Massage & Bodywork

March/April 2013

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best practices Business side | Q & art | table lessons | savvy self-care "It Hurts When I Do This" Working at the End Range of Motion Q A By Art Riggs Dear Art, You sometimes mention "working at the end range of motion." Why do you suggest that, and how do I work this way? —Expanding My Horizons Dear Expanding, In a nutshell, short and tight fascia, ligaments, and muscles can prevent full range of motion of the bones. If we work on these tissues in a shortened or even neutral length, we can soften them, but we lose the chance to educate them to release and lengthen, thereby reestablishing movement and protective neural patterns that allow more mobility. I rarely see someone complaining of a problem in the neutral range of motion; instead I hear, "It hurts [or is limited] when I do this"—with "this" being some limitation near the end range of motion where soft-tissue restriction prevents more movement. For this reason, I frequently work with joints extended comfortably very near the end range to challenge the restriction by asking for active movement as I work. Most of us work this way in varying degrees when we rotate or side-bend the neck. Working this way is particularly helpful (and popular) with athletes, yoga practitioners, or anyone with an active lifestyle who wants more mobility. There really isn't anything fancy or difficult about it; I just ask people to get into positions where they complain of limitations and work in these positions at the precise area where they feel the "rubber band" tightening. Rather than demonstrating many different postures, let's examine a couple of yoga postures to illustrate the versatility of these techniques; you can then generalize from these to suit your needs. Once you begin working in this way, the positions are limitless. My students often mention how it transforms their practices, making their work more interesting and fun, and gets them rave reviews from clients. See what benefits await you. 31

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