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Profiter de la nature

The Spine: Axis of Life and Health

The human body is a marvel, with the spine being a central element. As a major axis of our body, it connects the upper and lower parts, providing both flexibility and stability. It supports the head and transmits the body's weight down to the pelvis. Let's humbly explore its anatomy, while also opening the door to a more symbolic understanding.

    Anatomy of the Spine


    The back, "the posterior part of the trunk, represents the fundamental element ensuring posture, locomotion, and the protection of the spinal cord. It consists of a flexible axis known as the spine, and numerous powerful muscles that maintain its rigidity."


    The ensemble formed by the skull, spine, and pelvis demonstrates morphological and functional solidarity. The spine is an articulated, resistant, and highly flexible bony chain. It is connected to the skull at its upper end and the pelvis at its lower end. The skull is in perpetual relation with the sacrum, highlighting their interconnection and importance in the body's overall structure.


    "A mast of fixation for hundreds of muscles essential for posture and locomotion. It also serves as the anchoring point for numerous muscles and limbs, and thoracic and abdominal organs."*

    Maux associés à la colonne vertébrale
    Organes associés à la colonne vertébrale

    The Osteopath's Perspective


    The bony structure between the upper and lower body, the 33 vertebrae composing the spine, ensures mobility and stability.


    The skull (fixed part) protects the encephalon (brain, cerebellum, and brainstem).


    The mobile part consists of 24 vertebrae: 7 cervical (the smallest vertebrae), 12 thoracic (dorsal), and 5 lumbar. Cervical and lumbar vertebrae move more than thoracic vertebrae. They adapt to posture and mobility restrictions. The thoracic vertebrae and ribs protect the organs: the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys, hence their limited movement.


    The fixed part of the lower spine consists of 5 sacral and 4 coccygeal vertebrae. The sacrum (and the iliac bones), more broadly the pelvis, protects the reproductive system.


    The intervertebral discs, primarily composed of water, allow the vertebrae to bond together. They absorb shocks and adapt to posture changes. Finally, all organs are connected to the spine.

    Symbolism and Health


    The spine, located in the middle of the back, symbolizes the meeting point between right and left to form a whole.


    In traditional Chinese medicine, the axis of the spine is considered a complex energy system, expressing the verticality of man between Earth and Sky and the divine descent from Sky to Earth.


    In other words, "it is our support and protection, as it also functions to protect the central nervous system, i.e., the brain, nerves, and spinal cord. When the spine suffers, the individual loses their verticality and strength. When it is restored, one can move mountains... verticality brings fluidity, the head straightens up."**


    The back is often the receptacle of numerous ailments:


        Cervical: mental tensions

        Thoracic: emotional tensions

        Lumbar: material and emotional insecurity


    The Spine and the Inner Arch of the Foot in Reflexology


    But where is the spine located in the foot?

    The reflex zones corresponding to the spine and the autonomic nervous system are found along the inner edge of the foot.


    Why work on the spine reflex zone? The spine is a key zone for detection and reference throughout a reflexology session. An initial pass at the beginning of the session allows for sensing the most prominent tension areas.

    Subsequently, the work becomes more precise, the touch refines and transforms into a "detecting pinhead," like a metal detector responding to the slightest contact with a metallic object.

    As a reflexologist, I alternate between working by segment (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral) and meticulous work, vertebra by vertebra, which allows opening, breathing, releasing tensions, and returning to the organ's reflex zone.

    Thus, reflexology offers a valuable path to restoring balance and relieving bodily tensions.


    Bibliographic References:

    *Pierre Kamina, "Anatomie Clinique," ed. Maloine

    **Gwenn Libouban, "L’homme est un arbre qui marche," ed. Jouvence

    Annick de Souzenel, "La symbolique du corps humain," ed. Albin Michel

    Michel Odoul, "Dis-moi où tu as mal, je te dirai pourquoi," ed. Albin Michel

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