Massage & Bodywork

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2017

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When stimulated, Golgi tendon organs can provoke a relaxation response in their associated muscles via inhibitory interneurons in the spinal cord. Image courtesy www.bandhayoga.com, used by permission. 2 The Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) Attachment Technique Indications • Neck tension, pain, or stiffness • "Cold" whiplash (3–6 weeks or more since injury; no muscular spasms) • Positional or postural issues, such as head-forward position; torticollis • Headaches: both tension-type and migraines • Jaw pain, tension, and temporomandibular joint disorder Purpose • Refine proprioceptive awareness of SCM's role in neck/head motion. • Reduce and reeducate SCM tonus by refining proprioceptive coordination of SCM engagement in movement initiation. Instructions • After other preparatory work, use gentle, firm, specific, and static (not sliding) pressure directly on the sternal and clavicular insertions of the SCM (Images 3–5). • Cue active but slow client movements, as described below. • Monitor client's comfort and ability to fully relax, and modulate pressure and pace accordingly. Movements • While maintaining SCM relaxation, have the client slowly look left and right with just their eyes. • Once the ability to move the eyes with relatively relaxed SCM is established, add slow, gentle neck rotation, looking for ways to move the head without overcontracting the SCM. • SCM relaxation while moving may seem difficult at first. Slow, focused, small, active movements will be more effective (and comfortable) than large, fast movements. • Possible cues: "Leave your head heavy, so this place [SMC attachments] stays relaxed. Slowly, begin to look right." "Go slow enough that you leave this place soft." "Let it go; start again; let this stay relaxed." "Let the back of your head turn as much as the front." "Use your eyes instead of your muscles to start the movement," etc. • Repeat with the client sitting or standing. Client Homework • While pressing into SCM attachments, practice head rotation with a relaxed SCM when lying, seated, and standing, with special attention to slow initiation of movement, without over-contraction of the SCM. For More Learning • "Neck, Jaw & Head" and "Whiplash" in the Advanced Myofascial Techniques series of workshops and video courses. • Advanced Myofascial Techniques, Volume 2, Chapters 8–10 (Handspring, 2016). The sternocleidomastoid (SCM) and its attachments (red). The superficial and deep cervical fasciae (transparent) and selected nerves (yellow) are also shown. Image courtesy Primal Pictures, used by permission. 3

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