resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Lime Jello on Morphine
Taste is in the eyes... actually the mouth... of the beholder. My food preferences have changed, lightening from the food of my youth. My parents loved heavy eastern European cuisine and I loved it as a child. Now I enjoy leaner, healthier whole foods.
Transparency and Accountability: Q&A With the CCE
Every profession needs an organization dedicated to upholding the quality and integrity of its degree programs and educational institutions.
Talking to Patients About Healthy Aging
I've noticed that a particular category of patients seems to make up more and more of my practice – they work out, but still experience lots of degenerative joint disease (DJD) issues.
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
Blaming the Gluteus Medius, Overlooking the Deltoid
The gluteus medius (Gmed) is commonly written about, strengthened and blamed for many conditions, and rightfully so. After all, the Gmed plays a role in pelvic stability, hip motor control and lower-quarter dynamic movements.
Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
The Wonders of Light Therapy: An Interview with Wes Burwell
I first met Wes Burwell in 2011 when he was teaching a class on light. Since then, every time I hear him speak, his understanding of the benefits, function and capacity of light has evolved.
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
Web Marketing: Content Is King
Google's sweeping updates to its search algorithms over the past few years have brought a paradigm shift in how you can optimize your chiropractic website to gain maximum marketing leverage.
To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
Managing Today's Fertility Patient
I recently received an email from one of my fertility patients: "Got my lab results back. FSH is 11, AMH is 0.7. My doctor said these numbers aren't good. I guess I'm infertile. Just as a thought. Just set up an appointment to speak with an adoption agency."
Help Patients Achieve Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Much research has been done on vitamin D levels and their impact on health; optimal levels have been correlated with a reduced risk of developing numerous conditions.
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
April, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 04
A Reflexogenic Relationship: The Muscle/Joint Battle, Part 1
By Erik Dalton, PhD
Reflexogenic - Producing or increasing reflex actions between muscles and joints.
Myoskeletal - All soft tissues forming from the mesoderm including muscles, ligaments, joint capsules, discs, fascia and bones.
Surprisingly, the "key" that unlocked the door to this muscle/joint mystery initially was revealed in a presentation to the American Back Association by the legendary osteopath Dr. Philip Greenman when he stated, "In the presence of vertebral dysfunction, palpable fourth-layer muscle hypertonicity will always be found." The fourth-layer transversospinalis muscles include the rotatores, multifidus, levator costalis and intertransversarii (Fig. 1). These phylogenetically old laminar-groove muscles are the first structures neurologically stressed by joint blockage, and often are the very same tissues that prolong the dysfunction.
Working with the understanding contained in Greenman's statement, the massage therapist can maximize therapeutic outcomes by:
Under normal conditions, the superior vertebra of each joint smoothly flexes, extends, sidebends and rotates on its inferior neighbor. Too often, however, hypertonically short spinal muscles bind one side of a joint altering its axis of rotation and center of gravity (Fig. 2). When therapists continually palpate lumpy, stringy or wiry fourth-layer intrinsic muscles session after session, underlying joint dysfunction is present and must be addressed.
According to John Mennell, MD, all of the body's synovial joints must have at least 1/8 inch of movement not controlled by voluntary muscle contraction. The term "joint play" was coined to describe this essential principle of normal, pain-free, non-restricted vertebral movement. Deep-tissue myoskeletal techniques focus on restoring joint play and stopping the reflexogenic battle between muscles and joints.
This article offers an overview of current theories and myoskeletal strategies for preventing and correcting "catch 22" pain/spasm/pain cycles perpetuated by abnormal muscle/joint reflex actions.
Fourth-Layer Spinal Muscles
Working through the bulky paravertebral muscles and fascia, bodyworkers' sensitive fingers frequently encounter small, hard and sometimes tender knots in the deep transversospinalis muscles of the erector spinae group. These highly innervated tissues located in the medial groove adjacent to the spinous processes contribute to rotation, sidebending and extension in each spinal segment. According to Greenman, "Fourth-layer muscles are dense in spindles and function more as proprioceptors than prime movers. When dysfunctional, they alter joint mechanics locally and alter the behavior of the larger muscles of the erector spinae group." Therefore, muscles such as the multifidus and rotatores (and suboccipitals) are perceived as dynamic ligaments designed to stabilize the spine. Acting as supporting, information-gathering ligaments, they allow the brain to coordinate more gross movements of the vertebral column via longer-lever muscles that have greater leverage and mechanical advantage.
The power generated by short fourth-layer spinal muscles is easily underestimated. These highly innervated little critters readily pack enough punch to lock spinal joints open or closed with their strong torsional forces (Fig. 3). Holding a telephone with the shoulder to one ear is a perfect example in which prolonged cervicothoracic sidebending unilaterally compresses joint surfaces, creating reflex transversospinalis and erector spinae spasm. This predictable neurological firing pattern represents the beginning of many functional scoliotic cases seen in the clinic. However, specially designed deep-tissue massage techniques can be very effective in releasing hypertonic myofascia and recovering joint play to fixated facets. Regrettably, some of the tightest transversospinalis muscles are buried deep to more superficial groove muscles such as the multifidus and spinalis, making it difficult and sometimes impossible to mobilize them with fingers and thumbs (Fig. 4). So, how can massage therapists access and release short, concealed spinal muscles that bind joints and perpetuate aberrant pain and posture problems? In part two of the "Reflexogenic Relationship" series, I will demonstrate innovative soft tissue techniques for creating joint-play in fixated facets.
Editor's Note: Part two of Erik Dalton's article, along with a complete list of references, will appear in the May 2006 issue of Massage Today.
Click here for more information about Erik Dalton, PhD.
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