Myofascial Mobility with Rhythm, Timing and Amplitude

This video is one of the most effective underlying principles that we use to help people improve their mobility, especially when over-protective or hyper vigilant due to pain.

Using strategic movement focused on rhythm and timing with a controlled amplitude can have a profound influence on myofascial mobility.

This is not a substitute for or superior to other forms of addressing ROM and/or mobility. It is an approach to call upon, early in your intervention that may open some other opportunities for you.

This is a classic example of our “ask don’t tell” approach within the PFMS.

If nothing else, enjoy the struggle I have multiple times in this video with getting the word “expiration” to come out of my mouth 🙂

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2 Responses to “Myofascial Mobility with Rhythm, Timing and Amplitude”

  1. Phil Earnhardt says:

    This video is tremendous. Anthony has identified general principles which have broad applicability to human movement. Engagement of the parasympathetic nervous system — systematic ways of engaging our relaxation reflex — is invaluable to all. I would love to see scientific studies tracking correlation between a small set of such exercises and blood pressure.

    In my score card, the “not too small” of the movements is to ensure an oscillating movement pattern which has storage and release of mechanical (i.e., tensional) energy in the cycle. If the movements are too small, it’s likely for the CNS to be directly guiding every segment of the movement. We must allow our tissues to “go along for the ride”. Our bodies need elastic recoil/reactance to be part of the movement.

    The “not too large” is about ensuring that the exercise itself does not cause the CNS to clamp down on the movement. Anthony’s pantomime of jerkily rocking a baby @1:32 is perfect: you can see the co-contraction required to stop his arm movement. Just like the small movements, the CNS must actively drive the cycle of movement. Maximizing the reactance happens in the sweet spot between the two extremes.

    Anthony is applying the principle of mechanical impedance to our musculoskeletal network. Impedance is a frequency-dependent and phase-dependent model developed by Oliver Heaviside about 130 years ago. He used the model to describe the behavior of electrical networks, but he clearly understood the applicability of the model to mechanical systems. Heaviside’s vocabulary is instructive: . I particularly like his evocative terms “reluctance” and “susceptance”. Heaviside’s flipping between mechanical and electrical systems can be found in the paper “Oliver Heaviside: A first-rate oddity” (2012; ):

    “The extra inductance, he explained, would help carry the waves along in much the same way that loading a clothesline with birdshot makes it better able to convey transverse waves. He later joked that his name and inductive loading were ‘naturally and providentially connected. You heavify a line by the process of heavification.’ Whatever one called it, inductive loading offered a relatively cheap and easy way to improve telephone transmission, and AT&T and other companies later used it with great success.”

    In general, anyone fluent with the idea of impedance knows a bit about its applicability to both mechanics and electronics.

    In Heaviside’s world, “impedance matching” was crucial to have electrical signals transmitted efficiently over telephone lines. In our structural network, “impedance matching” is crucial to transmit forces and minimize reverberation — wasted energy that can cause tissue damage. A “high impedance” is the natural protective mechanism in our bodies; lowering the impedance is accomplished though that parasympathetic response. Our CNS is constantly tuning the “impedance matching” of our tensional network, and we can positively influence that conversation.

    Anthony is doing great work; I’m trying to name what he’s doing. Robotics researchers have observed that co-contraction of agonist/antagonist pairs in humans creates rigidity; they use mechanical impedance principles to develop the controllers for “soft” robots. In his book “Scale” (2017), Geoffrey West has a great discussion applying the impedance model to our arterial network. His discussion of minimizing reverberation/back-flow was particularly instructive.
    One thing is certain: what Anthony is demonstrating cannot be explained in models with levers and simple machines. My hope is that we can find a common foundation for understanding and communicating these ideas.

    • Phil, I’m always so grateful for your kind words but more importantly your incredible depth of resources you share for all of us, both here and on Facebook.

      Trying to keep up with all the reading is the challenge!:)

      Thank you again!

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