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ABSTRACT: Pandiculation is the involuntary stretching of the soft tissues, which occurs in most animal species and is associated with transitions between cyclic biological behaviors, especially the sleep-wake rhythm (Walusinski, 2006). Yawning is considered a special case of pandiculation that affects the musculature of the mouth, respiratory system and upper spine (Baenninger, 1997). When, as often happens, yawning occurs simultaneously with pandiculation in other body regions (Bertolini and Gessa, 1981; Lehmann, 1979; Urba-Holmgren et al., 1977) the combined behavior is referred to as the stretch-yawning syndrome (SYS). SYS has been associated with the arousal function, as it seems to reset the central nervous system to the waking state after a period of sleep and prepare the animal to respond to environmental stimuli (Walusinski, 2006). This paper explores the hypothesis that the SYS might also have an auto-regulatory role regarding the locomotor system: to maintain the animal's ability to express coordinated and integrated movement by regularly restoring and resetting the structural and functional equilibrium of the myofascial system. It is now recognized that the myofascial system is integrative, linking body parts, as the force of a muscle is transmitted via the fascial structures well beyond the tendonous attachments of the muscle itself (Huijing and Jaspers, 2005). It is argued here that pandiculation might preserve the integrative role of the myofascial system by (a) developing and maintaining appropriate physiological fascial interconnections and (b) modulating the pre-stress state of the myofascial system by regularly activating the tonic musculature. The ideas presented here initially arose from clinical observations during the practice of a manual therapy called Muscular Repositioning (MR) (Bertolucci, 2008; Bertolucci and Kozasa, 2010a; Bertolucci, 2010b). These observations were supplemented by a review of the literature on the subject. A possible link between MR and SYS is presented: The neural reflexes characteristically evoked through MR are reminiscent of SYS, which both suggests that MR might stimulate parts of the SYS reaction, and also points to one of MR's possible mechanisms of action.
Dataset: Supplementary Material
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ABSTRACT: Muscle Repositioning (MR) is a new style of myofascial release that elicits involuntary motor reactions detectable by electromyography. This article* describes the principal theoretical and practical concepts of MR, and summarizes a workshop presented October 31, 2009, after the Second International Fascia Research Congress, held at Vrije Universitiet, Amsterdam. The manual mechanical input of MR integrates the client’s body segments into a block, which is evident as a result of the diagnostic manual oscillations the practitioner imparts to the client’s body. Segmental integration is achieved when the client’s body responds as a unit to the oscillatory assessment. It appears that manually sustaining the condition of segmental integration evokes involuntary muscle reactions, which reactions might correspond to mechanisms that maintain homeostasis, such as pandiculation. It might be that these reactions are part of the MR mechanism of action and underlie its clinically observed efficacy in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. For the practitioner and the client alike, segmental integration provides unique sensations. In teaching MR, these paired sensations can be used as kinesthetic feedback resources, because quality of touch can be guided by the client’s reported sensations, which should match the practitioner’s sensations. Another form of feedback with respect to quality of touch is the visually discernable degree of segmental integration. Finally, because the involuntary motor activity elicited by the MR touch can be objectively monitored through electromyography and possibly other instrumented measurements, the MR approach might yield objectivity, precision, and reproducibility—features seldom found in manual therapies.
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ABSTRACT: The clinical observation of involuntary motor activity during application of a particular style of myofascial release (Muscle Repositioning-MR) has led to the hypothesis that this technique might evoke neurological reactions. Preliminary EMG recordings presented here show involuntary tonic cervical erector action during MR. Involuntary eye movements were also observed. This article presents these experimental data, along with clinical observations during the application of MR in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. The author hypothesizes that MR might constitute a novel manual technique: it produces unique palpatory sensations for the practitioner (e.g., a sense of firmness to the touch and the integration of bodily segments into a single block) that correspond to unique sensory experiences for the client. The article raises the possibility that MR's specific sensory input might activate the central nervous system, thus eliciting neural reactions. These reactions, in turn, might be related to the technique's efficacy. As the EMG objectively measures reactions contemporaneous with subjective palpatory phenomena, MR potentially brings the objective and subjective into congruence. EMG monitoring of touch could serve as an objective criterion in the development of treatment protocols, as well as a feedback tool for teaching. Greater objectivity, precision and reproducibility are all possible outcomes of such an approach. The author believes that MR can be used in various therapeutic settings--either as the principal approach, or as an adjunct to a variety of other approaches.