I would like to share some more information about Rolfing, structure and acupuncture. There is another intersting body of knowledge which includes acupuncture as one of its elements which can help us look more effectively at patterns of relationships in the body structure. Looking at this information with the eyes of a Rolfer, we can use the information in ways not concieved of by the source.
The work that I have in mind is called “Touch for Health”. It is a form of applied kinesiology developed by the chiropractor George Goodheart. Then it was further researched by Leroy Perry (Los Angeles chiropractor who was part of the medical staff for the U. S. Olympic Team in 1984), and some other chiropractors. The work was popularized by John Thie in a popular do-it-yourself book.
Most Rolfers are not familiar with the system. If you become interested after my article, the book is fairly easy to get.
I know from talking to some Rolfers who have heard about or read the book, that they are negative to the approach because it is too superficial in terms of its approach to muscle testing, or because they cannot endorse some of the applications which can range from testing for vitamin deficiencies or working with regression therapy. If you fall into this group, I ask your patience in following my presentation and that you test the ideas that I put forward and see if they work in terms of your perception and your work. I am presenting some ideas which are not in the book, but are a different organization of some of the basic data.
Goodheart, an American chiropractor published his work about about 25 years ago. He found that weaknesses in some of some of the acupuncture lines related to certain patterns of muscle weaknesses.
What was of interest to me, at thee start was the pattern of the grouping of the weak muscles. I have a “Touch for Health” chart in my Rolfing room that went back to some work I did before becoming a Rolfer. It was colorful, looked somewhat “anatomical” showing muscles, and I left it on the wall after becoming a Rolfer. About a year and a half ago, I got the idea that if one myofascial units in a group was overly tense, were the others also overly tense? Yes, they were.
I must admit that I had a hard time understanding why this was so, since the muscle groups on the chart made no sense to me in terms of anything that I could relate to in traditional anatomy, kinesiology, or physiology.
But, even that I could not understand it intellectually given traditional western science, I found that the system gave me the power of prediction.
After being on the course with Jan Sultan and looking at his two basic body types, I saw that people who were “external types” had a narrow (side to side), and deep (front to back) chest. They almost always had tight pectoral and tight rhomboid fascia.
The pectoral and rhomboid muscles are grouped under the liver meridian in TFH (Touch for Health). Jan also said that often external types had slow digestion because of liver problems!
Now, I could start to relate tense TFH muscle group with structure. I saw one pattern.
In time, I started to look for other relationships between TFH muscle groups and recognizable patterns in body structure that we can see in Rolfing.
The value of this information to me has been to increase my ability to see structure. If I see that one myofascial unit in a TFH muscle group is overly tense, then I can predict that other muscles also are overly tense. This has given me much better results and I am able to make certain structural changes with speed and easy that I could not imagine before.
Where I am now with it all is that I use some of the 14 TFH muscle groups, (but not all of them) in my analyses. Perhaps it will come in time, or perhaps there are some limitations to Goodheart and Thie’s organizations.
I would like to invite you to share my findings. Here are some of the TFH muscle groups, along with my description of structure.
TFH MERIDIAN NAME: Liver
MUSCLES: Rhomboids, pectorals
STRUCTURAL DESCRIPTION: external type, chest is narrow(side to side) and deep(front to back)
TFH MERIDIAN NAME: Spleen
MUSCLES: middle and lower, trapezius, triceps, latissiums, dorsi, opponens, pol. longus
STRUCTURAL DESCRIPTION: typical ectomorph shoulders collar bone looks straight (rotated upward), chest wide (side to side)and shallow (front to back),arms over extended in the elbows, elbows rotated backwards, neck overly straight and long. Visual type personality: often artists, (and if they cannot express themselves, and are unbalanced, they are psychotic living in a world of dream-like visions).
TFH MERIDIAN NAME: Large Intestine
MUSCLES: quadratus lum borum, tensor, fascae lata, hamstrings
STRUCTURAL DESCRIPTION: gives a sway back. Pattern is obvious in Jan’s internal types. Pattern is also the cause for the sway back in the anterior pelvis lumbar sway that makes up about 25 % of my clients (a hybrid in Jan’s system)
TFH MERIDIAN NAME: Stomach
MUSCLES: pectoral maj.clav., sterno cleidomastoid, levator scapula, brachioradialis
STRUCTURAL DESCRIPTION: collar bone looks very curved (downwardly rotated), shoulders rounded forward, sunken chest (sadness), deep lines from the side of the nose, around the outside of the lips and over the chin, rings around the eyes.
TFH MERIDIAN NAME: Small intestine
MUSCLES: quadriceps, rectus abdominus, transverse and oblique stomach muscles
STRUCTURAL DESCRIPTION: often in women with big thighs and small bodies with a tight, flat stomach.
TFH MERIDIAN NAME: Bladder
MUSCLES: sacrospinalis, anterior and posterior tibialis, peronials
STRUCTURAL DESCRIPTION: We often see high arches in people with very tight erector muscles. (very tentative findings on personality type musical, little contact with their body, feelings, or visual sense.)
TFH MERIDIAN NAME: Lungs
MUSCLES: deltoids, ant.serratus,coricobrachialis, diaphragm
STRUCTURAL DESCRIPTION: drooping shoulders, low vitality, little inspiration physically and emotionally, (sometimes pain down the outside of the arm from tight scalenes).
TFH MERIDIAN NAME: Circulation Sex
MUSCLES: adductors, glut. maximus, gluteus medius, piriformis
STRUCTURAL DESCRIPTION: I think that there are two or three different structural patterns with these muscles and I do not have a clear picture. The tight piriformis is involved in Jan’s external types with flat lumbars, but there is also another type women with with bulges on the lateral thigh, below the trochanter, and with deeper lumbar curves.
TFH MERIDIAN NAME: Triple warmer
MUSCLES: gastrocnemius, soleus, sartorius, teres minor
STRUCTURAL DESCRIPTION: for me the giveaway is the real tight, belt-like pull of the sartorius. (I am not really clear on this group.)
TFH MERIDIAN NAME: Gall Bladder
MUSCLES: anterior deltoid, popletius
STRUCTURAL DESCRIPTION: no clear structural picture for me yet
TFH MERIDIAN NAME: Kidney
MUSCLES: upper trapezius, iliacus,psoas
STRUCTURAL DESCRIPTION: the only relationship I can use the trapezius might be overtight either with the psoas or the iliacus. I have had very few cases where the iliacus and the psoas on one side have both been overly tight and they were after severe physical trauma. I prefer Jan’s observations that the tight psoas is external and the tight iliacus is interrnal type.
TFH lists three other meridians with single muscles (rather than groups of muscles):
Heart – Subscapularus
Central – Supraspinatus
Governing – Teres Major
Once I start to see the patterns in these muscle groups, it feeds directly into helping me choose where to work in the individual sessions from one to ten.
Also, when there is a tightness in a muscle group, there is also usually a tension in the connective tissue on one side or the other of the acupuncture lines. (In an earlier article in Rolf Lines, I wrote about how two adjacent acupuncture lines create a stipe in the connective tissues and that patterns of tension often fall within these stripes.)
So, when I see a tightness in a muscle, I can often predict other overly tight muscles plus predict where there will be overly tense areas in the superficial connective tissue.
The better I can see, the easier I can do and the faster I can achieve the objectives of a session.
I still feel that all of this fits with Jan Sultan’s observation of two basic body types. I feel that somehow, these observations from TFH give some of the basic building blocks for the two types. Also, it is easier for me to recognize the hybrid types – for example, I might have a client who is an external type, but varies from the basic pattern because of the tension in the large intestine muscle group.
I offer these observations as a continuation of my dialogue with the understanding of structure after my five day workshop with Jan.
Silkeborg, DenmarkLetter from Stanley Rosenberg