The Superficial Front Line

The next myofascial meridian that we will examine is the Superficial Front Line (SFL).  The Superficial Front Line functionally balances the Superficial Back Line in the sagittal (anterior-posterior) plane.  As we saw earlier, the SBL acts to contract the back of the body and then stretches during forward bends.  The SFL, antagonistic to this, acts to contract the front of the body and then stretches during backbending activities.
The SFL begins on the dorsal surface of the toes through the short and long toe extensor muscles.  This includes the anterior crural compartment and the anterior tibialis muscle.  The boney station that the meridian attaches to is the tibial tuberosity.


Extensor Digitorum Longus (bright red) and Tiabilis Anterior

From the tibial tuberosity superiorly the SFL follows the patellar ligament to the patella (knee cap) and upward to the patellar tendon, which is the insertion point of the quadriceps tendon.

Patellar Ligament, Patella and Quadriceps Tendon

The quadriceps consists of the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and vastus intermedius.  All of these muscles insert on the patellar tendon. The vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and vastus intermedius all originate on the femur bone. The rectus femoris originates on the pelvis.

At this point, the Superficial Front Line attaches on the Anterior Inferior Iliac Spine (AIIS), which is the origin of the rectus femoris. This is just below the Anterior Superior Iliac Spine (ASIS). It is here that the SFL takes up a new origin point as it continues upward on the pubic tubercle. Since the bones of the pelvis are fused, this new origin is structurally connected to the ileum and therefore has myofascial continuity. The continuation of the SFL now follows the rectus abdominis muscle on either side of the mid-sagittal line. The linea alba offers a mid-sagittal connection for the two halves of the rectus abdominis.

The rectus abdominis muscle attaches from the pubic tubercle to the 5th rib bilaterally. Now, the SFL continues up the sternum via the sternochondral fascia and continues from the origin point of the sternocleidomastoid muscle on the sternum up to the insertion point on the mastoid process of the temporal bone.

Sternocleidomastoid Muscle (Origin: Sternum & Clavicle; Insertion: Mastoid Process)

This concludes the run of the Superficial Front Line myofascial meridian. It is worthy to note that scalp fascia wraps around the backside of the head connecting the two sternocleidomastoid muscles. Below is a visual summary of the SFL:

Superficial Front Line

Yoga Applications

The Superficial Front Line acts to contract the front of the body. A perfect example of this is navasana or boat pose. In this pose the entire SFL is anti-gravity. Follow this link Bandha Yoga and click on Navasana.

The Superficial Front Line stretches in backbends and one of the quintessential backbends is Ustrasana or Camel Pose. Follow this link Bandha Yoga and Click on Ustrasana. Notice how the SFL is being lengthened in this pose.

Massage Applications

In massage, key muscles involved in releasing the SFL are rectus femoris, especially just below the origin at the AIIS. This opens the front of the hip and helps to reduce anterior pelvic tilt, which aids in reducing lumbar lordosis. The sternocleidomastoid muscles are important to release forward-head posture. The sternocleidomastoid wraps around the back of the skull and acts as a sling that pulls down and forward. Using a three-finger pincer technique with light pinching and gliding with the client in supine works best. Combine this with chin-tuck and nod for optimum results!

The Lateral Line

As the name implies, the Lateral Line traverses the sides of the body. The Lateral Line begins at the base of the 1st metatarsal at the insertion point of the peroneus longus muscle. The peroneus longus assists in holding up the medial and lateral longitudinal arches. The peroneus brevis inserts on the base of the fifth metatarsal and joins the line here.

Now, the peroneals travel up the outside of the lower leg and insert on the head of the fibula bone.

The Lateral Line makes a short jump to the lateral tibial condyle via the anterior ligament of the head of the fibula. From there the Iliotibial Band (ITB) takes over and connects the Lateral Line up the outside of the thigh to the gluteus maximus and tensor fascia lata muscles.

The Lateral Line attaches via the Iliotibial Band, the Tensor Fascia Lata and Gluteus Maximus to the iliac crest. From here there is an interesting series of "basket weave" connections up the outside of the torso. The first criss-cross comes in the form of the internal and external abdominal oblique muscles. The external obliques are back ribs to front of pelvis (as in placing your hands in your front pockets) and the internal obliques are front ribs to back of pelvis (as in placing your hands in your back pockets). The second criss-cross comes in between the ribs as the external intercostals (same fiber direction as the external obliques) and the internal intercostals (same fiber direction as the internal obliques).

Lateral Line criss-crosses up the side of the torso

At the top of the ribcage, the criss-cross pattern repeats once last time via the splenius capitus muscle and the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM). The SCM originates on the sternum and inserts on the mastoid process of the temporal bone (following the fiber direction of the external intercostals). The splenius capitus originates on the spinous processes of the thoracic and cervical vertebrae and inserts on the lateral border of the occipital bone and posterior border of the temporal bone (following the fiber direction of the internal intercostals).

This concludes the path of the Lateral Line myofascial meridian. A visual summary is provided below:

The Lateral Line

Yoga Applications

The lateral line is activated in strengthening sidebends like ardha chandrasana (half-moon pose). Click this link to see this yoga pose Bandha Yoga Then click on ardha chandrasana

The lateral line is stretched in lengthening sidebends like utthita parsvakonasana (extended side-angle pose). Click this link to see this pose Bandha Yoga Then click on utthita parsvakonasana

Massage Applications

The lateral line is most often accessed at the tensor fascia lata and iliotibial band to release lateral hip and thigh tension, especially in runners. The myofascia can be released with fist, forearm or knuckle deep glides superior to inferior. Another common access point is the splenius capitus, as this muscle is often implicated in the posterior neck tension. Deep thumb and finger glides inferior to superior work well with the client in prone or supine. Lastly, the SCM is a common place for trigger points and asymmetrical anterior neck tension. As previously eluded to, the SCM is notorious in pulling the head down and forward. Three finger pincer pressure and gliding is indicated here.

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