GOOD NEWS... HELP IS AT HAND
As all sufferers will know Raynaud's Syndrome is a condition where
the blood vessels go into spasm and cause extremities,
such as the fingers to go white and sometimes blue and
dead. As the spasm recedes the fingers turn red, tingle
and are painful. The good news is that we can help people with Raynaud's Syndrome.
Blood flow is controlled by the Autonomic Nervous System.
Some of the impulses for the Autonomic Nervous System travel
through connective tissue. If the connective tissue is tight
the Autonomic Nervous System doesn't function correctly.
Also tight connective tissue physically restricts blood flow.
By reducing connective tissue tension the autonomic control
of the blood vessels improves and there are fewer spasms
lasting for a shorter time. By reducing the tension in the
connective tissue around the blood vessel walls themselves
the overall circulation
to the area improves.
A Specialised Physiotherapy technique know as Connective
Tissue Manipulation (CTM) is available which reduces the
tension in the connective tissue and helps those with Raynaud's Syndrome.
The body is wrapped in a fine mesh of tissue which reaches
and envelops every part of the body. You've probably seen
it in meat - the white membrane that goes round a muscle
in a leg of lamb or the tough fatty looking fibres that
are sometimes found in stewing steak is all connective
Connective tissue can vary from a very fine membrane to
a thick sheet. It is a continuous sheet going round every
muscle, every joint, through the skin, around the stomach
- everywhere. Every blood vessel is wrapped in connective
tissue and it also passes through sheets of connective tissue
as they criss-cross the body.
Connective tissue forms part of the automatic side of the
nervous system. The individual fibres of connective tissue
are filled with fluid, which allows nerve impulses to pass
signals to and fro between the brain and all parts of the
body. If connective tissue is tight the autonomic system
cannot function properly.
Connective tissue tension increases with age and with stress
such as difficulties at work or illness in the family.
When there is a problem in an area the body puts an 'elastoplast'
around the damaged part to protect it. This means that the
fibres are tighter, less elastic and therefore less forgiving.
The circulation overall is not as good and the body finds
it more difficult to adapt to a change in temperature
CONNECTIVE TISSUE MANIPULATION (CTM)
CTM is a Physiotherapy technique performed using the soft
pads of the fingers to move one layer of skin on the layer
below. This movement creates a short, sharp, stretch reflex
creating an impulse which spreads out through the connective
tissue. The patient's brain appreciates the impulse as
if it were a 'cut' or a 'scratch'. The tighter the connective
tissue the bigger the stretch reflex and therefore the
sharper the 'cut' feels to the patient.
The impulse passes through the fluid within the connective
tissue fibres getting them to soften and stretch and become
a bit more elastic. The release in tension around the blood
vessel walls allows more blood to flow into the affected
area. Softening the connective tissue also allows more
movement to occur within the skin and across the joints.
Treatment often starts at a distance from the affected part
gradually working closer to the problem area. The benefits
of CTM are cumulative. Once the tension has been lowered
by treatment the reduction is maintained. Further reduction
in connective tissue tension occurs with each additional
treatment. The degree to which the reduction in tension is
maintained depends upon the level of stress introduced into
the system by the patient's lifestyle.
This technique is learnt at postgraduate level by physiotherapists
in the UK although it is practised more widely on mainland