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Old 12-04-2012, 11:39 AM   #305
Josh Lerner
 
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Location: Renton, WA
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Re: Is aiki a clash of forces?

Eric,

I am an acupuncturist and manual therapist who specializes in pain, orthopedic problems, and myofascial trigger points, both in my private practice and in my position as an educator.

With a few exceptions, italicized parts are from your post (I'm too lazy to break it up with the quote function).

Myofascia, a form of "smooth muscle" tissues (like the uterus)

Myofascia is not a form of smooth muscle like the uterus, the intestines, or the heart.

Myofascia is a term used to describe the entire muscular and fascial system of the body, and in clinical literature is usually referring to skeletal muscle, not smooth muscle, because patients come in with problems stemming from skeletal muscle issues. The term was created when people who deal with muscular pain and postural problems started realizing that talking about the muscles in isolation from their surrounding connective tissue matrix didn't make much sense, so instead of talking about just "muscles" they started talking about "myofascia". "Myo" means muscle, so the term means "muscles plus fascia". "Myofascial bundle" is a term that describes a particular bundle of skeletal muscle with its surrounding (and interpenetrating) fascia.

are affected by certain hormones and by certain mechanical factors. (Notably, they are immune to adrenaline/epinephrine.) But they are contracted by oxytocin (the "loving protection' hormone), by inflammation hormones (histamine) -- and more particularly for our purposes, by repetitive mechanical stress and vibrations, as anyone knows who has experienced clenched hands on a yard tool like a shovel or rake used repetitively. These first two effects provide increased structural integrity -- and in the second case, aids limb immobilization when injured. The latter mechanical observation however is more subtle. Local twitch response is a spinal reflex, like flexor/extensor reflexes. When it is problematic, it is implicated in myofascial trigger points -- which frequently have a postural cause -- a disruption of normal stable structure to which the body responds by excessively activating myofascial bundles -- which shows that they are intimately concerned wiht posture -- i.e.-- structural stability.

You are conflating smooth muscle and myofascial trigger points. Smooth muscle has receptors for things like oxytocin and histamine, but trigger points are a completely separate phenomena. This is the definition of a myofascial trigger point:

- A hyperirritable node located within a palpable, taut band of skeletal muscle. It is tender to palpation, and can refer pain or other symptoms in a recognizable pattern.

There are some types of trigger points that fall outside of this definition, such as those that occur in tendons or ligaments (and therefore are not in a palpable band of skeletal muscle), and some might, I guess, in theory, occur within smooth muscle, although I've never come across that discussed in the literature. And even if they do, that has nothing to do with the argument you are trying to make.

Note that trigger points are *not* an inflammatory phenomenon, and their formation is independent of histamines (and certainly have nothing to do with oxytocin). There are many biomechanical, nutritional, endocrine, and other causes of trigger points, but those are not some of them.

The most recent discussions of fascial contractablility note that it seems to be able to contract in a smooth muscle-like manner. But fascia is not smooth muscle, and the myofascial trigger points that researchers and therapists are talking about in the literature are not smooth muscle phenomena.

Local twitch response is also seen in what the literature describes as physically "strumming" a tautened muscle bundle. Vibrations thus have physiological effects on reflexive action and the myofascial tissues which strengthen structure.

Local twitch response is what sometimes happens when a trigger point is stimulated, usually by applying direct pressure to it and very commonly by inserting a needle into it. It has nothing to do with "vibrations"; what they mean when they say "strumming" is squeezing the taut band of muscle between your thumb and fingers and letting it snap through them, not rhythmically vibrating it like a guitar string. The significance of strumming is the sudden application of pressure to the trigger point. It has nothing to do with vibrations.

I don't know enough about physics to critique your application of physical models to aikido, but I know myofascial trigger points. If you want your theories to be more accepted, you should stop cherry-picking words and phrases that sound impressive but that you don't really understand to bolster your arguments. Unless you are doing it purposefully to get attention from people like me who then feel compelled to post in response to you. If so, bravo! Mission accomplished!

Josh
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