A reflex is a response to a stimulus. Nerve cells called “receptors” are organs designed to receive various kinds of stimulus.
For example there are receptors that respond to light, chemical substances, heat, and mechanical influences.
The receptor converts the stimulus it is designed to receive into an electrical signal and transmits it to a nerve cell. The nerve cells then transfer the signal via axons to the reflex centers. From this switching point the signals are relayed to the respective target organs.
For example, when you prick your finger with a needle, the target organs are those muscles that pull your finger away. Many reflexes are accompanied by feelings.
The reflexes that are of particular interest to us are the fight or flight reflexes as well as those that induce pleasure and pain.
When MLD is properly employed pleasure reflexes are elicited. These are accompanied by pleasant sensations and feelings of well being. They lower the basic activity of the muscles and thus exert a relaxing affect.
Touch receptors transmit stimuli which are elicited by the sensations produced by MLD or stroking. The precise execution of MLD is characterized by light, continually changing pressure, which activates or inhibits those cells whose function is to decrease or even eliminate sensations of pain.
More important to Fibromyalgia and CFS sufferers is MLD’s drainage effect which can also alleviate pain, but has a deeper and longer lasting effect on the chronic lymphostasis experienced by sufferers.
As explained in part 1 the lymphatics have become swollen and congested as a result of the pre CFS/Fibromyalgia infective illness. The affected regions have become painful due to swelling and also substances in the connective tissue which stimulate “nociceptors”, otherwise known as pain receptors.
All these factors are positively affected by MLD.
The immune system.
Using the MLD methodology tailored specifically for Fibromyalgia and CFS we aim to treat all lymph nodes that are accessible to our hands. Thus, we able to directly, manually, treat some of the most important organs of the body’s immune system.
The human immune system is directed not only against infectious pathogens, i.e. their virulence, but also against substances that are foreign to the species, such as proteins.
Only those pathogens [bacteria and viruses] that possess virulence, antigenity, or both will trigger the defense mechanisms of the immune system.
In addition, the immune system is responsible for getting rid of body tissue that no longer has a function, as this represents a disturbing influence in the protein individuality of the organism.
The immune system constitutes a vital protective system of the body. Immunity is understood to be the protection we have against a second attack of infectious disease.
Therefore a person contracts measles only once in a lifetime because the body is immune after the disease has abated. Immunity against measles however does not protect us against other infectious diseases. This property of immunity is known as specificity.
Two mechanisms are responsible for immunity. Proteins [globulins] also known as antibodies are mediators of humoral immunity. Secondly there are cells such as lymphocytes, plasma cells, phagocytes, and macrophages that can render detrimental substances harmless. This is known as cellular immunity
There are numerous interactions between the humoral and cellular immune systems.
Antibodies which form primarily in the lymph nodes have learned to react against very specific invaders. One thing is certain; Lymphostasis, a blockage of the lymph as presented by all true Fibromyalgia and CFS patients can prevent immunoglobulins [antibodies] from reaching the sites where they are needed.
The immunological benefit of MLD resides in the fact that pathogenic substances present in body fluids are transported rapidly by manual manipulation to the lymph nodes, where they are deactivated.
Generally speaking successful defense against infection by microorganisms depends on the degree of resistance and the presence of immunity.
Resistance is understood to be the entire defense complex that the body can mobilize against the antigens of the pathogen before the immunological response is initiated.
Resistance is not antigen specific. It is determined by genetic and environmental factors such as nutrition, exhaustion and in our case disease specifically the conditions Fibromyalgia and CFS.
This resistance can be strengthened by regular MLD as we can influence immunological events via the treatment of mucous membranes with MLD yielding good results by maintaining and improving the habitat of immunoglobulin antibodies.
The effect on the smooth muscles of the blood vessels and lymph angions
Lymph vessels are constructed differently from blood vessels. It was not until 1956 that spontaneous rhythmical contractions of the lymph vessels in man were formally recognized by the medical profession.
Lymph vessels could be said to resemble a small heart in construction. The lymph vessels are built up of individual valve segments called lymph angions, which should be interpreted as anatomical and functional units.
Each of these segments has a one way valve that determines the direction of lymph flow and simultaneously prevents backflow.
The spiral and ring shaped smooth muscles of the segments contract in response to various stimuli and press the contents of the lymph vessels, the lymph, in the specific direction in which the valves open.
It has been concluded that stimulation of various nerves leads to contraction of the lymph vessels, either actively or reactively. Mechanoreceptors have also been found in the lymph vessel wall. It can therefore be seen that lymph volume in the peripheral lymph wall determines the pulsation rate and thus the transport rate of the lymph.
Other factors are stimuli produced by:
* The movements of the skeletal muscles
* Pulsation of the arteries
* Pressure differences in the Thorax created by breathing
* Peristaltic movements of the intestine
* Manual lymph drainage
These stimuli are known as auxiliary pumps which work on vessel walls from the outside.
Apart from these, the lymph angion also has the possibility to self contract between three and seven times per minute.
The unique manipulations of MLD stimulate the lymphatics motor system:
Physiologic lymph drainage is based on autonomic pulsation of the lymph angion or chain of lymph angions. The pulsation is created by repeating, sequential, rhythmic dilations and contractions of a group of lymph segments. The dilation/ contraction frequency of the segments is synchronized. The resulting pulsation is a sequential peristalsis.
As has been discussed in previous articles, the autonomic response displayed in relation to immune function by Fibromyalgia and CFS sufferers is considerably compromised.
This dysfunction directly affects the autonomic pulsations of the lymph angions leading to disabling lymphostasis and in the worst cases toxic shock, where sufferers literally cannot get out of bed.
MLD exerts a decisive influence on this system of drainage and reverses the detrimental effects of lymphostasis.
Movement of the skin during Manual Lymph Drainage creates a lengthwise and diagonal stretching of the lymph vessels and so leads to increased pulsation and contractions.
When we speak of drainage in connection with MLD, we are referring to the removal of fluid from soft connective tissue. We aim to transport water and substances from loose connective tissue via the lymph vessel system. These substances are referred to as the lymph-obligatory load.
Some water will also be removed by the blood vessel system, a side effect which may require advice regarding replacement and should be noted by all professionals practicing MLD.
Connective tissue: Structure and characteristics
When we consider connective tissue in relation to MLD we are referring to loose connective tissue that binds the cells together to form tissue groups. These tissue groups join to form organs, and finally the organs form an organism.
Loose connective tissue is made of several substances.
MLD, the massage form adapted to this type of tissue, helps to normalize the function and composition of connective tissue which has been compromised. By using specialized MLD methodology, fluid and solutes in the connective tissue can be displaced in any desired direction.
Connective tissue is composed of 70% water, it is movable, and varies in its viscosity.
If we apply appropriate distortion forces to the connective tissue in terms of pressure and skin movement with the light vibrations of MLD, then we can free connective tissue of substances which have been affecting it and exacerbating your Fibromyalgia and CFS symptoms.
The connective tissue is purified by small molecular substances and water being reabsorbed into the bloodstream.
By stimulating the lympangion motoricity, large molecular substances which include waste metabolites and the whole lymph-obligatory load with associated toxins can be removed from the connective tissue thereby relieving the chronic muscular pain of Fibromyalgia trigger points.
The lymph-obligatory load includes all substances in the connective tissue, which because of their molecular size can only be transported through the lymph system, such as protein cells, water and fat loads that may include glass, mineral, coal dust and chemicals, as well as bacteria.
The reduction in experience of pain reduces associated stress hormone production, which in turn reduces our experience of chronic fatigue.