Connective Tissue Function
Connective tissue is an essential organ and as such has many functions and capabilities.
Connective tissue is the vehicle of the unconscious and undifferentiated body functions.
Connective tissue regulates energy processes and has primary control of the physiochemical and bioelectrical activities of the body.
Connective tissue regulates a host of vital bodily functions such as temperature, water, mineral and energy balance, including glycolysis and respiration.
Connective tissue forms the basis of the system of general and unspecific defense regulation, and along with its fibres represents a mechanical barrier to bacteria.
Connective tissue serves as the physiologic reservoir of the human body for all essential nutrients.
Protein, carbohydrates and water are stored in the connective tissue as well as fat cells which contain fat not yet transformed into energy.
Water occurs in two different forms in the body:
1. As active hydrodynamic, available water
2. As inactive stored water.
The first form serves as a means of transport in the circulatory and lymph system as well as in connective tissue. It functions as a reactive partner and a solvent in the metabolic processes of cells and tissues.
Stored water (2) on the other hand is used to determine the volume of a molecule which is not a compact, but rather a diffuse, externally open molecule that extends over a large volume.
Evolution has cleverly placed its central reservoir for all essential nutrients, in the most imaginably convenient spot in the body, the connective tissue.
In this way the connective tissue fulfils two functions.
Firstly, it is a hydro culture in which all cells of the body are suspended and nourished.
Secondly, it is the ubiquitous reservoir for all the nutrients of the entire organism.
In this way every body cell can withdraw any nutrient from the tissue fluid in which it is bathed. If a nutrient deficiency occurs, every cell can at any time draw nutrients out of the connective tissue reservoir without any delay due to long transport routes.
The connective tissue is indeed another organ of the body, meaning the life quality of the cells is dependent upon the environment.
This view is logical due to the presence of nerve fibres in the soft connective tissue which represent the termination of the autonomic nerves. The axons of these nerves are able to release transmitter substances directly into the connective tissue, thereby exerting a regulatory effect.
A further characteristic of connective tissue is its ability to regenerate, for example, the formation of scars.
Connective tissue has another important function as a defense system against life threatening invasions from foreign cells such as bacteria. Connective tissue fibres represent a protective barrier that detains invading cells until the defense cells can do their work
A good healthy connective tissue is essential for health and beauty.
An accumulation of metabolic waste products impairs the function of connective tissue. In mild cases this leads only to cosmetic blemishes, but in more serious cases it will lead to health disturbances such as Fibromyalgia and CFS.
The same is true if disturbances occur in the water balance of connective tissue or if its composition deviates from the norm in one of many other possible ways.
Microoedeamas in connective tissue are the cause of many diseases.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) aims to clean and purify the tissue by draining it of pollutants.
Transport Systems of the Body
The human body consists of one third solid substances and two thirds of a liquid similar to seawater in composition. One could argue that this is evidence that we originally evolved from marine life.
Health is almost entirely dependent on the circulation of substances (metabolism), and so becomes a matter of efficient transport.
All substances that are transported in the blood must pass through the connective tissue to reach the cells. Waste products formed during combustion must also pass through the connective tissue in order to be removed by the blood.
These facts are crucial to understanding how MLD works.
Parallel to the venous system we have another vessel system, the lymph system.
A good analogy for the circulatory systems would be to say that the arterial network forms the supply channels to the tissues, with the venous and lymph networks representing the drainage systems.
In turn, venous and lymph systems have their own differing tasks.
The venous system conducts blood back to the heart, but must also remove small molecular substances such as salt, sugar, water and gas from the connective tissue, and transport them.
The lymph system is responsible for removing large molecular substances and water from the tissue, and transporting them. Large molecules consist of proteins, immobile cells, cell fragments, waste products, bacteria, viruses, inorganic substances, water and large molecular fats.
Lymph nodes can be regarded as filtering stations. Lymph will not leave an organ or a body region without being filtered through a lymph node. Lymph nodes represent direct connections to the circulatory system.
Lymph nodes are full of lymphocytes, plasma cells and phagocytes (all vital immune system units with their own individual purpose).
Lymphocytes will remain in the lymph nodes for several days but will only stay in the blood for at most 24 hours.
There are around 600 lymph nodes in the body, with around 160 concentrated in the neck region, hence the dreadful neck pain experienced during an infective episode.
Lymph nodes bind, attack and breakdown antigens but also concentrate deposits of glass, dust, mineral dust and dyes for elimination into the blood capillaries.
The majority of an organism’s immunological reactions and activities occur in the lymph nodes.
Lymph nodes are generally devoid of musculature with the exception of those in the intestinal region which are able to contract. This is due to the enormous pressure and the pure volume of activity in the intestinal area.
The functions of the lymph nodes are:
Lymph Concentration (water is resorbed into the veins resulting in lymph thickening,
Immunological function (lymphocyte replication), Storage for substances that cannot be immediately broken down and eliminated.
Anatomy of the Lymph Vessels
The largest lymph vessel of the human body is the thoracic duct. It originates in the navel region and ascends through the diaphragm in front of the vertebral column. At the sternum it arches to the left and empties into the left subclavian vein.
It transports the lymph from the lower body and legs. It also takes some of the lymph generated in the thorax.
All lymph originating below the navel is transported by the thoracic duct.
The lymph of the skin and muscles of the head and neck is transported by the jugular trunk to the venous arch of that side. There are many lymph nodes in the neck and facial region.
The cervical lymph nodes are situated above and below the fascia of the tissue.
Of particular note to Fibromyalgia and CFS sufferers is that the brains “lymph obligatory load” flows through the lymph nodes of the neck.
This is a crucial factor to remember in treating Fibromyalgia and CFS patients, as will be discussed later.
The brain and spinal cord have no direct lymph vessels of their own: the pre-lymph from these areas drains via cerebrospinal fluid and along spinal nerves.
What is particularly interesting in the Fibromyalgia and CFS debate is that recent scientific evidence reports the discovery brain and spinal cord lesions in Fibromyalgia and CFS patients.
Readers should by now be able to deduce for themselves that it is no coincidence that these areas happen to be organs that have no direct access to lymph vessels.
The viral, chemical or bacterial trigger infection pre diagnosis was allowed to cause damage to these areas due to extreme lymphostasis during the infective period.
The lymphostasis is a direct result of musculoskeletal anomalies affecting the thoracic duct, the main drainage channel of the lymphatic system.
As I have spoken about a great length in previous articles, all Fibromyalgia and CFS patients present with some degree of musculoskeletal imbalance in the T7 area which as I have presented in this article is the main “crossroads” of the lymphatic system.
My working strategy includes the following:
MLD focusing on specific areas of lymphostasis, working the tissues in specific directions,
mobilization of particular musculoskeletal restrictions,
improve overall musculoskeletal balance,
simultaneously employ a sequence of rotational exercises,
The results normally include:
reversal of chronic lymphostasis,
improvement trigger point pain,
reduction of stress hormone production,
improvement overall immune function ,
reduction of the fatigue experienced by true CFS and Fibromyalgia sufferers.