Healthcare and Medicine Reference
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to where we began many pages and several meters of
fascia ago.
This line - which is of course expressed on both sides
- joins each side of the skull across the back of the neck
to its opposite shoulder, continuing around the belly in
front to the hip on the same side as it started. From
here the line drops down the outside of the thigh and
knee, but crosses over the front of the shin to form a
sling under the inner arch, which rises up the back of
the body to rejoin the skull just medial to where it
The helical routes around the body are not by any
means limited to the Spiral Line described here. See the
discussion at the end of Chapter 8 (Functional Lines)
and in Chapter 10 for a more expanded view.
The posterior Spiral Line
From the lateral hamstring, we can follow the trail
already blazed by the Superficial Back Line (Ch. 3, pp
85 and 86) onto the sacrotuberous ligament, the sacral
fascia, and on up the erector spinae (DVD ref: Superficial
Back Line, 36:44-57:04 and 1:04:24-1:06:52). Depending
on the pattern, however, the SPL (as opposed to the SBL)
is capable of transferring tension across the sacral fascia
to the contralateral spinal muscles (Fig. 6.2A). These pat-
terns have to do with differential leg length, lateral
pelvic tilt, and which leg is more heavily weighted.
This final track of the erectors thus passes beneath the
very beginning of this Spiral Line, the splenius capitis
and cervicis, to attach to the occiput (Fig. 6.21). Thus the
SPL comes to rest on the back of the occiput, quite close
General movement considerations:
Obviously, the SPL will be both stretched and engaged
by rotational and twisting movements. The currently
popular 'crunch' (upper body sit-up) with a twist, where
one elbow heads for the opposite knee, engages
the upper part of the SPL. Yoga 'twists' will stretch
the upper SPL, and the Triangle pose in particular is
designed to engage the entire line (Fig. 6.22). There is a
clear reciprocal relationship between the two sides of
the line; sitting (to fix the pelvis) and twisting the entire
upper body to look over the right shoulder will stretch
the upper left SPL while it employs the upper right SPL
in concentric contraction.
Palpating the Spiral Line
Though the SPL begins with the fascia on the postero-
lateral aspect of the skull, its first real station is at the
occipital ridge extending onto the mastoid process, and
the first track is the splenius capitis and cervicis, which
we first encountered as part of the Lateral Line (Fig.
6.3A). It can be clearly felt below the occipital ridge,
slanting in from the side toward the cervical spinous
processes below the superficial trapezius. It will pop
into your fingers when the head is turned to the same
side against resistance. To feel the splenii, have your
client lie supine, with the head resting in your hands.
Sink your fingers gently into the soft tissue below the
occiput, a bit away from the midline. Have your thumbs
alongside the client's head. As the client turns into the
resistance of your thumbs, the splenii, with their fibers
slanting down and in toward the upper thoracic spine,
will be clearly felt on the same side just deep to the thin
The rhomboids, the next track on this line, can be
more easily seen and felt on someone else, since they
occupy that space on your back that is so difficult to
scratch when it itches. Have your model bring the shoul-
der blades up and together, and on most people you will
see the shape of the rhomboids pushing out against the
overlying trapezius.
If you can insinuate your fingers under the vertebral
border of your model's scapula, you can feel where the
Fig. 6.21 From the lateral hamstring, the Spiral Line connections
parallel the Superficial Back Line connections onto the
sacrotuberous ligament, and on up the erector spinae to the back
of the skull, just next to where it began.
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