Structure & Function Revisited
New Insights on Restoring Well Being at a Profound Level
By George Roth, DC, ND, CMRP
“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. ~ ”
― Thomas A. Edison
Much of the research on the relationship between structure and functional disorders and/or disease, has been focused on the so-called ‘somatovisceral’ reflex and its association with the autonomic nervous system. However, recent developments in the field of cellular biomechanics, has opened up the possibility of many more causal associations between somatic structure and functional disorders2. Although these anatomical and physiological relationships are becoming clearer at the purely scientific level, reproducible clinical evidence and applicability has not been forthcoming, until now.
Over the past four decades, I have investigated therapeutic processes and procedures, which are congruent with the emerging sciences of biomechanics, cell biology and bio-electricity. I am gratified that this investigation has resulted in the development of methods, which have produced measurable clinical outcomes, as verified by leading investigators from various fields, including radiology, orthopedics, biomedical engineering and cellular biology. In their opinion, this type of objective evidence in the field of manual and structural therapy is unprecedented.
Using the Power of Tensegrity to Restore Optimal Well Being
One of my earliest discoveries was that the entire fascial framework of the body functions as a continuous, closed kinetic chain. This characteristic of tissue can be experienced through the following exercise (your ability to notice these features can best be experienced with your eyes closed, as this will heighten your sensory awareness):
What you might have noticed, is an increase in the sensation of tension of your neck and shoulders when you clenched your fists, as opposed to when they were unclenched. This illustrates the properties of living tissue, which are interconnected as a continuous fabric. The clenched fists simulate a source of tension, as we might encounter with a tissue injury. The transmission of this source of tension to other parts of the body is based on the concept of tensegrity, as it applies to the cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix (ECM) at the cellular and molecular levels (see Figure 1)3, 4, 5. In my experience, this explains why an injury in one part of the body, can manifest as symptoms in other areas. By precisely locating the actual source of the problem, we potentially have the ability to provide a much greater level of success in our clinical outcomes.
The technique that evolved from my research over the past thirty years was originally developed as a form of musculoskeletal therapy. Treatment resulted in positive outcomes in many cases of low-back pain, knee and shoulder pain, neck pain, headaches and many other related conditions. One of my early discoveries was that various injuries were associated with structural changes, including alterations in the size and shape of bone7, 8. Evidence for these changes was illustrated by a particularly graphic case, which I reported on in 2019. This involved a long-standing case of severe post-traumatic osseous degeneration (diagnosed as polyostotic fibrous dysplasia). The outcome, after six treatments, was that the bone structure was measurably restored, as attested to by radiographic evidence9. Dr. Norman Doidge is the author of two best-selling books on the use of leading-edge technologies to overcome traumatic brain injury. In his latest book, The Brain’s Way of Healing (Penguin, 2016), he verified that these procedures were able to restore the shape of cranial bones and provide significant clinical benefits when applied to the treatment of concussion10.
The examination process, based on these principles, includes objective biomechanical and neurological measurements. In addition, a bio-compatible magnetic field is utilized to detect areas of bio-electric discontinuity, which have been associated with tissue injury11. This allows the practitioner to determine the precise location of injuries, referred to as Primary Restrictions. Treatment involves the application of gentle pressure at these sites, along with the bio-compatible magnetic field mentioned above. This combined approach appears to induce piezoelectric current12, 13 in the affected area, resulting in a release of cellular tension and the restoration of osseous size and shape, in a profound manner14. Normalization of bone structure, along with that of other fascial elements, results in improvements in muscle tone, articular mobility and neurological function (when the injury is in the cranium or spine). Practitioners have noted a reduction in the need for strenuous procedures, such as high velocity manipulation, fascial mobilization and stretching. Results tend to be long lasting.
Primary Restrictions also tend to involve the dense layers of fascia associated with visceral structures. It is postulated that the fluid content of certain internal organs may make them more susceptible to impact trauma. The force of the injury may thus be absorbed by these structures, similar to the way a water balloon is affected when it strikes the ground, resulting in areas of so-called ‘internal injury’. This may explain the improvement noticed by many clinicians using these procedures, in various hematologic and other laboratory and physiological measures associated with visceral function. As a consequence, treatment often results in significant improvement in symptoms, such as gastro-esophageal reflux, snoring and apnea, cardiac arrhythmia, cholesterolemia, incontinence, erectile dysfunction and other conditions.
Case Report: Post-Traumatic Hypertension and Tachycardia
This case involves a 51-year-old gentleman, who came to see me regarding a snowmobile collision, which occurred in February 2020. He sustained a major impact to his left postero-lateral chest wall and serious complex fractures of his left elbow. Ten years prior to this injury, he developed hypertension following a series of lithotripsy treatments for renal calculi. His blood pressure was eventually stabilized at normal levels with medication, which remained the case for almost a decade, until the above-mentioned incident.
Immediately after the injury, his blood pressure became significantly elevated (150-155/95-100) and he developed tachycardia in the range of 85 to 95 BPM. Prior to the injury his heart rate averaged in the mid-sixties. Neither of these symptoms responded favorably to medication.
After the first two treatments directed to the injured areas related to the upper extremity, rib cage/thoracic spine, cranial base/cervical spine and the pericardium, his BP averaged 120/80 and his resting heart rate was approximately 70-75 BPM. After two additional sessions, his heart rate averaged 65-75 and his blood pressure reduced to the range of 110/70. In fact, as of the writing of this report, his blood pressure has continued to drop and I have advised him to seek a re-evaluation of his medication, if it should continue to decline.
Discussion: Visceral, Endocrine and Neurological Implications
Hypertension is a condition which affects a significant number of people. Recent estimates indicate that more than 100 million Americans (CDC, 2017) are afflicted with this potentially dangerous condition. Other than traumatic brain injury, the literature is rather scanty on the incidence of essential or primary hypertension subsequent to physical injury15. However, based on evidence gathered over three decades of clinical experience, it is my opinion that the association may be much more prevalent than previously considered.
Over the past 20 years, there have been a significant number of cases of hypertension that have responded to the application of this form of treatment. In several of those cases, patients experienced an improvement in their blood pressure, inasmuch that they required a reduced dosage of medication, or were able to curtail the use of them entirely. These results appear to have persisted for months or years.
It has been postulated that certain injuries to the trunk (rib cage or spine), may have an influence on renal and hepatic function (renin and/or angiotensinogen and/or angiotensin production). Additional areas of primary involvement may include thoracic spinal injury, which may influence the sympathetic nervous system, cervical spine involvement, as it relates to the carotid sinus, or cranial injury, which may affect the pituitary output of ADH or the vagus nerve (CN X), as it relates to regulation of cardiac contractility. The cervical and thoracic injuries may have also accounted for the tachycardia.
The case described above is representative of the types of conditions often encountered and resolved using this form of treatment (Matrix Repatterning), which is currently being used by chiropractors and other health professionals. As a result of these successes, we were recently invited to participate in a pilot study at a major teaching hospital in Toronto, Canada. We will be reporting our preliminary results in an upcoming article. We are hopeful that these outcomes will provide us with even more information to support the development of scientific, reproducible, safe and non-invasive methods to be able to offer relief for this and many other somatovisceral conditions.
Practitioners from around the world, who have learned these techniques, have found that they are now able to provide real solutions for their patients. By restoring the framework of the body (as set out in original chiropractic doctrine), and taking into account the latest scientific discoveries in molecular biomechanics and bio-electric principles, we now have an even greater potential to optimize the body’s natural healing abilities, to truly become the ‘doctors of the future’.
1. Palmer DD. The science of chiropractic. 2n ed. USA: Theclassics Us; 2013.
2. Ingber DE, Mechanobiology and diseases of mechanotransduction, Annals of Medicine; 35(8): 564-77, 2003.
3. Ingber DE, The Architecture of Life, Scientific American, Vol. 1, 1998.
4. Pischinger A, The Extracellular Matrix and Ground Regulation, Basis for a Holistic Biological Medicine, North Atlantic Books, Berkley, 2007.
5. Roth GB, The Matrix Repatterning Program for Pain Relief, New Harbinger, Oakland CA, 2005.
6. Roth GB, Observations in a New Light: Subluxation: A case of mistaken identity? Canadian Chiropractor, December 2019.
7. Fantner GE, Hassenkam T, Kindt JH, Weaver JC, Birkedal H, Pechenik L, Cutroni JA, Cidade GA, Stucky GD, Morse DE, Hansma PK , Sacrificial bonds and hidden length dissipate energy as mineralized fibrils separate during bone fracture, Nat Mater. 2005 Aug; 4(8):612-6. Epub. Jul 17 2005.
8. Roth GB, Regenerating Bone Structure: Unexpected Results, The American Chiropractor, pp. 42, 43, January 2019.
9. Valbona C. et al, Response of pain to static magnetic fields in postpolio patients: A double-blind pilot study, Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 78:12003, 1997.
10. Doidge N., The Brain’s Way of Healing, Penguin Books, New York, 2016.
11. MacGuintie LA et al, Streaming and piezoelectric potentials in connective tissues. In: Blank M (ed) Electromagnetic fields: biological interactions and mechanisms. Advances in Chemistry Series 250. American Chemical Society, Washington DC, ch. 8, pp 125-142, 1995.
12. Sierpowska J et al, Prediction of mechanical properties of human trabecular bone by electrical measurements Physiol. Meas. 26 S119, 2005.
13. Roth GB, When Physics Meets Biology, Canadian Chiropractor, May 2020.
14. Krishnamoorthy V, et al, Hypertension after Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: Friend or Foe? J Neurosurg Anesthesiol. 2017 October ; 29(4): 382–387. doi:10.1097.
15. Clar C, Clinical effectiveness of manual therapy for the management of musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal conditions: systematic review and update of UK evidence report, Chiropr Man Therap, 2014 Mar 28;22(1):12.
About the Author:
Dr. Roth is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and the Ontario College of Naturopathic Medicine and has studied osteopathic medicine at Doctors’ Hospital North, Columbus, Ohio. He is the developer of Matrix Repatterning and is the Director of Education at the Matrix Institute in Toronto. Dr. Roth has presented seminars at numerous hospital and university-based symposia throughout North America. He is the co-author, with Kerry D’Ambrogio PT, of Positional Release Therapy (Elsevier, 1997), and the author of The Matrix Repatterning Program for Pain Relief (New Harbinger, 2005). His work is also featured in the Brain’s Way of Healing, by Dr. Norman Doidge, (Penguin, 2015).
For more information: www.matrixforpractitioners.com