I have the privilege of being able to take a break from my residency and volunteer for the US Forest Service a few times a year. I help lead a trail clearing crew in the Red River Gorge Geologic Area in central Kentucky. While on an outing a few years back I got to just observe running water in Nature. It starts high and works its way downstream, picking up and carrying particulate matter as it goes. Waters power and earth changing potential amazes me to this day. Water picks up and redeposit sediment as it flows. As long as the water moves with enough velocity, the sediment stays suspended. When it slows down enough, such as at an eddy or obstruction, its sediment load falls out of solution and settles to the streambed. In this way, the earth’s surface is shaped.
I began to wonder if perhaps the body’s fluids works like water in the stream, depositing “sediment” when they slow down. I have had a few patients who have either active gout or a history of it and I began to test my sediment hypothesis – the “sediment” in this case being uric acid crystals. I selected my patients who had symptoms in their feet to test my theory. My reasoning being that the feet are the longest distance from the heart, have the “slowest” blood (furthest away from the pump) and thus should have the greatest amount of “sediment”. What I found was that every patient’s feet had somatic dysfunction and the tissue felt boggy. Their joints did not move well at all. It certainly felt like “sediment” deposition.
I decided to treat the feet of these patients osteopathically to see if the gout symptoms would resolve with increased blood flow. I used indirect myofascial treatment so I did not cause cavitations in the joints by forceful movements (high velocity) that may break up the uric acid crystals. What I found was that in every case, treatments brought improvement and, in many cases, total relief. It certainly seemed like their “sediment” or at least the effects of it cleared up. Many of the patients were able to reduce or eliminate their medications for gout. They were encouraged to continue treatment periodically and were instructed in how to self-treat between visits. The results thus far are very encouraging. I look forward to continuing to apply this variation on Dr. Still’s “role of the artery” principle to the gout and other conditions.