Myofascial Balancing

The Myofascial Balancing courses, each dealing with a different region of the body, are based on a few simple ideas, delivered with a good deal of experience and sophistication. Some of the ideas are:

• Muscular stabilization is the force that organizes our bodies in gravity. Improving stabilization is at least as important as improving relaxation or mobility.

• Our neuromotor systems automatically stabilize what we're currently doing. The best way to improve our version of stabilization is to improve our alignment.

• While most therapists learn to evaluate alignment visually, we find that much more detailed and accurate information can be gathered through palpation of standing clients. Learning to palpate in this way often radically improves students’ visual evaluation skills as well.

Our alignment patterns reshape our myofascial tissues into unbalanced patterns. In our classes, students learn to feel the directional imbalances in the soft tissue and to use gentle, unlubricated techniques to balance the position and mobility of the tissues. We also use stretching and other self-care strategies to reinforce this balancing effect. One of the most useful services therapists can provide is to teach clients how to improve posture and movement patterns in daily life. Students in these classes learn a clear model of posture and movement strategies designed to improve clients’ understanding of their necessary role in achieving long-term results.

In many cases, orthopedic problems (the ones with diagnostic labels) are simply exaggerated versions of the imbalances present in most people. In other cases, the problems have a different sort of cause (for example, osteoarthritis). It’s extremely valuable to be able to tell the difference! These classes include an overview of common orthopedic problems, including both assessment and treatment options.

About this Series: Our primary focus is assessment-driven myofascial work. The work can be directed at deep or superficial layers, as needed. The amount of force used can be varied to be comfortable and appropriate for both the client and therapist. It is also non-lubricated, so it can be done on skin, through a sheet, or through clothes.

Myofascial Balancing frequently uses the skeleton as a 'handle' and as a guide in evaluating alignment. The work is designed to keep the loop between evaluation and treatment as short as possible, so that the therapist remains well-oriented and therapeutic goals can be attained quickly. We teach palpatory evaluation of the client’s alignment pattern in standing, and ongoing palpatory assessment of tissue mobility on the table. We also teach simple postural and movement strategies to help clients improve alignment and usage in daily life; we believe this is a critical aspect of successful treatment.

Myofascial balancing for the pelvic girdle: postural and intra-pelvic patterns 

The intricate functional patterns of the pelvic girdle call for our best attention. In this class, we'll look at the relationship between femurs and pelvis and the equally important imbalances within the pelvis and sacrum. This class includes:

• detailed standing evaluation of the pelvic pattern
• joint decompression and balancing for hips, SI joints, and lumbar spine
• treatment of soft-tissue structures: iliopsoas, gluteals, erector spinae, lateral rotators and more

Myofascial balancing for the shoulder girdle: postural and movement patterns 

Good poise of the shoulder girdle can't be separated from good balance of the upper ribs. We'll work on improving this relationship, which is vital for treating shoulder impingement. Impingement is intimately related to most shoulder problems, including tendinitis and thoracic outlet syndrome. This class includes:

• detailed weight-bearing palpation of shoulder girdle and upper ribcage (visual assessment of this area is often misleading)
• joint decompression/balancing for shoulder, AC joint, sternoclavicular joint and ribs
• treatment of soft-tissue structures: rotator cuff muscles, pectorals, upper arm and more

Myofascial balancing: joint decompression for the upper extremities

Unbalanced joints become "crooked" and compressed simultaneously. As the bones lose their ability to gracefully move around each other, joint dysfunction accelerates. In this course, we focus on balancing and decompressing the joints of the arms, wrists and hands. Ignore them at your peril! Along the way, we discuss common injuries and conditions related to balance in the region, such as shoulder impingement, epicondylitis, CTS, TOS and more. This class includes:

  • Detailed weight-bearing palpation/evaluation of upper body alignment
  • Specific joint decompression and balancing of the sternoclavicular, A-C, glenohumeral (shoulder), elbow, wrist, and hand joints

Myofascial balancing: myofascial techniques for the upper body

One of the central aspects of Myofascial Balancing is clarifying the relationships between segmental alignment and imbalances in tissue mobility. Using weight-bearing palpation and palpation at the table, we analyze and correct these imbalances. This class is highly directed at the "big picture" of postural pattern. The MFB techniques use just enough force to effectively mobilize restrictions, so the work is easy to do and to receive.  The class includes:

  • Detailed weight-bearing palpation/evaluation of upper body alignment
  • Palpation at the table to identify specific alignment/mobility imbalances
  • Assessment-driven myofascial techniques to balance upper body soft tissue tracts

Return to course descriptions

See a course schedule.

 

Registration Options

Each Myofascial Balancing class is structured to be either a one-day or two-day class. You can sign up for both days (receiving a discount), or just one of the days. You will receive a certificate of completion for each class.

Publications

Developmental Considerations in Structural Work with Small Children (pdf)
Article published in the International Association of Structural Integrators Yearbook of Structural Integration, 2013.

Integrative Pain Management, Chapter 7: Structural Bodywork 
Authored chapter focusing on structural methods and Myofascial Balancing in particular. Handspring Publishing, 2016.

Current Research

Supplies

  • Bach Rescue Remedy Cream – Lauren's favorite 'lubricant' for fascial work, precisely because it doesn't lubricate as much as it increases tack; in my experience, the herbal remedy also helps client's tissue receive vigorous work without bruising and it soothes my hands too! Available in single tubes through many health food stores, or you can buy in bulk on line.
  • Tennis balls, large and small: for self-care stretching the plantar fascia, iliopsoas, IT band, etc., these balls are great – inexpensive and easy to use. We get ours in bulk through Pet Edge.
  • Foot reflexology balls: these are getting harder to find. They are solid and quite dense (not to be confused with the prickly, softer balls that are so popular right now); they are great, when used judiciously, for stretching the soles of the feet while standing.
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Seattle, WA 98103

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116 NE 194th St.
Shoreline, WA 98155

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