Disclaimer: all opinions and techniques in this post series are solely based on Mark’s personal and professional education and experience knowledge. There are other professional options and approaches to addressing body fluid dynamic treatment and management.
Body fluid dynamics (BFD), refers to how the fluids of our body are produced and move about our bodies. In particular, the concern for optimizing this circulation and therapeutically aiding and correcting it when necessary and possible. Appreciation of BFD is not just limited to blood flow, but must also include lymphic, synovial, cerebrospinal, organ, intracellular and extracellular fluids. The flow and constriction of these fluids and their constriction is critical in facilitating healing on a molecular level. BFD processes have a long history in alternative practices, however it appears it has yet to be fully adopted by Western medicine as a regular practice though we see more of it as years pass. Even though there are many BFD strategies in alternative medicine, its full value is often under-appreciated by the therapeutic industry.
These fluids carry oxygen and nutrients all over the body, as well as remove unwanted waste and materials from a given area so it can be resorbed and or excreted by the body. In the case of an injury, there is a need for oxygen and nutrient delivery, but also a need for a mechanism to remove inflammatory byproducts and damaged tissue proteins. However, if there is a constriction in one of these highways, the delivery and/or removal mechanisms will not be able to work as needed. Acute restrictions can be caused by claudication, injury or neural dysfunction while chronically restrictions can occur due to prolonged inactivity or loss of mobility. Thus, it is important for providers to be aware of the normal anatomical flow of these fluids as well as how it can go wrong, the implications and how to treat it.
A skilled practitioner is able to take advantage of physics and biomechanics to optimize and correct these flows by properly patterning and directing the fluids where they need to go. In my experience with many post-operative breast cancer patients, there tends to be a lot of lymphatic fluid build up (lymphedema) in the operated area. The body is sending lymph to the injured area to protect it which is what we want. However, because of the increase in fluid production relative to the excretion of the fluid around the breast tissue, the patient has a pooling of the fluid which is not what we want. This pooled lymphatic fluid needs to be gently pushed out of the breast tissue to reduce the edema and to make room for new, nutrient and oxygen-rich lymphatic fluid. Body work and mobility training are two strategies I have used to reduce or eliminate these bottlenecks and provide sufficient flow patterns to the breast tissue. By intentionally influencing body fluid dynamics, you can re-establish production and delivery of physiological substrates required for tissue repair to optimal levels.
In our society, rehab after an injury is focused on getting clients back to work and daily function. There is little to no emphasis on complete restoration. We commonly hear that you need to just let the body heal on its own. In reality, by manipulating these fluids, we can accelerate the body’s healing. The discussion of BFD is about going the extra mile and providing recovery. When a client has multiple insults and injuries over a lifetime, the compounding effects are seen in the form of scar tissue, adhesions and/or altered kinetic patterns. Both of these can limit the circulation of fluids over time. Fluid flow restoration is part of a more complete recovery process.
For example, one client had a 10 year history of lower back pain. She had sought help from various disciplines who got her back to daily function. However, when I started working with her, she had a build up of scar tissue on her lower back. So although she was able to function “normally”, she had abnormal anatomical restrictions that had not been addressed. Our work together included mobility and body alignment work to address her physical limitations, as well as body work where we manually broke down this scar tissue build up. After 6 weeks, the scar tissue was almost entirely gone and she reported more relief and movement freedom in those 6 weeks than her previous efforts. The exercises were nothing revolutionary. The difference was the body work to remove the blockage in her lower back reducing acute pressure and allowing body fluids to reach the injured areas and start to heal them properly. This is how you go the extra mile for your client and truly get them back to normal.
Stay tuned in this blog mini-series as we continue the discussion of four methods of improving fluidic flow to deep tissues for healing purposes described below. These techniques are invaluable for someone with any type of edema. The answer to any edema is to assist and correct fluid flow regardless of the source.