Healthcare and Medicine Reference
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various grids, plumb lines, and charts to help assess
the symmetry and alignment of the client.Our own
approach and vocabulary emphasize the interrelation-
ships within the person's body, rather than their relation
to anyone else or to a Platonic ideal. For this reason, the
photographs herein are devoid of such outside reference
- except of course the line of gravity as represented in
the orientation of the picture.
That there are benefits to an easy, upright alignment
within the strong and shadowless gravitational field of
the earth is a generally inescapable idea. The advisabil-
ity, however, of in any way compelling left/right sym-
metry or even a 'straight' posture on a client is far more
dubious. Alignment and balance are dynamic and neu-
rologically adaptive, not static and biomechanically
fixed. Postural reflexes, and the emotional connection to
deeply held tension, lie fairly deep in the brain's move-
ment structure. Efficient structural relationships must
thus be exposed within the clients, not imposed upon
them. The idea is to assist the client in the process of
'growing out of the pattern', not to box someone into a
particular postural ideal. The former eases tension and
leads to new discoveries; the latter piles more tension
onto what is already there.
The goal of making such an analysis is to understand
the pattern - the 'story', if you will - inherent in each
person's musculoskeletal arrangement, insofar as such
a task is possible using any analytical method. The use
of such an analysis merely to identify postural 'faults'
for correction will severely limit the practitioner's think-
ing and the client's empowerment.
Once the underlying pattern of relationships is
grasped, any (or several) treatment methods may be
employed to resolve the pattern. Applying the Anatomy
Trains myofascial meridians to standing posture is obvi-
ously a vital step in this process of understanding struc-
tural patterns of collapse and shortness, but not the first
step. The next section outlines a five-step method of
structural analysis.
The steps are as follows:
1. Describe the skeletal geometry (where is the
skeleton in space, and what are the intra-skeletal
2. Assess the soft-tissue pattern creating or
maintaining that position (individual muscles or
myofascial meridians);
3. Synthesize an integrating story that accounts for
as much of the overall pattern as possible;
4. Strategize a short- or long-term strategy to resolve
the undesirable elements of the pattern;
Fig. 11.1 The wonderful and varying models of Tom Flemons
( demonstrate clear similarities to
human postural response and compensation patterns. With each
iteration, these models get more sophisticated; more complex
models appear on the website as they are developed.
Fig. 11.2 The tensegrity icosahedron shown in Figure 1.51 A
(p. 47) is commonly used by advocates of tensegrity as a simple
demonstration model. Especially in the limbs, our body works
more like this still very simplified model. In fact, this model is the
same as the one shown in Figure 1.51 A, with the end points of
the dowels slid closer to each other so that the same construction
shifts into a more tetrahedronal shape. This results in (1) a more
stable, less deformable structure, (2) the long part of the elastics
parallel the dowels, just as most of our myofasciae parallel the
bones, and (3) the short elastics that are tying the end of the
bones together resemble the joint ligaments. Jolt one of the
bones, as in an accident, and the strain is transferred strongly to
these ligaments.
Evaluate and revise the strategy in the light of
observed results and palpatory findings.
Step 1: a positional vocabulary
To describe the geometry of the skeleton - the position
of the skeleton in space - we have developed a simple,
intuitive but unambiguous language that can be used to
describe any position in space, but which we use here
Global postural assessment method
Many forms of structurally oriented manipulation use
an analysis of standing posture as a guide in forming a
treatment strategy. Osteopaths, chiropractors, physio-
therapists, soft-tissue practitioners, and movement edu-
cators such as Alexander and yoga teachers have used
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