Catching the MyoFascial Train....
Slings, Trains and Body Connection…
The human body is a marvel to me and how we move can be like figuring out the world’s hardest jigsaw puzzle. This pulls that, but if that is in the wrong place then that moves instead and then that leads to misalignment and dysfunction and possible injury.. huh?...
When I first started teaching movement, I read so many books, studied anatomy and came across Anatomy Trains and Vleeming's slings. It made a lot of sense to see the body with these connections and after doing a dissection course more pennies dropped into place. The biggest penny was that in reality I had very little idea what was going on in the body I was moving, including my own!.
How did that help me?! Well it took away the pressure of trying to figure out what was going ‘wrong’, what muscle was doing what. It gave me the insight to step back and view this miracle of our body from afar and from head to toe as opposed to narrowing my eyes and only seeing a small part of the whole.
Changing the way I viewed and then trained people made it much more fun! They moved more too, less restrictions, less over the top corrections and more freedom to move. Way better! There is a time and a place to isolate and then go global then go deep again and so on. Seeing the big picture of movement and adjusting where need be, check it worked by zooming out again then repeat as needed.
The slings and trains are ways that link the body through the tissues, not just through the fascia but through the muscles, ligaments and tendons : “myo" means “muscles"; “fascia" means “connective tissue”
What are these slings and who came up with them?
I’m not going into the ins and outs of each sling or train here, there are my stick men within this blog to gain an overview of where they are. What I will do is advise you to google Vleeming or read Thomas Myer’s book for more in depth knowledge.
First we look at Andry Vleeming who is currently still working and researching from the best I can find!.. With his work into lower back and pelvic pain he questioned what happened to the reactive force after motion – e.g. kicking a ball – how did this force get spread through the tissues in the body so we didn’t get injured by the force? If the force is spread over a larger area the theory goes that the body is not harmed – aha!! So where are the spread lines for many of the movements we do on a regular basis?
That is what Prof. Vleeming and his colleagues studied (1990s) and from this they identified the major groups of muscles, joints, connective tissue and bones that work together to keep us safe! to create chains of action and reaction. They named four slings that dissipate the forces between the lower and upper parts of the body. Some of them act ipsilaterally, on the same side of the body, and some contralaterally, on the opposite side from the area generating the force.
This work has changed the way to both rehabilitation and the science of strength and conditioning, at the entire sling involved in the functional movement..
See the whole body…
Thomas Myers is a fascinating man and continues his work from his ‘trains’ into movement.
In his words : “Just as an exercise to cement the students’ knowledge, I began stringing the muscles together through the fascia. This idea was initiated when Dr Jim Oschman gave me an article by Raymond Dart (the anthropologist and Alexander Technique student) linking the muscle in the trunk in a double-spiral arrangement (which shows up as part of the Spiral Line). “My reaction was, “Why stop there?” From this base, I expanded Dart’s idea to the whole body, to help students see connections by stringing muscles together. 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. After a few teaching iterations, the whole project became so interesting that I started to systematize these connections. With the encouragement of my friend Annie Wyman, the full picture and implications of the lines started to become clear. I started to see the lines in assessing my clients, and then started building my structural bodywork sessions around these lines.
Excerpt from https://www.anatomytrains.com/about-us/history/
There is so much to read about him https://www.anatomytrains.com/about-us/about-tom-myers/ and watch too that is enlightening and the best part is he continues to expand his thoughts and not just focus on ‘fascia’ – it is one part of the puzzle…
My reason for writing this is really say, step back, squint at the body, look from head to toe, work from the pelvis out and if the body in front of you is not injured, use these lines to connect. Connect the movement, connect the mind to the movement – they provide us with some awesome cues!!
Play with the body in all its glory and in 3D – and have fun!!