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Omentum and your Health

What is your omentum?

The omentum is a membranous double layer of fatty tissue that covers and supports the intestines and organs in the lower abdominal area. The omentum is made up of the greater omentum which is an important storage for fat deposits and the lesser omentum which connects the stomach and intestines to the liver. It is an important immune organ that serves as a first line of defense against toxins and infection -- hardly what you'd expect from a layer of fat. The omentum likely plays a role in metabolism as well. There's evidence that excessive build-up of the fatty tissue it is made of can contribute to metabolic diseases, such as diabetes. Some cells included in the omentum help digest fatty acids, in addition to their immune responsibilities.

History of the omentum

The word omentum derives from the ancient Egyptians who, when embalming human bodies, used to assess their “omens” by looking at the variations in what we recognise today as the omentum. The omentum's immune functions come from groups of small, white filters located among the fat cells. Anatomists first discovered these cell clusters in rabbits around 1874, giving them the name milky spots. Recent research has shown that they aid the omentum by collecting information about the health of the abdominal cavity. While the size and shape of the omentum varies, milky spots speckle the entire tissue and serve as a filter for surrounding fluid.

Acupuncture and the omentum

The broad range of omental applications and functions has attracted much attention both from clinical and basic researchers. The omentum relates to acupuncture. The acupuncture meridians, which are known to be the pathways of the Qi, are at the heart of traditional Chinese medicine. Establishment of their physical reality is crucial for scientific investigation of the 3,000-year-old practice of acupuncture. The first documentation of acupuncture that described it as an organized system of diagnosis and treatment is in The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, which dates back to 100 BCE.

Qi or chi — pronounced "chee" — is the energy flow created along the pathways that connect the acupuncture points on the body. The pathways between the points are called meridians, which also connect to internal organs in the body. Using acupuncture needles, pressure or heat to manipulate a point or two separate points on the body can improve a person's qi — which is also thought of as one's life force — and relieve the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain, digestive issues, respiratory problems and more. This understanding of the human body comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is thousands of years old. It's a different way of thinking about how the body works than conventional Western medicine.

Acupuncture points are physical places on the body where chi energy can be accessed and manipulated. Acupuncture treatment helps the body's natural healing process and also serves a preventive function. Energy imbalances or congested energy flow can create or accentuate pain, or impede the body's natural ability to heal itself. Promoting the unobstructed flow of chi improves health and well-being. Depending on how sensitive a patient is, they may feel the chi as it travels along the meridians during a treatment, others may feel pressure at the acupuncture point.

To schedule an acupuncture appointment with Dr. Parks contact our office


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