Splanchnology is the study of the visceral organs, i.e. digestive, urinary, reproductive and respiratory systems. The organs of the body are connected to each other communicate through a common operating system known as the Neuro-Endo-Immune Supersystem. Healthy organs must all work together cohesively and understanding of how, helps to restore and then maintain a healthy lifestyle.
In conventional medicine, healthcare is believed to be very mechanistic. The body is broken down into its distinct mechanical systems, such as the digestive system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system, and a different “specialist” is responsible for caring for each individual system. This concept is based on the view that the human body is a machine. In this model of healing and healthcare, each system acts separately of the other, and disease occurs when there is a mechanical problem in one of those systems. Therefore, for healing to occur, the mechanical dysfunction must be corrected, usually by utilizing an approach that includes medication and/or surgery.
The human body is vastly more than a machine. It is a vital system, and the fact that it is vital, renders it susceptible to other influences besides mechanical, such as falls, twists, strains, etc.
Vitalism is based on the root word “vitality,” which is defined as “the power or ability to continue in existence, live, or grow.” A healing model based on vitalism believes that the body is a dynamic, ever-changing organism, continuously changing and adapting to its form and function. Vitalism also assumes that that there is an intelligence and order within, that is designed to heal the body, and every system in the body coordinates functions with each other system. We say, “when the anatomy is absolutely structurally correct, the physiologic function potentiates.”
It may be accurately said that when the physiology is over-active, the anatomical alignment is disarranged. The principles of Functional Splanchnology, as Chiropractors and Osteopaths alike first promulgated this in the past, declared that a structural defect is at the bottom of every physiological defect. Structure always affects function. Function always affects structure. Function governs structure.
Another particular in which the Functional Splanchnology pathology differs from other schools of medicine is in the way we view varying conditions of a viscus. To the medical practitioner, simple gastritis is a vastly different condition from gastric ulcer. From a Functional Splanchnology perspective, these conditions differ in degree, not in kind. The same organ, the same blood supply, the same nerves are involved in both conditions, and therefore we focus treatment on these structures. Our nutritional treatment takes account of the differing activity of the stomach, but our manipulative treatment does not.
We apply this same process to all organs. Our manipulative therapeutics are based on structure more than on function.
Since pathology is the study of the perversions of the normal we cannot understand what the body is trying to do in any given case without taking into account the successes and failures of compensation as are made evident by the use of laboratory tests and indicator systems occurring on the body.
To intelligibly develop a treatment plan for a diseased organ one must know its pathology. The treatment of any disease comprehends part if not all of its pathology. In disease we are seldom dealing only with signs, which are distinct clues to disease, but chiefly with symptoms, which are only indications of pathology. In visceral (abdominal) conditions we are dealing with organs which possess (a) motion, (b) sensation and (c) secretion; i. e., such organs have muscles which are set in motion by motor nerves controlled by the abdominal brain, sensation made manifest by some irritation on the sensory nerve ends referring pain to various parts of the body, and secretion which proceeds normally in certain quantities, but in disturbed conditions, (a) excessive, (b) deficient, or (c) disproportionate.
There is an assumption that secretion of hormones, neuroendocrine transmitters and enzymes is always their production of premier quality and exacting quantities. However in disturbed conditions, the production of excessive, deficient or disproportionate secretions are of the quality and quantity of cheap, imported knockoffs. This must be taken into account on how they affect function and when analyzing lab tests.
It is important to understand that the way the body works does not change to suit a current philosophy of a diseases cause and effect. Normal functioning of anatomy, physiology and neurology in the human body does not change. They have a purpose and cannot be ignored, changed to suit a particular philosophy or made to fit the current fad diagnosis on social media.
By understanding normal anatomy, physiology and neurology, dysfunction can be recognized. By recognizing the dysfunction, the effect on the body and health can be understood. This rationalizes into a procedure or supplement protocol that will eliminate the cause of disease and alters the effect back to normal function.
By following DeJarnette’s Working Laws of Health, which are based upon normal anatomy, physiology, and neurology, makes this knowledge of practical value in both diagnosis and therapeutic protocols. These laws show us the “why” of certain vital functional and mechanical manifestations, and points to practical methods of treatment.
The Second Brain
The Second Brain or the “Enteric Nervous System” is located in the sheaths of tissue lining the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon. Considered a single entity, it is a network of neurons, neurotransmitters and proteins that zap messages between neurons, support cells like those found in the brain proper and a complex circuitry that enables it to act independently, learn, remember and, as the saying goes, produce gut feelings. Functional Splanchnology recognizes not only the Cranial Brain but also the Second Brain controlling the abdominal compartment.
When nerves to the limbs are cut or damaged loosing communication with the brain and central nervous system, muscles are deprived of their direction and control becoming paralyzed. When the organs are deprived of communication with the brain and central nervous system, as in the case of paraplegics, quadriplegics or traumatic brain injury, they continue to function. In fact, the only function lost is the ability to decide when to #1 Pee and #2 Poo, which is controlled by the brain and central nervous system. In other words, if outside nerves are not required, then inside nerves must be the ones that do the job.
Components of the NEI Supersystem
The nervous, endocrine and immune systems communicate bidirectionally via shared messenger molecules variously called neurotransmitters, cytokines or hormones. Their classification as neurotransmitters, cytokines or hormones is more serendipity than a true reflection of their sphere of influence. Rather than these systems being discrete entities they constitute, in reality, a single higher-order entity as the Neuro-Endo-Immune Supersystem.
The cranial brain controls the muscular compartment of the body through the nervous system. The abdominal organs are controlled primarily through hormones and neurotransmitters of the Abdominal brain. These are transported through the abdominal blood supply to support and control automatic processes in the body.
Neurotransmitters are not unique to the brain and, in fact, act throughout the body and brain in varying capacities and concentrations. Neurotransmitters stimulate opposite effects in the muscular and abdominal compartment. Those which stimulate and causes dilation of the blood vessels in one compartment – inhibits and constricts the blood vessels in the other. For example, Serotonin enhances blood flow to the organs while Dopamine diminishes blood supply to the abdominal organs.
- Paracrine neurotransmitters pass short distances to be used by local target tissue.
- Autocrine neurotransmitters are produced and used in the same cell.
- Certain bacteria have the capability to produce neurotransmitters. Usually as part of their survival strategy.
Brain/Central Nervous System Neurotransmitter Lab Testing Facts
- Urinary neurotransmitter levels are NOT indicative of neurotransmitter levels in the central nervous system.
- Urinary neurotransmitter testing can NOT be used to test the levels of neurotransmitters present in the brain.
- Urinary neurotransmitter testing can NOT be used to determine neurotransmitter imbalances in the brain.
- Urinary neurotransmitter test results can NOT be explained in terms of brain and CNS function.
- Brain-based neurologists do NOT recognize the abdominal brain.
Abdominal/Enteric Neurotransmitter Lab Testing Facts
- Functional Splanchnology recognize the specific effects of the abdominal and cranial brain.
- Urinary neurotransmitter CAN measure levels of neurotransmitters in the abdominal brain
- Urinary neurotransmitter CAN provide information on organ function and dysfunction.
- Urinary neurotransmitter CAN provide information on where the blood supply is being directed in the body.
Vasomotor control through Neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitters are primarily focused on controlling the blood supply in the body. Vasomotor Nerves control the flow of blood throughout the body through neurotransmitters.
Immune control through Neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitters can stir up remarkably different opposing effects depending on concentration (presence of Vasomotor nerve fibers and extent of neurotransmitter release), receptor affinity, availability of neurotransmitters, and timing of autonomic activity in relation to the inflammatory responses. Neurotransmitters are key players in putting the brakes on an overenthusiastic inflammatory response. Inhibitory neurotransmitters may function as a paracrine or autocrine factors, exerting local control over the immune system.
Endocrine glands are ductless. The endocrine system is a collection of glands that secrete hormones directly into the blood stream to be carried to a target organ or tissue. Hormone distribution in the body is subject to the control of the Vasomotor neurotransmitters. Vasomotor control of the blood vessels can support or delay the delivery of hormones.
- Hormones traveling long distance are endocrine.
- Endocrine response is slower because hormones travel through the blood.
- The duration in endocrine transmission is prolonged because kidneys have to filter the blood.
- Paracrine hormones pass short distances to be used by local target tissue.
- Autocrine hormones are produced and used in the same cell.
The areas governed by the endocrine system are:
- Responses to stress and injury
- Growth and sexual development
- Body energy levels
- Internal balance of body systems
- Bone and muscle strength
- Immune stimulation and/or suppression
Exocrine glands differ from endocrine glands, because they have ducts that deliver the products in the superficial part of the body, such as the skin, or in the inner part where they are necessary, such as the pancreatic juices that are carried into the intestine to aid digestion. The glands that are found in the body are mostly exocrine glands.
- Exocrine glands have ducts to carry hormones.
- Exocrine hormones are released into the external environment, or outside of the body.
- Endocrine hormones are released into the internal environment, or inside of the body.
- Exocrine glands have sub-classifications.
Cytokines are secreted in the immune system, used as messengers to control the duration and strength of the immune response to foreign microorganisms. Many cytokines produced by T cells direct the immune response of various white blood cells (leukocytes) to a foreign microorganism in the body. Chemokines have just one major role: to direct the chemotaxis of White Blood Cells toward foreign, potentially disease-causing microorganims so that these cells are labeled and destroyed by the immune response.
Chemokine and Cytokine Signaling
The first signal: “When do I respond.”
Consists of the interaction of the immune cells and determines the specificity of the response.
The second signal: “Will I respond?”
Provides the information that T cells need in order to respond to antigen. This signaling can be either positive (stimulation) or negative (inhibition). Hackers (bacteria, parasites and mold) survive by changing the signal or breaking the antibody.
The third signal: “How will I respond?”
Is delivered by the cytokines, chemokines or dendritic cells stimulating T cells to develop into TH1, TH2, TH17 or Treg T cells.
This fourth signal: “What location do I respond to?”
Determines the Th1, Th2, Th17, Th2, Th23 response. Chemokines produce homing beacons that will direct them to migrate through tissues.
The fifth signal: “When do I stop responding?”
T cells (Tregs) were originally identified as having immunosuppressive functions through anti-inflammatory cytokines. This is not the only control over the immune response.
The sixth signal: “Did you say attack?”
Immunosuppression might not be the only function of T reg cells. They may convert into proinflammatory cells to promote immune responses.When the controls on the immune system have lost their ability to communicate, autoimmune disease is the consequence.
Chiropractic Treatment includes:
- Structural Correction of Category 2 Distortion Pattern causing visceral distortion impairing organ function.
- Vasomotor Correction using Chiropractic Manipulative Reflex Technique.
Functional Splanchnology Treatment includes:
- Laboratory testing of blood, saliva, urine and stool to determine:
- NEI Supersytem Imbalances with neurotransmitter, hormones, immune status – cytokines and chemokines
- Microbial imbalances, SIBO, Candida, Parasites
- Nutritional support through dietary recommendations and nutritional supplements