What are myofascial meridians? Why should you care?

The Superficial Back Line,
a page from  Anatomy Trains by Tom Meyers

Myofascial meridians are lines of pull, linked strings of muscle and connective tissue. Loads of force are distributed throughout the human body via these lines. These lines facilitate movement and provide stability to the body.

The human body has 12 meridians. These lines run up and down the back of the body, the front of the body, the sides of the body, deep within the body, on the front and back of the arms. They also spiral like a helix from one side of the body to the other.

So what?

Understanding myofascial meridians expands our understanding of the human body, how it functions, and how it can be rehabilitated.

Let's go to the gym to get a sense of how this idea might influence how we exercise. If we go to the weight machines we can sit down at a machine designed to work the hamstrings, load it up with weights, and work out that muscle.

If we take meridians into account, though, we'd recognize that focusing purely on the hamstring will neglect the fascia and other muscles within the Superficial Back Line, where it resides. This line of muscles runs all the way from the toes up the back of the legs, and up the sacrum. It includes the back extensors and travels all the way up the back of the skull, finally ending at the eyebrows.

It is important that the muscles and fascia surrounding the hamstring is strengthened as well. We take a risk if we strengthen just one muscle in the line without properly strengthening the others, because the result over time will be imbalance, compensation, and injury.

So what should you do? Think of your body not in segments, but as a whole structure, whereby strengthening one part will effect the others. Seek activities that are functional, and try classes like yoga and Pilates that recognize these lines of pull and strengthen muscles groups rather than individual muscles.

Now go to it!

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