Fascial neuromodulation: an emerging concept linking acupuncture, fasciology, osteopathy and neuroscience
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine “acupuncture is believed to restore the balance between Yin and Yang” and this can be understood in the Western medicine terminology as a “modulation of the equilibrium between parasympathetic and sympathetic activity”. The vast majority of studies concerning the mechanisms of action of acupuncture have been conducted on its influence on pain, and it has been proposed that acupuncture may indirectly relieve chronic pain by its effects on autonomic nervous system function. Several studies have shown that acupuncture recruits brain networks involved in the integration of multiple other brain functions: for example, the limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network, which plays a major role in modulating the affective dimensions of pain processing and the integration of emotional, sensorimotor, autonomic and immunological functions. It has been recently proposed that mechanical signaling through the connective tissue, along with transmission of the matrix deformation through the fascial system network, can explain the therapeutic effect of acupuncture. This model of acupunture, which involves the transduction of mechanical signals through the connective planes and produces a secondary involvement of neurophysiological mechanism, appears to fit very closely to the ancient model. It is also compatible with the proposed neurophysiological explanation. Furthermore, it appears to be fruitful also in manual therapy approaches. Drawing on the basis of the “Fascial network hypothesis of meridians”, in which there is an overlap between the channels network described by Traditional Chinese Medicine and the newly-defined fascial system, I propose an intervention through a combination of acupoints that have been selected due to their relationship between “extraordinary acupuncture channels”, the myofascial sequences described by Stecco, and the emotional and adaptive function as contemplated by a psychosomatic model used in posturology. This intervention is aimed at treating both stress and postural imbalance.
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