Below are 3 manual therapy techniques that could save your (or a loved one’s) life if you are infected with COVID-19. These techniques were some of the most effective ways to save lives in osteopathic (a whole-body medical approach that uses manual therapy) hospitals during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic.

Main Goal:

Prevent the body from getting overwhelmed so it can maintain its ability to clear out the inflammation and cellular damage that is occurring in the lungs as a result of the coronavirus infection.

Rationale:

Death from a coronavirus infection usually occurs from respiratory and multi-organ failure. The body succumbs when the lungs get overwhelmed and the immune system can no longer do its job to fight the infection in them. What makes this virus so lethal is that the lungs fail because of 2 main reasons – the rapidly replicating virus and the strong, but poorly controlled immune response to it – particularly those with compromised immune systems.

Manual Therapy Goals:

Maximize the ability of the lungs to breathe, clear out the rapidly accumulating debris and fluids, help control the immune response, and decrease the body’s fight or flight response in order to maximize lung blood flow.

Manual Therapy Techniques That May Help Decrease The Risk of Death From the COVID-19

#1 Rib Raising:

To increase the ability of the lungs to breathe and to decrease the body’s fight or flight response that will increase blood flow to the lungs and clear debris from it. Deep pressure in the upper back from T1-5 for 1-2 minutes is needed. Follow the pictures for instruction. Can be done on someone else or to yourself. Do on each side of the body. Push your elbow down into the table to lift your hand up into the upper back. Use often throughout the day!

Location of hand placement:

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To Do Rib Raising On Yourself:

  • Lie on your back with tennis balls taped together (or something similar) on either side of the spine as shown below, until you feel a deep pressure into the body.
  • Begin at the base of the neck.
  • Do for 1-2 minutes or until you feel the tension ease up.
  • Move the tennis balls a little lower and repeat until the tennis balls are just above the bottom of the shoulder blade.
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#2 Deep Breathing (To help open the lungs fully):

  • Lie down on the bed or floor in the position shown below with your arms across your chest and your head resting comfortably.
  • Take in a deep breath in (as much as you can) while using your hands to pull your ribs towards your head.
  • Slowly exhale fully while letting the ribs drop back down. The exhalation should take twice as long as the inhalation to help promote a calming effect.
  • Continue for 6 repetitions (or less to prevent feeling light-headed).
  • Repeat throughout the day.
  • Do slow easy breathing that is not rapid or shallow when not deep breathing.
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#3 Chapman’s Neurolymphatic Reflexes:

These reflex points can be used to clear out the rapidly accumulating fluids, help control the immune response, and decrease the body’s fight or flight response in order to maximize lung blood flow.

Location: Between the 3rd and 4th and 4th and 5th ribs. The first rib you feel under the collarbone is the 2nd rib as the 1st rib is hidden under the collarbone.

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Technique:

  • To find these points, let your fingers slowly sink into the skin and press gradually deeper into the area until you are just deep to the muscle. You may feel a small nodule the size of a pea that may or may not be tender – this is the Chapman’s reflex point.
  • Do a small circular motion with your index finger using a slow, steady, and even pressure until you feel the tissue relax.
  • Do not over treat. 15-60 seconds is enough for each point.
  • Change of lung function (more normal breathing) is not normally observed for 24 hours.
  • Treatment can be repeated until changes of organ function are noted and can be used often in cases of acute infection.