Tag Archives: anatomy

Benefits of Myofascial Manipulation

Fascia is still a medical mystery. In October, 2007, more than 100 scientists from around the world convened in Boston, Massachusetts to discuss the latest research on fascia: an enigmatic, gauze-like matrix of connective tissue that envelopes the muscles, surrounds the nerves and swathes the organs in a body-wide-web of fibrous collagen. But the researchers had some unlikely company. Also in attendance, and outnumbering researchers 5:1, was a group of alternative-medicine practitioners with a mutual interest in fascia. United by their fascination with this medically neglected tissue, the two camps comprised the attendees of the first-ever International Fascia Research Congress.

Ida Rolf , the founder of the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration, described her work on organizing the body as this:  Rolfing works on the web-like network of connective tissues, called fascia, to release, realign, and balance the whole body, potentially resolving discomfort, reducing compensations and alleviating pain.”

For decades, anatomical dissections and representations have presented the body as stripped of its fascial tissues, and the majority of physiology textbooks make little mention of it. “Most scientists,” says Wallace Sampson, alternative medicine skeptic and professor emeritus at Stanford University, “even those wary of alternative therapies, admit that the field of fascia research is a field of neglect, and remains sorely under-investigated.”

The basic concepts of myofascial release are these:

1. The body functions as a total biologic unit

2. The body possesses self-healing and self-regulatory mechanisms

3. Structure and function are interrelated, and

4. Abnormal pressure in one part of the body produces abnormal pressures and strains upon other parts of the body.

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Horse and Human Comparisons

There are many similarities between the anatomy of horses and people, but there are also some startling differences. At birth the new born foal has a fully developed nervous system that lets it get up and run within less than an hour. In contrast, the newborn human is completely helpless for many months.

Both horses and humans have 7 vertebrae in the neck, though the size is considerably different!

Horses do not have collar bones. Collar bones in people make them less prone to shoulder injury than horses.

Humans have 12 pairs of ribs. Horses have 18.

Humans have 5 lumbar (lower back) vertebrae, while horses have 6 or 7. Most Arabian horses, however, have 5.

The tail bone is longer in the horse than the coccyx of humans.

Surprisingly, the human skeleton is much greater in mass than the horse. The skeleton of the horse must carry more muscle mass, which is important to remember when evaluating massage needs of  a horse. While a rider might feel just fine after a vigorous run across country side, in a dressage test, or over jumps, the muscles of the horse may have experienced much more stress.

 

 

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