Do any of your patients suffer from “funny” abdominal pain? This month I want to discuss
an often-overlooked part of our anatomy—the umbilicus—and its potential importance in
clinical medicine. Some of its properties are surprising, at least to me, and can be keys to
an otherwise unexplainable pain syndrome.
Contemplating the navel
The umbilicus—OK, the “belly button”—is receiving more attention than ever before. Navel
rings seem to be a fashion statement by a whole generation of young women. And in some
circles, the navel is not just a belly button; it is an “inny” or an “outy.” One is supposed
to be prettier than the other, but I forget which one.
My interest in the umbilicus is not entirely an idle one. This funny little scar is not just a
reminder of an early stage of our lives. It is also energetically important and can be the
source of an unusual abdominal pain syndrome—more about that later.
Beyond skin deep: The navel is an energy portal
In Oriental medicine, the umbilicus is considered one of the major energy portals into the
body. The middle of the umbilicus is an important acupuncture point (Conception Vessel 8)
and is considered a “forbidden point,” i.e., it should not be treated with a needle. There is
also a school of acupuncture that uses a set of points around the umbilicus, much as ear acupuncturists use points in the external ear.
In autonomic response testing (See chapter 4 of my book, Neural Therapy: Applied Neurophysiology and Other Topics www.neuraltherapybook.com the sensitivity
of the umbilicus to energy emitted from the palm of the hand is used to test the general
responsiveness of the whole autonomic nervous system. Placing the palm of the open hand slightly above the umbilicus should, in a healthy person, trigger an autonomic response
(a weakening of an indicator muscle).
Western medicine has shown little interest in the umbilicus, perhaps because it is
considered a vestigial organ. Like the appendix, the umbilicus can cause problems under
certain circumstances. But unlike the appendix, which can be a source of serious disease,
the problems caused by the umbilicus are subtle and probably hardly ever diagnosed
(outside of neural therapy circles).
The umbilicus can harbor an interference field
In my practice, I find perhaps two or three cases a year of an interference field in the
umbilicus. The patient is nearly always female and has had many years of intermittent
abdominal pain. The pain is usually crampy, diffuse and difficult to describe. In some
cases, it is accompanied by nausea or diarrhea. Most patients with this condition have
had extensive investigations, sometimes beginning in childhood.
Very little is found on physical examination. However, there is one characteristic finding
that seems always to be present. When the examining hand approaches the umbilicus,
the patient will register a peculiar apprehension and will often try to push the hand
away. The reaction is similar to that of extreme ticklishness, but the feeling is not that
of a tickle. The patient has trouble explaining why the umbilicus feels so vulnerable and
may even be embarrassed by her own behavior.
Autonomic response testing will confirm that the umbilicus is an interference field.
Treatment is injection of procaine into the skin surrounding the umbilicus. It is not
necessary to infiltrate deep into the umbilicus.
Response is the same as that from treatment of any other interference field. Relief of pain
may last a day, a week, a month or even longer. Repeat treatments are increasingly
effective and eventually the pain relief is permanent.
I have seen one case of acquired interference field at the umbilicus in an elderly man with
ascites. Presumably the increased abdominal pressure caused mechanical stress at the
umbilicus. Backache resulted, and treatment of the interference field relieved the backache.
However, a permanent response did not occur until the ascites was treated and the
pressure on the umbilicus was relieved.
I welcome your feedback on the umbilicus, especially if you are knowledgeable about
Chinese medicine. And here’s a reminder that I am always interested in your case
reports, comments, questions and other contributions. With your permission, I will
feature them in this newsletter and/or on www.neuraltherapybook.com. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time is running out— Register for my Introduction to Neural Therapy Course,
Sept. 15-16, in Chicago
My September neural therapy introductory course is coming up fast. If you’d like to join
me at Chicago’s Hilton Garden Inn for a two-day, hands-on introduction to neural therapy
diagnosis and treatment, please act now. (Hotel rooms are being held until Aug. 15, and
will be hard to find after that date.)
For course information or to register, please call my office at 613-432-6596, or visit www.neuraltherapybook.com/courses Tuition is $600 USD.
Rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn—just steps from Chicago’s Magnificent Mile—are available
at a special group rate of $189 per night until Aug. 15. For reservations, please call
312-595-0000 or 1-800-HILTON and ask for the Neural Therapy group rate.
Already have neural therapy training? Come to the mid-winter Neural Therapy
retreat, Feb. 9-10, 2007
Plans for a mid-winter neural therapy retreat are taking shape. If you have taken at
least one neural therapy course (from Dr. Klinghardt or me), you are welcome to
attend. The program will be informal: a few lectures, perhaps some invited guests,
demonstrations, clinic time and opportunities to ask questions.
If you would like to present a free paper, please contact me. Or if you or a family
member have an intractable medical problem you would like to have checked out,
this might be the time and place to do it.
The Feb. 9-10, 2007 retreat will be held at Sam Jakes Inn, (www.samjakesinn.com)
Merrickville, Ontario, Canada.
Merrickville is a little country town situated by the historic Rideau Canal, about 45
minutes south of Ottawa. During the summer it is a lively place, a favorite getaway for
tourists and boaters. During the winter it is quiet and not much goes on—a perfect
place for a get-away-from-it-all retreat. The inn is cozy and comfortable and the
food is excellent.