Massage & Bodywork

July/August 2011

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THE SUPERFICIAL FRONT LINE In the two previous BodyReading columns, we outlined a consistent method of bodyreading postural compensations. Any kind of global visual assessment needs to blend intuitive gestalt with more direct, objective observations—the whole person's unfolding story is greater than the sum of his or her parts. In most iterations of postural/ structural/biomechanical models, the parts we think about are alignment of the bones, reach of ligaments or tendons, and tonus or performance of the muscles. In these next installments of the BodyReading series, we will focus on what is termed the Anatomy Trains—coherent chains of myofascial force transmission that allow us to view structural patterning in more holistic and less particulate terms. This point of view encourages you to include overall fascial tone, as well as specifi c adhesions within and between adjacent fascial planes, in your clinical thinking and application. But it does not require that you throw away any of your hard-won knowledge about individual muscles—just add in this idea of continuity and glide in the fascial fabric between and around the muscles. THE SUPERFICIAL FRONT LINE—WHAT IS IT? The fi rst continuity we will consider is the Superfi cial Front Line (SFL), a confi guration of fascial and muscular tissues that stretches in two pieces up the ventral side of our body: from the top of the toes to the front of the hip, and from the pubic bone up to the sides of the skull (Images 1A and 1B). Anatomy Trains lines can be viewed in three ways: as a line, as a plane, and as a volume. As a line, the SFL can be seen as a railroad track running from station to station (attachment point to attachment point): from the top of the toes under the retinaculum to just under the knee, and from under the knee across the thigh to the front of the hip. The second piece has its fi rst station at the pubic bone, the next at the fi fth and sixth rib (the bra line), the next at the top of the sternum, and the fi nal station around the asterion1 of the skull just behind the top of the ear. One way to defi ne SFL function would be to imagine each of these points getting closer to each other, which taken altogether would have you in a forward bend with your toes hyperextended and your chin running down your shin bones, meaning your upper neck is A The Superfi cial Front Line is a myofascial continuity stretched over the sensitive ventral side of our body. Boost your practice with ABMP's Website Builder—free for members on ABMP.com 75

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