are responsible for a lot of suffering,” says Pasricha. He believes that a better understanding of the second brain could pay huge dividends in our efforts to control all sorts of conditions, from obesity and diabetes to problems normally associated with the brain such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Yet the number of researchers investigating the second brain remains small. “Given it’s potential, it’s astonishing how little attention has been paid to it,” says Pasricha.

Mental illnesses of the gut

A growing realisation that the nervous system in our gut is not just responsible for digestion (see main story) is partly fuelled by discoveries that this “second brain” is implicated in a wide variety of brain disorders. In Parkinson’s disease, for example, the problems with movement and muscle control are caused by a loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. However, Heiko Braak at the University of Frankfurt, Germany, has found that the protein clumps that do the damage, called Lewy bodies, also show up in dopamine-producing neurons in the gut. In fact, judging by the distribution of Lewy bodies in people who died of Parkinson’s, Braak thinks it actually starts in the gut, as the result of an environmental trigger such as a virus, and then spreads to the brain via the vagus nerve.

Likewise, the characteristic plaques or tangles found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s are present in neurons in their guts too. And people with autism are prone to gastrointestinal problems, which are thought to be caused by the same genetic mutation that affects neurons in the brain.

Although we are only just beginning to understand the interactions between the two brains, already the gut offers a window into the pathology of the brain, says Pankaj Pasricha at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. “We can theoretically use gut biopsies to make early diagnoses, as well as to monitor response to treatments.”

Cells in the second brain could even be used as a treatment themselves. One experimental intervention for neurodegenerative diseases involves transplanting neural stem cells into the brain to replenish lost neurons. Harvesting these cells from the brain or spinal cord is not easy, but now neural stem cells have been found in the gut of human adults (Cell Tissue Research, vol 344, p 217). These could, in theory, be harvested using a simple endoscopic gut biopsy, providing a ready source of neural stem cells. Indeed, Pasricha’s team is now planning to use them to treat diseases including Parkinson’s.

As Olympians go for the gold in Vancouver, even the steeliest are likely to experience that familiar feeling of “butterflies” in the stomach. Underlying this sensation is an often-overlooked network of neurons lining our guts that is so extensive some scientists have nicknamed it our “second brain”.

A deeper understanding of this mass of neural tissue, filled with important neurotransmitters, is revealing that it does much more than merely handle digestion or inflict the occasional nervous pang. The little brain in our innards, in connection with the big one in our skulls, partly determines our mental state and plays key roles in certain diseases throughout the body.

Although its influence is far-reaching, the second brain is not the seat of any conscious thoughts or decision-making.

“The second brain doesn’t help with the great thought processes…religion, philosophy and poetry is left to the brain in the head,” says Michael Gershon, chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at New York–Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, an expert in the nascent field of neurogastroenterology and author of the 1998 book The Second Brain (HarperCollins).

Technically known as the enteric nervous system, the second brain consists of sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of the long tube of our gut, or alimentary canal, which measures about nine meters end to end from the esophagus to the anus. The second brain contains some 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system, Gershon says.

This multitude of neurons in the enteric nervous system enables us to “feel” the inner world of our gut and its contents. Much of this neural firepower comes to bear in the elaborate daily grind of digestion. Breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, and expelling of waste requires chemical processing, mechanical mixing and rhythmic muscle contractions that move everything on down the line.

Thus equipped with its own reflexes and senses, the second brain can control gut behavior independently of the brain, Gershon says. We likely evolved this intricate web of nerves to perform digestion and excretion “on site,” rather than remotely from our brains through the middleman of the spinal cord. “The brain in the head doesn’t need to get its hands dirty with the messy business of digestion, which is delegated to the brain in the gut,” Gershon says. He and other researchers explain, however, that the second brain’s complexity likely cannot be interpreted through this process alone.

“The system is way too complicated to have evolved only to make sure things move out of your colon,” says Emeran Mayer, professor of physiology, psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.). For example, scientists were shocked to learn that about 90 percent of the fibers in the primary visceral nerve, the vagus, carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around. “Some of that info is decidedly unpleasant,” Gershon says.

The second brain informs our state of mind in other more obscure ways, as well. “A big part of our emotions are probably influenced by the nerves in our gut,” Mayer says. Butterflies in the stomach—signaling in the gut as part of our physiological stress response, Gershon says—is but one example. Although gastrointestinal (GI) turmoil can sour one’s moods, everyday emotional well-being may rely on messages from the brain below to the brain above. For example, electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve—a useful treatment for depression—may mimic these signals, Gershon says.

Given the two brains’ commonalities, other depression treatments that target the mind can unintentionally impact the gut. The enteric nervous system uses more than 30 neurotransmitters, just like the brain, and in fact 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is found in the bowels. Because antidepressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase serotonin levels, it’s little wonder that meds meant to cause chemical changes in the mind often provoke GI issues as a side effect. Irritable bowel syndrome—which afflicts more than two million Americans—also arises in part from too much serotonin in our entrails, and could perhaps be regarded as a “mental illness” of the second brain.

Scientists are learning that the serotonin made by the enteric nervous system might also play a role in more surprising diseases: In a new Nature Medicine study published online February 7, a drug that inhibited the release of serotonin from the gut counteracted the bone-deteriorating disease osteoporosis in postmenopausal rodents. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.) “It was totally unexpected that the gut would regulate bone mass to the extent that one could use this regulation to cure—at least in rodents—osteoporosis,” says Gerard Karsenty, lead author of the study and chair of the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University Medical Center.

Serotonin seeping from the second brain might even play some part in autism, the developmental disorder often first noticed in early childhood. Gershon has discovered that the same genes involved in synapse formation between neurons in the brain are involved in the alimentary synapse formation. “If these genes are affected in autism,” he says, “it could explain why so many kids with autism have GI motor abnormalities” in addition to elevated levels of gut-produced serotonin in their blood.

Down the road, the blossoming field of neurogastroenterology will likely offer some new insight into the workings of the second brain—and its impact on the body and mind. “We have never systematically looked at [the enteric nervous system] in relating lesions in it to diseases like they have for the” central nervous system, Gershon says. One day, perhaps there will be well-known connections between diseases and lesions in the gut’s nervous system as some in the brain and spinal cord today indicate multiple sclerosis.

Cutting-edge research is currently investigating how the second brain mediates the body’s immune response; after all, at least 70 percent of our immune system is aimed at the gut to expel and kill foreign invaders.

U.C.L.A.’s Mayer is doing work on how the trillions of bacteria in the gut “communicate” with enteric nervous system cells (which they greatly outnumber). His work with the gut’s nervous system has led him to think that in coming years psychiatry will need to expand to treat the second brain in addition to the one atop the shoulders.

So for those physically skilled and mentally strong enough to compete in the Olympic Games—as well as those watching at home—it may well behoove us all to pay more heed to our so-called “gut feelings” in the future.

There are millions of neurons lining your gut almost as extensively as in your brain – do you think that might have something to do with your mood, your ‘intelligence’, and your overall health? Sometimes called the enteric nervous system, the stomach and intestines have a lot to say about how you feel, or how you ‘stomach’ emotions in general, as well as how well your body fends off unwelcome guests.

The enteric nervous system is so intelligent, in fact, that it houses entire networks of neurotransmitters and special proteins that tell the rest of the body what’s going down – quite literally. It is so wise, that it can operate distinctly from the brain and spinal nerves, and quite often does. Just think of the last time you ate something that didn’t agree with you. Your brain probably didn’t override a sudden urge to purge. Your enteric ‘brain’ knew to get that unsavory meal out of you as fast as possible to prohibit an even more unappealing outcome.

Did you also know that the gut produces more serotonin, the well-known happy hormone, than the brain does? 95% of all serotonin lives in the gut, not in the head. A big part of how we feel every day is truly related to our gut’s feeling, as it digests through the daily grind, our food as well as our food for thought. In fact, irritable bowel syndrome is caused by an imbalance of serotonin in the gut, and is sometimes called the ‘mental illness’ of the brain. We cannot experience an emotion or think a thought without a biological correlation. The brain-gut axis is deeply moved by our daily emotions.

Going further, our gut health is also key to our immunity. Actually, it’s been said that gut flora makes up about 80% of our immunity, and is especially important for infants to bypass illness. Millions of tiny benevolent bacteria live in our large and small intestines as well as our stomachs, and they help to fend off bad bacteria, which can causedisease andeven multiple types of cancer. Often called the ‘second brain,’ our gut is more important than we ever might have suspected.

So how do you ensure a healthy gut? Antibiotics are a major player in the destruction of gut health as they  destroy both the bad and good bacteria, so it’s important to avoid antibiotics whenever possible. Luckily, there are numerous natural antibiotics that can be utilized for remedying various resistant infections. In addition to avoiding antibiotics, try implementing these 4 ways to improve gut health.

Our stomachs can often be a mystery to us and many of us don’t realise just how much the foods we eat can impact on our mood and mental wellbeing.

According to charity Allergy UK, a shocking 45% of us suffers with food and drink intolerances, beverage – this is called food intolerance.

Food intolerance is a much more common problem than food allergy and one of the most harmful symptoms can be low mood. 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer problems with their mood or mental health every year, with anti-depressant prescriptions increasing by over 40% in the last 5 years*.

In a  recent paper published in the journal of Nutrition and Food Science, over 81% of patients reported a significant improvement in mood and mental wellbeing as a direct consequence of applying the dietary changes recommended by YorkTest.

So how is it that the food we eat can have such a significant impact on our mood?

Bidirectional connections between the gut and the brain are complex and are regulated in the body in three different ways; through nerves, hormones and the immune system. The gut mediates the body’s immune response; at least 70 per cent of our immune system is situated in the gut and is used to expel and kill foreign invaders.

Our gut contains some 500 million neurons (nerve cells), more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system. All of these neurons lining our digestive system do much more than merely handle digestion or cause occasional nervous feelings. Our gut partly determines our mental state and plays key roles in certain diseases throughout the body. Many people will not be aware that 90% of serotonin, the brain’s ‘happy hormone’ is produced in the gut – it is for these reasons that the gut is often referred to as the ‘second brain’.

In addition, research has shown that depression is frequently associated with gastrointestinal inflammation – a common symptom of food intolerance. By tackling unidentified food intolerances, not only will physical symptoms benefit, but mental health symptoms can often show significant improvement.
 
Related Articles:
That gut feeling – www.apa.org
 

Digestion, Heartburn & Acid Reflux

Next to back pain, digestion and reflux have put a strain on the national health service. The most common treaments on offer seem to be pills and medication with doctors unable to explain the root cause of the problems. Reflux problems can often lead to surgery and many antacid drugs such as PPI’s (Proton Pump Inhibitors) have varying side effects including bone fracture (see here). These drugs only serve to neutralize or reduce stomach acid when we actually need it. Reduction of stomach acid is a major problem as it increases the risk for:

  • Infection
  • Osteoporosis
  • Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies (calcium, B-12, folic acid)
  • Protein and fat malabsorption as well as indigestion.

The use of these medications works against your natural physiology. They do not treat the actual cause of disease, but merely reduces the symptoms (sometimes), thus creating a false sense of “healthy security”.

Acid reflux is a digestive condition where the lower oesophageal sphincter is unusually relaxed allowing stomach acids to flow back into the gullet (oesophagus). Prolonged exposure to refluxed acid leads to oesophagitis.

The gastroesophageal valve and the lower esophageal sphincter are two united systems known as the anti reflux barrier, they are connected via fascia to the diaphragm which ideally work together.

MFIT

Gastroesophageal Valve: The Gastroesophageal Valve or GEV is formed by a flap of tissue at the base of the esophagus that is doubled back at the position that it enters the stomach; this creates a dual layer of tissue that acts as a valve. The valve rests next to the lesser curvature of the stomach wall. There is an angle created between the flaps, the medical term for this is “the Angle of His”. The GEV opens when you consume and then will close and stay tightly closed to prevent the stomach contents refluxing into the oesophagus.

Lower Esophageal Sphincter: The Lower Esophageal Sphincter or LES is a band of muscles that enclose the esophagus at the connection of the stomach and oesophagus. The LES in general is contracted tightly forming a tight seal. If the LES doesn’t shut tightly it is possible for gastric juices to flow back into the oesophagus. The LES is also able to bond and push any material that has been regurgitated and reverse it back into the stomach; saliva is also made use of to help flush the oesophagus clean.

Reflux: The stomach contains gastric acid, pepsin and other enzymes, the wall of the stomach is not damaged by these agents, and the lining of the oesophagus is though vulnerable to damage if it comes into contact with these agents. If the muscle that holds the GEV in place is ill-treated, weakened or stretched, the Angle of His deteriorates and the GEV can finish up in a funnel shape rather than as a flap. If this takes place then the functionality of the GEV is lost and reflux is much more likely.

One of the major things affecting the GEV is the person’s weight, the additional weight on the stomach can stretch the GEV out of shape. Surplus weight also applies more force on the stomach so that if there are any slight issues with the anti-reflux barrier, the extra pressure can easily allow reflux to take place. Sitting for prolonged periods in a leaning position (ie: at a computer or typewriter) can have a similar effect. It causes a burning sensation as well as pain in the abdomen and chest. This condition is very common and affects millions of people daily. It can become quite serious and lead to inflammation, ulceration, oesophagitis, Hiatus hernia and ultimately cancer of the oesophagus. Acid reflux will also happen more frequently in the presence of Hiatus hernia.

Hiatus Hernia

Hiatus Hernia

The exact symptoms and sensations vary from person to person, though the most prominent characteristics are:

  • a bitter, sour or acidic taste in the mouth
  • feeling partially digested food or liquid rising from the stomach to the mouth
  • burning chest pain, often behind the breastbone
  • bloating, belching and nausea
  • chronic cough
  • stinging, hoarseness or sore throat

With MFIT when dealing with these conditions we first check with how the client breathes as this where we get 95% of our energy. The efficiency of breathing and correct diaphragm movement can dramatically affect one’s health. People who  breath apically (into the chest area) tend to hold their stomachs in, causing tension in their diaphragm (which you can find just under your ribcage either side of the solar plexus area). When you hold tension you get a build  up of fascia. Fascia is like a 3D “cobweb” of collagen fibres which surrounds and supports our internal organs and muscles. Fascia can also help protect an area and help nerve transmission to an area. So when we hold tension in the diaphragm, fascia will change its consistency in that area. This can have an affect on the stomach or heart caused by the tightening of the ‘cobweb’ in the diaphragm area. The tightening in diaphragm area can cause acid reflux.

With treatment and advising the client on how to improve breathing efficiency these conditions will not occur. Knowledge is power and we at MFIT aim to EMPOWER our clients.

Tension held in the abdomen caused by breathing into the chest area can also affect how we absorb energy from our foods which can lead to allergies ie: wheat or dairy allergies. At MFIT we use  techniques to unstick the layers of fascia in the abdomen area so that pressure and distortion is relieved in the stomach and heart areas. Tension under the liver can also affect the throat area and neighbouring organs. Results are often a reduction in hyper acidity, ulcers and nervous stomach. When the diaphragm is relaxed it will allow the hiatus to function properly keeping the stomach acids in the stomach.

Care of your stomach and digestive system can be achieved with certain products such as Aloe Vera and Manuka Honey, MFIT’s findings on these products can be found on our recommended products page.

The digestive system is the area where illness often begins. We are what we eat applies. When we hold on to physical or emotional stress we create dis-ease. At MFIT we always assess the abdomen area when dealing with any illness, muscle or bio mechanical problem.

Backpain, Strains, Sprains, Aches & Pains

One of the main causes of lower back pain comes from our holding patterns in the psoas and the abdomen area below the navel. Holding tension in this area can lead to many ailments and muscle dysfunctions.

FASCIA

Fascia is a structure of connective tissue that goes from head to toe. It surrounds and supports all our internal organs and binds our muscles, blood vessels and nerves together whilst permitting other muscles to slide over each other. When the body holds tension, fascia can build up to help nerve transmission to the area so when tension is held in the psoas area under load conditions, the psoas will naturally dominate other muscles, with MFIT we have various new technique procedures to balance this.

MFIT's Blog - Micheal Sterling on Backpain, Strains, Sprains, Aches & Pains

MFIT’s Blog – Micheal Sterling on Backpain, Strains, Sprains, Aches & Pains

SITTING DOWN

Western cultures spend a lot of their time sat down for prolonged periods in slouch positions. Certain areas will be under contraction all the time, one of these is the psoas which is attached to either side of the five lumbar vertebrae (lower back) and inserts in the lesser trochanter of the femur. It’s primarily a hip flexor so holding in this position for long periods will lead to a shortened position of the psoas. This can set up an inhibiting factor of the glutes which is its opposing muscle. When this happens other muscles must compensate. The hamstrings and QL must work harder – this holding pattern creates tension on L4 & L5 unless other core muscles are strong. The reason why L4 & L5 and not so much L2 & L3 is because the diaphragm is connected to L2 & L3 which have an upward force. This is the most common holding pattern and the cause of most sportsmens’ woes. Footballers have hamstring problems due to this, but tend to do strengthening exercises which do not correct the inhibiting factors.  MFIT, using the sterling-nunn procedure is able to correct the imbalances which are common.

Sterling-Nunn procedure is a technique devised by Michael Sterling which can be seen on his website www.mfi-therapy.com

WALKING

These holding patterns which we have whilst sitting generally carry on when walking or standing. Much can be made of the way someone walks. Two of the most common ways of walking are the people who over stride and psoas carriers. The latter involves the holding pattern which causes millions of people a year problems, and billions to the health industry. This holding pattern causes tension in L4 & L5 and back problems. The over striding causes tension in the knees and hips which can lead to arthritis. When joints hold tension fascia builds up causing more loading through the area and in many, deterioration of that joint. Using MFIT techniques and others, we balance out muscle loading through joints. Injuries which seem unexplainable and hard to treat are normally traced back to fascia in the abdomen area. Footballers tend to get hamstring injuries not due to weak hamstrings but because loading through the psoas is dominant. Thus the hamstrings and lower back take more load.

MFI

We have 28 points we work with, held within the fascia which affect muscle loading and function. Muscle and fascia are inter-connected, so for better results with training, both should always be assessed. Using new techniques many problems only need one or two treatments as the body heals a lot quicker when it is not carrying tension.

DIGESTION

Many ailments which people suffer from can be treated by addressing the fascia in the abdomen area. Digestion/reflux can be treated by releasing around the diaphragm the points which have a direct effect on the stomach and heart areas.

BREATHING

We can go for weeks without food, days without water, but only minutes without breathing. We get 95% of our energy from breathing. Most of our internal organs are situated below the diaphragm, so with a good breath they get a massage from oxygenated blood. This is why yoga is good as its movements creates a sponge affect on the abdomen helping to clear away toxins. When you see a baby breathing, its belly expands on inhalation. As we get older we can adopt other breathing patterns which inhibit the body’s natural energy flow. At MFIT we address these issues helping the client to release patterns which inhibits energy flow.

Frozen Shoulder

A common disorder, also called adhesive capsulitis, in which shoulder pain is followed by stiffness and restricted movement of the shoulder joint. Normally the anatomy of the shoulder joint allows a wide range of movements. When a frozen shoulder develops, the lining of the fibrous capsule that surrounds the joint becomes inflamed and thickened, scar like tissue forms, limiting shoulder movements. The condition affects more women than men and is common in people over 40. MFIT can reveal that the main cause of this ailment comes when the fascia under the armpit by the scapula thickens. This can cause the internal and external rotators of the shoulder to engage at the same time causing the appearance of a lock!. Over a prolonged period this can cause adhesive capsulitis to develop in the shoulder. Using MFIT methods instead of traditional methods (which can take any time up to a year to treat) will normally require 1-3 treatments for a succesful outcome.