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44 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k s e p t e m b e r / o c t o b e r 2 0 1 6 FUNCTIONAL ANATOMY and directions must be adjusted based on these changing conditions. You are able to maintain a steady pace and rhythm even though your joints are moving through a greater range of motion as the trail becomes steeper. If everything is working properly, articular mechanoreceptors help coordinate specific patterns of muscular facilitation and inhibition at multiple joints and segments of the kinetic chain, ending in a smooth, coordinated movement pattern. If not, inefficient joint mechanics, postural deviations, and compensatory movement strategies appear. Additionally, associated free nerve endings are no longer inhibited, increasing pain signals in these same regions. Bodyworkers help clients maintain or restore articular mechanoreceptor function following injury by reducing excessive joint compression, encouraging proper joint alignment, and restoring full, pain-free active and passive range of motion. Christy Cael is a licensed massage therapist, certified strength and conditioning specialist, and instructor at the Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage in Olympia, Washington. Her private practice focuses on injury treatment, biomechanical analysis, craniosacral therapy, and massage for clients with neurological issues. She is the author of Functional Anatomy: Musculoskeletal Anatomy, Kinesiology, and Palpation for Manual Therapists (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009). Contact her at Structurally, all of these articular mechanoreceptors include a distinctly shaped body that contains a sensory nerve and is surrounded by an outer covering or capsule. As joint movement occurs, the shape of the corpuscle is distorted via compression, tension, or shear forces. Imagine squishing a rubber ball. With enough distortion, a signal is initiated in the sensory nerve relaying the size, speed, and direction of joint motion. Imagine covering the floor with rubber balls and squishing a series of balls in a given order at a given speed. The signals of individual mechanoreceptors are relatively small and difficult to interpret, but collectively they provide tremendous amounts of proprioceptive information. Understanding how the activity of articular mechanoreceptors influences movement starts with what is happening outside the body, or external stimulus. Vision and proprioception work in tandem to predict necessary movement patterns and make adjustments as those movements are executed. For example, visual input is combined with joint and muscle proprioceptive input to recognize uneven ground when hiking. Specific movement patterns are selected to navigate the surface and corrections are made as the patterns are executed based on both visual and proprioceptive cues. This process relies on information that is both feed forward (changes predicted based on past experience) and feedback (changes detected and adjustments made). The body must also respond to changes inside the body, or internal stimulus. As movements are executed and adjusted, changes in joint position lead to altered leverage or mechanical advantage for all involved muscles. Force production amounts

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