Massage Therapy  with Dee Hiatt, 
Direction of Ease
December, 2001
I place my hand on your back. With only a small amount of pressure, I sense the tissue under your skin. I notice how the tissue moves as I keep my hand on the same spot of skin while gently nudging the underlying tissue forward and back and then side-to-side.

I notice which direction is the easiest and which the hardest to move. To encourage the release in the least moveable direction, I do not go in that direction. Instead I go in the direction of ease as far as the tissue will gently go and I simply hold it there until it releases even more into its direction of ease. The effect of the release is such that the direction of restriction is also released. Tissue that resists direct effort to move will likely be more agreeable to release with an appeal to its direction of ease.

A similar easing technique in massage is positional release. I find a sensitive trigger point in the middle of your upper left trapezius muscle near the top of your shoulder. When I press on the spot, your eyes open wider with discomfort. If I move your arm and shoulder in such a way that the trapezius muscle is shortened and not as tight, the discomfort is reduced or might even be gone even though I apply the same amount of pressure. I keep pressing on the spot for 60 to 90 seconds. The trigger point has a good chance of easing away.

I canít help but wonder how the techniques of release in the direction of ease and of positional release can translate into my life. So often I seem to be pushing directly into my own restricted areas, staying right on the sensitive points, thinking the discomfort is telling me to stay right there and push more.

Iím reminded of a story that John McPhee tells in his book, Coming into the Country. He was following trappers in Alaska, camping out with these rugged individuals to find out what their lives were like. Getting ready to sleep in the great outdoors, he sheepishly brought a down-filled pillow from his pack, not wanting it to be noticed. Alas, one of the trappers caught him, noticing his embarrassment. The trapper said the pillow was just fine, that McPhee had the wrong idea, that they were not in the wilderness to rough it but to smooth it. McPhee slept well with his pillow.
© 2004, Dee Hiatt
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