As most of you know, I was a Journeyman Pipefitter for seventeen years prior to embarking on my Massage Therapy career. Now all of my family and close friends know that you don't refer to me as a "Plumber" because in reality they are two distinctly different and complex trades. My five year apprentice took me through the many different facets of assembling pipes to expedite the most efficient manner of moving fluids and gases. I studied Trigonometry, Chemistry, Metallurgy, and Blueprint Reading and Drawing(s) in the class room. In the lab we learned the many ways of connecting pieces of metal, fiberglass and plastic which included threading pipe, welding, soldering, brazing, and gluing.
This education played an important role into what I profess and perform today. After graduating from Massage School and obtaining my State of Ohio Medical License to practice Massage Therapy, I embarked on a career to help individuals who suffered from discomfort. As I started this journey I realized that many symptoms were similar but in almost every case different. In order to better understand my clients and their issues I continued to study many different gurus and their philosophies. As I began to combine many different philosophies I was better able to address the problems that were being presented.
Around the mid 1990's I started studying movement more and more and how it applied to the everyday issues of back pain, fibromyalgia, neck pain, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and all of the other maladies that presented themselves. It was during this time that I started to reach back into Pipefitting days and incorporate more of the dynamics of structure and how it fit into allowing proper movement in the body.
Two of my last jobs in the Pipefitting industry stood out as I reflected back, one was the Perry Nuclear Power Plant, and the other was the City of Cleveland Water Department project. How did these two projects help me?
First the Nuclear Power Plant, I was fortunate enough to actually work on the internal piping of the reactor. This piping controls the hydraulics that raises and lowers the uranium rods that create the nuclear reaction. The use of a special hydraulic fluid that is necessary to move the rods in minuscule amounts is critical to the safe operation. These pipes needed to be assembled in such a fashion as to withstand the intense heat inside the reactor but also be able to handle any form of natural or man-made disaster. How does that relate to posture and movement? The body is constructed very similarly as it moves about. There are many instances in our daily life's that require minuscule changes in order to keep us functioning at optimal levels. That uneven sidewalk, missing that step, walking on a slippery surface, sitting for long periods of time and the beat goes on. The relationship of angles and the dynamics placed on those angles are what I looked at that specific piping project.
The other project mentioned was at the City of Cleveland Water Works. This project incorporated large concrete vaults where they would pump approximately 1,000,000 gallons of water into what they referred to as settling tanks. On the bottom of these tanks are a vacuum system that moves back and forth and literally sweeps up the silt that floats to the bottom and pumps it out into a storage area. These vacuums are long tubes that span approximately 60 feet and needs to travel 150 feet while the weight of the water sits on top. These vacuums move continuously and are engineered to be able to do so through the drag and weight of the water. This is similar to what the body does as it moves effortlessly through the gravitational pull of the earth. The joints need to be properly spaced and stabilized so there is freedom of movement.
These two projects are just an example of how I incorporated the knowledge of Pipefitting into my bodywork. It is incorporating the complex engineering of the body and allowing it to function as a unit while maintaining a proper balance between its ability to move, and its restrictions due to gravity. It is designed to move with minimal encumbrance and to work as efficiently as possible.
Basically it comes down to structure and movement in both professions, but unlike the typical Pipefitter's work, Muscle Release Therapy, MRTh® has much more intricate and complex patterns of compensation. When a mechanical system breaks down it stops working, the human body on the other hand will continue to function for long periods of time before the pain cycle becomes too much for most. Fixing a typical mechanical system will give you immediate feedback but the human body, because of its complexity, will often take days to provide the necessary feedback.
This feedback is one reason why we often need to schedule follow up appointments. Once structure is corrected the movement patterns will often determine if the pain cycle is broken or is the cause of the original issue. For more information, or to schedule a FREE consultation with one of our therapists, please contact our Client Care Specialist, Amanda or Emily, at 216-364-0152.
Next week I will continue this article and provide more in depth comparisons, till then, remember there is always a Reason to HOPE (Hold On, Pain Ends)!