Membrane potential and temperature

I have just completed the first of three courses on Neuroscience and I am learning a lot. For example, how to calculate the membrane potential (at rest, of an ion only, at equilibrium, etc.) One thing immediately became evident to me: the formula to calculate this potential. It is a formula that integrates three constants, two variables and ionic concentrations. It reads as follows:


E (ion) = RT/zF ln (ion)o/(ion)i


I'll give up the details. Except this one: the T in the formula means the temperature. It is measured here in degrees Kelvin (273 is added to the temperature in °C).


Thus, the potential of the membrane (of a neuron) depends (in small part) on temperature. The influence is not very great, but it is there.


And what do we do when we apply manual techniques to our patients? Whether Bowen, Niromathé, DNM, osteopathy, physiotherapy, we constantly and exclusively stimulate the neurons of somesthesia. We cannot adjust, nor can we model or normalise. Changes in the patient's tissues occur in response to our stimulation. So we continually depend on the ability of the neuron to depolarise and its effectiveness in doing so.


Of course, the influence of temperature is not so great. With a few degrees C more or less, when you add 273, it doesn't change the result much. But even if it only changed the result by 1%, this 1% is important for my patient.


Since I want my patient to be able to benefit 100% from my work, I will optimise it by respecting the physiology that will make it possible. So I will use blankets to allow the neurons to function at their ideal temperature: 37°C.


What about cold feet? For a long time, I opposed the use of hot water bottles to heat them up. I thought to myself that the body had to find the way itself to warm them up. Now, I believe that if I offer my patient small hot water bottles or bags of hot grains, we will save time and arrive more quickly at the "state" of deep relaxation that will allow the CNS to better manage and respond to the information it receives.


Reach the ideal temperature, allow the CNS to be on the lookout only for the somesthesic information it receives without worrying about thermoregulation. It is a lower energy expenditure for the patient, a greater availability of the CNS in general.


Neurophysiology? Essential, necessary, the key to becoming better manual therapists.


I received my first certificate from Harvard University yesterday for a course in their Neuroscience program. You'll hear about it again!

© 2018 Louise Tremblay

 

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