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60 minutes of music designed for massage
Mixed by David McQuillan

This mix starts with some fairly upbeat music, then eases into deep ambience before picking up the tempo again, all over a 60 minute period.  It’s designed to match the psycho-emotional state of your client during a one hour relaxation massage. This is the first of many albums of this nature.

The mix kicks of with Delphzac’s mellow & funky Communique, before drifting off into the depths of dub with Astoe.  Nest’s Charlotte continues to take us deeper as piano drifts over luscious ambience. Deep meditative bells are followed by Winds within dunes, E-ritual’s wonderful track.  A  Rainy morning leads to a diving trip under the water.  Rupert Falsch from Germany finally picks us up and brings us back to shore with Fehlerengel. (keindesign_raum).  Then Crisposa really begins to rouse our client with the sparkling, lifting strains of Algo Cian.  By the time Modul’s playing something a little more upbeat, you’ll probably be leaving your client to get up off the table and get back to their day.

The recording is released under the creative commons attribution license 3.0.  This means that you’re free to copy it and distribute it as much as you want as long as you give attribution to me.

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I’ve come across some interesting research recently which illustrates some of the relationships between the connective tissue (or fascia) and the energetic transport systems of the body (namely the acupuncture meridians and the chakra system).

Acupuncture meridians

Langevin & Yandow found that most acupuncture points and meridians are located in areas where planes of fascia merge together (Langevin & Yandow, 2002).  Stimulation of acupuncture points should therefore create a stimulus which is propagated through multiple fascial planes.  Given the importance that many massage therapists are giving to fascial release work these days, working on and around the acupuncture points could be expected to provide maximal effect.

Measurement of the electrical conductance of acupuncture points has typically shown conductance of 10 to 100 times more than the surrounding skin.  It’s also been shown that acupuncture meridians are able to propagate electricity (Tiller, 1973; Reichmannis et al, 1976; Becker, 1990 as cited in Ho & Knight, 2008).


So how does this electrical conduction occur?


Sasaki found that collagen fibres bind water to them in particular forms (1984 as cited in Ho & Knight, 2008).

Collagen fibres

This “bound water” is then able to conduct electrical charge (Sasaki, 1984 as cited in Ho & Knight, 2008). It has been estimated that conductivity in the direction of the fibre must be at least one hundred times that of conduction across the fibre (Pethig, 1996 as cited in Ho & Knight, 2008). Conductivity increases with the water content of the collagen (Ho & Knight, 2008). Collagen aligns with lines of stress in the body, which typically run within the same planes as the acupuncture lines, so it is not improbable to suppose that the energy of acupuncture is conducted along lines run through collagen fibres.

How can one explain the increased conductivity of acupuncture points when compared to other points along the meridian?

Ho and Knight have suggested that…..

“acupuncture points typically exhibit low electrical resistances compared with the surrounding skin, and may therefore correspond to singularities or gaps between collagen fibres, or where collagen fibres are oriented at right angles to the dermal layer”  (2008).

Energetic anatomy of the chakra system

Interestingly, this is exactly what we would expect based on modern and traditional understandings of the chakra system and the acupuncture system.   Both chakras and acupuncture points are believed to act as energetic wheels or vortices which receive energy from the external environment.  Acupuncture points are held to have a similar structure to chakras, but to be smaller in size.  This energy is then said to be propagated through internal channels within the body.  The image to the right illustrates the energetic anatomy of the chakra system as described by Barbara Brennan (1993), and many other authorities.  Notice how the second suggestion of Ho and Knight (2008) is very consistent with this depiction of energetic anatomy.

Energy and connective tissue

Fascia has a liquid-crystalline structure (Ho et al, 1996; Ho, 1997a as cited in Ho & Knight, 2008).  In a liquid crystal the structure is fluid, but all of the molecules are aligned in relation to each other by bio-molecular forces.  One of the interesting properties of liquid crystals is that a range of forces can lead to changes in the orientation of molecules or phase changes.  When a liquid crystal changes from one phase to another, the level of order in the crystal increases or decreases, implying that the level of energy stored in the crystal also changes.

Mechanical force applied to the connective tissue has been shown to produce a piezo-electric effect (Turchaninov, 2001).  In a massage context, compression or shear forces are transduced into electrical energy.  This electric energy should be able to travel along collagenous meridians.  The converse is also true.  Electrical energy when applied to connective tissue can be transduced into mechanical energy, or changes in the orientation of molecules within the liquid crystal (Turchaninov, 2001).

Other forces that influence the structure of the connective tissue and therefore lead to similar energetic changes are electro-magnetic fields, temperature and hydration (Ho & Knight, 2008).

The issues are in the tissues

One thing that bodyworkers have been noticing with the rapid rise of myofascial techniques is that these techniques are much more likely to stimulate somato-emotional releases than traditional massage techniques.  Ho and Knight have noted that “the [liquid-crystal] network will retain tissue memory of previous experiences” (2008).  This is again consistent with the relationship that appears to exist between the energetic system and the fascia.  Both chakras and acupuncture meridians are believed to be related holistically to physical health, but also emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing (Judith, 1999; Brennan, 1993; Lori-ellen Grant, personal communication September 28, 2008).

Upper-crossed syndrome

Upper-crossed syndrome

A lack of comfort with feeling or expressing a particular type of energy is thought to cause a chakra to constrict, whereas addiction to a particular form of experience may cause a chakra to become locked open (Judith, 1999). This constriction or open-ness is likely to be represented in the connective tissue, and therefore in the posture of the body.  We might expect for example in the case of someone who presents with upper-crossed syndrome to have a fascial constriction in the area of the anterior solar plexus chakra, and for this constriction to be associated on a psycho-emotional level with disempowerment in some form.

A model for somatic bodywork

If we are are comfortable with the assumption that the evidence described here is adequate support for the existence of the acupuncture and chakra system, then it seems reasonable to use the accumulated knowledge of these systems as a conceptual model for somatic bodywork.  It is recommended that anyone who is interested in exploring these ideas further undergoes further study.  Anodea Judith’s classic text Wheels of Life (1999) is recommended as are Barbara Brennan’s Hands of Light and Light Emerging (1993).  A brief summary of some of the relationships as described by Judith (1999) is illustrated in the following table.

Chakra somatics

Chakra somatics


Further study

Chakras and the endocrine system, Timothy Pope

The Acupuncture System and The Liquid Crystalline Collagen Fibres of the Connective Tissues, Mae-Wan Ho & David Knight


References

Acupuncture meridians (2008). Retrieved September 21, 2008 from http://www.alltogetherhealth.com/Acupuncture/acupuncture.htm

Brennan, B. (1993). Light emerging – the journey of personal healing. NY, USA: Bantam Books.

Pope, T (2004). Chakras and the endocrine system . Retrieved September 21, 2008 from http://www.healingfromtheheart.co.uk/69701.html
Collagen fibers (2008). Retrieved September 22, 2008 from http://neuromedia.neurobio.ucla.edu/campbell/connective_tissue/wp_images/4_fibers.gif
Energetic anatomy of the chakra system (2008).  Retrieved September 21, 2008 from http://www.librarising.com/esoterica/chakras.html
Ho, M., Knight, D. (2008). The Acupuncture System and The Liquid Crystalline Collagen Fibres of the Connective Tissues . Retrieved September 21, 2008 from http://www.i-sis.org.uk/lcm.php
Judith, A. (1999). Wheels of life – a user’s guide to the chakra system (2nd ed.). MN, USA: Llewellyn Publications.
Langevin, H., Yandow, J. (2002). Relationship of acupuncture points and meridians to connective tissue planes. Anat Rec. 269,257-265.
Langevin, H, Churchill, D., Wu, J., Badger, G., Yandow, J., Fox, J., Krag, M. (2002). Evidence of connective tissue involvement in acupuncture.  Journal of the federation of American societies for experimental biology 2002 (16), 872-874.  Retrieved September 30, 2008 from http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/full/16/8/872
Turchaninov, R. (2001). Research and massage therapy – part 2. Retrieved September 30, 2008 from http://www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php/article_id/236
Upper-crossed syndrome (2008). Retrieved September 30, 2008 from http://www.watertownchiropractic.com/Upper%20Crossed%20Syndrome.gif

Over the past year I’ve been exploring the world of creative commons music.  It’s amazing what’s out there.  Much of the music I’ve found has been at least as good as most purchased music.  Some of it better.

I’ve decided to start releasing details of some of my favorites through this blog from time to time.

Tonight I’ve been listening to some dance music over my new speakers.  🙂

A few tracks from this mixed-breaks set popped up.  Nice and funky.  I listened to a lot of music from Breaks FM for a while, and the first DJ here, Emerge was definately one of my favourite DJs.  His set builds up gradually, into the brilliant Blim track Dust, Loes Lee’s Ash, and Hard Hard Lady Waks with Listen.

Devious has some pretty great tracks too.  Highlights here are the Brother’s Bud track – Don’t stop, Mephisto Odyssey’s Superphonic, Make ‘Em Shake it by Wahoo (Stanton Warriors remix) and Freaks by the Creeps.

I’m not sure exactly why this able to be freely released, as some of the tracks are presumably copyrighted (Fatboy Slilm & Evermore being two stand-out’s here), but Breaks FM are the biggest internet breaks radio station in the states, so it’s presumably legit.

The information in this document is based on the Ministry of Health document, New Professions under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 – Criteria for assessing applications for inclusion in the Act (2008).

“The principal purpose of the HPCA is to protect the health and safety of members of the public by providing for mechanisms to ensure that health practitioners are competent and fit to practice their professions” (p. 1)

For the minister to recommend that a health profession be regulated, (s)he must be satisfied that either

  • Lack of regulation poses a health risk to the public
  • It is in the best interest of the public that the health service be regulated

Given that most of the research evidence considering the risks of massage practice has generally found massage to be a very safe therapy, an application on behalf of the massage industry would be best served if it focuses on the benefits to the public of regulation.  A proposal which is focussed in this area must show that regulation would contribute to the health and safety of the public (p. 3)*. Presumably the application would focus on quality of service provision, improved client outcomes, evidence-based practice, etc.  The application should also provide examples of regulation overseas.

(* This is my interpretation of the document, but I am in the process of clarifying this point because it’s not completely clear to me)

“The minister must also be satisfied that the providers of health services are generally agreed on the

  • Qualifications for any class of providers of those health services
  • Standards that any class of service providers are expected to meet
  • The competencies for scopes of practice for those health services” (p. 2)

The developmental work which has been driven in New Zealand over the last 10 years by the professional associations and massage education providers has brought us to the point where we have a fairly clear idea of these issues.  There is some further development to be done before we reach the level needed for submission to a governmental organisation, but as an industry we are not far from that point.

It seems likely that the ministry would agree to appoint MNZ as the authority (assuming it doesn’t implode this weekend) as it is the sole representative of the massage industry.

The costs of setting up and operating the authority would need to be funded by the membership of the association.  In 2005 an independent firm valued the cost of setting up the authority as $20,000 – $40,000.  In addition to this, the annual cost of registration would need to be increased to about $1,000 pa based on the current level of membership (P. Gomas, personal communication, September 12, 2008).

While many see $1,000 as a prohibitive cost, I disagree.  Compulsory registration would stop some therapists practicing as “massage therapists”, leading to increased business for those who were adequately qualified.  I believe that this would more than compensate those who were carrying the burden.  Compulsory registration would also act as a pretty effective carrot to encourage MTs who are up to standard to join the association, and over the course of 2 years or so the costs should drop considerably.

If the costs of setting up the authority was funded by a loan, then the additional debt-servicing cost would not be too extreme.  If we assume that $40,000 was needed, that the period of repayment was over 30 years, and that the average interest rate over this time was 10% (fairly conservative estimations), then the monthly repayment cost would be $4,212 per annum.  Spread over the current membership this would equate to approximately $20 extra per annum, however as the level of membership rose this cost would reduce considerably, and the period of repayment could also be reduced.

Therapists who would be pushed out of the industry could still practice as “soft-tissue therapists”, or some other name, so there would be a need for a public education programme.  It might be possible to access some funding from health promotion sources for this?

References

New Professions under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 – Criteria for assessing applications for inclusion in the Act (2008).  Retrieved September 11, 2008 from http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/hpca-responsibleauthorities