Wound Healing, Interfaces, and Fascia - Today's Learning

This is the first weekend since June that I have been in my own home. My June and July travel destinations spanned across the US and into Canada. I have so many things to share, so many experiences and information I want to write about I am not sure where to begin.cats Amazingly, my cats still seem to love me and spent Saturday with me as I worked to catch up with lots of business things and personal life. 

Because today was such a unique, amazing day for me and this weekend was filled with so much learning, let's start with today. This morning I headed uptown to Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in NYC for an intense, enlightening, intimate lab and lecture event on Wound Healing and Fascia.

fascia congress Thomas FindleyThe day started out with none other than Thomas Findley, MD PhD, guru and man behind the magic curtain of the Fascia Research Society. He introduced the day setting the tone and focus towards wounds, scars, and how the body heals injuries beneath the skin's surface.

To begin, this most awesome day, Tom Myers kicked things off discussing how scars or adhesions can alter myofascial force transmission and what those altercations can do to our ability to stay stable and function efficiently. Tom is perhaps one of the most charismatic, easy to listen to, intelligent speakers I've ever had to pleasure of learning from. Not only has he developed a brilliant, simple model to help others understand the SFALcomplexities of tensegrity, and how longitudinal myofascial meridians he terms the Anatomy Trains, he's teachings on embryology, whole-body movement and compensatory patterns are bar none some of the most comprehensive trainings in the industry.

He discussed how an adhesion could have surprising functional consequences far beyond the actual site of injury or surgery. He talked about thinking differently about gait and movement and how the actual scar perhaps could be the last thing you ever bother with in a treatment session and the importance of looking at the whole-body and stop thinking about it fibroblastsin segmented parts. As those of you in this loop already know, I am a fan.

Next up, the utterly brilliant researcher, Boris Hinz, PhD discussed on a very cellular level his research and findings on wound healing and tissue remodeling or scaring after surgeries. He discussed how fibroblasts become myofibroblasts during the wound healing process and what occurs both in normal tissue repair, and how it can also work against us as in tumor progression caused by the same process.

Geoff BoveAfter the morning lectures, one of my favorite pain researchers (and perhaps one of the leading researches whose work could change how we view pain and inflammation Geoff Bove, DC PhD (pictured here with the brilliant Lori Spencer), presented an indepth discussion on fascial interfaces and the sense of pain. Over the years, his work has helped me better understand inflammation on a cellular level. Although most laymen wouldn't sit up or get giddy over a discussion between fibrin-forming and fibrin-dissolving capacities of the peritoneum but I tell you what... that's one kick ass afternoon for me.

We had lunch and then came back to the cadaver lab where Geoff and Tom tag-teamed on a dissection of a woman who had multiple anomalies from adhesions from her lung to the rib wall to odd attachments of the greater omentum towards the liver. Granted I'd rather have been doing the dissection but it's fun to just sit back and take the information in. Although Geoff had to work fast thus his finesse with the blade was a bit lacking (I'm more delicate and meticulous when working with a human form), he gave provocative thought for nearly two hours in the lab.

Finally, Thomas Findley brought all of the thoughts back to the participants, many of which are hands-on therapists and discussed possible relevance to application of manual therapy. There are some things that now simply seem obvious with all of the research on connective tissue that is emerging:

1. Connective tissue is intimately associated with every other tissue and organ in the body and is the environment our body relies on to give us our shape and form. Because it plays such a big role in stability, it may also influence the normal or pathological processes in a wide variety of organ systems.

2. Myofascial contracture is a controversial concept yet on the cellular level, seems simple enough. When the interface of the multi-layering matrix of connective tissue looses its hydration and ability to glide on itself, there can arise local thickenings of individual muscle fibers that then cause small groups of sarcomeres to contract. More simply said, connective tissue dehydration isn't a good thing.

3. If you understand how connective tissue and fibroblasts respond to certain types of tension or compression, it is possible that manual stimulation of sensory nerve endings may lead to the poor tone and adaptation in muscles. Turns out most of these nerve endings end in the connective tissue... not the muscle.

The research is emerging and more is being studied, more money and grants are being obtained to study these elements of the nervous system and the interfaces connective tissue creates.

This is a concept I learned from Thom and the researchers of fascia and applied to MELT a long while ago. What is being applied not only to the self-care techniques of MELT but many hands-on modalities that draw attention to the behavior of connective tissue is that the fascial system is the etiology of pain and proprioception.

My brain is so jam packed with thoughts and learning, I can't wait to share it with the MELT instructors and others who are curious as to how you can help yourself live a more pain-free, balanced life.

I'm sure I will dream deep and have some wild dreams tonight. Humble and grateful thanks to Thom, Tom, Geoff, and Boris for sharing their time and education with us all. It was great to see so many familiar faces in this amazing field of forward thinking practitioners and chat with many others. I feel privileged to be a part of such a wonderful group of professionals. I’ve got more to share about what I've learned and will in future blogs. I'm off to do a MELT foot treatment and get to bed. Sleep well and stay hydrated.

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