1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

'Fascia-nating' Love: A Spiral Unwinding

You might not recognize it as such, but Michelangelo's statue of David is probably the best known spiral in the world. Don't feel bad if you don't see it at first. I didn't either until last week when I participated in a 48-hour certification course for myofascial massage therapy. (In case you're wondering, the participants wore clothing for the lectures as well as demonstrations.)

Now I can see that David's body, besides its obvious artistic appeal, has a clockwise spiral orientation, common to about 70% of people. The left hip has an anterior and inferior placement. And the right leg is more outwardly or laterally rotated, which forces it to bear about 65% of the body's weight. Look at his feet. The weight distribution there isn't exactly optimal. His left shoulder is elevated more than his right one. That posture tends to compress the lateral (outside) edge of his right ribcage. Breathing could be challenged, if David were alive at this point.

Over time, this clockwise postural stance gets set in stone, so to speak, in the human body as well. Fascia maintains its contractility or ability to shorten, but its elasticity naturally decreases over time. We dry out as we age. Hydration helps some. Massage therapy helps even more. The static gel state of fascia is warmed by massage and becomes more fluid and dynamic by a property known as thixotropy. Muscle tension is released, and the body functions more effectively as the spiral unwinds a little. What's not to love about that prospect?


  1. Ahh, David. Ahh, massage therapy... It's been too long since I've had a massage, and I'm feeling somewhat dried out. LOL! I actually did know about the spiral, but I took art history in college. Best w/the new skill! :o) <3

  2. Wow!! That was over MY head! But sounds pretty impressive. Now I'm going to be watching how people stand!! Happy Valentine's Day, Ingrid.

  3. Sounds like you are so keen on wholesome dietary therapy or massage therapy. I remember having a massage while in Bali or in Phuket,Thailand. At first I felt a bit nervous because I had never got a massage, but with olive oil, filled with aroma, I felt quite refreshed when it was over.
    I learned lymph massage was quite effective.
    Stay healthy, w2w!

  4. Hi W2W .. I should be over in Florida - my left leg is distinctly odd - but I must ask about this clockwise spiral orientation - pretend I'm knowledgeable! Very interesting - and on looking at your link .. I see it's the Rolf technique - now I've seen that practised here. May have a look into it ..

    Very interesting and I shall definitely think of spirals in a different manner ... not sure where my thought process will be - but ne-er mind .. very informative post - thanks .. cheers Hilary

  5. Leigh, thanks! Now don't put off getting that massage. I read somewhere that Bob Hope got a massage every day for many years, and he lived into his 90s, healthy, fit, and full of wit.

    Karen, one of the things we were taught in this class was to guide the client into somatic awareness, using a 5-point stance. I'll probably talk about it in a future post. It makes you keenly aware of the "sticking points" in your own postural alignment, before and after the massage. The after-massage effects are usually quite dramatic. Happy V-day to you too!

    CissB, next time you're in FL you'll have to stop by and book an appointment. I'm thinking about offering a special discount to blogger friends.

    Cosmos, I am interested in just about anything health-related. I hope you continue to receive massage. Once you find a good therapist, you will probably want to receive it as often as possible. It's wonderful for pain and stress relief.

    Ms. Hilary, the techniques we learned were based on Rolfing but take a slightly different approach, or should I say angle? Rolfing takes a perpendicular aim at the body tissues, while the myofascial massage I learned lessens the angle to 45 degrees. It's quite effective but not as painful to receive (especially for first-time clients) as the Rolf method. I'm very glad that you liked the post. It's probably a topic I'll revisit here now and then. Thank you!

  6. Sounds like I could use some massage therapy!

    Seeing this photo reminds me of seeing 'David' in person during my college years. I don't know much about art, but this sculpture was breathtaking.

  7. hello W2W..Thas a new info..I have seen this idol in so many pictures..But now only I know its peculiarity..the artist is truly great..isn't him?

  8. Good luck! I hadn't realized Michelangelo was so far ahead of his time. :)

  9. Lucky you, Rose, to see the statue in person. I probably would have blushed at first but would have had lead feet when told to move along:)

    Yes, Tomz. Michelangelo was truly great. I didn't realize how dedicated he was to his art until I read The Agony and the Ecstasy.

    TB, I think Michelangelo paid more attention to human structure and function than most doctors do these days. Too many doorknob grabbers and not enough patient observers in our healthcare system.

  10. Great post. Big fan of massages. Hub runs marathons and heads for the massage tent right after. Important to keep those muscles working properly.

  11. I could stare at David all day!!! Hey...I married one! LOL!!!