Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2013

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4 Watch Til Luchau's technique videos and read his past Myofascial Techniques articles in Massage & Bodywork's digital edition. The link is available at, at, and on's Facebook page. and calcium in a microcrystalline form called hydroxylapatite. (The matrix accounts for about half of the bone's weight.) Structurally, these apatite crystals are relatively weak by themselves—think of a piece of chalk. But in the body, these mineral nanocrystals are molecularly linked and interwoven with thin, flexible, elastic collagen fibers (Images 3 and 4).1 This composite nanostructure of mineralized collagen fibrils keeps microscopic fractures from spreading, and adds surprising flexibility to the bones. Like synthetic fiber/matrix 3 Collagen fibril 4 Apatite crystal Electronic micrograph of mineralized collagen fibers in bone (Image 3). Living bone is about 25 percent collagen, which adds flexibility. Bone's calcium is in the form of microcrystalline apatite (Image 4), which binds to these collagen fibers, giving them far greater toughness than they would have alone. Image 4 used under CCASA 3.0. Image 5 copyright University of Cambridge, used under CCA-NCSA 2.0. nanocomposites, it is also extremely strong—pound for pound, living bone is even stronger than cement. Unlike cement, however, living bone has qualities that we don't usually consider based on our experiences with dried, dead bones in anatomy class (Image 5). Living bones are up to one-third larger than dried bones, mostly due to the water they contain when alive. They are also softer and more adaptable, just as a living starfish is soft and pliable compared to a hard, brittle, dead specimen (Image 6). Living bones are also very sensitive. The periosteum, or fibrous bone skin surrounding bones (Image 7), is highly innervated. Its many mechanoreceptors help coordinate movement and balance by sensing the pull of skeletal muscles where their tendons blend with the bone's periosteum at attachment sites. The articular ends of long bones are also particularly sensitive, assisting with proprioception and movement coordination. It has long been known that there are also numerous nerves inside of bones, such as the small myelinated nerve fibers winding about the spongy trabeculae deep within cancellous, or spongy, bones.2 The nerves within bone are one reason fractures and bone bruises can be so painful, and this also means your clients can literally feel your touch in their bones. In's Advanced Myofascial Techniques series, we use bone-focused techniques for three purposes: to feel for greater mobility, greater motility, or greater connection. "Core Point (Arm)" 5 6 Living bone is as unlike a desiccated skeleton as a live, pliable starfish is unlike a dead, brittle one. 7 Bones are innervated and sensitive. The fibrous periosteum (outer layer) is richly innervated with mechanoreceptors; nerves (yellow) travel along with bone's vessels; and the spongy trabeculae (innermost sections) are wound with myelinated nerve fibers. Image courtesy Primal Pictures. Used by permission. See what benefits await you. 115

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