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To START On YOUR Path to Becoming a
Leading Edge EXPERT & Trusted Authority
in YOUR Community on
How the Neuro-Musculo-Fascial
& Joint Systems REALY Work, and
Best Practices for HEALING Them?
Is Resolving More Complex, Long-term, Chronic
Problems of the Neuro-Musculo-Fascial
System of Your Clients or Prospects On
YOUR Professional Mastery Path?
Especially if You’re Helping Them with
— Soft Tissue Issues —
other Therapists & Physicians have
NOT Succeeded in Resolving?
And DO YOU Want to Increase the Likelihood
YOU Won’t Be Classified as “NON-Essential”
(as many of us were) During a Pandemic?
NOW … YOU TOO Can LEARN & BENEFIT From
FORTY+ YEARS of Knowledge, Experience,
& Extensive Science Studies in Bodywork,
Yoga & Whole Health Therapies
On Restoring Energetic, Pain-free, Resistance-free,
Full Range of Motion Movement & Action
to Your and Your Client’s BodyMind …
The School of Hard Knots
A Masterclass On Muscles
And the NEW “Missing Diagnosis” of
* Chronic, Excess Muscle & Nerve Tension & Stress …
and Negative Habit Patterns — AKA “Tight Muscles”
Knowing How Muscles Work,
Tells You How to Work Them
➣ Is It Possible … that the Primary Cause of many & various Problems we humans have with our musculo-skeletal, neuro-muscular, myo-fascial systems is, basically & “simply” … TIGHT MUSCLES? …
➣ Is It Possible … that things like Premature Aging, being Injury Prone, lost range of motion & strength, loss of balance & coordination, and on & on, are in many cases the result of TIGHT MUSCLES? …
Or More Precisely, C.E.M.&.N.T.? ( short for Chronic, Excess Muscle & Nerve TENSION & STRESS and Negative Habit Patterns ) …
But of course, WHAT causes the Excess Muscle Tension to build up in the first place? …
One of the “Gurus” of Neuromuscular Therapy used to say that Trigger Points were THE source of pain in the body. MY Question was, WHAT causes Trigger Points? …
Stick With Me Here and I’ll get into that Very Important Question further down the page.
SPECIAL NOTE: As used here, and in MOST traditional medical literature, the word “MUSCLE” refers to your (normally) highly integrated & synergistic neuro-musculo-fascial systems controlling, stabilizing, protecting, and moving your joint & bone structures, most organ function, and your BodyMind as a whole. …
(Fascia was never considered as “separate” from Muscles Cells in any REAL, functional sense. They are too intimately, synergistically, interlaced & functionally integrated to treat them as if they are separate in any real way. While muscle cells and fascia have VERY different characteristics, without each other, they are basically useless. There is little they can do independently of each other.)
Trends in the last few decades, however, have tended to think & speak of fascia as an almost separate system from the muscles. As in, Clients have occasionally told me they were told by their doctor or therapist that their troubles are NOT in their muscles, but in their fascia. I’ve had yoga teachers tell me they wold stretch their fascia INSTEAD OF their muscles. Yet in my view, attempting to evaluate or treat muscles & fascia as separate systems has, I believe, led to some VERY bad ideas about “how things work.”
This has led to some not so great treatment outcomes, and even counterproductive results.
Back in the 1990s, when I was traveling around the country training therapists, I worked with a number of very successful therapists in different cities. They would have me work with their toughest Clients. Some of those Clients had significant scoliosis. Most people were saying most scoliosis could not be straightened. Upon showing them how I worked, almost ALL of them said I worked with the exact opposites tissues that they did. … But what I did worked!
I one day taught a seminar to a group of therapists in Venice Beach, near Santa Monica. One of the attendees was Head Instructor at the Santa Monica School of Massage. He was also a Hellerworker, very similar to Rolfing.® At end of seminar, he told me what I was teaching was exactly opposite of what Rolfing & Hellerwork were saying. And it had to do with an exactly opposite viewpoint on how fascia works relative to muscles. Yet he said my approach made total sense.
I was invited to deliver a further presentation on that issue, but soon had to teach on the East Coast. I heard, though, that they reorganized how they thought about and treated scoliosis based on what I showed them.
One Element of the School of Hard Knots will be a VERY close look at the nature of muscle cells, their fascial sheaths, the nerves controlling them, how they work together, and whether or not they can truly be treated as “separate systems.” I think the science, looked at as a whole, clearly tells you what you need to know to do things like straighten a scoliosis.
A Question to Ask Your Clients …
Do Your Muscles & Fascia DO
What You WANT Them To Do … ?
OR … Do They RESIST You with Aches & Pains, Stiffness,
Limited Range of Motion, Weakness, Lost Energy & Poor Posture?
And Are YOU, the Therapist, Familiar with JUST HOW MANY
Problems of the Human Body (and Sometimes the MIND)
Are the RESULT of Excessively Tight Muscles?
Or what WE call C.E.M.&.N.T.?
It is MY Observation that MANY, if not MOST Muscle Therapists, Do NOT Have a Wide-Ranging nor Deep Enough Knowledge of ALL the Many Things that Muscle Therapy Can Help. And therefore, Many Clients Suffer NEEDLESSLY Because Too Few Therapists (and Physicians) do NOT Know How Much Releasing Tight Muscles Can Help SO Many Afflictions So Many People Have. … SO …
HOW DO You GET CONTROL
of Your Nerves, Muscles, Fascia & Joints by
LETTING GO …
of Excess Tension, Stress &
Negative Habit Patterns?
HOW BEST Do You DISSOLVE & RELEASE the Excess Tensions & Stresses, The Tight, Hard Muscles, THE ACHES & PAINS, in a Client’s (or Your Own) BodyMInd?
Knowing How It Works,
Tells You How to Work It
How Healthy Muscles Work,
How They Breakdown,
How YOU Can Heal & Restore
Pain-Free Muscle Function …
with Full Range-of-Motion &
Effortless Great Posture …
With or AS a Therapist
… OR BOTH
YOU TOO Can Learn the Primary Principles & Practices of Dissolving Tension & Stress Causing MUCH of the Pain & Dysfunction in Your Client’s (or Your Own) BodyMind. …
YOU TOO Can Understand How MOST Problems with Pain, Movement, Posture and other Afflictions are NOT from “weak muscles” or “stuck (or “shrunk”) fascia,” or “adhesions,” or “lack of training.”
YOU TOO Can Discover How To Restore the Youthful RESILIENCE, the Natural Forces & Functions Built Into the Human BodyMind By Nature, at Birth. …
BTW, On Youthful RESILIENCE … Lots of people talk about Strength & Endurance; SOME people talk about Flexibility. … But WHO talks about Resilience & Stature? …
You Might Have Noticed, Little Children Are
STRONG & FLEXIBLE with Great Posture
While Never Having Exercised or Stretched.
HOW Did THAT Happen?
You might have spent some time around little children. If so, you’ve probably noticed how resilient they are at that age. They can fall, they can run into things, they can sleep for hours in weird, twisted positions. Yet they seem to be so flexible & resilient they seldom seem very disturbed for very long by much at all. …
And Their Recovery Time is usually quite short.
That is, in great part, because Little Children are so RELAXED in their early years. Relaxed, fluid, energetic movement is totally NATURAL to them, because that is how Nature produced them at birth ( or before, actually ).
And most Little Children ARE surprisingly STRONG. If they grab your finger and squeeze, it is surprising how strong they are. And, when sitting or standing, they also have a perfect vertical line through their head, shoulders, hips, and ankle, meaning Great Posture with NO effort or “strength training.”
True, their strength has little or no SKILL behind it yet, but their fundamental strength is there, even though they’ve never been to the Gym or a Pilates Class. And they have Great Posture because THAT is a function of relaxed, balanced muscles, NOT “strong muscles.”
Yeah, I know, your Personal Trainer might not like hearing that!
(I’m thinking of doing a School of Hard Knots for Personal Trainers and Body Builders.)
SO … How can THE KIDS be strong & flexible without ever having gone to the gym workout or a yoga class? How come YOU or Your Clients are not like that?
Relaxed Resilience, Flexibility & Fundamental Strength
are BUILT IN by NATURE, at BIRTH.
If So How Did We LOSE It, and HOW Do We Get It Back?
At the simplest level, all it takes is repetitive actions to build tension in the muscles. And if the more load or weight on the muscles during those actions, the more the tension builds up. The more stress at the time increases tension. Any pain or trauma magnifies the tension.
Repetition facilitates the synapses of the neurons to become more prone to “switching on.” When switched on, the connected muscles and organs get “switched on” as well. And when muscle and organs are “switched on” too often, for too long, they start to break down or burn out in various ways.
Surprisingly to many people (even some physicians), even sitting slouched on a couch watching TeeVee causes certain muscles to get chronically contracted and over-shortened.
Nearly every action of our neuro-musculo-fascial system has the capacity to contribute to the tension accumulation process. … Knowing how all this works helps you explain such things to Clients or other Health Care Professionals you might be working with.
It is this kind of knowledge and insight that will help set YOU apart as an EXPERT on how muscles work, how they break down, and how to heal them.
The ART & HEART of Deep, Radical Relaxation
I learned a LOT about “resilience” when I was 13 years old (1967) in Judo & Karate Class. We were taught that the best way to fall, or get pushed or pulled around, or punched, without much or any damage to ourselves was to learn how to deeply relax, to “let go” as much as possible when falling or getting hit.
When it comes to the levels of stress & tension in your body, (and THIS is IMPORTANT!), NEGATIVE FORCES should, as much as possible, pass THROUGH your body rather than getting trapped IN your body.
(That’s, for example, why drunk people often survive car accidents better than sober people. Their muscle reaction time is slowed down, so they do not tense up as much in an impact.)
This applies to many, if not all, activities you can think of. From martial arts to musical performance, it is a consistent aspect the Real Masters in many, if not most, disciplines agree on.
If you know how to maintain a state of relative relaxation, Outside Forces (like a car accident or a bad fall) & Stress Producing Events do not leave as much or any “residue” in your musculo-fascial system.
But if it DOES get “stuck” in your system, that residue lives on, in great part, in the form of muscle tension. Muscle Tension is how the mind & nervous system “dump” excess tension & stress when it does not know how to Let-Go of such Tension.
In turn, chronic tension in a muscle reduces blood flow causing ischemia (reduced blood flow), in turn leading to hypoxia (reduced oxygen). Reduced oxygen usually leads to pain. … That is just one mechanism of how tight muscles can produce pain.
And early in our evolutionary genetics, the biggest challenges were more physical … such as being attacked by a saber-tooth tiger! Yet today, far more of us face Cyber-Tooth Tigers, as in the mental / emotional challenges of the financial, digital, electronic, & computer worlds.
And Mental / Emotional Stress have GREAT capacities to make our muscles tight and organs excessively active.
Much modern medical & health research demonstrates the human body works best with short bursts of higher stress activities with sufficient recovery time in between. …
Today, many of us do NOT get those recovery times, even when we are sleeping.
Mindfulness In Action & Relaxation
In judo or aikido or yoga or many if not most other activities, it is your Attentive State of Mind allowing your body to stay more relaxed in stressful events. The trick is to bring the experience of relaxing into a fall into your body when you are in an accident or a mentally or emotionally stressful situation.
Therefore, one’s therapeutic processes should integrate your mental attention (mindfulness) as much as possible. It gives you PRACTICE at “being more in your body,” which includes FEELING your body. That way, any mental elements of our tension & stress felt in our body can be more effecticiently* reduced or eliminated. … To Become More Relaxed.
* Effecticient = effective + efficient
A DSL Edgework Muscle Equation: Every Action or Contraction needs an Equal & Opposite Relaxation or DE-Contraction. Otherwise, the difference between the two gets accumulated & “stuck” in the psycho-neuro-musculo-fascial system.
The Good Thing is you do NOT necessarily have to do the relaxation phase immediately after the contraction phase. Much of the time, you can wait a few hours or even days and do a lot of the DE-Contraction all at one time, such as in taking an hour or three to do some yoga or conscious stretching.
It is too complicated to describe here in any detail, yet neurological science indicates that the Very ACT of Feeling the body with the sensory nerves changes the activity of the motor nerves. And if there are no “danger” signals present, very often, the change in the Motor system is a reduction in nerve activity, which spontaneously reduces tension in the muscle or organ.
My primary yoga teacher used to say that the deep FEELING of Tension WAS actually the Relaxation of the Tension. It was many years after he said that that I found medical validation of that spontaneous, interactive loop between the Sensory & Motor sides of the nervous system. …
In some ways, they, the sensory and motor sides of the nervous system, are not separate at all when it comes to their function.
This Mindfulness, in our therapy system, is about:
Moving Your Mind Into Your Muscles,
Such that the Distinctions Between Them,
In that mindful, meditative state, certain neurological (built into the nerve system) processes spontaneously enhance the Deep, Radical Relaxation, the Dissolving of Tension & Stress, we’ve been talking about.
And one of our Objectives is to bring that Mindfulness into the Bodywork Therapy or Yoga Therapy sessions.
Now, it is true. You do not HAVE to invest much Mindful Attention for the therapy to work if you do not want to. … But it CAN make a BIG difference.
In Theory, the intention of the School of Hard Knots is to give you the kind of knowledge & insight that makes you WANT to pay attention to your body more deeply & precisely. AND to learn there is a BIG difference between feeling the body, and thinking about the body. You need both. But they are different to the point of being nearly opposites.
And the more the THERAPIST applies Mindfulness & Deep Relaxation to their own Self, the more they can support their Clients in doing that too.
And of course, many People are often amazed at how much their mental & emotional states improve when their body feels better. And in many cases, it is the other way around. Many people have repressed thoughts & emotions being semi- or un-consciously “dumped” into their muscles, again, causing excess stress & tension leading to tighter muscles, leading to ischemia (reduced blood flow) then hypoxia (reduced oxygen) which usually leads to pain.
Which is why our therapies prefer to deal with the BodyMind as a whole, not just the body OR the mind, or just a body part. And emotional* states are the BRIDGE between Body & Mind.
* E-Motion: E is to Bring forth, Motion is Action. … So emotion is that which brings forth action. … If our action gets suppressed or stopped, it is often the mind — usually the subconscious — that gets in the way. OR, if the body won’t or can’t do what the mind wants it to do, that can lead to self-doubt or self-repression, or even depression.
And of course, when your out of balance & overstressed muscles are pulling you down & out of postural alignment, it’s more difficult to “feel good” about yourself.
Yet it is amazing how quickly one feels better and spontaneously gains more upright & energized STATURE when those out-of-balance and overstressed, too tight muscles stop pulling us “down & out.”
And STATURE is How You Show Up to other people in your world. Better Posture can lead to, or even IS, Better Stature.
I’ve had older people, 83 and 94 years old (for two examples), who were bent over and slouched forward about 30 degrees when they walked in the door. (That’s quite a lot!) Yet in both cases, after they participated in a 3-hour DSL Edgework session, they walked OUT the door standing straight up and down!
HINT: They both had over-shortened abdominal & hamstring muscles. Their slouching was NOT due to “weak back muscles.” It was an over-contracted & over-shortened abdominal wall as well as hamstrings with some over-shortened gluteals, as well.
YET … in Order for YOU to GET that Self-Control, to GET Maximum Ability to Let-Go of your tension & stress, there ARE several “Myth-Conceptions” about how Nerves, Muscles, Fascia & Pain — and the Body in General — Operate. I believe these myth-conceptions can get in the way of effective therapy, and need to be cleared up to achieve the above described results most “Effecticiently.” * …
We’ll be talking about those myth-conceptions in a bit.
* Effecticient = Effective + Efficient …
and they should happen at the same time!
Too Many People …
including MANY Health Care Practitioners AND Physicians, Do NOT Fully Appreciate or Understand How The Muscle System Works, nor all the Many & Various Problems Excessively “Tight Muscles” Can Cause or Contribute to.
Muscles Are Kind of a Big Deal.
Yet as I will describe further below, there are Therapists & Physicians who really don’t realize just how much tight muscles — C.E.M.&.N.T. — can cause so many problems.
I spent six months attending a massage school back in 2015. (THAT is an entire story on its own!) They had a reputation for being one of THE most therapeutically oriented schools in the country. I was troubled, even shocked, how little the school taught the massage students what the possibilities were with their therapeutic skills, let alone how to DO it!
Over the last decade, I’ve had conversations with recently graduated massage school students who I asked how they would evaluate & treat a problem I had in my shoulder and arm. They told me they had NO IDEA! They had been taught a lot of various massage techniques, but little or no insight on how to develop a treatment strategy.
That has troubled me to no end, to tell the truth. So I feel like it is part of my Life’s Work & Mission to DO something about that! SO … maybe you too will want to work on upgrading the knowledge, skills, & insights necessary to be Superior Musculo-Fascial Therapists. And provide the possible results to a much larger population of Clients or Patients.
I’m Hoping You’ll JOIN me in an Exploration of
How the Neuro-Musculo-Fascial System Works
Having had experience with many different bodyworkers, David’s technique is certainly unique. There are levels of healing he achieves I’ve never seen before. This is clearly a result of a vast knowledge of anatomy & physiology combined with decades of hands-on experience.
~ Dr. John Bordiuk
Nutritional M.D. & Yoga Teacher
Inner Balance Med, Wellesley, MA
I have worked with many soft tissue therapists over the years. David Scott Lynn is the only one educated and skilled enough to do what I want with full confidence that the job will be done. My patients definitely feel the difference.
~ Dr. Gary Fujinami
Doctor of Chiropractic
East-West Chiropractic & Acupuncture Center
BUT, What’s Causing the Problems in the First Place? … Does YOUR BodyMind Have Too Much C.E.M.&.N.T.?
Yes, I’m repeating myself here, but … Many Years Ago … I worked with one of the Leading Gurus in the neuro-musculo-fascial therapy profession. He used to teach that “trigger points are the root cause of pain.”
My question to him was, well, WHAT causes the Trigger Points?
Especially since trigger points exist mainly in areas where the muscle tissues seem to have “hard nodules,” or “knots” in the fibers of the muscle?
Once Again …
➣ Is It Possible … that the Primary Cause of many & various Problems we humans have with our musculo-skeletal, neuro-muscular, myo-fascial & joint systems is, basically … TIGHT MUSCLES? … More Precisely, C.E.M.&.N.T.? ( short for
Chronic, Excess Muscle & Nerve TENSION & STRESS
and Negative Habit Patterns)
We at DSL Edgework consider C.E.M.&.N.T. to be THE Primary “Thing” we are addressing in our Therapy Methods.
How “MYTH-Conceptions” on Massage, Bodywork, Yoga & other forms of “Muscle Therapy” REDUCE Results from Therapy
Over the 40-plus years I’ve been in private practice, first as a yoga teacher and then a Massage / Bodywork Therapist combined with Yoga Therapy, I’ve always felt first and foremost is the importance of the Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians:
That Being, First, Do NO Harm
Harm can be actually physically or mentally hurting someone. Yet on more subtle levels, Clients & Patients (CPs) can be misled about what therapies can DO, or do NOT do.
“Harm” could mean spending a lot of time or money on things that do not really, or ever, address their real needs. Or modalities being applied in ways that are counterproductive.
Now, I’ve heard and read a lot of “things” from a lot of people, including Clients, Practitioners, and even Doctors. Very often, those “things” do NOT make sense to me. Worse, I think it can cause problems in the mental & physical well-being of healthcare consumers, the Clients. Many things we are told are misleading, or just not true.
FOR EXAMPLES (in NO particular order):
1. Many people (including some therapists) think that “deep tissue” therapy has to HURT to produce good results. They feel as if they have to Dig In Deep & Hard to get to the problems. That the Client just has to learn how to “let go into the sensation,” just Grin & Bear it! … Not True. …
Intensity of sensation [like a “good hurt” that is NOT really “hurting” you] is fine. But if it really IS pain, it can be VERY counterproductive, especially for C/Ps who are highly stressed, traumatized or injured. In such cases, “low-dose” therapy — as in “NO Pain, MORE Gain” — is almost always better. Meaning lower intensities, or Homeopathic doses, of sensation in the therapeutic process.
This is NOT what the Client can “tolerate.” We want them to Like or be Neutral doubt what they are feeling. We want them to INVITE the sensations, not FIGHT the sensations.
And when working with lower intensity (homeopathic doses of sensation), the neuro-musculo-fascia can relax more easily. Therefore, the therapist actually gets in DEEPER, and can stay in the tissue longer, find more “stuff,” and get more done.
2. Many people think therapists have to “go in” and “break up” things like scar tissue, adhesions, cross-linking, crystallized tissues, and so on. … Also (Usually) Not True. … There ARE certain elements of reality about such things as adhesions or cross-linking, much of it at the microscopic level. But it takes a LOT of MICRO to add up to a MACRO Effect.
Very Often, the “hardness” of the tissue is mistaken for some “Thing” stuck in there. The Client wants the therapist to “get that thing out of me.” The therapist thinks The Thing needs to be “broken up.” Yet muscles can get SO tight they LITERALLY FEEL like BONE. For me, when I run into those, I usually work lighter, not harder.
Not triggering pain or resistance is more likely to trigger a Deep Relaxation Response.
Resolving the “hard spots” by “breaking them up” often implies a level of force that in most cases is NOT necessary at all, and often counterproductive. If working with the attitude of “breaking things up,” the tendency is to work in the tissues more like a bulldozer than a humane, sensitive, therapeutic process.
OUR APPROACH is … about RESETTING
While there ARE Clients who CAN tolerate and even benefit from the super-deep tissue approach, there is a smaller group of Clients who cannot tolerate such invasiveness, and must be treated very differently. Problem is, it is often difficult to tell who is really on the table until it is too late. Some people look and sound fine. Yet they are a wreck inside. Sometimes, they don’t even know it.
I’ve talked to a number of Clients who were in so much pain from what a previous therapist did that they never went back. And they never told that therapist about it.
3. Finesse Not Force … Being told that certain tissues ARE bone, not muscles. … Very Misleading. … In reality, EXTREMELY TIGHT muscles CAN contract & tighten so much, and then dehydrate, to the point they DO feel like BONE to the touch. They CAN get that hard, to the point even some DOCTORS believe they are bones. And I’ve had Clients who were told by their physician that something WAS a bone … but after I worked with it, it turned out to be a muscle.
I’ve worked on SOME muscles that literally felt like steel cables. Others were only like dried out rope. Either way, they were VERY tough to get relaxed. Not difficult, just VERY time & patience consuming. …
So if they think it IS a bone, the massage therapist ignores them or the physician even treats them like they are bones. BIG MISTAKE or at least a LOST OPPORTUNITY to bring such excessively contracted tissues back to relaxed normality.
YES, it can take more time. Sometimes a LOT of time. But if they’ve been to many therapists who worked excessively hard but did not get the result, maybe it’s time to use more “finesse” rather than force.
4. Some people, both therapists, physicians, and C/Ps, believe one can effectively “treat the fascia” (be it stretching it or manually applying pressure) independently of the muscle cells. … Almost Always NOT TRUE. …
Depends in part on how you define “fascia” versus “myofascia.” … “Myo-” means muscle. But SOME people define “myofascia” as the fascia that surrounds the muscle, but NOT including the muscle cells. OTHER people define myofascia as the musculo-fascial unit as a whole, including the muscle cells. There is a HUGE difference! So you’ve GOT to define your terms. …
The myofascia [as in musculo-fascial units rather than JUST the fascia] has the muscle cells and fascial sheaths so intimately interwoven as to be inseparable except with a surgeon’s scalpel. You cannot “stretch” to treat the muscle cells without stretching or treating the sheaths, and vice versa. …
If you look at enough anatomy illustrations, especially photographs, you’ll see that the fascia of the muscle — called the Deep Fascia — is one synergistic, interwoven UNIT. However, the outer layers of the “deep fascia” are not deep at all. They are right there, under the surface of the skin.
The Fascial Sheaths converge to become the Tendons, which are the attachment to the bone. Tendons are NOT separate tissues from fascia. They ARE the continuous fascial sheaths.
If the Muscle Cells & Fascial Sheaths have a common attachment (the Tendon), they cannot be stretched independently of each other. And the very thin layer of fascia that encases the muscle belly is so thin, when you put even VERY light pressure on it, you will ALREADY be contacting the muscle cells.
So it is almost impossible to contact & treat the fascial sheaths without also contacting & treating the muscle cells.
In my view of things, it is the muscle cells contracting & shortening, and therefor increasing the water pressure inside of the muscle cell, that cause the fascial sheaths to bulge & harden. As the muscle cells relax, the internal water pressure decreases, and the fascial sheaths soften and the musculo-fascial UNIT lengthens.
(There IS an extremely thin layer of Superficial Fascia that is the “deep” layer of the skin, but that’s NOT MYO-fascia and has little to no structural effect on the movement of joints or bones.)
5. Many practitioners say that “the fascia” will “get tight” and shorten, causing postural distortion, lost range-of-motion, or even more extreme conditions such as scoliosis. … NOT TRUE, UNLESS you recognize the fascia & muscle cells are inseparable. … The fascia, by itself, cannot “pull” or “push” anything anywhere to any great degree.
Most fascia has VERY limited ability to, in its self, lengthen or shorten. That’s because they have very little or no contractile fibers which are the mechanism of a muscle cell shortening. The scientific research shows most fascia is only minimally elastic, and can lengthen only 4 to 6% of its length before it starts to tear. That’s because there is some elasticity in the fascia. But only 4 to 6%. NOT a lot.
Yet muscle cells can lengthen up to 150% of their resting length. But the muscle cell is not much elastic, either. They are organic mechanisms somewhat like ratchets. (I go into this in much more detail in the School of Hard Knots.)
So it is the muscle cells AND the fascia, with their individual, VERY different properties, working together synergistically, that produce the lengthening & shortening, the hardening & softening, of the musculo-fascia unit.
Significant shortening [contraction] or lengthening [relaxation] only happens by way of the musculo-fascial UNITS working TOGETHER as a synergistic, integrated system. …
Fascia CAN dehydrate, causing it to shrink a small amount. But that is far different than what the contractile fibers in muscle cells can do when they contract.
ANYWAY, once you understand how this works, you’ll be better able to evaluate what some people are saying about muscles & fascia and how they work. That will help you develop more accurate & relevant evaluations & treatment strategies.
6. “Tight Muscles” are HEALTHY Muscles. … ONLY up to a point. This is the Hard Body Mythology I’ve written about elsewhere.
Muscles can be VERY strong, yet still be VERY relaxed. … Past a certain level or degree of tightness, very “tight” (contracted) muscles begin to REDUCE the healthy state of the muscles, organs, nerves, and the body as a whole. …
The tighter a muscle is, the less blood & lymph circulation it has, the more dehydrated it becomes, the more pressure it puts on other tissues, and so on. Also, tighter muscles have many of their muscle CELLS — the actin-myosin fibers — “jammed” together (illustration C below), so they cannot shorten any further. So no matter how much “power” they can generate, they cannot “do” anything, and they “show up” as “weak.”
DEEP, Radical Relaxation, combining with Conscious Stretching* & Exercise, meaning strength & endurance along with deep relaxation, is a better combination than just having “tight muscles.”
(PLEASE SEE NOTE on Stretching* below …)
7. The Therapist should KNOW what the C/P is feeling. … Nice Idea, sometimes True, but NOT that Common. … In reality, much of the time, the therapist is working too deep, or too light, often not knowing for sure if their pressure is correct or not. Yet the CLIENT / PATIENT does not, for various reasons, communicate that to the therapist. Even when a C/P is asked to keep the therapist informed of how correct the pressure is, many C/Ps do NOT communicate. …
HOWEVER, there are SOME therapists who believe “they know better” than the C/P and also have control issues. So they get irritated if the C/P says or asks too much. Some of them are outright arrogant about that.
The C/P should, ideally, feel very comfortable about communicating as such, and participating more directly in the therapeutic process. That is part of the educational process the Therapist can impart to the Client. And I call it Participatory Medicine, rather than spectator medicine. Ideally, the Client is participating in the process, not just a passive recipient.
I could go on and on with more “points,” but hopefully, You get the Idea.
PARTICIPATORY Medicine versus spectator medicine:
Getting Clients & Patients on Same Page
with Their Therapists & Physicians
For Maximum Therapeutic Results … it is VERY important that Clients or Patients get correct information from their various practitioners and physicians. It is VERY important that C/Ps are better equipped and educated to communicate with and work with their healthcare providers.
The more knowledgeable the C/P is, the better the therapeutic process will work for everyone. Therapists, Teachers, Trainers, & Physicians who know more in depth about how the neuro-musculo-fascial systems work will have a broader range of knowledge by which to discover and help their Clients & Patients understand and apply that knowledge & insight.
And C/Ps who understand how it all works are better able to communicate and work with the Therapist. More knowledgeable C/Ps (Clients & Patients) and Therapists help each other work better in their performance of the Therapeutic Processes.
Hopefully, this Masterclass On Muscles: The School of Hard Knots, will help YOU accomplish that. … I’ll be telling you more about that program further below.
Here Are More Issues To Consider in Therapy
Muscles That FEEL Like C.E.M.&.N.T. ?
And YES, for a few people, their muscles DO feel a lot like CEMENT, at least to them! For other “victims,” it’s a range of feeling like from “soft rope” to “steel cable.”
And I am NOT exaggerating!
I was a Structural Steel Ironworker — heavy construction — for eight years and I DO know what steel cables feel like! I used to work with them almost every day. And yes, I HAVE HAD a few Clients who had a few muscles that FELT like steel cable, or even BONE. AND, some of them had been TOLD by their Doctors that it WAS a bone! (!!!) …
Frankly, I was amazed the muscle could function AT ALL with all the tension in it. But NO, it was NOT a bone. ( You MIGHT be surprised how many doctors & therapists do NOT know anatomy very well and do NOT have the tactile sensitivity to tell the difference. ) …
But so far, I’ve not met an alleged “steel cable” I could not turn back into a muscle again! Although when they are THAT tight, it can, admittedly, take QUITE a lot of time & work. It can be VERY frustrating for the Client. But sometimes, it requires a lot of time and patience to get the necessary results to happen.
A Critically Important “Thing” …
THIS is one of THE Primary Reasons to KNOW the Physiology & Principles of the body and therapy VERY Well. …
There were many times when treatment strategies did NOT seem to be working. But I could not see or figure out a Good Reason it was NOT working. So, I fell back on TRUST in the Scientific, Physiological Principles. I knew that the Principles & Physiology would eventually start to work once the superficial or overlying resistance had sufficiently reduced. And sure enough, almost EVERY TIME, they DID start to work. …
And that is often with people who’ve been in pain for 20 or 30 years or more. People who’ve “tried everything,” been everywhere, done it all, and almost gave up on ever getting better.
But if I did NOT have Intellectual TRUST in the principles, and could not educate my Clients as to what was most likely happening, either I or They would have given up prematurely.
And Oh Yes, despite all the Yoga I have done, I have had a few of my own muscles that were that extremely tight myself. And when people ask me who works on ME, mostly I say I use yoga plus massage tools to self-treat. My issues were VERY complicated and some of my muscles are VERY tight, but self-treatment is how I got out and stay out of pain.
You Might have heard my Video / Audio on how I handled my 3.5 years of severe pain. That’s a Case Study Class How I Developed my Work, and on How Things Work.
You can learn to do self-treatment as well. Or learn how to work more closely with your Clients, teaching them how to self-treat. …
I’ll talk about that a little further down the page here.
40+ Years Of Treating Soft Tissue Issues
NOW … I’ve spent much of the last forty years working in Private Muscle Therapy Practice treating many people with a VERY wide-range of Soft Tissue Issues. And while I’m rarely surprised anymore, I’m often amazed at how many problems of the human body are the result of “tight muscles” or what I call C.E.M.&.N.T. …
And I spent most of the 1990s traveling across America training muscle therapists in my methods of therapy. I would often visit them at their clinics. So I got to work with their most challenging Clients & Patients. …
That expanded my own education quite a lot.
I feel that Chronic, Excess Muscle & Nerve Tension & Stress is a far more accurate phrase describing what’s causing so many problems. For example, “trigger points” is a relatively vague term. …
But Yes, “tight muscles,” though not as precise as C.E.M.&.N.T. says it pretty well too!
YET, … Could it BE that simple? Could C.E.M.&.N.T. (tight muscles) be a cause of so many things? … Well, Yes. Much of the time, it can. … HOWEVER, many simple things are NOT always easy.
Poor Posture & “Weakness” Caused by “Over-Short”
or “Excessively Tight” Muscles
In Forty Years of Practice, I have NEVER “strengthened” anyone out of pain, lost range of motion, or poor posture. It was ALWAYS about finding the stressed, tense and over-shortened muscles, and helping them to FEEL, Relax, Lengthen, Balance, & Coordinate those muscles.
FOR EXAMPLE: Many people believe their poor posture is the result of “weak muscles” or a “weak core.” But little children have never been to a strength training class. Yet at their earliest days of sitting and walking have a very upright, vertical posture, no “strength training” required.
Proper, effortless great posture is built into the human body by Nature, at birth. …
So WHY is it that later in life, alleged “weakness” would be the cause of poor posture?
ANSWER: Poor posture is very often the result of chronically over-shortened muscles, such as the abdominal, hamstring and gluteal muscles. And very often, a muscle has pain because it’s opposite muscle is too chronically over-shortened, and the first muscle is working WAY too hard to keep the body upright.
So very often, relieving pain in ONE muscle is achieved by releasing the tension in the OPPOSITE muscle.
If a muscle is working hard all the time, it is going to be over-worked, over-stressed, chronically tense, and (usually) over-shortened.
Overly and chronically tense muscles cannot absorb as much water and nutrients or detoxify. Once Again, chronic tension in the muscle reduces blood flow causing ischemia (reduced blood flow), in turn leading to hypoxia (reduced oxygen). Reduced oxygen usually leads to pain.
YET paradoxically … in SOME cases, the over-lengthened muscle is even tighter than the over-shortened muscle.
And By-the-Way, if a muscle cell has too much chronic (more-or-less constant) tension in it, the law of osmosis (fluids move from areas of higher pressure to areas of lower pressure) moves water OUT of the cell and cannot get back INTO the cell unless the pressure is reduced. Water in the wrong place can cause pain too.
SO, no matter how much water you drink, water will NOT flow back into the muscle cells until the internal muscular pressure is reduced (relaxed).
When Muscles Feel or Test as “Weak”
Sorry for the Repetition her, but … A lot of people think they have “weak” abdominals or gluteals. Yet this feeling of “weakness” is more the result of the muscles being “knocked out of action” due to too much contraction [excess tension]. The muscle cells literally get “jammed” inside of themselves and could not contract any more no matter how much more “power” you could deliver to your muscles.
Now, getting SOME people to stand upright in good or even great posture can be VERY simple. Just get their abdominal (or whichever) muscles to relax & lengthen out. As mentioned above, I’ve had people in their 80s and 90s go from bent forward at 30 degrees go to straight upright in a few hours of therapy. (They and their families were shocked!) Yet it took a dozen or so repeat sessions to get them to STAY upright. (For a while, Old Habit Patterns quickly reassert themselves until the CNS & Brain have RESET sufficiently.)
For many people, it is unraveling their years or decades long habit patterns that is the real challenge. Chronic, Excess Tension is a HABIT that can be difficult to give up.
Tight (Spasmed) Muscles, Polo Players, & Acute Pain
And when it comes to ACUTE ( recent, short term ) PAIN, nearly EVERY Client (at VERY least 80% to be conservative) who comes to me is resolved with finding the chronically tight muscle(s) ( C.E.M.&.N.T. ), then helping that Client to LEARN how to FEEL, Relax, Lengthen & Balance the involved muscles.
BUT, nearly everyone I’ve worked with, many from all around America and even other countries, have told me no one had ever worked with them the way I did. A few therapists do a few similar things, but if they ARE out there somewhere, there are not many.
Another Example: Back in the mid-1980s, I was the “Team Bodyworker” for the Oak Brook, Illinois Polo Team, which is where I got my Actute Care Training (self-taught).
Polo players get a lot of injuries, as polo is a VERY rough sport. They would often get injured during a game and think they were out of action for the day. Yet I was almost always able to help relieve their acute pains by finding the muscles that had spasmed, then helping release the spasm (a temporarily … TIGHT MUSCLE! Much pain is from the spasming muscles pulling on the pain sensitive nerves surrounding the joints & bones.)
And the doctors who were also polo players could never figure out what I was doing. … BUT, IT WORKED! … I was always mystified that none of them ever came to me and asked what my methods were.
Metabolic Problems Such As Reflux
Another Example That Even Amazed ME … Back in the mid-90s, my former partner and I had a Client who was in his mid-80s. He had developed REFLUX, where you sometimes cannot hold food from coming back up from the esophagus into the throat. My partner, using my muscle release technique, did ONE treatment on the Client’s abdominal muscles and that stopped the reflux and it did not come back.
The gentleman was all bent forward & down from over-shortened abdominal muscles. Meaning he had pretty bad posture, too. This put a LOT of pressure on his internal digestive organs & lungs. When my partner thoroughly released the Client’s abdominal tension, that took the pressure off the internal organs, including the stomach and esophagus. …
Yes, I was Surprised AND Amazed at THAT one. But it opened my eyes to just how many conditions & symptoms in the human body are, in many cases, caused by C.E.M.&.N.T.!
And, Your Intestines & Blood Vessels Are Muscles Too!
Your intestinal walls are thin layers of muscle as well. For digestion to work, those intestinal muscles must be free to push food through the “tubes” called “intestines.” They must be able to rhythmically contract & relax to produce peristalsis, the action that moves food through the intestines.
Yet those muscles are subject to excess stress & tension too. If they get too tight, that interferes with peristalsis, then digestion. Transit time slows down, and a number of negative conditions can emerge. And for those who do not think you can apply manual pressure to the abdominal organs, well, they need more experience, education, or both.
I could go on and on with who knows how many examples, but hopefully, I think You get the general idea. And you might have seen some of my webpages or videos describing some of my Case Studies with Clients.
SO … What’s The Solution to All This C.E.M.&.N.T. Stuff?
— DEEP, Radical Relaxation —
➣ Is It Possible … that the Remedy or Solution to Excess Tension & Stress is DEEP, “Radical Relaxation” of those Excess Tensions? … And that the road back to pain free movement and great posture can be achieved WITHOUT Pain in Therapy and with NON-complex therapeutic activities?
➣ Is It Possible … that Radical Relaxation can, in many cases, be achieved with simple, LOW-Intensity, No Pain, Conscious Stretching (Physical / Mental Yoga), Self-Treatment with Massage Tools, and/or Treatment from a Partner? …
OR, if you have a Muscle Therapist who treats neuro-muscular or myofascial modalities, you can become more of a Partner with them? … As in Participatory Medicine rather than spectator medicine.
What Is Unique to DSL Edgework? What is different?
DSL Edgework ( formerly known as the DSL Method of Psycho-Muscular Release & Structural Balancing ) and it’s Primary Focus of Therapy is NOT primarily on “fixing” pain or dysfunction, nor all the various “Soft Tissue Issues“ happening in your or your C/Ps BodyMind, causing so much trouble. Those positive results are, in many cases, inevitable BY-PRODUCTS of what we REALLY do …
While we WILL directly address specific musculoskeletal and other issues if you prefer, HERE is what we are REALLY focused on …
Ideally, when we work with your muscles & fascia, or the skin over your muscles, we are NOT primarily focused on “treating” those tissues to “fix” or “repair” or “adjust” them, or “break up” so-called adhesions or “scar tissue,” or other such alleged anomalies. We don’t even think “we” (the therapists) are relaxing your muscles … even if there ARE “hard knots” (“tight muscles”) or otherwise dysfunctional musculo-fascial tissues.
What we ARE doing is applying manual ( hands-on ) pressure or stretching to the various skin, muscle & fascial tissues and joints in a way that sends NERVE SIGNALS from the periphery (mostly skin, muscles, * fascia) of your Body into your Central Nervous System ( CNS ) and up to the three Primary Levels of your Brain. Done properly, this begins to “RESET” your CNS & Brain, reducing or eliminating pain & dysfunction, bringing you back toward normal function.
YOUR BodyMind is making the changes to your muscles, NOT your Therapist. This is often happening at the un- or non-conscious levels, but is enhanced if you become more directly and consciously invested in the process with Mindfulness.
Your Therapist is manually communicating with your tissues in a way that sends the Right Signals into your system, signals working WITH your nervous system, not against. But YOUR body and YOUR mind are making the actual changes, not Your Therapist. You are NOT just a passive recipient of therapy. You are an Active Participant, a Co-Creator, of your therapy.
You might not be doing anything outwardly, but ideally, you are internally investing your attention into the inner process.
Learning about and understanding this more “wholistic” and “self-responsible” approach to how your body works, how it breaks down, and how to repair problems, how to best relieve the “hard knots” or “tight muscles,” can be an invaluable source of knowledge for YOU, your Family and your Friends …
OR, if you are a Health Care Practitioner, you will have an “Edge,” hopefully a Leading Edge, with helping Your Prospects and Clients or Patients.
IMPORTANT NOTE: There are many great and effective therapists and therapies out there. Many people get great results from the various available modalities. That said, DSL Edgework, although the principles & practices — generally speaking — work for everyone, is designed primarily for those people who have “been everywhere, tried everything,” and did not get the results they were looking for.
The people I work with are more likely to be more highly traumatized, more injured, more highly stressed than other people. Generally speaking, DSL Edgework is more applicable to long-term, chronic, complex pain & dysfunction that has lasted many years, even decades. We are especially relevant for people who are scheduled for surgery, but would prefer to NOT have the surgery.
We DO perform Acute Care on occasion, but not nearly as often.
The Overall Trick is to NOT do things that risk triggering negative reactions in the Client’s BodyMind, which in many cases are unconscious and the reactions do not show up till long after the session ends, sometimes hours, days or weeks.
And with our Myo-Structural approach, when working “where the pain is” and the pain does not go away or keeps coming back, we are good at finding out where the problems are REALLY coming from.
“Where” The True Source is is sometimes quite different from where the pain is. (I have a BUNCH of stories on THAT.)
MY MISSION is to help more people like YOU learn and develop more Mastery Over Their BodyMind.
SO … I have a Program for You…
The School of Hard Knots
— A Masterclass —
This is a FIRST TIME Pilot or Beta Program. I need YOUR help in developing it to be as relevant for as many people as possible. So I need INPUT, Suggestions, Feedback, from people like YOU who will help me co-create this FIRST Masterclass on Muscles (and Nerves & Fascia).
In the 1990s, I traveled much of the country training therapists in my form of neuro-musculo-fascial therapy (The DSL Method, which I developed beginning in the late 1980s.). I received much excellent feedback on my teaching. Yet I believe Educated Clients get MUCH better results with their Therapists, and Therapists help more people with more problems when they have more fundamental, medically-based knowledge & INSIGHT into how their body really works.
Though I’ve been in private practice since 1981, I actually went through a highly rated, very therapeutically oriented, 750-hour massage school training in 2015. (I did so to get a massage license in Arizona, where NONE of my extensive past experience counted for anything with The State Licensing Board!)
Frankly, I was APPALLED at how much they did NOT teach us. Things I thought were very basic. Fundamental things I taught in my training programs way back in the 1990s. …
And I have often in recent years asked a recent graduate of various massage schools how they would treat a particular condition. Yet they told me they had not been given enough training to know how to evaluate what needed to be done. They only knew routines of technique to deliver.
So I’m working to DO something about THAT problem! There are things I think should be taught in ALL massage schools. But, based on my conversations with many people across the country, and my own direct experience, are NOT taught.
YET … while I have a pretty good idea of what I want to teach (you can see my tentative outline below) it’s FAR more important I address and include the direct needs of the people who take the program. …
YOU can help me do that.
NOTE: When I was developing my system of therapy back in the 1980s, I kept hearing from people what their complaints were about their Therapists or Doctors. One of my main objectives was and is to rectify some of those complaints.
As an Experiment, I am offering the same program to the General Public as I am to Therapists, Trainers & Physicians. When I was traveling the country, teaching to groups of therapists AND consumers, I had a reputation for distilling down complex, physiological “stuff” to simple — yet NOT “dumbed down” — concepts any reasonably intelligent and motivated person could understand. …
I ALSO believe Therapists & Physicians need to hear what Clients & Patients are thinking, feeling & saying, to be able to better help them. … So, I believe this “experiment” of bringing Therapists and Clients together can help “bridge the gaps” between Health Care Practitioners and The People They SERVE.
Anyway, I’m offering this Pilot or Beta Program, the Masterclass on Muscles, at a ridiculously low price if you’ll participate in the Co-Creation of the Masterclass.
YOUR MISSION, Should You Decide to Accept it …
(of the several tabs below, please select the one that most describes YOU. OR, if you have some time, read them ALL!
You might find it expands your perspectives.)
Effecticient = Effective + Efficient …
because they should arrive together!
NOTE: At this time, this is a Pilot or Beta Program for the School of Hard Knots. One thing we’ll be testing is if there are enough people in each of the above categories to merit creating specifically targeted and expanded programs for any or all specific groups. … If that happens, YOU will have Repeat Access to the new, expanded program of your choice.
Please GO TO the Content & Structure Page
to see the DETAILS of the Program
⬇︎OR, Sign Up for the Program Right Here⬇︎