In last month’s blog here we looked at fascia, its role, and introduced myofascial release as a technique used by manual therapists to alleviate dysfunctional and/or disorganised pockets of fascia in the body.
This month we look at how fascia can be organised in the body according to the Myofascial meridians; tracks of myofascial tissue that distribute strain, facilitate movement, and provide stability throughout the structures of the body.
The ‘meridians’ are a map of the fascial system, developed and dissected by prominent anatomist and body worker Tom Myers. Myers developed the myofascial meridians as a way of explaining the role of the fascial system in relation to human structure and function. Myers book Anatomy Trains (2008) has become a leading resource in the study of the fascial network but should be considered in context as only ‘one’ way of considering the way the fascial network can work. Tom Myers say as a preface to his book, “I developed the Anatomy Trains during the 1990’s, as a game for students to play when I was teaching Fascial Anatomy at the Rolf Institute. “But when I came to try to teach, all the books you can find put forward the ‘single-muscle’ theory. I began stringing the muscles together through the fascia. The ‘rules’ are that the connections have to follow the grain in the fascial fabric in more or less a straight line, without breaks or changing levels’’.
How many myofascial meridians exist?
According to the Anatomy Trains concept there are 12 specific fascial lines throughout the body.
- SBL -Superficial Back Line
- SFL – Superficial Front Line
- LL – Lateral Line
- SL – Spiral Line
- SFAL – Superficial Front Arm Line
- DBAL – Deep Back Arm Line
- DFAL – Deep Front Arm Line
- SBAL – Superficial Back Arm Line
- BFL – Back Functional Line
- FFL – Front Functional Line
- IFL – Ipsilateral Functional Line
- DFL – Deep Front Line
The myofascial meridians work together as one system to bring balance and integrity to the structure and function of the body. When fascia, superficial or deep, becomes restricted along any of the lines, compensation patterns can create pain and dysfunction elsewhere in the body. For example, when the plantar fascia of the foot becomes ‘stuck’ or restricted it can potentially cause the hip to have to work harder to compensate. In turn, this can potentially cause pain in the lower back.
Other benefits of addressing postural compensations (postural deviations that cause pain – local or widespread) throughout the myofascial meridians:
- Skeletal alignment and support
- Resilience throughout the body
- Improved movement patterns
- Increased Range of movement
- Reduced Pain
- Length throughout the body leading to reduced effort and stress while standing or moving
Absolute soft tissue therapists use body postural analysis, gait, and functional movement screening, to create a treatment protocol that addresses fascial restrictions along the myofascial meridians. Come on in and see our specialist for all your soft tissue and injury concerns.
Written By Soft Tissue Therapist James Meredith