Last week’s AMTA National Convention in Portland, Oregon, was as eventful as promised. It is always great to meet all the massage therapists who come from far and wide to network and learn new skills. If you were in attendance, you might have seen a few of the massage demos I offered at the BIOTONE booth, including Joint Mobilization, Tools Assisted Therapy, Fascial Matrix, and Wraps for Chronic Pain Clients.
Participants were particularly interested in the Joint Mobilization technique I demoed. I showed therapists how to use a passive range of motion to reduce adhesions and increase motion range. The key to the technique I use is understanding the Instantaneous Axis of Rotation (IAR). The IAR changes as a joint is moved through planes of motion. To ensure that a joint is moved in all three planes of motion to its full degree of the possible range, you rotate the limb as you move it through each plane. For example, if a client is lying supine with a straight leg while holding the knee in a locked position, the therapist would rotate the entire leg at the hip joint.
Next, while maintaining a straight leg, raise the client’s heel off the table an inch (hip flexion in the sagittal plane) and once again rotate the entire leg at the hip joint. Continue moving the leg in the sagittal plane an inch at a time, stopping to rotate the leg at each point's hip joint. Once complete, bend the client’s leg and work the leg back to the table an inch at a time, stopping to rotate the hip joint at each point.
Once this movement is complete, begin to abduct the client’s straight leg again one inch at a time, stopping to rotate the hip joint at each point. At the end range of abduction, bend the client’s leg at the knee and adduct it, repeating the steps until the leg is back at the starting position. Complete the same steps while moving the client's bent leg through circumduction. To complete the ROM at the hip, you would need to flip the client into a prone position and repeat the leg's steps into extension. Make sure to take the movements to the soft end feel of the joint, but no further. Your intent isn’t to stretch the joint but to move it through its range completely.
Give it a try and let us know what you think about the technique!
Tomorrow I will be heading to chilly Burlington, Canada, to represent BIOTONE at the Canadian Massage Conference. I will be teaching 2 of my favorite classes, The Fascial Matrix: Head Forward Postures and Wraps for Chronic Pain Clients, at the conference. Both of these classes offer a unique approach to attendees, so be sure to check them out if you are headed that way! I am also excited to be filming The Fascial Matrix class for the Canadian Massage Conference’s online learning library. We will be sure to let you know when it is available online for CE credit.