Principles and Practices of Transdermal Medicine
Transdermal medicine delivers
medications to the exact site of injury/pain.
Transdermal medicine is ideal for pain management as well as sports and pediatric medicine. In fact it is one of the best ways of administering medicines quickly and effectively. Transdermal methods of delivery are widely used because they allow the absorption of medicine directly through the skin. Gels, emulsion creams, sprays and lip balm stick applicators are easy to use and are effective in getting medicine into the blood stream quickly.
Traditional methods of administering medicine such as tablets or capsules get watered down and become much less effective due to stomach acids and digestive enzymes, before they eventually get into the bloodstream. Bypassing the stomach and liver means a much greater percentage of the active ingredient goes straight into the bloodstream where it’s needed. In many cases, transdermal methods are used to help avoid potential side effects such as stomach upset or drowsiness. The full potential for transdermal medicine has not been explored by modern medicine though it has been practiced for thousands of years in hot springs around the world.
Drugs enter different layers of skin via intramuscular,
subcutaneous, or transdermal delivery methods.
The most common ways to administer drugs are oral (swallowing an aspirin tablet), intramuscular (getting a flu shot in an arm muscle), subcutaneous (injecting insulin just under the skin), intravenous (receiving chemotherapy through a vein), or transdermal (wearing a skin patch). It is not a surprise, when you consider the large surface area of the skin, that when you apply a substance to the entire body, rapid absorption and resultant effect is sufficient to put transdermal administration on par with other ways of administering drugs.
Transdermal medicine takes us back to medical basics, back to substances that cannot be patented, and cannot be sold for obscene profit. People who live near the sea where the water is clean and warm (not too many of us) have an advantage over the rest because they have access to free and quite powerful transdermal medical treatments at the sea shore.
Hidden in each cubic mile of ocean water is enough healing
power to put the pharmaceutical companies out of business.
That’s right; at the beach you receive the full benefits of the sea with its high concentrations of magnesium in the water and iodine in the air, which is taken up by the lungs. It actually takes quite a bit of magnesium chloride flakes in a bath to bring bathwater up to the concentration of ocean water, but it is well worth the effort and expense for the health benefits are spectacular.
Dead Sea has the highest concentration of magnesium.
Before her first trip to the Dead Sea, 40-year-old Rhonda Dupras didn’t even own a pair of shorts. Suffering from severe psoriasis over her entire body, Dupras normally cloaked herself in long sleeves and long pants, hiding her red, flaky, scaly skin from curious stares and prying questions. But after three weeks of soaking up the Dead Sea sunshine under a doctor’s care at her health hotel in Israel, Dupras’ skin was tanned, glowing, smooth and virtually clear of flakes and patches. She cried like a baby, she says, and promptly bought shorts to celebrate. “I ended up showing off my skin to everyone. I just couldn’t help myself,” she says. Her remission lasted four giddy months. She did not know that one can recreate the conditions of the Dead Sea in her bathtub!
Our ideal transdermal treatment includes the healing radiation of the sun with all the resultant increases in Vitamin D levels via the skin. This is transdermal medicine at its best and at it’s cheapest unless you have to fly yourself into the dream beach of your choice. Dermatologists have destroyed the image of healing at the beach because of the sun. They would have you do transdermal medicine practiced at its worst by having you apply toxic sun screens that block vitamin D formation while synthetic pharmaceutical chemical substances seep into the body. The sun is more important to health then we would suppose and is in reality one of the best anti cancer agents we have. The truth is exactly 180 degrees opposite to what the doctors would have us believe and that makes dermatologists into terrific liars. (See chapter on vitamin D and the sun)
Transdermal medicine is a versatile form of medicine everyone can use and benefit from. With transdermal medicine we can address systemic nutritional deficiencies, act to improve immune, hormonal and nervous systems, protect cells from oxidative damage, open up cell wall permeability, reduce the risk of cancers, shrink tumors and do just about anything else we do with oral and intravenous drugs.
Now imagine receiving your medical treatment right in the comfort of your own home if you cannot get to the warm sea water.
Transdermal magnesium therapy is ideal for pain management. The combination of heat and magnesium chloride increases circulation and waste removal. The therapeutic effect of magnesium baths is to draw inflammation out of the muscles and joints. Magnesium chloride, when applied directly to the skin is transdermally absorbed and has an almost immediate effect on pain.
What better way to reduce or eliminate pain then by simply taking a therapeutic bath or rubbing magnesium chloride substance in liquid form directly onto the skin or affected area of the body? From the pain of sports injuries to low back pain and sciatica, headaches, relief from kidney stones, the pain of restless legs, arthritic pain, and just about every painful condition imaginable will in all likely hood benefit from medicines applied topically.
Medicines taken by mouth (oral) pass through the liver before
they are absorbed into the bloodstream. Other forms of
drug administration bypass the liver, entering the blood directly.
Magnesium Oil can be applied directly to inflamed areas.
Transdermal magnesium therapy in particular offers an exciting breakthrough in sports medicine. Coaches can now treat injuries, prevent them, and increase athletic performance all at the same time. Transdermal magnesium chloride mineral therapy enhances recovery from athletic activity or injuries. It reduces pain and inflammation while propagating quicker regeneration of tissues. Topical application of magnesium chloride increases flexibility, which helps avoid injury. It also increases strength and endurance. Transdermal Magnesium Therapy is a boon for athletes, coaches and doctors who practice sports medicine.
The use of transdermal patches is fairly new. These patches (as shown) contain a drug reservoir that holds an opioid which is delivered through contact with the patients’ skin. These can be helpful in delivering a more potent form of pain medication in a more controlled manner, outside of the hospital or to assist in relieving pain post-operatively, and in post-radiation burns. (tissue burn patients).
When working with transdermal medicine in its more natural forms doctors have to send their patients home to execute the therapies as much as two or three times a day. The patient himself has to feel their way to appropriate doses under their physicians or other health care practitioner’s guidance. Not everyone is the same and parents will naturally want to use transdermal magnesium and iodine treatments on their children. Transdermal is a preferred approach for children and young infants.
The value of the transdermal route of drug administration proves itself in the new technology being developed to administer even large molecules like insulin thru the skin. Previously this was not possible as the insulin molecule was too large to pass into the pores of the stratum corneum. Researchers have explored a variety of methods to penetrate this skin barrier – ranging from chemicals to lasers, microneedles, thermal/electrical energy, and ultrasound. Most methods work by enlarging the pores to a size that would accept these large molecules.
Transdermal delivery of medicines is generally considered safer, more efficient, more convenient and less painful than injections or IV’s.
A microneedle skin patch for insulin delivery compared to sub-q injection
Medicines can enter the body in many different ways, and they are absorbed when they travel from the site of administration into the body’s circulation. A drug faces its biggest hurdles during absorption. Medicines taken by mouth are shuttled via a special blood vessel leading from the digestive tract to the liver, where a large amount may be destroyed by metabolic enzymes in the so-called "first-pass effect." Other routes of drug administration bypass the liver, entering the bloodstream directly or via the skin or lungs.
Human skin is like a tightly woven fabric, seemingly impervious but
porous at the microscopic level. Through its millions of tiny openings,
the body oozes sweat and absorbs some substances applied to the skin.
For a topical agent to be effective obviously it must first be absorbed. The drug must enter in adequate concentration to its proposed site of action to produce the desired response of the skin. This skin is involved in dynamic exchange between the internal and external environments through respiration, absorption and elimination. It is highly permeable even though it has the ability to maintain its important bacteria-inhibiting barrier with the environment.
Individuals vary in the amount of
medication they absorb through the skin.
In transdermal medicine substances are applied to the skin’s surface and then diffuse out of its vehicle into the stratum corneum. In the stratum corneum they build a reservoir and defuse through the stratum spinosum. At this point, they can be metabolized and bind to receptors thus exerting their effects. Finally what ever healing or medical substance is applied is delivered into subcutaneous fat, the circulatory system and achieves systemic absorption.
Yesterday I witnessed one of the most amazing benefits of transdermal medicine I have ever seen. It certainly was a demonstration of the absorption properties of the skin. I work with another RN who is afflicted with arthritis, especially in her hands, and frequent muscle cramping/spasms in her legs. Yesterday I received a phone call from her begging me to please bring to the hospital some magnesium oil, as her hands were so cramped up and painful that she could barely stand to continue working.
When I got there, her hands and fingers were very contorted in spasm. Her fingers were curled up and stiff and her legs were cramping badly. She reported they had been this way all day, and the pain was driving her to tears. She immediately slathered the magnesium oil all over her hands. We were in report and she wanted it on her hands right away so the entire nursing staff watched and within 5 minutes you could visibly see her fingers extend back to normal and the finger movement return. We could literally see the relaxation taking place. Within minutes her hands were completely relaxed and functional again and stayed that way the remainder of the evening.Claudia French RN
The concentration of the applied dose, the surface area of the body, and the elapsed time the chemical is on the skin are the main considerations affecting absorption. As the concentration of a drug is increased, the total amount absorbed into the skin and body also increases. Increasing the surface area of the applied dose also increases penetration.
Penetration occurs over time. The longer the substance is on the skin, the greater the chance for continued penetration. The total amount of a drug absorbed during a 24-hour period may be different for a single application as opposed to the same amount applied in divided doses. In other words, applying a medicine once a day in the morning delivers a different concentration as opposed to applying a medicine 3 times a day 8 hours apart.
Herbal poultices, therapeutic baths, steam and dry saunas, transdermal patches, transdermal magnesium and transdermal iodine therapy rely on the permeability of the skin for either introducing substances into systemic circulation via the skin or mucous membranes, or for drawing toxic substances out of the system via the eliminative channels of perspiration.
When using transdermal medicines one has to be aware that:
Applying more of a substance
increases the amount absorbed.
Penetration will stop generally when the skin is saturated. Absorption into the bloodstream is also increased if the concentration of a substance is higher and if more body is covered. Obviously the skin of infants is more prone to absorption than those of adults. Occluded (skin that has been covered) or well-hydrated skin is easier to penetrate than nonoccluded or dry skin.
There are many things that affect skin absorption. Absorption occurs by distribution around and through the cells that make up the skin. Some absorption takes place along hair follicles or through sweat ducts. Skin thickness and barrier accessibility are different in various areas so absorption rates will vary in different parts of the body. For example, hydrocortisone (a synthetic preparation used in the treatment of inflammations, allergies and itching) is absorbed through the skin 6 times better on the forehead than on the arm, and 44 times better on the scrotum.
The physical condition of the skin at the point of external application is another significant variable. The skin of an infant or child is more permeable than that of adults. The skin over the organs in decreasing order of permeability is genitals, head and neck, trunk, arm and leg.Skin abrasion allows a locally applied substance to come directly in contact with subcutaneous tissue and blood vessels. Absorption is at a much higher rate than in healthy skin. Inflammation leaves the skin leaky and allows larger molecules to be absorbed.
Transdermal Medicine and Medicinal Baths
On page 201 of my Transdermal Magnesium Therapy book I recommend 2-8 oz (56,6 -226,4 g) Magnesium Oil for a full body bath (ca 100liter) The % Magnesium in the bath is then only 45-180 mg/l magnesium. One has to forgive me the experience of living in the semi-tropics in Brazil where bath tubs are rare. My experiences of the use of magnesium chloride has been, until recently, restricted to direct application on the skin and of course to now using the exceptionally pure Ancient Minerals magnesium oil for oral use, eye washes, aerosol and douches.
It is now my professional opinion that my initial recommendations for baths were very low. It is easy to begin to understand when we take normal seawater as a benchmark. Open seawater already has a content of 1300 mg/l Magnesium. Physics clearly tells us that the driving force behind transdermal intake is the concentration gradient. The concentration of magnesium in the pure magnesium oil is about 80,000 mg/l and when you apply that directly on the skin, intake rate is very high. But in the case of a bath application my new recommendation needs to be brought up to somewhere between 1500 and 5000 mg/l magnesium (1 to 4 times the sea concentration). Dead Sea and other salty lake therapies have a concentration up to 40,000 mg/l magnesium and people bathe every day in these waters.
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