Friday, August 18, 2006


At last, after several years of probing, searching, trying on and then rejecting one name after another for what I physically do with patients' bodies, trying to encompass the whole of the nervous system and the whole of one's interaction with it within a single name, I've settled on dermoneuromodulation.

It has these main important inclusions:
1. The "neuro" portion is the most important. It provides the concept that the nervous system is central to any treatment interaction, at any and at every level, the whole way from the attempt to include only slowadapting non-nocioceptive stretch receptors (Ruffini endings in the skin), to answering any and every question a patient may have, to providing an overview of how the nervous system works and how pain is generated, as a standard part of every encounter with every new patient.
2. The term "modulation" is what the nervous system is doing in response to an input. It modulates itself in response to any sensory input. It does this continually from its initial formation in utero until the moment it dies, at whatever age one dies.
3. The prefix "dermo" means, sensory input through the skin, kinesthetic sensory input. Other prefixes mean other things. For example "psychoneuromodulation" would lean more toward describing psychological input that could result in modulation delivered to the human organism via the (cultural, social) mind, as opposed to kinesthetic input that could result in modulation delivered to the human organism via the physically sensing brain. Not that both couldn't happen simultaneously, or don't all the time in manual treatment. (If we try to pretend they don't we're kidding ourselves.)

It has these important exclusions:
1. It is a brand new word combination that I've seen nowhere else.
2. It therefore carries no baggage.
3. It will never (as long as I am in control of this new meme I'm introducing) contain anti-scientific or pseudo-scientific ideas.
4. Most importantly, there is not a speck, not one hint of any reference to any mesodermal derivative embedded in this term anywhere. This means;
- no mention of mobilizing of any joints
- no reference to moving bones
- no suggestion of releasing fascia
- no talk of muscle lengthening
If any of these things happen during or after dermoneuromodulation, fine, but any changes in any mesodermally derived tissue will be as a result of the brain/nervous system of the patient in question deciding to modulate itself to allow such a thing to happen, not a direct result of a practitioner's applied force.

I have spent years working my way out of confusing conceptual traps by learning all I can about how the human organism with an intact nervous system actually works, how it can end up in trouble (i.e., pain), how it actually interacts with another system (e.g., mine) to its own benefit. The hits now outweigh the misses by far, because my own nervous system (including my own mind) and motor output has adapted over many years, has become the best possible human primate social grooming nervous system it can be, has learned to be slow and gentle and patient on the one hand, nitpicky and precise and persistent on the other, when treating other nervous systems.

This naming process has been a long time coming, mainly because those exact same personal traits carried over into it. It feels like a long-awaited birth has finally occurred, but (thankfully) not as exhausting as the teaching experience was.

No comments: