Tuning Forks and Elhers-Danlos Syndrome

This article is in response to a post in a Facebook Group where a member asked if we worked with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) with Vibrational Fascia Release Technique(TM). 

We have worked with clients who have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Both has the variant with hyperextension of the joints. They both left our office without pain and a tightening of the joints that we worked on. We have not collected any long-term data beyond those two sessions, but the response we experienced in those sessions indicate to us that there is definitely a fluid-pressurization component to this syndrome.

Our theory has been that cells, tissue, and organs can be compromised if the interstitial fluid becomes pressurized in a compartmentalized space, and this compromise can be a lack of vital substances for survival or performing a certain function like creating Type I collagen fibers. We feel a lot of fluid in the joints of these EDS clients more than usual. We use our methods and technique to remove the fluid and vibrate the area to cause a change to the structure.

We have found several different explanations for what occurs with EDS, and we do not agree with most of the definitions other than there is a degrading of the existing collagen fibers. This statement doesn’t mean that collagen needs to be reactivated. I’m not even sure what that statement means from the standpoint that the fibroblast is still creating a collagen-based fibril and eventually the fiber made of many fibrils.

A fibroblast can chose to make a certain type of collagen fibril based on the requirements at the time and the type of fibroblast cell making the fibril. Just as with Dupuytren’s Contraction where Type I collagen fibers are replaced with Type III, some fibroblasts can create different types based on certain circumstances. The types depend on the substances used in the building of the peptide chain triple helix.

In my opinion, the collagen fibers are either degrading because they fibroblasts did not have the right components to build a proper fibril or the mechanisms for fiber degradation is being triggered to dissolve the fibers on purpose. In other words, degradation of the collagen fibers might be caused from the restructuring mechanism inherent to fibroblasts with the release of collagenase.

What we do know from a clinician standpoint is that both stretch and vibration are key factors to not only moving the fluids caught in the interstitial spaces, but the vibration allows the compartmentalized fluids to diffuse through the ground substance and the dense-layered fascia. Just pressing on the skin for short periods of times will displace a small amount of pressurized fluid, but only vibration can speed up the process of diffusion since the normal cell cycles have been increased by as much as 16 times (Fascia in the Osteopathic Field, Chapter 5).

On page 4 of Carla Stecco’s Functional Atlas of the Human Fascial System, we find that a “single collagen fiber usually align along the main lines of a mechanical load.” She continues to explain there are certain circumstances like a change in the density to the ground substance which causes the fibers are get closer and prevent the normal alignment of fibers to be created or maintained. We call this a fascial adhesion. Carla also points out the turnover rate of a collagen fiber as 300-500 days and further cites a study where fibroblasts were stretched to increase the secretion of collagenase, “an enzyme that plan an important role in the degradation of collagen fibers.”

This demonstration of fibroblast stretching determined that a constant stretch was not enough to secrete collagenase, but a cyclic stretching was needed before the biological adaptation would occur. It was found that a continuous stretch for 10-15 minutes would communicate a re-adaptation to the new environment to shut down the biological activation. In other words, the vibration of a tuning fork provides 128 separate commands to the fibroblast to re-adapt rather than one long stretch.

The interesting part is that the last sentence in that paragraph of Carla’s book called for a “new mechanical activation [is] necessary to induce a new biological reaction.” We have that new mechanical activation in the form of a 128hz weighted tuning fork.