More than twenty years I practized podopostural therapy, a neurophysiologic, postural treatment. The essence of this therapy is a pair of thin insoles, individually glued with 1 à 2 mm thin slices of cork. These minimal elements influence the skin of the foot sole while walking and standing. The insoles do not support the foot arches but activate the intrinsic foot muscles.
Posturology represents the knowledge of the human posture, its mutual influential regulation systems and, based on feedback, the integral implementation.
Posturology is the ‘knowledge’ of the human body, partially based on the ideas of the French Doctor René Jacques Bourdiol, who suggested that the human posture can be influenced wearing very thin, individually made, insoles in shoes. The glabrous skin of our foot sole has a huge amount of pressure sensitive receptors (mechanoreceptors) which have a direct effect on the postural system. Posture related disorders and pain can be reduced by wearing these insoles. Below I briefly summarize the already established relationships:
- Manual therapy, osteopathy
- (most probably the interstitium) the Matrix
In 1990 I published in the (Dutch) Journal of Integrative Medicine the article 'podo-orthesiology: a theoretical approach to pain' (NTIG, 1990, 6 (39). With this article I introduced the concept neuromodulation, referring to the non-pharmacological variant.
Pain stimuli are passed through so-called nociceptive fibers to the central nervous system (CNS). Partly by A-delta (myelinated: primary pain) and C fibers (non-myelinated: secondary pain). These stimuli may be suppressed / inhibited by thick, non nociceptive A-alpha and A-beta fibers. Based on the foregoing is it therefore conceivable that segmental stimulation of the foot sole, for example by applying massage on so-called pressure points, may have an inhibitory effect on the pain stimuli through thick A-beta fibers (Vater, Pacini and Merkel).
In the early nineties I have been consulted by a 13-year-old girl together with her mother. She was severe suffering from low back pain and headache. Standing overstretched with both knees, she had a deep lordosis. Moreover she was highly myopic, - / - 6 bilaterally. In my daily practice I had already noticed that patients with neck pain and headache were quite often wearing glasses with progressive lenses. For this reason I asked my patients to take off their glasses during my corrections. Standing in opposite of a so-called optical test card she called unexpectedly "I can read more!" After the first surprise I repeated the test and, indeed, she could see more and was standing less overstretched. A phenomenon that I have seen countless times afterwards.
The postural balance appeared to be beneficial to the visual system. After having studied the physiological aspects it is my opinion that the four straight and two oblique eye motor muscles of both eyes respond immediately this postural change. Apparently, a very sensitive control system. (The sight; a different vision on seeing; Peter W.B.Oomens, (Dutch) Magazine for Integrative Medicine, TIG 1994, 10 (2): 66-71).
Translation: relationship vision and posture
As a manual therapist (MTM) I am familiar with the fact that local mobilization influences the entire skeleton chain and that a fixation elsewhere within this chain reduces the effect. I was regularly consulted by patients who complained about the (often audible) occlusion of their temporomandibular joints. Postural change often proved to be effective (complementary).
At that time I had published a booklet "regulation therapy from the feet" (Tijdstroom 1991, ISBN 90-352-1365-3). I described the human posture in spatial perspective, under the name Quadrant Theory. This theory and MTM fully complement each other, according to my colleague physiotherapists.
Matrix (ground regulation system)
This concept has its origins in 'Das System der Grund Regulation' pioneering research of Prof. Alfred Pischinger (Vienna). Scientists from the University of Utrecht called this later basisbioregulatiesysteem.
Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902) pathologist, had great influence on our medical thinking. Virchow suggested that disease is caused by disruption of the cell metabolism and cell structure. Cell research since then has an important place in the mainstream medical research. Obviously man is more than the sum of his cells. This 'more' need to be found, according to Pischinger, in the environment surrounding the cells and organs, in which the very-finest endings of the autonomic nervous system and blood vessels are present: the 'ground regulation system'. The end of the vegetative nervous system terminates freely in this extracellular fluid. This is actually found anywhere in the body: bones, mucous membranes, organs, glands and so on. Disease is a disorder according to Pischinger at the base of the autonomic nervous system in this environment. The ground system of mesenchymal origin consists of soft connective tissue and intracellular fluid, approximately 60% of the human tissue comprising. In the Netherlands, cell biologist Dr. R. van Wijk et al of the University of Utrecht has done very extensive research. Also Harry Lamers, physician and the central person behind the neural therapy has given a significant contribution to this research.
If we look at this connective tissue also called matrix (van Wijk) in further detail, we see there capillaries, tiny blood vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen to the cells and remove waste products. Furthermore, we find small lymph vessels which end freely in this matrix. This also applies to the networks found here of free nerve endings. Specific cells involved in the construction and functions of the matrix itself, are also found. Besides the exchange of many substances, also hormonal interactions take place.
'Wer Heilt hat Recht' (who heals is right; August Bier). A famous quote that I would like to expand: who helps another person to heal himself is right. Posturology is a vision that includes multiple techniques and approaches. As indicated above, the techniques described are reasonably mapped. It is expected that more systems as e.g. hearing influences the postural balance. And so many links have still to be made.
The foot is a remarkable body part. Just look at the foot skeleton and wonder how 26 tiny bones can bear the total body weight.
A gait analysis shows: heel strike > pronation (this is a rotation around the length axis of the foot), pronation > (midfoot) > supination (again a rotation around the length axis of the foot), > over metatarsal heads towards hallux (third rotation around length-axis foot > (heel raise) hallux > take off over hallux.
So, in the sagittal plane three sequential rotations occur. In continuously changing composition, parts of the foot must then one moment relax and the next moment be solid.
One example: Immediately after heel strike, the m. abductor hallucis is activated. Punctum fixum is then the calcaneus. At heel raise, this muscle is also active but now the hallux is the punctum fixum. The direction of the contraction changes.
The above mentioned length axis of the foot goes from heelbone in between 2nd and 3d toe.
It is therefore that observations as valgus and varus, pronation and supination, in my opinion, are too limited. Two-dimensionally (frontal plane) I can understand it but certainly the foot has to be seen in the third dimension: the sagittal plane!