I want to tell you about a massage therapist I met while in Austin, TX last week. He was in the SMRT: Shoulder, Axilla, Ribcage, & Upper Back class there.
He is an older gentleman who came to massage later in life, about 3 years ago when he was in his late 50’s. About 4 years ago, he had a quadruple bypass. During his first trade, which is for lateral shoulder, he took off his shirt and laid supine on the table. I noticed his scar, and of course felt the need to touch it. The scar was bound up across his sternum, and the fascial pull extended out across his left ribcage. The skin was extremely taut, as were the superficial and deep fascia below the skin and the pectoral, clavipectoral, and axillary fascia.
At the end of the shoulder and axilla work, his partner remarked that she felt like she had made a difference in his right shoulder and axilla, but not the left. She believed this was because she felt so much more natural when working on his right side, and she blamed herself. I pointed out the tension coming from the scar and extending across the left ribcage. I had her palpate his 4th, 5th, and 6th ribs, which were anterior, compressed into one another, and immobile. He remarked that this was where the majority of his pain was.
During the second day and the ribcage, he told us that he also had lower thoracic and lumbar scoliosis. I coached his partner in how to work specifically with his ribcage. His partner for ribs happened to be a chiropractor who desperately wanted to force those ribs at the sternum against pattern. He told her that he had been to chiropractors, and not only did that not work, it left him in intense pain for up to 2 weeks. She controlled that instinct with effort and did the SMRT work on his ribcage. He got off the table after the last trade and remarked on how much better he felt.
On the third day – upper back day – he was paired with a man who was taking his 3rd SMRT class live and has the full basic series on video. This student did his upper back, and then because he is faster than the new students and had time, began to work with lumbar scoliosis, hip bones, and lower ribcage. When he finished the class could see that his partners scoliosis had decreased by about 1/3. This was combined with the fact that his ribs looked much more even and were mobile and his shoulders were open and no longer pulled into the front plane of his body.
He approached me as he was leaving and said this, “I can’t tell you how much better I feel. I have had multiple sessions, and they work to a degree, but I have not felt this good in a lot of years.” I noticed he had tears in his eyes. He had come to learn SMRT so he could work on his clients in a therapeutic way with minimal effort and maximum results. After feeling the power of the work in his own body, I have no doubt he will do an awesome job with his clients.