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Contents & Containers: A Heart to Heart Conversation

Courtesy of Anatomy Links

Perhaps you’ve heard about a virus/biological going around that creates inflammation in the fascia, blood, and organs. Have you heard the terms myocarditis and pericarditis? This term describes inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) and the pericardium (pericarditis) which is the fascia of the heart. This inflammatory condition is becoming increasingly common. If afflicted, and once you have exhausted the arsenal of meds, have you truly healed?  Or have you just put a band-aid on your most important organ? Meds certainly have an important role in treatment, yet they do nothing for the structure of the organ.

A key tenant of Osteopathic treatment is the concept of structure and function are interrelated. Let’s take a deeper dive into that concept relative to your heart. Your heart is essentially a double pump moving oxygen depleted blood from the body into the lungs, and from the lungs back to the heart, and then delivers that oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.

This pump is encased in a fascia called the pericardium. The pericardium has fascial attachments to the anterior aspect of your 6th and 7th Cervical (neck) vertebrae and the 1st thoracic (trunk) vertebrae, to the posterior part of your manubrium and xyphoid process (your chest bone), and inferiorly into both sides of the top part of your diaphragm.  

Courtesy of Anatomy Links

Now that you have a basic layout of the anatomy of the heart/pericardium, let’s talk a bit about how to treat an inflammatory condition of the organ and its fascia. If we break it down into contents and containers, the heart would be the content and the container would be the pleura (fascia around the lungs), ligaments, bones, muscles, fat, and skin.  If you want to help remove inflammation from an organ, you have to think about one big question…..Where is the inflammation going to go? You must create space for the inflammation to leave the heart. This is accomplished by working superficially to deep. 

Consider the image above. Treatment begins with the skin/fat (skin rolling and cupping). Next, we treat the muscular layers with segmental strengthening and myofascial stretching for all of the “container muscles” of the heart (diaphragm, sternalis, pecs, intercostal, ect..).  Then, we would utilize ELDOA and osteo-articular pumping to treat the bones and the deepest fascial layers. Specifically, we would pump/ELDOA the sternum, lower cervical spine, and ligaments of the diaphragm. 

There is no one-size-fits-all recipe to treat the human body. Moreover, it is essential to employ a methodology that respects the different layers of anatomy to give inflammation a place to disperse. This will pay major dividends for your long term vitality and longevity.

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