Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2013

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technique @WORK | THE SCIENCE OF MOVEMENT | ENERGY WORK | MYOFASCIAL TECHNIQUES Working with Bone By Til Luchau When Michelangelo was a young man, he petitioned the senior sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni to accept him as his student. Legend says Bertoldo gave Michelangelo a prerequisite. "You want to carve marble?" the mentor said. "First, go work as a stonecutter in the marble quarry. Get to know marble." 1 2 Michelangelo worked as a stonecutter before becoming a sculptor. He began to sculpt David (Image 1) using marble from a quarry in Carrara, Tuscany (Image 2), in 1501, when he was 26 years old. "For how long?" asked Michelangelo, who, although just a teenager, was already an accomplished painter. "Two years in the quarry," said Giovanni. "Then, you can begin to sculpt." Whether fact or legend, this story tells us about the value of getting to know our media—the actual materials and substances we work with—before trying to become artists or masters. Those of us who do hands-on work with the body need facility in many media. Examples include fascia and other connective tissues, skin, or muscle when we do structural or tissue work; or blood flow and muscular tension when we're performing classical massage. Likewise, our clients' movement, coordination, and balance are our media when we're working functionally; energy and flow come into play in energetic modalities; and the client's autonomic state could be said to be our medium when our intent is to relax or calm. Each manual therapy modality is distinguished not only by what it aims to accomplish, but also by the media it works with to accomplish those ends. We begin with bone in our Advanced Myofascial Techniques trainings. Although we work with many other tissues and systems, we start with bone in the same spirit that Michelangelo was asked to start in the quarry (Image 2)—to get to know the nature of one of the body's fundamental tissues. In this edition of the Myofascial Techniques column, I'll focus on bone as one of the primary media of our art. THE NATURE OF BONE In the embryo, bone arises from the mesoderm, the same tissue layer from which muscle and connective tissues such as fascia, tendons, and ligaments form. Like these other tissues, bone is composed of cells, fibers, and other components embedded within a surrounding matrix. In bone, this matrix is largely composed of phosphate 114 massage & bodywork november/december 2013 3

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