Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2019

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philosophy. There might be particular paths to follow, or physical/emotional states to pay attention to. The defi nition of "release" in myofascial release varies from practitioner to practitioner (but it's not something I focus on too much). To me, the reason to give this approach a try is because it's profound. By angling your pressure and working broadly, your massage can have far-reaching effects that you might not expect from something that's so easy to do. AN EXAMPLE: UNSPOOLING THE SPINE This is an experiment you can try at the end of any back massage using any modality. Start at the side of the table with a prone client. 1. Using fi ngertips, cradle your client's occipital ridge with one hand. Provide a small amount of traction to the neck by applying gentle pressure in a superior direction. 2. While maintaining the above contact, place the fl at palm of your other hand across their upper thoracic spine. 3. Angle your palmar pressure down toward their feet, allowing the contact to drift inferiorly down the entire length of their spine. Slower is better! 4. Once your palm reaches the area just superior to the sacrum, allow your hand to come to a stop. 96 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k m a y / j u n e 2 0 1 9 technique THE MASSAGE SLOTH The Myofascial Stretch Giving Your Clients Fascial Freedom By Ian Harvey There's a unique feel to myofascial release that doesn't necessarily show up in other styles of massage. It's a sensation that doesn't directly map to being rubbed or compressed or pulled, and that's because it's too deep and wide to describe in those terms. It's like the practitioner is working with your entire body while only making one or two contacts. I usually just call this feeling "myofascial stretch." WHAT IS MYOFASCIAL RELEASE, ANYWAY? If you're not familiar with myofascial release, there's nothing too mystical about it, and it's easy to incorporate bits and pieces of it into your existing style. The gist is to slow down and angle your pressure toward an edge of the table rather than directly down toward bone. As you do that, forget about working with individual muscles and just take the superfi cial tissue for a long, slow trip. Does that sound too easy? Well, there are plenty of other ideas and techniques that can be layered on top of that foundation, depending on the teacher and their Contact the occiput. Apply opposing pressure. Let your lower hand drift.

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