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MEET THE ROTATOR CUFF

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Introducing the rotator cuff muscles. No other joint has greater movement than the shoulder. The rotator cuff muscles allows for the flexibility and stability. This is a group of four muscles and tendons that attach the humerus/upper arm bone to the scapula and create what we know of as the shoulder. These muscles are responsible for the actions needed for circumduction of the arm and shoulder. The rotator cuff muscles attach from the scapula/shoulder blade to the humerus. Three muscles are on the back/posterior aspect of the shoulder blade and one is on the anterior/front aspect on the under side of the bone. Together these muscles work to stabilize and balance one another.

A00064F02The top rotator cuff muscle known as the supraspinatus, works with the deltoid to lift the arm up and to the side. The muscles on the back of shoulder blade known as infraspinatus and teres minor both laterally rotate the shoulder and arm. The one in the front, the subscapularis, medially rotates the arm. This muscle is often over contracted and tight due to the rotation being required for computer work and driving. When the subscapularis is pulled tight the infraspinatus and teres minor are pulled long and can experience pain. A skilled massage therapist will understand how to work the tight muscle in order to relieve pain in the muscles that are being pulled long. If the therapist only addresses the long muscles the shortened and over contracted one will continue to pull and pain will return rapidly. There are many common injuries of the rotator cuff. Repetitive overhead use can cause tendonitis, the

A skilled massage therapist will understand how to work the tight muscle in order to relieve pain in the muscles that are being pulled long. If the therapist only addresses the long muscles the shortened and over contracted one will continue to pull and pain will return rapidly. There are many common injuries of the rotator cuff. Repetitive overhead use can cause tendonitis, the fluid filled sacs who function to reduce friction called bursa can become inflamed and cause bursitis. There can be tears in the rotator cuff tendons. Massage can help to prevent rotator cuff injuries by keeping the shoulder flexible and relaxed. If you have a rotator cuff injury working with a health team that includes massage can speed recovery. Continue reading

Meet the Psoas

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Meet the psoas Sometimes referred to as the “mighty” psoas, the core of the body, the thickest muscle in the body, this wonderful and unique muscle gets a lot of attention. Many people come into a massage knowing their psoas is tight and not being exactly sure of where it is or what it does. The psoas is a very deep muscle, one of the closest muscles to the spine that sits on either side of our center of gravity. There are two, one on either side. The muscles reach from the lumbar (low back) spine to the body protrusion on the inner femur (thigh bone). This muscle is unique in that it is the only muscle that connects the upper body to the lower body. It is a strong hip flexor and allows us to do many amazing things with our bodies such as walk, run, sit, lift our leg, reach to the ground.

downloadThe psoas muscle is a strong hip flexor and becomes tight when we sit throughout the day, drive, run, do squats etc. When this muscle is over contracted through repetitive movement, bad postural habits, overuse or injury , low back pain, imbalanced hips, hip pain, misaligned knees, knee pain, pelvic tilt, referred pain down the front of the thigh and to spine and many other postural deviations and pain patterns can occur. When only one is over contracted the spine can become distorted and be pulled out of alignment.

This can cause pain and physical dysfunction and create problems within the discs of the spine itself. When a muscle becomes over contracted in the body its opposing muscle groups must lengthen and often become pulled long and cause pain. This is the case in low back pain caused by the psoas muscles being tight. When the muscle is tight it becomes weak. When a muscle is causing pain one of the best things we can do is to become aware of it, to focus on it, feel it, notice what it does, how it feels, stretch it, strengthen it.

Emotionally this muscle is said to hold on to deep-seated fears and trauma. An educated massage therapist can assist you in addressing the psoas, helping to stretch it and facilitate healing so the postural misalignments and pain caused from this muscle being tight can disappear Continue reading

MEET THE ILIOTIBIAL TRACT

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Introducing the IT band, the fibrous band that extends from the hip down past the knee, along the outer thigh and is made up of an elastic connective tissue known as fascia. The IT band is a knee stabilizer. The IT band is also essential for movement as it connects the hip to the knee. This band arises at the tendons of the gluteus maximus and the tensor fasciae lata and travels down toward the foot where it attaches to the tibia/shin bone.

The IT band makes it possible for the tensor fasciae lata to perform abduction (moving leg toward midline) and medial rotation. While running the IT band moves across the lateral epicondyle (protrusion on the bone) of the femur/thigh bone and functions to create stabilization of the knee. It can also create pain and inflammation when it continuously rubs across the bone.

Running man muscles anatomy system isolated on white backgroundThis often causes knee pain and the person can mistake it for a knee injury. Tightness of the hip muscles are often the causes of the IT band becoming tight. Massage on these muscles can greatly reduce pain by loosening up the band and allowing the rubbing to lesson. The scar tissue that can occur in the IT band from overuse and injury can also be alleviated by massage techniques.

Many times the IT band gets “stuck” to the outer quadriceps muscle (vastus lateralis) and can cause pain in the outer thigh and restrict movement. A skilled therapist will be able to assist you in reducing tension, pain and postural deviations in the hip by preforming various techniques to address the tensor fasciae lata, vastus lateralis and gluteus muscles that attach to the IT band.

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What you will gain from the workshops

Build a solid foundation for musculoskeletal anatomy of the major muscle groups, joints, and bones

Understand some of those abstract terms like “tuck your tailbone” and “engage your thigh muscles”

Learn to speak the language of anatomy to build confidence in communicating about the body to other practitioners, teachers, students or health care professionals

Learn to work with yoga asana to correct common postural habits that cause discomfort for a majority of the western world

Understand the complicated joints such as the knee, SI joint and the shoulder joint

Explore how muscles work together to create alignment and how this knowledge will help you to create effective sequences to enhance your personal asana practice and/or classes you teach

Learn to work intelligently to avoid injury and be able to modify poses for pre-existing injury in yourself and/or students you work with

Learn the subtle anatomy of chakras, nadis and ayurvedic doshas

Learn to design more effective sequences of yoga asana for home practice or classes

Go home with several sequences (including the one we do in the workshop) to practice on your own or share with your classes

 

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