Over the past several decades physiotherapy and its ability to help patients improves a lot. Of course, still its main aim is to improve or maintain their good physical and also mental condition. However, more often people with very diverse complaints, that usually have origins in different body systems come into physiotherapy offices. An attempt to answer for this variety is a wide spectrum of emerging therapeutic methods, which provide bigger probability to treat patients. One of those methods is pinotherapy.
Pinotherapy, which is also called pinopressure cannot be included to any certain therapeutic approach. It is an attempt to combine alternative and conventional therapies. It has many elements of reflexive therapy, visceral therapy, instrument-assisted therapy, manual therapy, massage, reflexotherapy, acupressure or Chinese Medicine in general. The author of this method is polish orthopaedist Radosław Składowski.
Foundations of pinotherapy
Foundation for development of pinotherapy was therapy developed by polish psychologist Ferdynand Barbasiewicz and named by him as clavitherapy. This therapy is based on excitation of nerve endings in the skin and stimulation of nerve conduction by pressing proper area in the patient’s body, using special tools – clavics (which look like nails). This non-invasive stimulation excite biologically active points and in consequence elicit endogenous reactions . Such action is named as general organism abreaction, from which pinotherapy derives many elements. Clavitherapy as a method is considered to allow reconstructing immunological resistance in 7–10 days , liquidate demyelinising neuropathy and polyneuropathy , cure atherosclerosis, morbus Alzheimer  or hypertension  and influence on superficial sensation disorders .
|Why does pinotherapy have a therapeutic effect?
Explanation of therapeutic effect of pinopressure is connected to electric properties of tissues. It is commonly known that fascia, which is multifunctional membrane build of connective tissue that surrounds every muscle and internal organs  has an ability to conduct electricity, so it is electrically active. Therefore its every deformation as a result of tension or soft tissue injury will cause occurrence of weak electrical field, which is called the piezoelectric effect. To explain this effect example of quartz crystal is commonly used, because in normal environment it is electrically balanced, but when mechanical stress is applied, it will polarize. Piezoelectric effect is reversible i.e. under the electrical field influence crystal will mechanically deform  and pinotherapy is mainly based on this converse phenomenon. Pain that appears during this type of therapy is called piezoelectrical pain, because of its characteristic features – acute, punctual, penetrating, burning, rapidly inhibiting movement and not allowing its continuation.
Tools, structures and techniques outline in pinotherapy
Main goal of pinotherapy is restoration of homeostasis in organism and regulation of nervous system work. In this concept as in many others we can use our hands to achieve therapeutic goals, but in most of the techniques it will be necessary to use special tools. There are two types of tools used in pinotherapy. First one is called PIN and looks like „nail” made of brass or steel with two different endings – flat and pointed, which allows to eliminate fascia tension and reflexive work on nervous system. Second one is called PINOKAT and looks like „knife” made of brass or steel with smooth and serrated edge. Smooth edge is used for fascia mobilization, gua-sha technique and cutting technique specific for pinotherapy. Serrated edge has a similar influence as a pointed end of pin. Tools that are used in pinotherapy are presented in Picture 2.
There are many structures that can be found in the patient’s body and treat with use of pins or pinokats. They include: piezoelectrical chimney (painful point on the skin above tissue or organ affected by disease), compartment, myogelosis (local hardening in muscle ), octopus (connective tissue band) or collar ties (connective tissue structures that are piezoelectrical active).
Wide range of techniques can be used to treat structures that are listed above:
- Hail/Hailstorm technique – rhythmic tissue hitting with pointed pins endings. We are holding 5 pins in each hand. Hailstorm normalizes muscle tone, increases hyperaemia in tissues and accelerates its regeneration;
- Chopping technique – rhythmical moving over the tissue with pinokats. Chopping increases tissue temperature and hyperaemia;
- Cutting technique – this technique is using pinokats to „tear/cut” connective tissue cross-links, that appear in myosepta to increase muscle endurance;
- Collar Tie technique – putting the flat ending of pin in the collar tie;
- Chimney technique – putting the flat ending of pin in the point on the skin above disordered tissue or organ affected by a disease, which became painful because of this disorder;
- Out technique – moving pinokat across or along muscle fibers;
- Short Circuit technique – in two corresponding short circuit points. Short circuit has an analgesic effect and releases tissues;
- Gua-Sha – (gua – scraping; sha – redness of skin) – using pinokat to scrap certain area till skin bruising occur. Gua-sha improves blood and lymph flow;
- Octopus technique – squeezing, kneading, lifting the connective tissue band.
Relation between Chinese Medicine and Pinotherapy
However before starting to look for specific structures and treating them with chosen techniques it can be noticed that what makes this method stand out from the very beginning is how the patient is diagnosed. This concept uses atypical morphogenetic division of patients, which strongly derives from Theory of Five Elements from Traditional Chinese Medicine. This theory describes interconnections between and changes of five basic elements: Wood, Water, Earth, Fire and Metal and is used for assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning .
Interactions and relationships between five elements are shown in the Picture 1 .
Pinotherapy also describes 5 basic types of humans, that are named after elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Aether. Each element has its own specific characteristics:
- Earth – thick or curvy bodies, high muscle tone, likes to „skewer” on the stimulus;
- Fire – vital reaction for stimulus – withdrawal; shouting, reddish complexions, prone to overheating;
- Water – lazy reaction for stimulus, big and heavy bodies, soft velvet skin;
- Air – slim body, good coordination, low muscle tone;
- Aether – magnetic look, developed mental strength and spirituality.
Domination of features from one element indicates bigger probability of occurrence certain ailments and guides treatment planning and technique usage.
References to Chinese Medicine can be found not only in assessment of patient, but also in used techniques. One of those is Short Circuit technique, where the flat endings of pins are putting in two corresponding points in patient body. Very often these points overlapped with acupuncture points localized on meridians, which are body energy channels. Other acupuncture points which can be stimulated with pin are those located on the ear, called „auricular points”. For stimulation in this area pointed pin ending should be used.
Therapeutic capabilities of pinotherapy
Multiplicity of techniques used in pinotherapy widen its therapeutic capabilities. It not only helps to quickly liquidate pain following increased muscle tone, injury or discopathy, but also tension of the central and peripheral nervous system. In addition is able to restore lost nerve conduction and regulate functioning of many other systems in the human body i.e. circulatory, digestive, endocrine or immune system. Furthermore allows to relieve stress and mental tension,
Because of its extensive capabilities, pinotherapy can be used in many diseases starts from neurological impairments, through mental disorders till orthopedic injuries. Selected diseases and examples of their treatment will be presented below.
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