Massage & Bodywork

January/February 2011

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YOU CAN SEE THESE TECHNIQUES IN MASSAGE & BODYWORK'S DIGITAL EDITION, WHICH FEATURES A VIDEO CLIP FROM ADVANCED-TRAININGS.COM'S ADVANCED MYOFASCIAL TECHNIQUES DVD AND SEMINAR SERIES. THE LINK IS AVAILABLE AT BOTH MASSAGEANDBODYWORK.COM AND ABMP.COM. Images 11-13: The "Mother Cat" technique is an effective complement to scalene work, since it is bilateral, posterior, broad, superficial, and calming (in contrast to the scalene technique's one-sided, anterior, focused, deep, and stimulating characteristics). With your active hand, gently gather the superficial and deep cervical fascias (green) posteriorly; your other hand is simply monitoring and supporting. Images 11, 12 courtesy Advanced-Trainings.com. Image 13 courtesy Primal Pictures. Used with permission. kitten goes limp. This reflex is the source of the name we've given this technique, since humans also seem to let go, relax, and surrender with posterior traction on their neck fascia. Like a kitten being carried by its mother, people relax when their cervical fascias are eased. To perform the Mother Cat technique, wrap a soft hand around the back of your supine client's neck, encompassing as much of both sides as possible. With the palm and fingers of your full hand, grasp and gather the outer layers of the nape of the neck straight backward toward the posterior midline (that is, toward the floor), applying gentle posterior traction to the outer layers of superficial fascia and trapezius. Allow the tissue layers to slowly slide out from under your hands a bit. Repeat several times, switching hands if you wish. Although we're working both sides of the neck at the same time, the different shape of the left and right hands will allow you to access different aspects with each. Our aim is to both ease the outer tissues of the neck and to shift the autonomic tone of our client's nervous system. Accordingly, let your pace be slow, steady, and patient as you repeat this technique, feeling for both tissue restrictions and for your client's parasympathetic relaxation response Although this technique's calming effects make it an ideal follow-up to the scalene work described earlier, these same properties make it an effective way to prepare a client for deep work as well. I originally learned this technique from William "Dub" Leigh, who called it "milking the neck," a name which hints at the repetitive, hypnotic motion that gives it its effectiveness. Dub, in turn, said he learned it from the legendary body therapy pioneer Moshe Feldenkrais, who (according to Dub) would patiently "milk the neck" for the first 10 minutes of his hands- on Functional Integration sessions. Feldenkrais, a scrappy Ukrainian- Israeli physicist and Judo champion (who, incidentally, taught Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion how to stand on his head), reportedly claimed that with just this technique and enough time, he "could have any man eating" out of his hand. If you're inclined to try this experiment, do let me know the results, but please remember, along with great power, comes great responsibility. Trainings.com faculty, which offers distance learning and in-person seminars throughout the United States and abroad. He is also a Certified Advanced Rolfer and teaches for the Rolf Institute. Contact him via info@ advanced-trainings.com and Advanced- Trainings.com's Facebook page. Til Luchau is a member of the Advanced- NOTES 1. For more on "hot" and "cold" whiplash, see "Myofascial Techniques: Working with Whiplash, Part 1," Massage & Bodywork, March/April 2010, page 108; "Myofascial Techniques: Working with Whiplash, Part 2," Massage & Bodywork, May/June 2010, page 108. 2. V. Janda, "Muscles and Cervicogenic Pain Syndromes," in Physical Therapy of the Cervical and Thoracic Spine, ed. Ruth Grant (New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1988). earn CE hours at your convenience: abmp's online education center, www.abmp.com 113

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