Check here for the recent updates on movement, massage and reflexology. Browse down from the key Posts on menu bar.
Brushing Muscular Chains
This brushing technique means to enhance the cooperation between agonist and antagonist muscles.
The use of stiff bristles aim to comb the muscular fibres.
The strokes, following the orientation from the origin to the insertion of the muscle, will facilitate the passage of tension, leading to a more efficient movement pattern.
This is not a lymphatic drainage technique even though it will certainly aid the flow of extra cellular fluid.
Secondary benefits of the muscular brushing are:
– Drainage of toxins present in the tissues,
– Encourage renewal of cells removing dead cells and envigorating the skin;
– Increased proprioception;
– Decrease the deposit of fatty tissue in the inter-cellular space;
It is essential to follow the proposed direction of the strokes.
The brushing should be strong to imprint the correct memory of the movement pattern.
I was touched to see this intelligent interview with Ivado Bertazzo, whose view on Education is brilliant!
Congratulations, Ivaldo! I am a fan!
I have recently caught up with Clo Mudrik in Sydney.
Diagnosed with diabetes, Clo was driven to understand metabolism and nutrition. An artist and athlete herself, she puts the theories to test everyday.
During my short stay – under her mothering care making me lunch packs! – I can say I felt focus, heaps of energy, slept like an angel and worked like a clock. How interesting to put that down to diet!
I have already adopted a few tips in our household and my skin feels younger!
Here is Clo Mudrik’s homepage www.clomudrik.com if, like me, you feel inspired to get a consultation and nutritional advice.
I have been privileged to get to know Guy Ngan through my Reflexology practice.
He kindly opened the doors of his vast beautiful world to me and my family.
Sipping tea or sharing delicious home cooked meals, Guy was kind to tell us tales of his travels.
He is a cheeky and generous friend: He gave me permission to use a reproduction of his Budah em Kiwiana, from a poster he’d given us.
The original painting lives in the Budhist temple up in Stokes Valley, where Guy resides
Thank You Guy.
I aspire to be as inspiring as you are.
This is a short video exemplifying the brushing of the legs. Brushing of the lower limbs starts on the pelvis. Before you start check out your sensations and ranges of motion. Starting on base of the spine, do vertical strokes down the sacrum, encouraging the posterior muscular chain to “anchor” the body down the ground. Then brush from the border of the sacrum out to the sides of gluteus maximus. Position a foot up on a stool.Position the head of your metatarsal bones on the stool, leaving the calcaneus to hang down, as to stretch the calf muscle. Make sure the supporting limb is aligned and that the weight falls into the axis of the femur and tibia. Look out for hyper-extention of the knee and other deviations (ie: keep calcaneus and head of the femur on the same plane). On the leg that is up on the stool: brush from the border of the sacrum, brush down the gluteal muscle and the piriformis and pyramidal, to the trochanter. Repeat a few times. “Dig” in with the brush on the isquial tuberosity. Then brush down the back of your thigh all the way to the knee. Brush the popliteal area and follow down the calf muscle all the way to the foot. The stroke should go past the calcaneus and the intention should be of lengthening the Achilles tendon, as well as gastrocnemius and soleus. Keeping the toes on the stool, brush the front of the foot up. Brush up the front of the ankle. Follow tibial anterior with upward stroke. In the front of your knee brush a figure V from the tibia up. Follow the path of Sartorius muscle up to the ASIS. Brush the quadriceps muscle up with upward strokes To finish brush the I.T. Band up and down vigorously. Compare the sensations.
It pays dividends to organize the muscles on the face and the front of the neck. The cervical spine benefits immensely.
Valeria is a true picture of how the brushing technique on the head and face keep the face fresh and wrinkle-less.
Well done Valeria: Now have a look at this and keep at it!
Mass and Gravity
Planets orbit around the sun in response to gravity, their mass determining a trajectory in space, an elliptical spiralling action triggered around a central axis.
On Earth, the observation of a body organizing itself in response to gravity enables us to understand which chains of muscles it predominantly relies on.
Around its centre of gravity, a person will align the different segments of his/her body in a particularly unique manner.
The projection of the centre of gravity in space over a base of support is an important point from which this body can find the anti-gravity muscular response.
Walking with Gravity
It is primarily the strength and power originated in the anterior part of the feet that propels the foot to step forward. The intrinsic foot muscles propel mass forward and act like a suction cup.
That is followed by the flexion of the femur, which is activated by the action of psoas and rectus femoralis. Tibial Anterior and fibulars remain equally activated stabilizing the ankle joint.
The supporting limb enables the swing of the other leg at the same time that it remains flexible due to the rocking action of the calcaneus, talus and tibia. The phase of pelvic oscilation intiates, with great propulsion forward. That oscilation is supported by the extensors of the femur as well as the external rotators of the supporting limb. The projection of the centre of gravity is right on the centre of the support basis. In this case it is the leg that supports the body.
The centre of mass is propelled forward – not sideways or around!
Mechanisms of shock absorption and deceleration are triggered. Two feet touch the ground. The weight/ centre of gravity projection coincides exactly in the middle of the base of support.
This leads us to a range of interesting questions:
- What is the position of the tibia and how is the relationship with Talus and calcaneo?
- Does the weight of the femur drops on to the axis of the tibia?
- Are calcaneo and the head of the femur aligned?
- Are there other muscles recruited when walking ie.: quadrato lomborum?
- What trajectory does the centre of gravity draws in space?
- How do the girdles move around the axis of the spine?
- Is that spinal axis respected or is there hypermobility?
- Are the knees hyperextending?
- Where is the projection of the centre of gravity at each stage of the gait?
Walking is a full body integration in response to gravity. The appendix skeleton adapts and rotates around the axis of the spine.
In a deliberate act of controlled fall, we move our bodily drawing a trajectory forward in space.
Propulsion and shock absorption are intercalated in an instinctive or reflex manner.
Stretching your arm to reach for a cup of tea requires the engagement of a series of muscles. In physiological circumstances, muscles act in a cooperative manner.
The concept of Muscular Chains developed by Mme. Godelieve Denys-Struif (GDS) has revolutionized my practice as a movement therapist.
Each person presents a very unique manner of arranging the different parts of their body in response to gravity. Their bodies become a reflection of the prefered patterns of movement that shape the muscles. Those muscles in turn acquire a certain length and will determine the arrangement of the skeleton.
In a physiological context, the muscles are engaged in a chain of action determined by function/origin and insertion, agonism and antagonism.
In addition to that, the muscles do not work in one plane alone. Observe the bones, they have lines of traction imprinted in them. The osteophites arrange themselves as the bones grow reflecting the spiralling forces determined by muscular imprints through their origin/insertion.
The forces of gravity and the antigravity responses spiral up and down constantly organizing the bodily mass in space.
By observing the projection of the centre of gravity and how the different segments of the body are aligned we can determine which muscles in particular are being preferred to organize that body in space.
GDS Muscular chains encapsulate not only the solidarity between muscles, but also it’s associations with aponeuroses and osteo/articular structures.
G.D.S. method also take into account the psychological and neurological aspects that shape human expression. For this presentation I will focus solely on a brief introduction to the muscular aspect of the GDS Method.
It is very important to understand that there is not a “good” or a “bad” choice in terms of what muscular chain one predominantly relies on. It is essential for the body not to get “stuck” in one muscular chain alone otherwise pathologies may ensue.
Another relevant aspect is that a person may combine different muscular chains in the way she/he organizes themselves. It is very rare to notice a “pure PM” or “pure AL” for instance. The movement therapy must take those individual variations into account too.
In lateral observation, we can identify three main ways of organizing the body in space (one of them unfolds into a fourth muscular chain), hence describing four muscular chains.
On the anterior plan we additionally observe two further ways of organizing the body in space.
I will start by describing the Posterior/Medial Muscular Chain, abbreviated PM
In this case, the bodily mass is projected forward, being supported by the posterior muscles that act as cables, anchoring the body down.
PM traits are: reduced sub-occiptal space , horizontalization of the Sternum (or elevation of the lower ribs), loss of physiological kifosis, horizontalization of sacrum, extension on hip joint, hyperextention of the knees, high arches on the feet.
Some of the main muscles of PM: Latissimo Dorso, Ileo Costal and Epi espinoso. grande e pequeno complexo; through Gluteus maximus, Semitendinoso and Semimembranoso, soleus, flexors of the phalanxes, plantar fascia, Long portion of triceps and the aponeurose towards epitroclea, flexors of the phalanxes, pronators.
(Please note that some muscles belong to more than one muscular chain. That happens because of the direction of it’s fibres.)
In this case the body is presenting an imbalance tending to the back due to hyperactivity on the anterior /medial muscles.
Some traits that a person presents when relying mostly in the AM muscular chain are: loss of natural lordosis, pelvis in retroversion “sinking” of the sternum, increased kifosis, exhalation attitude on the rib cage, head projected forward and gaze looking down at the ground, knees are flexed, feet are wide and they present bunion.
The main muscles in AM chain are: Perineum, Rectus Abdominalis, Pectoralis major (lower and medial portion), Subclavicular and anterior escalenes, Medial intercostals, hyiodean muscles and the anterior muscles of the neck. Secondary muscles that belong to the AM chain are: pyramidal of the abdomen, aductors and internal rectus, medial gemeo and aductor of the first digit, anterior part of deltoid, (belongs to AM and AL), braquial anterior, the deep fibres of short supinator, abductors of the thumb.
It is represented by the relationship with gravity and the antigravitary forces that support a body in space. They are responsible for the maintenance of the spinal axis, as well as adjustments and positioning of the centre of gravity. They are transitional muscles that make possible for all the other chains to act harmoniously. They also regulate respiratory and abdominal function.
In a balanced ideal situation this duo complements each other, showing no particular marks, but a good alignment of the body segments in space. It is divided into two different corresponding muscular chains:
AP (Anterior/Posterior) is the muscular chain that grants adaptability and makes possible the change in bodily attitude in the diverse situations we come across in life. It is the gravitary pull to earth that enables the body to gather energy and momentum for PA to kick in.
PA (Posterior/Anterior) is the axis, the ascending antigravitary response. It rectifies the spine. It is composed by deep vertebral muscles as well as the inspiratory muscles.
ANTERO LATERAL AL
This muscular chain expresses an inward folding of the body onto itself. It demonstrate a caved in posture. The hips are flexed and in internal rotation. The knees “touch”, shoulders are rolled forward and neck is sunken into the shoulders. There is a tendency to introversion.
Some of the main muscles of the AL muscular chain are: Gluteus minimus, IT band, tibialis anterior and posterior. On the upper limb some of the main AL muscles are: clavicular portion of sternocleidomastoide, clavicular portion of the pectoralis major, anterior portion of deltoid, subscapular, long head of biceps brachii, short head of supinator.
POSTERO LATERAL PL
In this form of expression the body is “spread out” in the frontal and horizontal planes. The knees show varus alignment, the hips are abducted, extended and in lateral rotation. The shoulders are wide. There is a tendency to extroversion.
Some of the main muscles pertinent to PL are: Gluteus Medius, Biceps Femoris long and short head, lateral portion of quadriceps femoris, external part of triceps surae. Other muscles pertinent to the upper limb that belong to the PL chain are: Trapezius superior and medial fibers, supraspinatus, medium portion of deltoid,.
I have been immensely inspired by my experience with clients and the reflections brought up by watching Ivaldo Bertazzo’s videos.
His movement school in Brazil is a temple for me, and for years I have been studying his method.
My latest understanding is that of the sequence of events that result in good physiological movement.
The positioning of the head is essential since the eyes are the first structure of the human body responsible for judging the space, while the neural system plans a sequence of movements.
Movement itself occurs as a result of muscular action propelling the bodily mass.
The body then draws a trajectory in space, dislocating it’s volume, suffering the effects of gravity.
The last stages of this chain of events is the switching on of the muscular breaks, decelerating the movement, before the body comes to rest in a new position.
A fine gesture requires one to be capable of predicting distances, anticipating balance responses and adjusting muscular tonus. This fine tuning is comparable with that of an orchestra at it’s best.
This is a short video to exemplify the brushing.
This technique is fundamental in imprinting a good line of traction to the muscular fibers. It refines the agonist/antagonist relationship at the same time that it encourages metabolism and drainage. The bristles of the brush should be strong.
You can brush your shoulder girdle whilst seated or standing. However it is very important that the spine is aligned.
Before you start Brushing your arms take a few moments to observe how both arms feel. Note if there are areas of discomfort or tightness.
Start on the base of the skull, more precisely on the occipital bone. Hold the brush with the two hands, pressing it into the sub-occiptal space. You should feel the bristles firmly stimulating that area from side to side.
Brush down the path of the upper fibres of trapezius muscle, using the opposite hand. Follow the path down to the shoulder blade. Brush from the spine out to the shoulder, going over elevator scapula, romboids if you can reach.
Brush the muscles that connect the shoulder blade to the arm. The aim is to warrant length to the rotator cuff, and a better relationship between scapula and humerus.
Brush the triceps muscle down towards the elbow.
All the time observe that the shoulder joint is well placed.
Continue by brushing the hairless part of your forearm, all the way to the tip of the fingers.
Keep the hands close to the middle line of your body and make sure that the hand remains in a nicely domed shape.
Keep a slight radial deviation on the wrist – to the thumb. (This is a physiological characteristic of human motor development that should be encouraged in order to avoid pathologies such as carpal tunnel syndrome)
To refine the relationship with the antagonists muscles of the muscles you just brushed, follow the “return path” and brush up the back of your hand. Brush the hairy part of the forearm up to the elbow. Brush the biceps muscle up.
Brush a figure 8 horizontally on the front of pectoralis muscles.
Brush up the ECM to the mastoid process.
Repeat this whole process a few times.
Put the brush down and take a few moments to compare both sides.
Move one arm, move the other.
Compare the range of motion and agility of the side that has been brushed and the one that hasn’t.