An Association of Massage Therapists
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Facial self massage and Sjogren's Syndrome: parotid, submandibular, submental, and lacrimal areas
What is Sjogren's Syndrome?
Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder in which immune cells mistakenly attack and destroy the body’s own moisture producing glands (exocrine glands), such as those responsible for creating tears and saliva. The hallmark symptoms of the disorder are dry mouth and dry eyes. In addition, Sjogren's syndrome may cause skin, nose, and vaginal dryness, and may affect other organs of the body including the kidneys, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and brain. Sjogren's syndrome is also associated with rheumatic disorders.
Where are the Parotid, Submandibular, Sublingual, and Lacrimal exocrine glands of the face located?
What are the muscles of the face?
An understanding of the muscles of the face will be helpful in massaging these areas. Here are the major muscles you may feel as you're working:
Can massage benefit exocrine gland function for those with Sjogren Syndrom?
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a subdivision of the peripheral nervous system (PNS). ANS sends nerve fibers to three tissues: cardiac muscle, smooth muscle, and glandular tissue. The two subdivisions of the ANS are the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).
Actions of the parasympathetic nervous system can be summarized as "rest and repose", as opposed to the "fight-or-flight" effects of the sympathetic nervous system.
Stimulation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves controls smooth muscle contraction, regulate cardiac muscle, and stimulates or inhibits glandular secretion.
Parasympathetic stimulation (rest and repose) produces a water-rich serous saliva. Sympathetic stimulation (fight-or-flight) leads to the production of a low volume, enzyme-rich saliva. This is done by vasoconstriction which inhibits blood supply to the parotid gland reducing the potential for water collection - not by inhibiting nerve supply to the gland.
In Sjogren's Syndrome, concentrations of enzymes in the saliva, such as amylase, are found to be normal, although the production of amylase is reduced, as is the amount of fluid. Therefore, researchers have found that the measurement of amylase is not useful for the evaluation of salivary gland function in SS patients (Mandel, 1980).
Although there is currently no research available on the effectiveness of massage for Sjogren's Syndrome, extensive research concludes that moderate massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, relieving anxiety and pain, and increasing blood flow. A few of these studies are summarized here: http://www.massagetherapylaketahoe.com/massagetechniquesresearch.html
When massage is applied too vigorously, over stimulation may occur. For those with autoimmune disorders, overstimulation may trigger onset of symptoms. Therefore, moderate pressure is advised.
Caution: vigorously tapping the face may cause headache-like sensations, which may defeat the purpose of the massage. Remember, the idea is to release tension and stimulate blood circulation.
Facial Self Massage Techniques
NOTE: Use light to moderate pressure for all techniques. Fascial muscles are delicate so please do not use excessive pressure.
Nutritional considerations for Sjogren's Syndrome
Lack of adequate synthesis of prostaglandin (PG) E1 may be the key factor in Sjogren's syndrome. PGE1 is important for lacrimal and salivary gland secretion and for T lymphocyte function: a deficiency could therefore account for the main features of Sjogren's syndrome and the sicca syndrome. PGE1 could also account for many of the other features often associated with these syndromes. These include the Raynaud's phenomenon, the abnormalities of renal function and the precipitation of the syndrome by vitamin C deficiency.
Vitamin C is important in PGE1 biosynthesis.
PGE1 treatment has been shown to correct the immunological abnormalities in the NZB/W mouse, the animal model of Sjogren's syndrome. An attempt to treat humans with Sjogren's syndrome by raising endogenous PGE1 production by administration of essential fatty acid PGE1 precursors, of pyridoxine and of vitamin C was successful in raising the rates of tear and saliva production.
Reference: Horrobin, D. F., et al. Sjogren's syndrome and the sicca syndrome: the role of prostaglandin E1 deficiency. Treatment with essential fatty acids and vitamin C. Medical Hypotheses.6(3):225-232, 1980.
The body converts linoleic acid into prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) in the following sequence: linoleic acid to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) to dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid to prostaglandin E1.
Gamma-Linolenic Acid is found in:
Onions are one of the only foods known to contain PGE1.
However, these substances may stimulate the production of Prostaglandin E1:
Reference: Hyperhealth Encyclopedia of Nutrition and Natural Health
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