Not all bugs are bad. We are just beginning to understand how the microbes that symbiotically coexist within our Small Intestines contribute to our well being. The Human Genome Project revealed the humans have approximately 20,000 working genes. It now appears the the gut microbiome contains 5-8 million genes, contributing 36% of the small molecules found in human blood. At present 60% of the molecules identified have unknown functions. As scientists delve deeper into the mysteries of the gut microbiome, links between microbiome imbalances and diseases as diverse as cancer, diabetes, obesity, inflammatory bowel disorder, psoriasis, asthma and possibly even autism have been established. There is no aspect of our musculo-skelletal, visceral or neurological systems that are isolated from the influence of the gut micro-biome. It is highly likely that variance in the effectiveness of pharmaceutical products is partially explained by the differences between individuals in their gut micro-biome , dimming the hope that all disease may ultimately be conquered by taking a pill.
The gut micro-biome is a rapidly evolving area of study, as illustrated in this graphic:
(Click to enlarge the image to view the detail)
Pre-biotics and pro-biotics can be extremely beneficial to guide the gut micro-biome into an optimal communal relationship. People suffering from allergies, inflammation, weight issues, cognitive fogginess, fatigue or other diffuse symptoms that don’t have a recognizable origin can simple take on learning to cultivate their gut flora by adding pre-biotics to their diet and supplementing with pro-biotics, and notice if and how symptoms change. There are many over the counter products to experiment with. For those people experiencing a more severe symptom set, working with a nutritionist experienced in the gut micro-biome is highly recommended.
Manual Therapy Note:
Working with the Valves in the Stomach, Small Intestine and Large Intestine pathway.
Releasing adhesions in the gut is beneficial. The visceral organs are designed to manage fluid dynamics, and anything that can assist the variety of fluids as they cycle through the organs will enhance health. Any areas of dense tissue will restrict flow, and when worked with any Manual Therapy technique that releases adhesions, will enhance fluid dynamics. Key areas to work are the valves in the four corners of the gut cavity. One thing that is really quite important to remember when manipulating the valves is to finish the manipulation in the direction that the valves close in, this is the direction opposite to the flow of nutrients through the system. An example of the effects of a stuck valve is acid reflux when the Esophageal valve does not fully close.
Esophageal Valve: Gently press into the left upper gut area beneath the ribs, and cranially (towards head). (This is a great self help technique when experiencing acid reflux)
Pyloric Valve: Gently press into the right upper gut area beneath the ribs, and cranially and medially (towards the midline).*
Ileocaecal Valve: Gently press into the right lower gut area, and caudally (towards the feet).
Valve of Houston: Gently press into the left lower gut area area, and cranially.
*Beneath the Pyloric valve is the Gall Bladder bile duct. This can be work caudally and medially to enhance the flow of bile.