Gastrointestinal Pathologies


I have learned that because the digestive system is responsible for processing the food necessary for life, it is an important system for massage therapists to understand. Massage can affect the digestive system both directly and indirectly. Abdominal massage is one way to directly affect the digestive system. There are 6 classes of nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and water. Carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids are very complex (and large) structures that need to be broken apart chemically into smaller molecules. This process is called digestion. Carbohydrates are deconstructed into their building blocks called monosaccharide, which are single unit sugars. The most common monosaccharide is glucose and the most common lipid is triglycerides. A triglyceride consists of a molecule of glycerol with 3 molecules called fatty acid chains attached to it. The different types of fats depend on the chemical composition of the fatty acids. Lipids are hydrophobic and tend to stick together in large clumps. I also learned that Roughage comes from the skin of fruit and veggies. And theses are necessary because they help from the mass large intestine needs to move substances forward and out of the body. The digestive system is responsible for breaking down the nutrients into their building blocks. The digestive system is made up of 2 groups of organs: the Gastrointestinal (GI) tract or Alimentary canal and the accessory digestive organs. The GI tract is a long tube that extends from the mouth to the anus. It is about 30 feet long in a cadaver, but is much shorter in a living person as a result of muscle tone in the wall of the GI tract. Most of the organs of the digestive system are found in the abdominal pelvic cavity. The digestive system performs 6 basic processes: Ingestion, secretion, mixing and propulsion, digestion, absorption, and defecation. Digestion begins in the mouth. The teeth mechanically break down ingested food. Salivary glands secrete saliva, which contains digestive enzymes, into ducts that empty into the mouth. The tongue helps mix food with saliva. The digestive enzymes initiate the chemical digestion of carbohydrates and lipids. After the food is formed into a soft, easily swallowed mass called a bolus, it is ingested. Most digestion absorption occurs in the intestine. Bile is made by the liver and is responsible for emulsifying fats. The gallbladder stores excess bile. Also by the time the chime enters the large intestine, most of the substances and water have been absorbed. The large intestine is about 6 feet long and consists of 4 main parts; cecum, colon, sigmoid colon, and anal canal.

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