Massage & Bodywork

May/June 2012

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2 If the weight is not balanced in the arches— too much medially or too much laterally— we can see a compensatory relationship between the DFL and the Lateral Line. abdominal muscles can mimic the squeezing support of the transversus abdominis. Only the DFL can work the jaw, but superficial muscles can imitate the DFL's actions in the neck. This redundancy of function makes it difficult to see the DFL in action and further creates a problem in conveying core function successfully to our clients. Cues we give that are designed to evoke core support often result in the client simply substituting or rigidifying outer muscles, a frustrating experience for many therapists. Practitioner: "Breathe from your pelvic floor." Client (tightening gluteal muscles): "I am breathing from my pelvic floor." Practitioner: "Bring some tone and awareness to your inner belly." Client (slamming the brakes on breathing by tightening every known abdominal muscle): "Like this?" The sad, but true, fact is that we are not a core culture. There is certainly more awareness of core due to the work of Joseph Pilates and physiotherapists such as Paul Hodges and Diane Lee, and the call has been taken up by various and sundry modalities. But truly occupying our core is an uphill battle in a culture where perfect breasts, perfect teeth, a pleasing shape to the pecs or glutes, and imitating the cover of Allure magazine win out over core values such as authenticity, calm, compassion, and moral strength. (If this seems to be ascribing too much virtue to being core-aware, I have to say, on the basis of 30-plus years in this business: no, it isn't. To live in the core—to truly inhabit it, not just talk about it—is to experience core convictions and core strength. Based on examination of their art, ancient Egypt, Sumeria, and early Greece were core-aware cultures, but from Classical times to the present we have been going downhill in this regard, becoming more and more reliant on outer sleeve muscles and values (with notable exceptions like Albert Einstein and Mohandas Gandhi), recently becoming very weak and superficial indeed. Some in the younger generation, I am happy to say, are beginning to reverse this trend— doing amazing feats with skateboards, snowboards, and kiteboards, et al.—and more power to them.) So there are both technical and social difficulties to evoking the core in our clients, and even to seeing and identifying core problems. The difference is there and it is important, but it is subtle. All that said, let us identify some of the more obvious visually assessable problems and opportunities associated with imbalance in the DFL. The A B line is so complex that whole books have been written about it; this article hits a few of the highlights.1 THE MEDIAL AND LATERAL ARCH In the leg, the DFL forms the inseam while the Lateral Line forms the outer surface, so they oppose each other. Excessive tension or a drawing up of the DFL can result in foot supination/ inversion, which can lift the inner arch and shift the weight onto the outer arch, causing compensations all up the body (Image 2A). Conversely, excess shortness or drawing up of the Lateral Line can overcome these core muscles of the DFL, causing pronation or eversion, and shifting the weight to the inner arch, in turn leading to a drop in other parts of the core (Image 2B). Celebrate ABMP's 25th anniversary and you may win a refund on your membership. 99

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