:: Class 01 - Feet - Their influence on posterior Sen Lines and body well-being
by Diego Marquete
“Your feet of arched bone,
your hard little feet.
I know that they support you,
and that your sweet weight
rises upon them.”
In using these tender words to refer to a body structure of his beloved, Neruda is right when he affirms that her feet support the weight of her body. To accomplish that, feet demand hard work from postural muscles and tensile strength in the myofascial tissues.
In Thailand, feet are given great importance because of their connection to the Earth, from which they get the vital energy used in daily physical, mental and psychospiritual functions. It is in the sole of the foot that Kalathari – one of the main Sen lines according to the Thai system – branches out into five lines, each one going towards one of the toes, in a way similar to what occurs in the plantar fascia when we analyze the foot from an anatomical perspective.
In the initial sequence of Thai massage taught by my school, when we work the four lines on the dorsum of the foot and make circular movements with our fingers on its side, we are also working its lateral band, a connective tissue of great importance which helps support the foot structure and its arches.
The stimulus on the five lines of the foot and on its lateral band influences the tissues above, alongside the Sen Kalathari line, and also along other“meridians”of the Thai system, such as the Ittha and Pingkhala posture lines, which meet the Kalathari line near the knee and are greatly influenced by the foot.
The Ittha and Pingkhala lines come down alongside the spine, go around the knee posteriorly and go up the front of the thigh. It is a line influenced by our posture and when in harmony it allows the spine to extend and the back to be pain-free.
When a baby is born, its spine is flexed. Gradually muscles become stronger and the back lines shorten so that the baby is able to extend its spine. It is worth remembering that Ittha and Pingkhala are linked to the emotion of fear and it is interesting to note that losing fear is analogous to rising up.
Stress, whether good or bad, tends to be transmitted to the feet and to the plantar surface of the foot (sole). The sole of the foot is a region that is commonly related to problems such as: tight hamstrings, lumbar lordosis and even hyperextension of the posterior cervical vertebrae. Repetitive tension in the feet can cause problems such as the onset of an inflammation known as plantar fasciitis. When treating tense muscles in the foot, one must include work on the lateral band, the plantar fascia or five lines and the calcaneal tendon which connects to the fascia in the calcaneus region. Treating other areas such as the cervical and lumbar regions and the hamstrings can affect the health of the foot. Likewise, treating the foot will affect the rest of the body. I am not talking here about reflex points (which will be addressed in another text) or about innervations in the foot in relation to organs and other muscle groups, but about the connection between the sole of the foot and its influence on the line that runs down the posterior part of the body.
To stimulate posture as well as relieve tension in the feet, knees, hip, lumbar area, back and suboccipital muscles, the therapist can follow the basic steps of Thai massage, focusing on:
*1. releasing the plantar fascia including the foot lateral band - which is accomplished by working not only the five lines and four lines in the sequence of Thai massage, but also executing the simple PP1;
*2. releasing the calcaneal tendon, the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles -- which is done even in the PP1;
*3. mobilizing the subtalar joint by moving the calcaneus forward in the tarsus (foot) -- which is done by performing the inversion and eversion maneuvers (accomplished even when we execute the well-known PP1 in our courses).
By executing the PP1, working the five lines, the four lines of the foot, and performing the inversion and eversion maneuvers, we treat the plantar fascia, the foot lateral band, the subtalar joint, the calcaneal tendon, and the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, thus releasing tension in the foot, structure Neruda contemplated in his beloved. The effects of this work are easily felt throughout the posterior part of the body and influence the knee and the hip mainly due to the decrease of tension in the calf and in the posterior thigh. One will also feel relief in the lumbar area, back and even occipital region, where many headaches originate. Neruda was right when he contemplated the feet so tenderly, for in them resides the key to treat a number of disfunctions.
Sen Ittha e Pinghala - Linhas posturais que são influenciadas pelo alinhamento dos pés, tônus da planta do pé e estado das articulações seja do tornozelo bem como joelho, quadril e cervicais.
Sen Kalathari . Parte do umbigo para os ombros e desce até as mãos em cinco linhas.
Do umbigo também parte para os pés onde se ramifica em cinco linhas cada uma indo para um dos dedos.
PP1 - Movimento básico na sequência de thai massagem. Pressões palmares com ambas as mãos ao mesmo tempo uma em cada um dos pés em três pontos do pé: 1.Retro-pé (próximo calcanhar e rente ao maléolo) - 2.médio-pé (meio do pé) e 3.ante-pé, abaixo dos dedos e volta . 1 - 2 -3 -2 -1
Após isto terapeuta realiza pressões nos mesmos pontos porém intercalando. Primeiro um lado depois o outro e assim sobe pela perna, circula joelho e sobe até a coxa. Retorna com as pressões intercaladas para cada lado e novamente realiza pressões intercaladas no pé e finaliza com pressões simultâneas em ambos os pés 1 - 2 -3 -2 -1
Além do movimentto de PP1 nopé trabalhar a articulação subtalar, outro movimento como o de inversão e eversão também libera esta articulação influenciando os músculos posturais da parte posterior do corpo. O resultado desta atuação no pé é a melhora da postura, relaxamento da musculatura e bem-estar geral.