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longer than the other? Nearly all of those with a depressed or
'burdened' body type will display a sternum-to-sacrum line
that is visibly shorter than the 7th cervical-to-pubis line (Fig.
5.24B). The 'military' type of posture usually throws the
sternum well up and forward, but often at the expense of
bringing the sacrum up and forward also, so that the line is
not lengthened, merely moved (Fig. 5.24C). Infrequently (at
least in Western cultures) the rib cage will be shifted down and
forward compared to the pelvis, and the sternum-sacrum line
will be the longer of the two.
Even though the more common pattern in regard to this 'X'
is that the leg from the sternal notch to the sacrum is too short,
it is difficult to reach the tissues responsible. The internal
oblique is one possible avenue, but often this pattern is buried
in the root of the diaphragm, quadratus lumborum, or medi-
astinal structures (see Ch. 9). An approach through breathing
awareness is often more effective and less invasive.
With your client standing sideways in front of you, place
your hands on the manubrium of the sternum and on the
low back at the sacrolumbar junction. Follow your client's
breathing for a few cycles, noticing whether and how your
hands are moved on the inhale. Then encourage your client
to move your two hands apart from each other on the inhale,
and allow them to fall back on the exhale. Some clients, by
increasing the inhale, will increase the excursion between
your hands, others will work hard but only succeed in bringing
the upper hand forward at the cost of bringing the lower
hand forward and up as well, resulting in no net gain in the
length of this line. By moving your hands a bit and by your
encouragement, you can help the client induce an actual
change in the length of the line, the sternum going up and
forward while the sacrum drops. Ask your client to repeat the
move a number of times between sessions to reinforce length
along this line.
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