Massage & Bodywork

May/June 2012

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technique BODYREADING THE MERIDIANS | @WORK | ESSENTIAL SKILLS | MYOFASCIAL TECHNIQUES 1 The Deep Front Line is very difficult to visualize—both because of the complexity and obscurity of its anatomy and because it is hiding beneath the other lines. The Deep Front Line By Thomas Myers We come to the last of our series on BodyReading the Anatomy Trains lines—and we have saved the best for last. The deepest and most difficult line to visually assess is the Deep Front Line (DFL). INTRODUCING THE CORE This line expands the usual definition of "core" to include a coherent set of myofascial connections from the inseam of the leg all the way up to the jaw and skull, including the pelvic floor, psoas, transversus abdominis, diaphragm, and scalenes (Image 1A). If we take the idea of a "core" literally, like an apple core, A Tongue Lung Diaphragm Mediastinum Location of pubic symphysis Quadratus lumborum Psoas major Iliacus Adductor group Knee capsule B Popliteus Deep posterior compartment Flexor digitorum longus Tibialis posterior Flexor hallucis longus C 98 massage & bodywork may/june 2012 we could approximate the DFL by imagining we took a similar core of a human body down its long axis from the crown, passing just in front of the spine (Image 1B). We would take in the jaw and inner neck muscles, the organ suspension ligaments on the front of the spine, the diaphragm, the inner abdomen, the pelvic floor, adductor muscles, and deep posterior compartment of the lower leg, right down to the inner arches (Image 1C). The DFL is particularly difficult to read for two related reasons. For one, it is sandwiched fore and aft between the Superficial Front Line and Superficial Back Line (there is no Deep Back Line), and between the two Lateral Lines just to its left and right. The two helices of the Spiral Line wrap around the DFL, and the Arm and Functional Lines are draped over the surface of all of these. One must look through all these lines to see the DFL beneath, which is not always easy. Secondly, many of the movement and stabilizing functions of the DFL are repeated in these outer lines: the Tom, Dick, and Harry of the lower DFL flex the toes and plantarflex the foot—but so do muscles in the Superficial Back Line and Lateral Line. The next group up in the DFL, the adductors, are the only ones to squeeze the legs together, but the adductor group also assists with flexion and extension of the hip, and (in my opinion) with both medial and lateral rotation of the femur—and in this they cooperate with (or can be superseded by) muscles from the other surrounding lines. Breathing is almost uniquely the diaphragm's job, but that is difficult to read from outside the rib cage, especially when so many accessory muscles can get into the act. The external

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