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Old 12-04-2012, 12:50 PM   #306
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Re: Is aiki a clash of forces?

Josh Lerner wrote: View Post
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,...
When I use the term I mean to distinguish the contractile connective tissue forming a matrix around other tissues-- including all muscle fiber bundles -- where it is dubbed myo-fascia. The clinical use of the term to refer to the complex formed with the muscle fiber bundles should not cause difficulty with the basic understanding of the anatomy of the fascia as different from the tissues it forms and envelope, such as muscle fiber bundles.

The most recent discussions of fascial contractablility note that it seems to be able to contract in a smooth muscle-like manner.
We are in agreement. The fascia -- considered in isolation from the striated muscles it envelops -- acts like smooth muscle -- oxytocin-responsive and all.
But fascia is not smooth muscle, ...
Considered in isolation -- if it is not a form of smooth muscle tissue-- what would you call it ? As to its being or behaving as smooth muscle tissue it is a distinction without a difference. I am less interested in names than behaviors. Walk like a duck. Quack like a duck. Not a dog, cat or chicken. Small goose, maybe -- waterfowl, definitely.

... and the myofascial trigger points that researchers and therapists are talking about in the literature are not smooth muscle phenomena.
That is not established -- though it is plainly a complex of tissues involved -- the contribution of the smooth muscle behavior of the fascia to the problem is not ruled out. The complex interaction with the muscle tissue proper and reflexive systems give rise to the documented behaviors or effects that I take interest in for our subject matter -- but on the points of influence that seem to control in those issues -- also seem to have relevance to the trigger point phenomenon from the same suite of causes.

You are conflating smooth muscle and myofascial trigger points.
No, I am distinguishing them anatomically whereas you conflate them clinically -- which is just fine for clinical use.

Smooth muscle has receptors for things like oxytocin and histamine, ...
The striated muscle tissues interleave with the fascia -- which has this smooth-muscle behavior -- including the hormonal sensitivities -- which we apparently agree on -- (plus the study noted above).

... but trigger points are a completely separate phenomena.
That is not established. Perhaps, perhaps not. The complex interrelation and the undeniable postural source of most myofascial pain indicates a connection between adverse structural position and dynamic compensations that may overstimulate tissues. The positional fixation combined with the underlying tonic vibration or stress oscillation involved in stayinhg dynamically stable in such a bad posture -- that is exactly like hand-clenching from repetitive grip stress of a tool, but just occurring in and shortening sections of the muscle tissues (possibly from the Cinderella effect) rather than the gross shortening of the forearm muscles that clench the hands involuntarily. These connections are plain and highly suggestive and have not been ruled out.

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),
... It is interesting that we can observe the "trigger point" conditions stemming from fascia not enveloping muscle. All tendons also have a fascial matrix that is not readily distinguishable from that of the muscle tissues to which they connect -- by means of that fascia. Fasica is in a sense the substrate of both . That logically suggests that it is the common tissue -- the fascia -- that is the predominating element in trigger points.

Moreover, the afferent effect of the pathological myofascial bundle in the local twitch response spinal reflex -- suggests that there is a relationship between these as pathological examples of structures with similar reflexive behavior and triggers that arise in normal development (like muscle spindles for the stretch reflex and its inverse reflex mediated by Golgi tendon organs) These spinal reflexes are of great interest and application to our subject matter - I use them -- and provoke them in people all the time.

Note that trigger points are *not* an inflammatory phenomenon, and their formation is independent of histamines (and certainly have nothing to do with oxytocin).
We are in agreement and I did not say they were -- it is simply that those are differential identifying criteria for a tissue that behaves like smooth muscle ...

There are many biomechanical, nutritional, endocrine, and other causes of trigger points, but those are not some of them.
It is the biomechanicals effects and causes that are of interest -- but in the context of considering fascia in martial applications Ueshiba's sense of budo as "love" and the "spirit of loving protection" to ignore the involvement of oxytocin -- the love hormone -- is to ignore some obvious evidence or directions for inquiry from a seemingly knowledgeable source.

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.
IOW -- you just described plucking it like a fat guitar string. It is the effective influence of the resulting vibration on the systems in question that are of interest and the local twitch response is one more among the spinal reflexes that are mediated by such methods of striking, plucking or vibrating in another way. They do -- interesting -- things to people.

The significance of strumming is the sudden application of pressure to the trigger point. It has nothing to do with vibrations.
Pressure versus vibration. Since vibration is useful in such therapeutic massage or manipulations -- as is pressure -- and since vibration in tissue is just an oscillation of pressure-- I am not sure the distinction is that significant.

FWIW -- and in appreciation of this post -- it is worth commenting that this is the kind of engagement by which things can advance usefully. In budo, debate should be like training -- quite pointed, -- challenging, skeptical, but unmistakably polite and relating relevant information directly and carefully to the points put forward. It is much better than people simply comparing the intellectual equivalents of their martial style badges or belt colors as though those proved or disproved anything on what really matters.

Many thanks, Josh.


Erick Mead
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