Posted by: Christie Tonks | December 9, 2014

Anatomy Trains – Fascial Release for Structural Balance, Neck, Shoulders & Arms

Every time I do one of the Anatomy Trains courses I come away with a revitalised zest for the work I do.  Looking at a persons body to see their unique pattern and then having to work out how I should ‘re-sculpt’ them in order to take them out of pain and discomfort, makes my job challenging but incredibly rewarding.  Massage is, like many an occupation, a job that can get mundane if you allow it to.  It’s easy for a therapist to do their standard treatment because most people are very happy to lie on a table and be rubbed, and the therapist is rewarded with much praise at the end – great for the ego, great job satisfaction!  Don’t get me wrong I still see a great benefit to a standard massage treatment for many of us, but sometimes during a treatment we may need to be involved a little more than we are for a ‘rub’.  Fascia release often ‘involves’ the person on the table – they are active in the treatment, they are required to perform slow movement in order to allow the therapist to engage with the tissue being worked on.
I had a few light bulb moments during this course, and our teacher, James Earls made the more mind boggling, brain spinning moments a little easier with his patience and tolerance at being asked the same question for the ‘enth time, re-wording his answer in the hope that a penny would drop.
Body reading; looking at a person’s unique pattern to see their tilts, rotations and bends – this is the key to being able to plan an effective treatment.  Once the body reading has been mastered it can be applied to any bodywork modality.  For example if the pattern shows the person has a more exaggerated outward rotation of the Glenohumeral joint, then working the external rotators of this joint will have some effect.  However the therapist should have a clear understanding of what the intention of their work is, by this I mean they should be asking the questions: why am I doing this stroke/manipulation/movement? what purpose is it serving? what will be the result?  In asking these questions it may be necessary to delve a little deeper in thought (excuse the pun – and actually sometimes it maybe necessary to, with a sensitive touch, delve a little deeper) and ask, is this move lengthening the connective tissue surrounding this structure?  Because ultimately that is the intention; to ease the compression patterns and give the body more room to move, glide and be free of restriction and pain.
So I am hooked and I am keen to continue with the other modules and go through a full series of structural integration work on my own body, to become a practitioner of structural integration.  Perhaps now is the right time to do it after many years of procrastination or should I say deepening my understanding of this work. Perhaps having had these more illuminating moments during this course I am ready…. watch this space.

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