Structural Bodywork in Newquay- The Lateral and Spiral Lines
This is the penultimate blog article in the series dedicated to Structural Bodywork in Newquay and the Myofascial Meridians. Both the Superficial Front Line (Blog 1) and the Superficial Back Line (Blog 2) have been discussed with reference to movement, posture and yoga.
Now the Lateral Line and the Spiral Line will be looked at from the same perspectives. The Arm Lines and the Functional Lines will also be briefly discussed.
Basic Anatomy of The Lateral Line
The Lateral Line (LL) extends across each side of the body from the inner and outer midpoints of the foot around the ankle and up the outer aspects of the lower leg and thigh. It then passes along the trunk in a criss-cross pattern via the internal and external obliques and intercostal (between the rib) muscles. It terminates at the lower part of the skull.
Function of the Lateral Line
The LL creates the movements of lateral flexion (side bending) in the spine; abduction (movement away from the midline) at the hip and eversion (tilting away from the midline) of the foot. It is also responsible for mediating lateral and rotational movements of the trunk via it’s operation as an adjustable brake.
In it’s postural role the LL acts somewhat like the guy wires of a tent working to balance the left and right sides of the body. One of the main jobs the LL undertakes is containment of movement, in that it restricts side-to-side motion while directing the flexion and extension pattern that carries us through the majority of our movement.
The Role of Structural Bodywork and Yoga in the LL
Common postural compensation patterns associated with the LL include: ankle pronation or supination (flat feet or high arch pattern) ankle dorsiflexion limitation and genu varus or valgus (knocked knees or bowed legs). Side shift of the rib cage on the pelvis, and shortening of depth between sternum and sacrum are also commonly noted. As is shoulder restriction due to over-involvement with head stability, especially in head forward posture.
Structural bodywork can offer a way to help to “wake up” areas of the LL that may have acquired a slight amnesia and in doing so help to renew a propioceptive connection to these areas. An example of this is lengthening of the outer aspect of the calf helping to create a feeling of grounding in a high arched, possibly unstable foot.
Yoga can also assist in this feeling of coming back home to the body by bringing awareness and breath to these areas. This increased awareness gives the practitioner the ability to choose a more energy efficient and structurally sound way of moving. This can in turn help to alleviate pain and reduce risk of injury. A combination of poses are used to connect to strength and length of the LL. One example of a strengthening pose for the LL is Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose). Lengthening can be achieved by poses such as Uttitha Parsvakonasa (extended side angle pose).
Basic Anatomy of The Spiral Line (SPL)
The SPL winds its way through the other three fundamental lines already discussed. It loops around the trunk in a helix pattern as well as looping in the legs from hip to arch and back again. It connects one side of the lower skull via the midline of the upper back to the shoulder on the opposite side. It then crosses over the front of the torso to the hip, knee and foot arch on the same side. It returns up the back of the body all the way to the lower part of the skull where it terminates.
Function of the Spiral Line
While the SPL interacts with the other cardinal lines discussed in a variety of functions it’s main role in movement is to create and mediate rotations in the body.
The postural role of the SPL is to help to maintain spinal length and balance in all planes via the double helix wrap it forms around the torso. In the lower body it connects the foot arches with the tracking of the knee and pelvic position. The SPL also often compensates for deeper rotations in the spine or pelvis core.
The Role of Structural Bodywork and Yoga in the SPL
Common postural compensation patterns associated with the SPL include: ankle pronation/supination, knee rotation, pelvic rotation on feet, rib rotation on pelvis, one shoulder lifted or anteriorly shifted, and head tilt, shift, or rotation.
Structural bodywork techniques can again assist in the regaining of proprioception increasing the general awareness of these often unfelt underlying patterns. They can also be used to release and rebalance the SPL with postural asymmetries. An example of such a technique would be the release of spiral tension across the upper back and into the posterior neck working from contralateral lower shoulder to ipsilateral upper neck.
Regular yoga practice will also help to draw inner attention to these asymmetries within the body. This awareness in time leads to the ability to create new, more structurally aligned patterns.
Poses such as Uttitha Trikonasana (extended triangle pose) work to centre this attention into the SPL. In this pose the twist of the torso and the appropriate lift or grounding of the foot arch to support pelvic positioning bring the SPL into play.
The Arm Lines and the Functional Lines
For the scope of this article too much detail of these slightly less fundamental meridian lines is unnecessary. It is suffice to say that there are four Arm Lines that roughly parallel the four lines in the leg. They connect seamlessly into the other lines particularly the LL, the SPL and the SFL.
There are two Functional Lines that join the contralateral girdles across the front and back of the body. They are used in almost all movements that require rotation, which is innumerable.
While the lines are separated for the ease of discussion all movements and postural function are a combination of the lines working together to create a web of support and relay of information throughout the entire structure.