resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
July, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 07
Getting Comfortable With Postural Analysis
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
We all recognize the importance of getting our cars serviced regularly so they run at their optimal level. Not surprisingly, the same is true of the human body. In fact, there is a very useful car-related analogy we can use when it comes to describing postural analysis: front-end alignment and wheel balance.
The word posture is derived from the Latin verb ponere, meaning "to put or place." The word analysis comes from the Greek word analyein, meaning "to break up." Therefore, postural analysis is simply the process of "breaking up" the body to determine where it should be "put or placed." This article reviews body positioning for the purpose of taking a standing (static) postural analysis so you can custom-design your clients' therapy sessions.
When a vehicle's alignment is off, it manifests as uneven tread wear and loss of tire life. Likewise, when a car's tires are not balanced properly, ride quality is diminished, tire life is shortened, and bearings and shock-absorber performance suffer. When one's posture is off, the human body also experiences a range of problems: restricted range of motion, pain, organ dysfunction, and joint, tendon, ligament and muscle stress, to name a few.
The body, like tires, has an ideal position. It also must be balanced to run smoothly and last a long time. For a mechanic to assess and adjust the front end of a vehicle, they must first check wheel positioning for deviations from the norm. To do this, they set the wheels in a standard position and conduct an evaluation. In massage terms, this is the equivalent of taking a postural analysis. A mechanic's objective findings also are reported in terms we can relate to the body. For example, what the mechanic refers to as "toe-in or toe-out" is what we call "internal or external rotation." What a mechanic calls "camber," we call "tilt."
When we report to a mechanic that the tire tread on our vehicle is wearing unevenly and the steering wheel is vibrating, we have given our subjective complaints. The mechanic hears this complaint frequently and knows exactly what needs to be done. Before they can conduct their evaluation, however, they need to use the proper equipment to access and design a repair plan according to the car model's specifications.
In the same way, clients often make subjective complaints to us about headaches and neck and back pain. Just like a mechanic, we need to use the proper equipment to access and design a customized therapy session to meet each individual client's needs, focusing on both short- and long-term goals.
The "manufacturer specifications" for the human body include the anatomical planes that show us the ideal positioning of joints and bones. While individuals are not expected to be positioned perfectly, we want to facilitate the best posture possible through massage therapy. According to Muscles: Testing and Function, "Ideal skeletal alignment ... involves a minimal amount of stress and strain and is conducive to maximal efficiency of the body." Moreover, "the intersection of the sagittal and coronal midplanes of the body forms a line that is analogous to the gravity line. Around this line, the body is hypothetically in a position of equilibrium. Such a position implies a balanced distribution of weight, and a stable position of each joint. When viewing a posture in a standing [position], a plumb line is used to represent a line of reference. ... Since the only fixed point in the standing posture is at the base where the feet are in contact with the floor, the point of reference must be at the base," or the foundation of the body.1
Whether you work in spa, clinic, medical office, fitness center or some other venue, there are certain things you must do to conduct an effective postural analysis.
Postural Analysis Checklist
[ ] Hang a plumb bob approximately 3 feet in front of a postural analysis grid chart. The plumb bob should be approximately a quarter inch off the floor.
[ ] The client should be:
[ ] Position the feet in relation to the plumb line:
Now, stand a few feet back from the plumb line. Using a digital camera, move from side to side (right to left) until the plumb line is lined up with the center line of the grid chart. Take a photo of the client and make any necessary notes for your objective findings.
We all know the saying "A picture is worth a thousand words." In images #1 and #3, it's easy to see how the right shoulder is higher then the left. We see the torso and head are to right of the mid-saggital plane. In the image (#4 and #6), it's easy to see the forward head posture and the right shoulder posterior to the coronal plane. These deviations have numerous origins. A muscle-movement chart will help quickly determine which muscles are shortened and which ones are lengthened, helping you design a customized treatment plan.
There are many advantages of taking postural photos including:
When you take the time to administer a precise posture evaluation for your clients and devise a customized treatment plan, you will gain their respect and earn a reputation as a top massage therapist. Your clients also will appreciate how you utilized the information to educate them.
Don't let the idea of conducting a postural analysis intimidate you. There are many things we do every day that we once learned to do for the first time. Once you get comfortable with posture, it will be easier to think about each client as an individual and know how to develop special treatment plans for each person. Over time, posture analysis becomes easy - second nature. You just need to start doing it.
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.