Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2012

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INTRODUCTION TO THERAPEUTIC KINESIOLOGY Muscle Palpation: Lumbar Multifidus With your partner in a prone position, palpate the lumbar multifidus in the lamina groove lateral to the spinous processes. The lumbar multifidus is difficult to feel when it is relaxed, so add an active movement. Have your partner contract it by barely lifting his head to feel the fibers fill the lamina groove. Ask yourself, "Do I feel the lumbar multifidus contract and fill the lamina groove as my partner lifts his head, then relax and soften when my partner lets his head rest on the table?" the pelvis—the transversus abdominis, multifidus, diaphragm, and perineum—form a closed loop that provides a foundation for stability in the entire body. The transversospinalis lies medial and deep to the ES from the occiput to the sacrum. It consists of three muscles: the rotatores, multifidi, and semispinalis capitis. The diagonal fascicles of the multifidi run along the spine in a herringbone pattern. Each fascicle runs diagonally from the transverse process of one vertebra to the spinous process of a vertebra that is three or four segments higher. The multifidi fascicles originate on the posterior sacroiliac ligaments, the posterior superior iliac spine, and the transverse processes of L5 to C2, and insert on the spinous processes of L5 to C2. The lumbar multifidus is an important postural muscle. When contracted, its fibers fill the lamina groove and elongate the lumbar spine, stabilizing the curve in a maximally lengthened position. In an optimal firing sequence of spinal hyperextension, the multifidi contracts before the erector spinae. BENEFITS OF CORE TRAINING A person doesn't have to be injured to begin training the core muscles as postural stabilizers. Core exercise programs that focus on developing the core muscles to improve form have become popular. Many of these programs focus on teaching people to contract the postural muscles in order to maintain a neutral spine while strengthening the larger, more extrinsic muscle groups. Core training can also be integrated into bodywork with neuromuscular patterning, a method of practicing a specific movement pattern in order to reorganize and improve general muscle and joint function. To integrate neuromuscular patterning into hands-on sessions, a practitioner might ask a client to lengthen a shortened part of the spine while that practitioner applies myofascial stretching to the area. The client's active movement not only enhances the stretch, it develops the client's body-based skills and organizes more efficient neuromuscular pathways, which in turn improves the structural integrity of the entire body. Facilitating balanced movement in the body should be a primary goal of every massage session. Understanding how muscles function together and affect one another will allow you to work with clients to create the results they are looking for, and the best way to grasp this connection is to feel it under your hands, as well as in your own muscles. Notes 1. S. Mense, D. Simons, and J. Russell, Muscle Pain: Understanding Its Nature, Diagnosis, and Treatment (Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2001). 2. I. Rolf, Rolfing: The Structural Integration of Human Structures (New York: Harper & Row, 1977). 3. P. Page, C. Frank, and R. Lardner, Assessment and Treatment of Muscle Imbalance: The Janda Approach (Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics, 2010). Mary Ann Foster is the author of the newly released textbook Therapeutic Kinesiology: Musculoskeletal Systems, Palpation, and Body Mechanics (Pearson Publishing, 2013). She can be contacted at See what benefits await you. 77

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