Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2013

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Page 39 of 141

TABLE LESSONS with an apologetic face. "No need to say anything," I said. "I can see that didn't work either. Just so you know, this isn't over until you flex forward without discomfort. No excuses." "You're relentless!" she said teasing, then added, "Just like me." "I'm sure that is true," I said. "What makes both of us excel is an unyielding commitment to results. No matter how difficult the journey or how long it takes, we embrace the struggle, because that's where learning takes place." As our eyes met, I saw in her someone who had known great success, and also learned from countless failures along the way; impressive wisdom for someone so young. "Wait, let's try this," I suggested, breaking the moment. "What happens if you flex forward from a seated position?" "There isn't any pain at all," she stated, sounding surprised. "OK, what would account for that?" I asked myself, thinking out loud. "Stand up again and let me try something." This time, I cupped my hand around her sacrum, guiding it forward as she flexed her spine. Unfortunately, there was no change in the pain. Positioning both my hands on her pelvis, I guided it anteriorly as she flexed. "Wow," she exclaimed. "That totally eliminates the pain. Amazing!" "Here is what I think is happening," I explained. "There are muscles that create a posterior pull on your hips as you flex your spine forward. If the hips don't have enough motion, the spine is forced to do too much. Let's treat those muscles and see what happens." Placing her in a side-lying position, I did fascial work over the posterior thigh and specifically treated the adductor magnus and bicep femoris. K. rose from the table to check our progress. I knew immediately from her smile that the results were positive. There was still a slight pull, but at a much greater range. Her trainer called me the following day, thrilled with K.'s progress. For me, I kept thinking about how a personal commitment to excellence allows us to recognize and celebrate that same commitment in others, no matter what their discipline. Luckily, as therapists, giving our best enables those we treat to perform at their best. What an honor! No matter how difficult the journey or how long it takes, we embrace the struggle, because that's where learning takes place. Douglas Nelson is the founder and principal instructor for Precision Neuromuscular Therapy Seminars and president of the 16-therapist clinic BodyWork Associates in Champaign, Illinois. His clinic, seminars, and research endeavors explore the science behind this work. Visit or email him at See what benefits await you. 37

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