The Extracellular Matrix
In the last forty years, medical research made huge progress in understanding the complex structure and the functioning of the Extracellular Matrix (ECM). Up until the 1960s, the ECM was thought to be a kind of biological adhesive allowing the cells to stick together. Today it is known that the ECM is «the most complex unit of structural organization in tissues» in multicellular organisms - it is, in other words, our main biological regulator. The ECM is a structure made of water, macromolecules of polysaccharides (or GAGs, mostly attached to proteins to form proteoglycans) and macromolecules of proteins, whose numerous types and functions has not yet been discovered in all their extent. «The ECM is the substratum on which every cell and tissue can adhere, migrate, proliferate and differentiate, and by which the form and function of cells and tissues are conditioned. [...] It can calcify, as it does in osseous tissues, forming structures as solid as rock; it can form the transparent structure of the cornea, or assume the configuration conferring the tendons their great resistance to traction». The ECM is responsible for cell and tissue recovery and regeneration, it helps determine which genes shall be expressed and which repressed, it determines the characteristics of our organs» (Mainiero).
«Stated simply, every function and every process in the living body involves the Matrix in one way or another. [It forms] a totally pervasive system, a major organ that reaches into every part and whose property are absolutely vital to the operation of the whole. [...] It is in the Matrix that the causes and cures of the so-called systemic and chronic illness can be found» (Pischinger).
Nowadays we can - satisfactorily but not fully - explain how the ECM activity can be alterated and how can it be rebalanced.
In a healthy ECM, the fluid component shifts twice a day from a gel fase (a more viscous state, where the ECM is full with metabolic waste that will be expelled afterwards) to a sol fase (a more liquid fase allowing the elimination of toxins).
When we undergo a chronic stress, the fluid component of the ECM cannot liquefy and gets stuck in a gel fase «until the stress goes on: this causes blood stasis, lymphatic stasis and accumulation of molecular damage in our tissues. [...] The progressive ECM deterioration is caused by the acidosis linger due to a prolonged gel fase. This condition can be identified by an increased oxidative stress[, that is the excessive presence of alterated oxygen atoms, known as free radicals or ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species), that, being highly unstable and reactive, can damage the cell structures,] which, in time, manifests with signs of functional exhaustion» (Bellabona).
An effective solution consists in forcing the body to relax by inducing a parasympathetic fase: thus we can brake the stress fase and allow the ECM fluid component to shift back to sol and liquefy, restoring the ECM fase transition that allows it to function properly. Doing so, the ECM can start again its repairing and regenerating actions. When a shift back to sol is induced for a certain amount of time (usually once a week for two to three weeks can be enough, but sometimes it can be necessary to do so for a longer period), the body can repair itself, and it normally stops the stress iteration, so that the ECM fluid can start swinging again spontaneously from gel to sol. This is, in short, what Bowen and H3AL do.