Structural Body Work in Newquay – The Superficial Front Line
Structural Bodywork is a form of manual therapy that targets the myofascial system of the body. This is a system of integration within the structure of the body, it is a web of connective tissue that works like a complex of levers creating lines of pull throughout the skeletal structure. The lines of pull are described as myofascial meridians. Working within the frame of these meridians can help to create lasting change to the entire structure and function of the postural body.
In the ﬁrst blog in this series dedicated to the mysofascial meridians I’m going to discuss the Superﬁcial Front Line (SFL) of the body. Basic anatomy and function as well as yoga poses that can help to create balance within the SFL are discussed.
The SFL connects the anterior or front of the body in its entirety, from toes to skull. It runs on both the right and left sides of the body and muscularly is compromised of two pieces- toes to pelvis and pelvis to head. Functionally however it acts as one continuous line of mysofascia when the hip is extended as in standing. The muscles and their associated fascia that form the SFL include the anterior compartment of the shin, the quadriceps (front of the thigh), the rectus abdominus (most superﬁcial abdominal muscle), sternal fascia and the sternocleidomastoid muscles on either side of the neck.
Function: Why should it matter?
The postural function of the SFL is mainly to balance the SBL (Superficial Back Line. Discussed in Blog 2) and to oﬀer upward tensile support helping to lift those structures that are located forward of the line of gravity including the ribcage and the face. It also maintains knee and ankle extension helping us to remain upright during standing and importantly oﬀers protection to the delicate organs of the ventral cavity.
Movement wise this meridian is associated with ﬂexion (bending) at the trunk and hips as well as extension (straightening) of the knee. It also works in standing to ﬂex the lower neck and hyperextend the upper neck. One imbalance often seen is the common forward head posture where the chin is drawn forward and the head is tilted backwards. Another is hyperextension at the knees, both of these imbalances can be reorganised with the help of structural work.
The SFL consists of predominantly fast twitch muscle ﬁbres, this type of muscle ﬁbre is associated mainly with sudden and strong movements as compared to the more endurance oriented ﬁbres of the SBL. A common response to shock or trauma known as the startle response (as seen in image) creates a shortening of the SFL. It is interesting to note that the force of gravity alone can also create a similar pattern when poor posture is left unchecked. When contraction in this way becomes chronic it creates many postural pain patterns causing another commonly seen imbalance where the front is pulled down and the back becomes strained in response to this. As the body, mind and emotions are so inextricably linked this can set up a cycle of pain and underlying stress that loop back to one another over and over until this posture of ‘panic’ is addressed.
What Can Help?
Structural bodywork and yoga are two extremely useful tools when dealing with fascial and postural imbalance. Both work to help to address speciﬁc areas of imbalance when used in a way that targets individual issues and in conjunction with each other can oﬀer a deep sense of relief to postural pain patterns.
These are quite advanced postures and therefore require practice and slow development to work towards the full posture. Practicing postures with correct alignment is key to maximising the safety and eﬀectiveness of the poses and thus attending a class with an emphasis on how they are done is recommended, particularly if you are new to yoga. Come join me at Ananda Movement Bliss here in Newquay and together we can work to safely develop the space your body needs.