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  • Fascia Work and the Axilla

    This year, I have had quite a few people request that we teach the SMRT: Shoulder, Axilla, Ribcage, & Upper Back course in their area of the country.  Several of these requests have come from therapists who exclusively do Myofascial Release or Structural Integration. Personally, I do quite a bit of fascia work, both myofascial unwinding and running of the fascia, which is similar to structural integration.  I find that SMRT works really well with these techniques when I am doing treatments.

    Recently, however, I have been in need of fascia work and have gotten to experience these techniques, both with and without SMRT, on my own body.  When I gave birth to my oldest daughter, who is now 32, my right axilla ballooned.  When my milk came in, it would swell, as if full of milk, each time I was ready to nurse.  I pointed it out to doctors, all of whom kind passed over it and acted like I hadn’t said anything.

    27 years later a doctor told me that I had extra breast tissue in my axilla.  She said they were finding this in quite a few women.  Apparently it happens before the woman is born, as the breast tissue cells migrate through the fetus, instead of stopping in the breast area, some cells go too far and end up in the axilla.  For me, this extra tissue had been surrounding and adhering to pectoralis major for 27 years giving me chronic ROM limitation and shoulder pain.  Finally, about two years ago, I began to experience numbness and tingling in my right arm during the day.  The symptoms worsened over time, and, after 31 years, I decided to get the extra tissue removed.  The surgeon said it was more than she expected.  She removed tissue that was “about the size of a slice of pie”, and a benign tumor close to the medial cord of the brachial plexus.  After removing the tissue, she removed the extra skin, and pulled the skin and fascia from all angles to create a nice looking axilla.  While I am no longer experiencing tingling and numbness in my arm during the day, I feel the fascial pull and fascial tension along the lateral side of my right ribcage and all along the bottom of my right breast, down the medial aspect of my upper arm, and throughout the muscles along the lateral border of my scapula.

    When I receive bodywork in this area, it can be extremely painful for the therapist to simply attempt to access the axilla with his or her fingers.  This is where SMRT comes in.  After a couple of fascial positions and releases, I am able to tolerate rolfing and/or myofascial release, and both are suddenly much more effective.  Students have told me how well SMRT integrates with fascia work, and I have found this to be true myself, but it has been incredible for me to feel the benefits of it myself.  Please check out this link to see where we will be teaching this course,  https://efullcircle.com/class-schedule/ or this link to order video, https://efullcircle.com/spontaneous-muscle-release-technique-shoulder-axilla-ribcage-upper-back/