Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2015

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F r e e S O A P n o t e s w i t h M a s s a g e B o o k f o r A B M P m e m b e r s : a b m p . u s / M a s s a g e b o o k 99 According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the verb enhance means "to improve the quality, amount, or strength of something." Similarly, in Myoskeletal Alignment Techniques (MAT), the term enhancer is used as a noun to describe a therapist- directed movement cue that neurologically boosts, intensifies, and heightens a therapeutic outcome. In Image 1, I demonstrate a MAT enhancer for a client presenting with excessive thoracic kyphosis and upper- crossed syndrome. Adding the enhancer to her MAT treatment boosted the involvement of her nervous system, allowing better rib-cage mobility, shoulder-girdle stability, and fascial front-line extensibility. To help retrain her brain for this new posture, she was asked to perform the enhancer daily, preferably in front of a mirror. MAT enhancers serve three primary purposes: • Release musculofascial contractures. • Retrain the brain by introducing novel sensory information. • Reward the client through improved proprioception and body awareness. technique MYOSKELETAL ALIGNMENT TECHNIQUES Myoskeletal Enhancers Engaging the Brain, Freeing the Fascia By Erik Dalton CASE STUDY: TREATING WHIPLASH WITH ENHANCERS Ben was referred by an orthopedist for soft-tissue damage sustained in a rare side-to-side whiplash injury when his car was hit on the driver's door six months earlier (Image 2). The neck pain had subsided, but he could barely turn his head to the left and was prohibited from driving until the rotation issue was corrected. Upon seated examination, his passive range into right cervical rotation, flexion, and extension was normal, but we could only manage 30 degrees of left rotation. A couple myoskeletal enhancers were used to determine if his primary restrictor was neural (protective guarding) or the result of residual soft-tissue damage. In many pain-free whiplash clients, the neck becomes sensitized, as the brain still perceives threat even after the area has healed. In some cases, the use of novel movement enhancers can trick the brain into loosening the reins and dissolving the protective muscle guarding. Here's a description of one of my favorite MAT enhancers that helped this client. 1 2 With chin tucked, the client deeply inhales, lifts both elbows toward the ceiling, and pushes her belly out. My left arm assists this trunk-extension effort, while my right palm gently compresses and lifts her rib cage to stretch the front line and mobilize motion- restricted joint capsules, ribs, and intercostal muscles. Photos courtesy © Overstretched nerves and connective tissue cause the brain to layer the area with protective spasms that may lead to contractures.

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