The circulatory system at large or in reference to a particular organ or tissue is organised and designed for a balanced exchange of fluids. This must be optimal in order to maintain delivery of nutrients, oxygen and other life sustaining elements, along with the removal of waste products and toxins for elimination.
The body has a hierarchal organisation whereby tissues of greater importance take priority and the body will orientate around these structures to protect them and maintain function. The vascular system is one of the more important ruling complexes in this organisation. Fascial, organ, bone and postural restructuring can occur to preserve vascular flow if the arteries or veins are tight, under tension or compressed.
Arterial walls are partially composed of smooth muscle cells and provide the mechanism by which vascular tissue can tighten. In essence, a tight artery can restrict your movement as much as a tight muscle can. The vascular tissue is ultimately under the control of a special part of the nervous system called the autonomic nervous system. In fact, these two highly prioritised systems often run together in the body. Having the ability to work with one system will often have positive repercussions for the other.
Because of the sensitive and responsive nature of the vascular system, treatment is often gentle and momentary. In skilled hands, palpation with anatomical precision is key, and if achieved, the treatment is brief. The effects can be both at once local (on the artery), in the vicinity (on the organs and tissues supplied) or widespread (reduced tone in the whole vascular system).
The general effects of vascular manipulation can be beneficial for:
- Tissue fibrosity (hardened tissue) in an organ or muscle
- Toxicity issues
- Metabolic issues
- Inflammation — general, observable swelling or cellular inflammation
- Organ function — including the brain
- Postural issues
- Movement restrictions
- Joint stiffness — including the jaw / spine / pelvis
- Tissue trauma to the vascular system or vicinity — falls / sporting trauma / concussions / car accidents and whiplash
- Central Nervous System effects — including the autonomic nervous system / fright or flight effects / calming effects
- Digestive system function
- Eye issues — eye pressure / glaucoma / macular degeneration
- Many other issues!
The vascular system is largely under-appreciated and under-assessed when it comes to physical dysfunction. Other than medication, weight loss and exercise, which are highly generalised methods of treatment, vascular therapy will often provide a more efficacious outcome for those in need.