One of the secret tools of an Osteopathic Manual Practitioner is the Indirect or Functional Release technique. This is done almost exclusively in our profession, and is rarely seen in the world of Physio,Massage Therapy, or Chiropractic.
Picture a really tight knot in a rope. Now, imagine trying to loosen the knot while two other people are each pulling an end of the rope. It’s impossible, right? The only way to loosen the knot is to bring the two ends of the rope closer together to relax the knot a bit, then work it out with your hands.
Indirect/Functional technique works on that same idea. When we find a muscle or fascia that is
extremely tight, sometimes stretching it just seems to make it tighter and more painful. Sometimes the person is so acute, that we can barely move them without pain. This is where the Indirect/Functional technique shines.
The therapist takes the joint in his hands, and gently moves the bones to a position of most ease. Each direction and rotation is taken into consideration, and when the joint is in the perfect balanced point, there is absolutely no tension or pain. The therapist will hold this position, often for several minutes.
So, what is taking care of the “knot” you ask? Well, it’s actually the patient’s own blood flow that does all the work here. In this balanced and relaxed position there is an extreme increase in circulation to the area. The arteries are freed from tension, the muscles are filled with blood, the extracellular matrix is more fluidic, and nature can once again work its wonders. The body in this position can optimally heal itself. This is the power of the Indirect/Functional technique.
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Jason Brandow, BSc TR, CST
Osteopathy Current Study & Thesis Writer