Massage & Bodywork

January/February 2012

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TECHNIQUE BODYREADING THE MERIDIANS The Spiral Line By Thomas Myers Some of the Anatomy Trains lines mapped on a figure from Albinus. In this ongoing series, we are examining specific issues in visual assessment as they relate to the Anatomy Trains Myofascial Meridians— longitudinal chains of conjoined muscle tissue and biological fabric that provide stability and force transmission in daily function and performance. INTRODUCING THE SPIRAL LINE We have examined what we have termed the cardinal lines (Image 1)—the Front, Back, and Lateral lines—because they are head-to-toe stripes that define the body's north, south, east, and west. (To access previous BodyReading columns, visit the digital editions of Massage & Bodywork at ABMP. com.) This issue we go all around the town with the Spiral Line, which wraps in a helix around the torso and loops from the pelvis, under the foot arches, and back again (Image 2). Because of its oblique path (with more of a horizontal component than any of our previous lines) to visually assess the Spiral Line we look not so much at tilts and bends, but rather rotations. The complication here is that the Spiral Line does not produce pure rotation but oblique movement, and thus complex oblique compensations. Thus, by the time you have imbalance in the Spiral The Spiral Line creates two opposing helices around the trunk, and a long loop from the pelvis, under the arches of each foot, and back again. Line, and the person has compensated so that their inner ear or eyes are level (something most of us do automatically), you do end up with tilts and shifts as part of the picture. We will be quite precise, therefore, in chasing down these subversive Spiral Line anomalies. On its journey, this Spiral Line blends with the first three lines we have already covered, so trouble in the Spiral Line alone is rare indeed. Most often the Superficial Front, Back, and Lateral Lines are also adversely affected by lack of tonal balance or fascial shortening in the Spiral Line. For this reason, in unfolding our version of the structural integration protocol, we usually address the front, back, and lateral lines before tackling this interwoven Spiral Line. DISCOVERING THE SPIRAL LINE Incidentally, a piece of this Spiral Line first drew my attention to functionally connected anatomy. Energy medicine specialist James Oschman, PhD, handed me an article by Raymond Dart, MD, titled "Voluntary Musculature in the 94 massage & bodywork january/february 2012

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