Introduction to Zink Fascial Patterns

by Tyler Cymet, DO, FACOFP

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    00:01 Welcome! This is going to be a fun lecture! We’re going to talk about osteopathic considerations and how we put the osteopathic philosophy into practice, and thinking about lymphatic systems and how Gordon Zink put the osteopathic concept into practice.

    00:17 So the idea here is if the body is linked, if the body is a single unit, how is it linked physically? And as DO’s, we look a lot at the fascial planes, the fascial system, and how the fascia connects the whole body.

    00:33 The fascia is then bathed in a plasma-like substance called lymph which is basically blood without the red blood cells.

    00:42 They’re their own channels, they’re their own flow, and each body has its own way of dealing with the fascia and lymph.

    00:53 Gordon Zink differentiated this into 3 different patterns.

    00:56 He said, “Sure, you got an ideal pattern of healthy people— never need to see the doctor.

    01:00 They bathe their body in their lymph.

    01:02 They’ve got their plasma. They’ve got their blood.

    01:04 They’ve got their circulatory systems working well.

    01:08 The fascia links it and they’re left alone.” He then compared that to people who came to the doctor and said they felt good but wanted to feel better.

    01:17 And he compared it to hospitalized patients and so there have to be differences.

    01:23 There is something that is making people sick or that happens to the body when it’s sick.

    01:28 So we’re going to talk about how he put it together, where he looked at the body for signs of disease and dysfunction, and where he went from there. So the purpose of this— we’re going to talk about Zink patterns of health and illness, how you evaluate a patient using a Zink pattern, why it’s important to identify these patterns.

    01:51 The most common patterns— because you’re going to see a lot of patterns in these patterns where certain people will have the same things again and again.

    02:00 When is the pattern compensated or uncompensated? Can you be healthy in some areas of your body and unhealthy in others? Can you have areas of blockage where your body is generally going to break down? And how does treating the key junctions or freeing up lymphatic drainage allowing the fascial planes to function together? How does that work at keeping people healthy? We’re going to start by talking about the guy who put this together.

    02:29 His name was Gordon Zink.

    02:31 He was a professor at the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

    02:35 In the 1970s, he put together and published his unified philosophy of fascial planes and lymph.

    02:44 And again, what he did was take data from the patients he was seeing in the office, people he knew who were healthy, and hospitalized patients.

    02:54 And he was the first to publish.

    02:56 And that becomes the best practice once it’s published and argued and discussed in public.

    03:04 So, let’s start with the fascia.

    03:07 When you do anatomy, and you dissect the human cadaver, you notice that the whole body can be structurally identified through its fascia.

    03:16 that there is some connectivity.

    03:18 There are sheaths and sheaths and bands of this fascial tissue that connects the whole body, that helps communication through the body.

    03:29 So every bone, muscle, and nerve is going to touch the fascia in some fashion.

    03:34 Some of it is covered and encased in it.

    03:37 Others are just connected through strands of fascia.

    03:42 And these twists or torsions of the fascia that occur from the connectivities and from different areas can impede lymphatic drainage, can impede communication, and may lead to disease or dysfunction.

    03:57 So Dr. Gordon Zink observed common pathways of dysfunction.

    04:02 Certain people who had certain types of pain would always come with somatic dysfunction in certain areas.

    04:09 There were certain findings of musculoskeletal hypertonicity, or musculoskeletal fullness, or other abnormalities that he was able to identify.

    04:21 And he did list the regions of the most restrictions and the most problems and said that some of these areas need to be focused on to get people healthy and to allow them to heal themselves.

    04:34 So these fascial patterns are called Zink patterns and we’ll go through those in more detail.

    04:41 Other things he noted is that are humans meant to be bipedal? Should they have been quadrupeds? Should they always be on two legs? And what happens when people stand up and walk? How should we be walking? Where should we maintain our center of gravity? So these are some of the questions addressed by Zink’s fascial patterns.

    05:03 And if people are going to maintain equilibrium, what are they doing? Well, according to Zink’s philosophy, we’re meant to keep our eyes straight to focus—if we go sideways, if we turn— we’re going to compensate so that our eyes are still focusing.

    05:19 It gives us depth perception.

    05:22 It gives us the ability to identify either dangerous prey or prey that we’re chasing after much easier.

    05:30 So those are some of the concepts we’re looking at where if I’m going to turn my head like this, I better twist my body like this or like this so that I can see straight, so that I maintain a comfortable way of seeing the world.

    05:46 He also noted that fascial strains are created when the compensation for postural changes aren’t working well.

    05:54 So if you’re going in the same direction, and the eyes are coming off, that’s a poor compensation.

    06:01 And that’s a poor fascial pattern.

    06:04 The other thing that Dr. Zink identified were transitional zones and he said that “zones are areas where you have changes and junctions are where these changes are occurring, and you’re having connections between different zones.

    06:19 And the diaphragms are areas of separation within the body where you may likely or tend to have more problems.” So I’m going to let you review these zones on your own and just look at—these are areas where we’re doing a more in-depth exam— a more focused exam.

    06:39 And when things don’t work, we’re coming back to our zones and junctions and saying, “Maybe, we should treat them even if their findings weren’t something that we felt reached the level of a treatable somatic dysfunction.

    06:54 Just to make sure you have good flow, the body is working together— these are areas to be addressed.

    06:59 I look at this as a more in-depth 10-step examination.

    07:03 The 10th step is the screening examination and there is a separate video on the 10-step osteopathic exam which gives you a good sense of how the musculoskeletal system is doing.

    07:13 The Zink patterns will tell you how the functioning is going and where you may need to help the functioning or ease the functioning to help people maintain and get healthier.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Introduction to Zink Fascial Patterns by Tyler Cymet, DO, FACOFP is from the course Introduction to Osteopathic Treatment. It contains the following chapters:

    • Pulmonary Patient & Lymphatic Drainage Zink Patterns
    • Fascia

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Atlanto-occipital (AO)
    2. Cervicothoracic (CT)
    3. Thoraco-lumbar (TL)
    4. Lumbosacral (LS)
    5. Sacralcoccygeal (SC)
    1. Atlanto-occipital (AO)
    2. Cervicothoracic (CT)
    3. Thoraco-lumbar (TL)
    4. Lumbosacral (LS)
    5. Sacralcoccygeal (SC)
    1. Pelvic diaphragm
    2. Tentorium cerebelli
    3. Thoracic inlet/outlets
    4. Respiratory diaphragm
    5. Popliteal diaphragm

    Author of lecture Introduction to Zink Fascial Patterns

     Tyler Cymet, DO, FACOFP

    Tyler Cymet, DO, FACOFP

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