Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2023

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26 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k m ay/ j u n e 2 0 2 3 About 4,900 years ago, the Egyptians invented chairs, and the human spine has never been the same. 1 Before humans had chairs, they squatted. Archaeologists know this from markings on the bones of Neanderthal, paleolithic, and neolithic remains. 2 For our ancestors, the deep squat was a comfortable position supported with minimal muscular activity and was used to complete tasks low to the ground or to relax. 3 People in Asian, African, Caribbean, and Latin American countries never abandoned the deep squat. If you've traveled to India or China, you've probably seen people tending their wares in the market in a relaxed squatting position. The cultural popularity of the deep resting squat may play a role in variations in the global pervasiveness of back pain. Estimates from the most recent Global Burden of Disease study found that Central Latin America, East Asia, the Caribbean, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa had the lowest prevalence of low-back pain. In contrast, Europe and North America had the highest prevalence of low-back pain. 4 All humans are born with the deep squat wired into their physiology. Watch any toddler, and you'll see them maintain a deep sustained squat as they play with a toy. Toddlers have almost double the dorsif lexion of adults, giving them the advantage of ankle mobility in a deep squat. However, most adults could comfortably squat if they practiced, and regular squatting could counter many of the muscle imbalances that come from our modern seated lifestyles. KEY POINTS • The modern habit of sitting for long periods of time has caused low-back pain to be a prevalent complaint among massage clients. • Using Myoskeletal Alignment Techniques and deep squatting homework can reduce muscle imbalances related to back pain. By Erik Dalton, PhD MYOSKELETAL ALIGNMENT TECHNIQUES 1 The rectus femoris originates at the anterior inferior iliac spine (AIIS) and inserts on the tibial tuberosity (via the patella and patellar ligament). When You Don't Know Squat! Massage May Help Relieve Effects of Lower Crossed Syndrome THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF LOWER CROSSED SYNDROME Imagine that you spend most days hunched in front of a computer. Soon your gluteal and abdominal muscles weaken. As a result, your body must recruit other muscles to facilitate normal activities of daily life. Recruitment causes overuse and hypertonicity, sometimes initiating a vicious cycle where the abdominal and gluteal muscles continue to deteriorate functionally. Czechoslovakian neurologist and professor of manual medicine Vladimir Janda introduced the theory of crossed syndromes in 1979. 5 While Janda's muscle imbalance patterns may vary from client to client, many manual therapists have found them useful as a general assessment guide. In most clients presenting with a lower crossed syndrome, the abdominal and gluteal muscles are long and weak, while the hip f lexors and low-back muscles are short and tight. TECHNIQUE

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