Notes from the Austrian Neural Therapy Society's biannual meeting in Vienna
I am beginning this newsletter on a flight home from the Austrian Neural Therapy Society's biannual meeting in Vienna. It was my first experience of a European neural therapy meeting and I have much to report.
I learned a great deal at this meeting. The lectures presented some entirely new (for me) scientific and clinical ideas, the highlights of which I will mention below. I also learned about neural therapy education in a number of European countries and the strategies driving these educational efforts. The politics of medicine can be complicated anywhere and European neural therapy is no exception. I will perhaps write more about this another time because it has practical importance even for those of us who do not live in Europe.
Austria is one of the smaller European countries with a population of only 8 million. Because it is a smaller country, the neural therapy society is smaller than some others, but makes up for this with a creativity and collegiality that was impressive. Obviously others feel the same way; the meeting attracted physicians from Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Spain and Turkey. Some of these attendees confided to me that the Austrian society was one of their favourites because of its openness to new ideas.
Most of the lectures were delivered in German. A simultaneous translator was provided for the few of us who did not speak German. The lectures in English did not need translation as everyone attending seemed to understand English.
Now for a few "pearls": There were two lectures on the pharmacology of procaine, with special attention to interaction with other medications. One eye-opener for many of us was that the use of caine anaesthetics is contraindicated in the presence of sulfonamide allergy. This contradicted the experience of many in the audience, but nevertheless the injunction exists (at least in Austria) and could create medico-legal problems should an adverse reaction occur.
There were two lectures on anatomy: One was on the "danger zone" in the neck, just posterior to the pre-vertebral fascia. This space is continuous with the epidural space and one to be avoided in neck injections. Some neural therapists are using ultrasound guidance for injections, especially in the upper neck. A lively discussion of its pro's and con's ensued but the consensus was that knowledge of anatomy outweighs the value of guided imagery.
The other anatomy lecture was on the extracellular space (or "matrix" as described by Pischinger). This demonstrated that pluri-potential fibrocytes manufacture cells according to conditions (neurotransmitters, mechanical stresses) in the extracellular space.
One of the more intriguing lectures was on the biochemical properties of the interference field itself. According to Dr. Papathanasiou, of Athens, Greece, the interference field is a focus of "silent inflammation". Each interference field releases neurotransmitters (peptides, cytokines, endocannabinoids) that are able to signal not only the nervous system but also the endocrine and immune systems. The "profile" of these inflammatory mediators may differ between interference fields and may even change in the same interference field with time. Dr. Papanathisiou has contributed some of these ideas to one of the major new (German) neural therapy textbooks: "Handbuch Neuraltherapie" edited by Stefan Weinschenk.
Speaking of German neural therapy textbooks, there are three newer ones (See letter from Lorenz Brassel below.) I have in my possession a copy of Stefan Weinschenk's book and it is impressive indeed - hardcover, over 1100 pages, with multiple contributors, and numerous photographs, pictures and tables. I have not yet seen the other two textbooks but did meet Dr. Fischer and Dr. Barop, both of who delivered stimulating and thought-provoking lectures at the conference.
Apparently these books have not been translated into English because the publishers believe that the market is too small. I believe that they have under-estimated the possibilities. I would encourage my newsletter readers to write the publishers of Weinschenk's book asking them to have it translated and published in English. The person to write is: Marko Schweizer, Acquisition editor, CAM, Elsevier Publishing.
My contribution to the conference was a lecture on Speransky's legacy and his continuing relevance even 80 years after the publication of his "Basis for the Theory of Medicine". Dr. David Vinyes of Barcelona gave an overview of the status of neural therapy in Spain. The Spanish neural therapists are an energetic group and are making great strides in educational programs, certification and published work. I was somewhat surprised to learn that despite their proximity to the German speaking countries that the language barrier limits communication, just as it does for English speakers.
Now for some letters:
I'm a recently graduated neural therapist from Cali, Columbia.
My main experience has been as a Rolfer for 16 years. I believe that the revolutionary ideas of Dr. Ida Rolf about fascia, helps a lot to understand the body connections and integration. Her book is: Rolfing: the integration of human structures.
That's my suggestion.
The Neural Therapy in Practice newsletter was intended as a complement to Dr. Kidd's book, Neural Therapy: Applied Neurophysiology and Other Topics, which is still available for sale through Amazon.