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FIXING ACCUMULATED SHORTNESS -PART 4 - how to re-lengthen
Section 3. Overview. How to relengthen the accumulated shortness to make the pains go away and also make the body more flexible and deeply relaxed. We just use the right hands-on technique coupled with the knowledge of how to unravel a body's inter-connected shortness.
As Iíve been inferring, we can spread back out the systemic shortness that's been accumulating, actually since we were children. The right hands-on manipulations can relengthen and decompress it. As long as the metabolism and brain function are working normally so that the fascia will spread, the technique works.
The fascia is a " plastic" medium. Itís a fluid with gelatinous fibers and a bunch of other little things floating in it. So when we press on it the right way, these fibers and other little things can be moved through the fluid. Thatís a simplified way of understanding it. It can be spread back out just like it got bunched up. And the muscle fibers and blood vessels will go along for the ride.
The relengthening also takes a lot less time than it took to bunch up. As I said, years of accumulated shortness can be re-lengthened in a matter of hours. Let me explain how we do the two kinds of necessary things.
First, we learn a hands-on technique to grab and spread it. And there are a few of them. Some techniques can be pleasurable and deeply relaxing. Even if itís more intense, where thereís a lot of hardness, it can be made to feel like a relief instead of a pain. It also helps a lot to learn a stretching technique that can spread the fascia. But it can't be just a joint loosening or warming up kind of stretch, because it has to be able to pull the collagen fibers through the fluid so the muscles get into a longer shape. We should then feel like we're standing up straighter with less effort, and the arms, legs and even the neck are considerably looser and longer. We should also feel lighter. I teach this. It's fun, and it feels great! The method can be applied to both yoga and other kinds of stretching programs.
Second, and this is not taught in massage schools nor in physical
therapy classes, we have to do the manipulations in a particular muscle order.
The body is actually an interconnected system of muscles and bones that
unravels its tightnesses best when we do part a first, before part b, and
before parts c, d and e. This procedure, and how to tailor it to each person,
is an integral part of the training and experience of Structural Integration
If, however, we just try to loosen the neck, shoulders or lower back, without first lengthening the chest, abdomen, legs, pelvis, and head, we fight a battle against muscles that stay tight and don't let go, even with very hard massage strokes.
Massage therapists are trained to "massage" specific local tissues, and also to do an overall body massage. The purpose, as I said, is to try to heal tissue, and loosen things up, but not to make everything much, much longer by working the inter-connections. So massage therapists will naturally try to loosen local tight muscles by applying their massage strokes on those muscles. Sometimes, they will dig deep and hard in an attempt to force a muscle to let go.
In general, I love to get massages. But in my experience, this deep, localized forcing does not work for most difficult chronic pains and tightnesses, and it can cause the client unnecessary irritation. I have proven time and again that the muscle is holding tight because it is either being held tight by other musclesí short fascia, or it is holding tight to balance other shortnesses. It is a c or d in the order of unraveling. Once I've lengthened the a and b muscles, the c and d muscles spread much easier, and the person's form stays looser.
It initially requires specialized training to understand the concept and principles of interconnected structure. But when you actually do the loosening that way, it makes so much sense, even to people who donít know that much about anatomy. And the results are so much quicker and more effective. Some of my clients called it magic, and one world record holder athlete called me a miracle worker. But, itís just ďschool taught architecture.Ē
Yet I do have thousands of hours experience that have taught me a lot. So let me share some tips with, say, massage therapists, yoga teachers and anyone who likes to stretch.
I repeatedly find that bunched up arms, including the ones that don't hurt, always figure in shoulder and neck tightness. And if the shoulders are already loosened, arm loosening directly loosens the muscles between the shoulder blades. When I finish my procedure, my clients also feel these things in their own bodies. If Iíve also lengthened the back, they can even feel the effects of the arm loosening in their abdomens and lower backs.
Everybody gets bunched up in the muscles of the head and face. When I get to the cheeks and around the eyes, energy starts flowing again in more of the acupuncture meridian flows, and people feel energy going to their feet.
Chronic, very tight necks are caused by shortness in many areas of the body. Overall, a full and deep Structural Integration is really the most effective and long lasting thing to do. For most people, the legs are usually bunched up, as are the chest and abdomen. But the jaw and head muscles also figure in. Every muscle there eventually connects to the neck vertebrae.
Lower back problems always include shortness in the thigh, pelvis and abdominal muscles. I restored an athlete to practice with just one hour of intelligent re-lengthening in these areas. He'd been in pain and couldn't train for a week. Even pains halfway up the back always stem from shortness in the front of the torso and legs. The person has to pull the back tight to stand up against the pull of gravity. Make the front longer with proper inter-connected lengthening and the back does not have to tense to compensate.
If we know how the body is supposed to look, and know where the shortnesses are that are causing the pain elsewhere, we can simply spread the fascia to make all the parts longer and more aligned with each other. If we spread fascia systemically, and spread deeply enough through all parts of the body, we can correct many kinds of chronic pains that other methods cannot fix. And we can do it repeatedly because we know what needs to be done, and we can both feel, and see, how we're doing as we go along at each stage of the process.
If you'd like to know more about exactly what happens with interconnections, you can read parts of my book on fixing back pain and/or parts of the book on how to make your body work better and do more for you. As I mentioned much earlier, there is also an informative, shorter booklet, describing "The Physical Benefits of Structural Integration Bodywork."