Science of Stress Relief Method


SRM plays a role in alternative pathways to stress and pain relief. 

The goal of manual medicine is to relieve pain and restore function in the human body. The modalities and professionals used to accomplish this vary and include, but are not restricted to, chiropractic, osteopathic, physical therapy, message therapy, myofascial release, stretching, and other techniques. 


The field of manual medicine accepts at least one explanation for the mechanism that underlies the relief of mechanical back pain; this is through a reflex stimulation of mechanoreceptors causing a tonus change in the related skeletal muscle. Another, less common explanation, addresses autonomic and endogenous releasing factors, such as nitric oxide, that affects hypothalamic tuning and local pain conditions. 


Manual medicine’s hypoalgesic effect has been attributed to local spinal effects providing the pain relief, although the literature also supports non-specific effects. Some researchers hypothesize that manual medicine effects may derive their changes through direct mediation upon neuroplastic changes, which occur with central sensitization. This suggests manual treatment may derive some of its effectiveness through stimulation of higher centers, matching the same areas affected by a placebo effect. The literature has described the preceding information as the “relaxation response” and/or the “anticipatory stress response”. 


Manual medicine has also demonstrated that treatment directed at the cervical and thoracic spine results in changes to heart rate variability, blood pressure, and regional blood flow. 


The results of one of our Stress Relief Method clinical studies (full study here), when combined with research into the beneficial effects of constitutive nitric oxide, provides a hypothesis to explain the therapeutic affects of manual treatment. This may offer a new approach to treating various disorders. Another study was conducted on Plantar Fasciitis to further support the SRM. More on this study will be discussed. 

Nitric Oxide


"Most important moelecule in the human body." - Dr. Ignarro, Nobel Prize Winner


Nitric oxide (NO) rose to prominence in the 1990’s when it was named the molecule of the decade. In 1998, three scientists received the Nobel Prize for their work on the relationship of Nitric oxide to the cardiovascular system: Furchgott; Ignarro; and Murad.  


Nitric oxide is a short lived molecule with actions that have long-lasting physiological effects in the cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems. Nitric oxide is produced from L-arginine by Nitric oxide synthase, which occurs in different forms: endothelial, neuronal and inducible NO. It plays an important role in vasodilation and in the regulation of arterial blood pressure. Published literature indicates that Nitric oxide acts as antioxidant against reactive oxygen species such as H202 and 02. Notably, the methods that claim Nitric oxide release as being causal to their effectiveness include: Meditation; TENS; Exercise; Pemf; Herbal Remedies; and now, Manual Medicine. 

The Stress Relief Method has been clinically shown to release NO in patients during manual therapy. Dr. Ignarro discusses the many benefits of NO in this video, independent of SRM. 

Literature shows no connection to exhaled nitric oxide and manual medicine. However, Eagan demonstrated, with an invitro study, that a 48-hour acyclic strain applied to fibroblasts caused a release of interleukin 6 and Nitric oxide and a subsequent increase growth of the fibroblasts. In one of our studies identified above, we hypothesized that based on information included in Eagan’s paper, and observations at the Kiernan Wellness Center, that areas of medicine that include the use of manual manipulation therapy derive their beneficial effects by increasing Nitric oxide. This hypothesis can now be measured due to the development of a Nitric oxide sensing mask by the Research Foundation of the State University of New York (SUNY), which allows for the real time measurement of NO in exhaled breath. Continue Reading...

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