The Ground Substance / Extra-Cellular Matrix (ECM)
The Austrian Physician, Pischinger, discovered even more sophisticated communication principles in the body than the nervous system: the regulation in the ground substance.
We have billions of cells that all need to coordinate with each other so the body uses a substance in order to do this, which is known as both the ‘ground substance’ or ‘extra-cellular matrix’ (ECM). The term extracellular literally means outside the cell, which explains where the matrix is located. It is a network of non-living tissues that provides support to cells and consists of proteins, glycosaminoglycans and other macromolecules
It connects each area so that the systems can ‘speak’ to each other- the immune, hormonal, nervous system, blood capillaries and lymphatic system. According to Pischinger, all the basic regulation processes take place here, such as temperature, pH, osmotic pressure and more.
Disturbing signals, like injuries or toxins, are able to change the extra-cellular matrix, so that changes in one area will influence the whole of the body through these connections. When the ECM is congested, the homeostasis is disturbed, so that the body is susceptible to infectious agents.
Signals in the ground substance can be sent very quickly, through membrane receptors called integrins, and changes may be detected in distant body parts only seconds after a prick from a needle. The ECM provides the platform and space that cupping, reflexology, acupuncture, cranial sacral therapy and meridian highways travel within and work.
The basic mechanism for decongesting the ECM is to open up and drain out pollutants and toxins so that the entire body has less toxic burden.
How would I know if my Extra-Cellular Matrix is congested?
There is no single definitive diagnostic sign, symptom or laboratory test, but we can see certain signs with the LINK Live Blood Analysis, which shows the condition of the internal terrain such as stacking of the red blood cell in a “rouleau” formation.
The signs are mainly subtle and include:
- Muscle pain and aches and pains of unknown origin
- Increasing sensitivity to medication
- Inability to tolerate nutritional supplements, even at low dose
- Bloating and indigestion
- Frequent headaches and / or migraines
- History of gallbladder removal
- History of liver infection such as hepatitis
- History of excessive alcohol or cannabis use
- Skin conditions
- Chemical sensitivities to shampoo nail polish, perfume, etc.
- Food sensitivities, especially to corn, wheat, and dairy products
- Sensitivity to fluorescent lights and computer screens
- Frequent yawning for no reason
- Easily agitated and startled
- Increased in hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation spots on skin that can come and go
- Fatigue that fails to improve despite medications and rest
- Unexplained dizziness
- Feeling “wired and tired”
- Feeling worse during days of ovulation or menses
- Muscle twitches
- Water retention
A Naturopath is trained to understand how the body works, communicates and detoxifies, using LINK Naturopathic Principles. A programme will be tailored that works specifically on improving the Extra-Cellular Matrix, and this may include Cupping, Biopuncture, Lymphatic Drainage, Kinesiology or use of the Chi Machine.
Generally sessions may be 2-3 times per week for a number of weeks to bring about beneficial adjustments in the body. Having a clean and healthy ECM forms the foundational base within which all cells can thrive. Unpolluted ECM optimises organ function by facilitating cellular transport, intercellular signaling, detoxification, and rebuilding.