Massage & Bodywork

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2018

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The Ankle/Quadriceps Decoupling Technique helps clients learn easier ways to move by reducing "parasitic tension" in the quadriceps during ankle movement. Although the quadriceps don't pull up on the foot in ankle dorsiflexion, they do help brace the knee; learning to relax unnecessary bracing is one of the key ways that massage and bodywork effects last. Image 2 courtesy Advanced-Trainings.com; Image 3 courtesy Primal Pictures. Ankle/Quadriceps Decoupling Technique Purpose • Refine proprioceptive awareness of any unneeded quadriceps contraction during ankle dorsiflexion. • Increase options for relaxed, differentiated, and easy ankle movement. These overlapping goals can help enhance clients' balance, coordination, and stability, as well as movement ease and efficiency. Instructions • With your client's leg straight, ask for active ankle dorsiflexion: "Flex and extend your ankle fully," or, "Bring your foot all the way up, and all the way down." • Use gentle pressure to feel for any quadriceps contraction during active ankle movement, particularly during dorsiflexion (Images 2 and 3). If contraction is not obvious, ask for slower or fuller ankle movement, or check other parts of the quadriceps group. • Help your client feel any contraction by directing their attention to these sensations with your words and touch. Use gentle but specific pressure into any areas of contraction in order to further refine your client's proprioception. • Offer proprioceptive questions and feedback cues such as: "Can your foot come up while your leg stays relaxed right here?" "How about with a smaller movement? Or slower?" "That's it—I don't feel your thigh contracting now. What's that like for you?" etc. • Repeat in a seated position; offer as client self-care homework and practice. Considerations • Keep your pressure within the client's comfort range. • Use your touch to help the client feel their unneeded contractions, rather than trying to rub or manipulate any tight muscles you find. Keep in mind that this is a reeducation technique, rather than tissue manipulation per se. • Slow, focused, small, active movements will often be more effective than large, fast movements. For More Learning Feldenkrais Method: • Moshe Feldenkrais, Awareness Through Movement (HarperOne, 1990). Rolfing Structural Integration: • www.rolf.org Advanced Myofascial Techniques: • "Leg, Knee & Foot" in the Advanced Myofascial Techniques series of workshops and video courses (Advanced-Trainings.com). • Advanced Myofascial Techniques, Vol. 1, chapters 4–8 (Handspring, 2015). 2 3 A B M P m e m b e r s e a r n F R E E C E a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / c e b y r e a d i n g M a s s a g e & B o d y w o r k m a g a z i n e 97

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