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Structural analysis
Can we usefully compare postural and structural rela-
tionships in terms of these myofascial meridians? Can
this information be developed into unambiguous treat-
ment strategies for unwinding and resolving body-wide
patterns of compensation? Attempts at objective and
inter-operator reliable visual analysis of overall postural
patterns are fraught with difficulty, with few norms
having been established scientifically. Yet, useful clinical
information can be gleaned from an analysis of the
standing client. This chapter puts forward one method
for obtaining such information and putting it to use. In
this chapter, we refer only to still photos of standing
posture; in practice, such information would and should
be corroborated with a carefully taken history, palpa-
tion, and gait or other movement assessment.
The Anatomy Trains map was first developed as a
visual assessment tool for Structural Integration clients
(see Appendix 2 on our Structural Integration method).
This chapter describes the language and method of
'bodyreading' that we employ in our training seminars,
where we systematically expand this introductory over-
view to standing assessment. Although this process is
most easily assimilated when taught in person, attentive
readers will be able to utilize this tool with their
own clients, patients, or students, to apply various ther-
apeutic protocols in a global and progressive manner.
A 'Visual Assessment' DVD course based on these
same principles is also available (DVD ref: BodyReading
This assessment tool rests on the concept of 'tenseg-
rity' put forth in Chapter 1. Practitioners seeking bio-
mechanical alignment and other forms of movement
efficiency, as well as kinesthetic literacy (an accurate
sensing of where our body is in space and how it moves),
or even psychosomatic ease, will do well to consider the
unique properties tensegrity geometry shares with the
human body. These include tensegrity's unique ability
to 'relax into length' as well as its distributive proper-
ties, accommodating local strain or trauma by dispers-
ing it via small adjustments over the entire system (see
Fig. 1.51, p. 47).
As clients resolve dysfunctional patterns, they more
closely approach a 'coordinated fascial tensegrity'
balance among the lines, creating a resilient and stable
'neutral' around which movement occurs. When accu-
mulated strain is unwound into the desired efficiency
and ease, the struts of the bones seem literally to float
within a balanced array of tensile collagenous tissues,
including the more closely adherent ligamentous bed, as
well as the parietal myofascial system arranged in the
longitudinal meridians that are the subject of this topic.
The process of modeling the human frame in this way
is just getting underway, but already a certain sophisti-
cation is available in the tensegrity models of Tom
Flemons ( - Fig. 11.1). The rela-
tionship between the bones, myofasciae, and ligaments
is more closely approximated when the example in
Figure 1.51A (p. 47) is modified to approach that of Figure
11.2, which is the same set of relationships, just shifted
in their attachments, a process we can see happening to
the connective tissue network in vivo in the films of Dr
J-C. Guimberteau (Figs 1.71-1.75, pp. 59-61) (DVD ref:
Fascial tensegrity implies evenness of tone - with
allowances for differences of muscle fiber type and
density variations from superficial to deep - along each
line and among the lines. Anecdote and informal clinical
observation suggest that inducing this even tone pro-
duces increased length, ease, generosity of movement,
and adaptability for the client in both somatic and psy-
chosomatic terms. To gain these heights for ourselves
and our subjects, we must first have an accurate reading
of where the skeleton literally stands in terms of its
sometimes very small but telling aberrations from verti-
cal symmetrical balance. This will allow us to accurately
map the meridians and soft-tissue components neces-
sary to improve the state of balance and support.
The first section of this chapter sets out the procedure
to assess any given posture using the myofascial merid-
ians, with emphasis on the accurate description of skel-
etal position. The main body of the chapter analyzes the
standing posture of several 'clients' using this proce-
dure to generate a single- or multi-session strategy. The
final part of this chapter sketches in some of the
more subjective elements of the 'bodyreading' or body
mapping process.
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